Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Episcopal Relief & Development responding to Nepal earthquake

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the ecumenical ACT Alliance in Nepal and local partners in northern India and southwest China regarding urgent needs and assessment efforts following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near Kathmandu on the morning of April 25.

Responding to immediate needs for food, clean water and shelter, as well as the need for accurate information through on-the-ground assessment, Episcopal Relief & Development will support ACT Alliance efforts implemented through a partner office in Kathmandu.  The ACT Alliance works in coordination with major international groups such as UN OCHA to maximize efficiency and impact of aid, mobilizing local networks to reach remote areas. Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia regarding support for the work of the Deanery of Nepal, which is part of the Diocese of Singapore.  The organization may also support other partners in the region including CASA, the humanitarian arm of the National Council of Churches in India, and the Amity Foundation, an independent Christian organization in China.

"It is a frightening time, with so many homes and buildings already destroyed and the threat of aftershocks causing others to collapse," said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development's Senior Vice President of Programs.  "People need spiritual support as they try to keep their families safe, or find and save those who are missing.  We urge  prayers for all those impacted by the quake, and for those who are bringing relief, support and encouragement to people in need."  

Donations to the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund will enable Episcopal Relief & Development to support its partners' emergency relief efforts and on-the-ground assessment in the region.

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

St. John's, Suffolk
Holy and most gracious God, we thank you for the limitless bounty you share with us and all creation. We are constantly in awe of the unearned mercy you show to us. We ask you to foster in us a sense of stewardship and loving care for our community; that we might be equipped to make a lasting and positive difference in our lives and the lives of all people we meet. We also ask you to help us to always move forward, even when we pause to refresh our view of your presence. Help us focus our pause to find clarity for the road you set before us. All this we ask through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

St. Michael's, Bon Air
Almighty God, we ask that you bless your servants who worship with the faith community of Saint Michael's Bon Air and that you hear our prayers for our mission and ministry goals this year; we pray for a strong commitment from our parish community to serve in our outreach ministries; we pray for enthusiastic participation in a vibrant parish life, especially as we establish our community garden; we pray for greater involvement of the children and youth of our parish in parish life, missions and outreach programs; we pray for a children's ministry director who will find creative and compelling ways to communicate God's word and its application to children's lives; we pray for a powerful music, arts & education ministry, and for wisdom and guidance in establishing a Center for Arts of Life in our parish; we pray that our facilities be used to fulfill our commitment to mission; we pray that through faithful stewardship of time, talent and treasure, we have the necessary resources to support what you have called us to do we do to fulfill our mission to Celebrate your Beauty, Love your People and Serve your World, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

Bring your church into your neighborhood with All Our Children

Is your congregation hungry for more meaningful relationships with your neighbors, whether they're downtown or down the street? Would you like to connect with students and teachers in under-resourced schools in your area? Your congregation can help children reach their full potential and support their right to quality public education by forming a church-school partnership.

All Our Children, National Network is a network of congregations working in partnership with under-resourced public schools. The network's purpose is to promote, strengthen, and support grassroots church-school partnerships. They do this by sharing tools, materials, and best practices to nurture and support the teams who run individual programs.

For AOC, a partnership is an intentional relationship between a congregation and a school that is recognized by leaders of both institutions. AOC members are those partnerships. Each member partnership is unique. They focus on everything from running in-school & after-school programs, to classroom & teacher support, to leading advocacy coalitions for school budgets and facilities renovations.

To learn more about starting a church-school partnership, check out AOC's "10 Steps to Building a Church-School Partnership" and the other tools and materials on their website. You can reach the All Our Children team directly at info@allourchildren.org.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

James Solomon Russell Feast Day celebrated

By the Rev. Terrence Walker, Trinity, South Hill

The Rev. Dr. John L. Ghee and Bishop Hollerith 
The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia celebrated the Feast of the Venerable Doctor James Solomon Russell, Sunday, March 29, 2015, at the New RZUA Headquarters in La Crosse, Virginia. A native of Mecklenburg County, Russell attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute and taught school in North Carolina where he learned of the Episcopal denomination and became a convert. His most notable achievement, along with founding at least twenty churches in Southside Virginia, was the establishment of Saint Paul's College (1888-2013) in Lawrenceville, Virginia, an institution that trained and educated individuals who impact local and wider communities to this day.

