Monday, October 6, 2014

General Convention 2015: Volunteers needed

A range of volunteer opportunities are available at The Episcopal Church 78th General Convention, June 25 - July 3 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT .
The Episcopal Church's General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It is composed of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay representatives elected from the 109 dioceses of the Church, at more than 800 members.

Patrick Haizel, General Convention volunteer coordinator, said that all are welcomed to help out. "We are seeking interested people to offer their skills and talents to assist in the smooth operation of General Convention 2015," he said. "By volunteering, you become a part of General Convention, through observation and participation, while learning about the way the church operates from behind the scenes."

Shifts range from 2 to 6 hours in a variety of areas throughout convention where volunteers are needed.  "With this General Convention going virtual, we have new needs for people with computer and technical skills," Haizel added.

Volunteers should sign up here. For more info contact Patrick Haizel at

Monday, September 29, 2014

Praying for and with students at CNU

  The Rev. Lauren McDonald, campus chaplain at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, took a leap out of her comfort zone and is ministering to the students at CNU in a new way - the plaza prayer station.

"Sometime last spring I read a blog post by Jonathan Melton, campus minister at University of Wisconsin-Madison," writes McDonald. "In the post Jonathan talked about starting what I call a 'chapel steps' ministry in which he put out a couple of chairs next to a sign that said, 'How may I pray for you?' Although I didn't remember all the details, that blog post lodged itself in my brain, and from time to time I would think about it and ask myself whether I wanted to start such a ministry at CNU. What he did sounded so brave to this shy introvert."

The Rev. Lauren McDonald (L) with two CNU Canterburians.
McDonald is sharing her experiences on her blog, Leaping Greenly Spirits. If you spend any time on Facebook you may have seen some of her posts. They are highly recommended reading.

"I had such low expectations for this ministry," writes McDonald. "My whole goal was to be brave enough to set up a sign and sit next to it. I had figured it would take a long time for students to get used to me being there. Never underestimate God."

Just three weeks into her effort, McDonald has "repeat customers" join her as soon as she arrives - talking about their lives and their classes, asking questions, sharing problems.

 The students "are drawn to the presence of a person praying for them, someone who doesn't judge or grade them, someone who isn't there to enforce rules, someone with a little more life experience, someone who has time to listen," writes McDonald. "Maybe we'll spontaneously start doing noon-day prayer together... Maybe I'll have another week where no one comes. But they will see me, sitting there, available if they need me, ready to listen. There's no telling what might happen.  We need to stay open for surprises - there's no telling what God might do next."

The Rev. Lauren McDonald's blog is Leaping Greenly Spirits,

Jan Brown assists in establishment of Governor's Task Force on Prescription Drug & Heroin Abuse

On September 26, Governor McAuliffe established a Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse. Jan M. Brown was a consultant on the order and hosted the signing, telling her story and introducing Senator Kaine, who also participated in the event.  
Jan is the Founder and Executive Director for SpiritWorks Foundation, a community recovery organization in Williamsburg for people healing from addiction, trauma, and abuse. She is also a Postulant for Holy Orders for the Diaconate in the Diocese of Southern Virginia and a member of the board of Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church.

Photo at right: Jan M. Brown and Governor Terry McAuliffe. Photo by Michaele L. White, Governor's Office. 

Fall Clergy Conference: Transforming Work

The Fall Clergy Conference will be held November 11-12 at Chanco on the James. This year's guest speaker will be the Rev. Canon Matthew Stockard, Canon to the Ordinary of Diocese of East Carolina, on Transforming Work. Sessions will include Neuroscience and Ministry, Jung Again, and Finding Joy.
The Rev. Matthew Stockard has served as Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of East Carolina since 2000. He has worked extensively during this time in the area of ministry development and vocation with several Episcopal Church boards and agencies. His vocational path has included training and practice as a cellular physiologist, an Episcopal priest serving parishes in North Carolina as well as East Carolina, and an organization development consultant for several Episcopal dioceses and their interactions.
Click here for more information and online registration. 

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Daniel Perkins began as Priest in Charge at St. Andrew's, Newport News, 9/14/14.

The Rev. Sherry Munday, Deacon, left St. John's, Chester, 9/21/14.

Executive Board hosting conversations about stewardship

The Stewardship Focus Group of the diocesan Executive Board is once again hosting informal gatherings for parish wardens and stewardship/finance chairs to share successes and challenges with our parish giving programs. Anyone interested in parish stewardship is invited and encouraged to attend.
  • Saturday, November 22, 10 to 11 a.m. at St. John's, Chester. Contact the Rev. Gini DiStanislao if you plan to attend the gathering at St. John's,
  • Saturday, December 6, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Ascension, Norfolk. Contact Bob Motley if you plan to attend the gathering at Ascension,
Plans are underway for additional gatherings this year in Hampton and Virginia Beach. Watch the eNews for dates and locations.
Plans are underway for additional gatherings this year in Hampton and Virginia Beach. Watch the eNews for dates and locations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will not stand for re-election in 2015

Below is an excerpt from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's message to the Episcopal Church. Click here to read the full message.

"I have spent many months in discernment about how I am being called to serve God's people and God's creation in this season. I have resisted the assumption by some that presiding bishops can only be elected to serve one term, knowing the depth of relational work and learning that is involved in this ministry. There is a tradeoff between the learning curve and the ability to lead more effectively as a result of developed relationships both within and beyond this Church. At the same time, I recognize that standing for election as Presiding Bishop carries the implicit expectation that one is ready to serve a full term. I do not at present believe I should serve and lead in this ministry for another nine years.

I believe I can best serve this Church by opening the door for other bishops to more freely discern their own vocation to this ministry. I also believe that I can offer this Church stronger and clearer leadership in the coming year as we move toward that election and a whole-hearted engagement with necessary structural reforms. I will continue to engage us in becoming a more fully diverse Church, spreading the gospel among all sorts and conditions of people, and wholeheartedly devoted to God's vision of a healed and restored Creation.

I will continue in discernment about the ministry I may be called to in the coming years, but my present focus is and will remain on being the vigorous and faithful leader I believe I am called to be."