Officiating at the service was the Right Reverend Herman Hollerith IV, Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Among the other clergy of the Diocese was the Rev. Dr. Joseph N. Green, Jr., who was recognized for over sixty years of service to the Church and to the larger community.

In his sermon, the Reverend Doctor John L. Ghee, Presiding Bishop of the RZUA Churches of America, focused on the concept that divine purpose comes with a plan and with the resources necessary to accomplish that purpose. Referencing Russell's autobiography Adventure in Faith (Morehouse Publishing, 1936), Ghee enumerated the series of events that led to a nationally recognized college in rural Brunswick County, Virginia, being founded by a former slave. Ironically, Russell was also involved with the founding of the RZUA Churches of America.

Present for the service were three generations of the Russell family. Elected officials from Brunswick and Mecklenburg Counties were either on hand or represented at the celebration. A number of local businesses and individuals were sponsoring agents for the commemoration. Music was provided by the Sharon Baptist Church Mass Choir. Following the service, attendees retired to Trinity Episcopal Church for a light repast.

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

St. John's, Hampton
Almighty and everlasting God, who from the beginning has placed within each one of us all that is needed to succeed in walking the path of the cross, we pray for your guidance of our Evangelical ministry at St John's in Hampton.  We beseech you to increase our understanding and tolerance of those who have yet to find you, allowing our own lives to serve as examples of your love.  We also humbly seek your mercy to remind us what it is like to be new, and ask for your grace as we extend ourselves in service to those on the margins, as well as those in mainstream.  All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Christ & Grace, Petersburg
Most holy and gracious God, we give you hearty thanks for sustaining us as a vibrant congregation of worshipers and servants in Petersburg for nearly 175 years. We ask for your help and guidance as we plan meaningful ways to celebrate our past and seek new vision and empowerment for the years ahead. Refresh and renew us as the footprints of the past lead us into a spirit-filled future of offering hope, healing and hospitality to those both within the church and in the greater community. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.

ECW celebrates 125 years on May 16, honors founder Louisa Taylor Letcher

The ECW will honor its founder, Louisa Taylor Letcher, at the Spring Annual Meeting. Nancy Sands, ECW diocesan president, has declared May 16, Louisa Taylor Letcher Day, in observance of the ECW's 125th anniversary. In 1890, Louisa, a Norfolk resident, and her friend Sallie Stuart from Alexandria, organized the Women's Auxiliary of the Diocese of Virginia at St. Paul's parish in Norfolk. Louisa and Sallie served as co-presidents. When the Diocese of Southern Virginia was formed in 1892, Louisa continued as president in the newly-formed diocese until her death in 1920.

All women are invited to attend the ECW Spring Annual Meeting at Glebe Church in Suffolk May 16 to celebrate ECW's anniversary, meet Louisa Taylor Letcher in person, and to learn about "God Bless the Children," ECW's proposed 2015-16 outreach project, to benefit Jackson-Field Homes and Boys Home of Virginia. Ann E. Chaffins, Assistant Director of Development at Jackson-Feild Homes, and Megan-Drew Tiller, Church Relations, Boys Home of Virginia, will speak at the meeting. "This project is very important to me," Nancy said. "I feel we need to help give these young people a good start in life and let them know that someone cares about them." Your vote is important.
Glebe Rector, the Rev. Ross Keener, will officiate at Eucharist. Contact Louise Boss, ECW corresponding secretary, to register for the meeting, 757-678-5331 or louiseboss@exede.net, by May 9. The $12 registration fee includes lunch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Climate Change Crisis Forum now available for viewing

Now available here is the Climate Change Crisis, presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on March 24. Addressing one of the most significant topics in today's society, the 90-minute live webcast originated from Campbell Hall Episcopal School, North Hollywood, CA, in partnership with Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles.
The forum was moderated by well-known climatologist Fritz Coleman of KNBC 4 television news.  Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the keynote address. Two panels focused on specific areas of the climate change crisis: Regional Impacts of Climate Change; and Reclaiming Climate Change as a Moral Issue.

30 Days of Action
In addition to stimulating conversation and raising awareness about The Climate Change Crisis, the live webcast served as the kickoff to 30 Days of Action. A range of activities developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are offered for individuals and congregations to understand the environmental crisis. The activities will culminate on Earth Day, April 22.