Saturday, March 14, 2020

Using Sparkhouse Christian formation curriculum in digital space

For Christian formation leaders and churches using Sparkhouse curriculum, here is information about how you can use that curriculum in virtual space.

Sparkhouse recognizes with the spread of COVID-19, churches are moving towards a virtual discipleship method. Here are proposed solutions for distributing materials to your students:

If you are a Sparkhouse Digital Subscriber:
  • You may add an unlimited number of users to your Sparkhouse Digital account
    • My Account – Leaders – Add New Leader
  • You may download the materials and upload them to a temporary, password protected site
    • Click here for instructions on how to create a password protected Dropbox folder
If you own the content in physical form:
  • It may be duplicated and distributed internally either through physical copies or a temporary, password protected site, including learner leaflets.
    • 1517 Media cannot provide assistance with anything outside of our own products (duplicating DVDs, Dropbox, Windows/Mac programs, etc.)
    • Consult local IT professionals in your area or conduct your own research online
Any posting online must be to an internal group, i.e. not public.
Certainly if any of your congregations have questions on this topic, they can call us  8AM-4:30PM Central Time Monday through Friday: 877-702-5551, and also at 800-328-4648.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A message from Bishop Haynes - more news on the coronavirus

"But as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord*
 I have said, "You are my God.
My times are in your hand*
 Rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
Make your face to shine upon your servant*
 And in your loving kindness save me"
(Psalm 31:14-17) 

The Psalmist reminds us that in all things, our times are in God's hands. In this time of evolving uncertainty around the coronavirus, the reminder that we are in God's certain hands is a timely reminder. As the situation evolves, we are gaining more information at the diocesan level that we are using to help us make decisions about our communal life together. Because there is so much about this virus that we don't know, our decisions and responses are also evolving and we do ask for the patience of everyone as sometimes we have to make decisions that are disappointing and unsettling.

Because we are learning that the transmission of this virus can happen as easily as that of the common cold, we are beginning to think about the ways in which we gather and how we ought to interact with one another. After consulting with epidemiologists and health officials as well as other church leaders, we have had to make the disheartening decision to cancel a few diocesan-wide events in the coming weeks. We will continue to evaluate this evolving situation beyond the next few weeks and keep you informed. The events which have currently been canceled are:
  • Safe Church Training scheduled for March 14
  • Happening, scheduled at Camp Chanco for the weekend of March 27-29
  • Clergy/Vestry Day scheduled for March 21
  • Clergy/Vestry Day scheduled for March 28
  • Clergy/Vestry Day scheduled for April 4
Information will be forthcoming about refunds of deposits paid for the Clergy/Vestry Days.
We realize that to some, this decision is distressing and disappointing. We too are distressed and disappointed; but given the lack of information we have on many levels about this virus, we are erring on the side of caution.

Please stay tuned to electronic communications from the Diocesan Office as we try to offer ways that we can stay connected with one another. Our challenge during this uncertain time is to continue to be the Church in times which challenge us. God has us in God's certain hands. 

Prayer for People Critically Ill or Facing Great Uncertainty

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
-Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Walking Toward Truth provided a unique and deep experience for pilgrims

The Repairers of the Breach wishes to express its thanks for the pilgrims who participated in the Walking Towards Truth Pilgrimage that occurred on March 6 & 7. The group spent two days visiting sites of memory related to the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Hampton and Jamestown and had deep opportunities for education, discussion, reflection and worship.  Special thanks to Terry Brown - Superintendent of Ft. Monroe National Monument, the Tucker Family, Mark Summers -Jamestown Historian, Valarie Holmes - Angela Interpreter, Hampton History Museum staff, Barbara Hamm Lee - panel moderator and panel members Linda Rowe, Rev. Samantha Vincent-Alexander, Rev. Les Ferguson and Rev. Willis Foster. We are grateful to Darlene Jackson, Rev. Willis Foster, Rev. Bob and Chris Randall and Bishop Haynes for enriching our worship experiences. Thanks one and all for an informative and powerful experience!

Beyond Addiction workshop March 20 & 21

Beyond Addiction is a Free Workshop for Parents, Family Members, Recovery Communities and Caregivers. Attendees will learn the Invitation to Change (ITC) approach:
  • A new way of thinking about substance use, addiction, and recovery
  • Skills and strategies to help facilitate change in a loved one dealing with addiction
  • Discussion on how to combat shame and promote self-compassion
  • Take-home exercises to use with loved ones, clients, and for yourself
The workshop will begin on Friday, March 20, 6 to 9 p.m. in Historic Lane Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg with "Let's Talk Addiction and Recovery" Fireside Chat with Edward Grinnan, the Rev. Jan Brown (Archdeacon of Diocese of Southern Virginia) and Dr. Carrie Wilkens. It continues on Saturday, March 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lewis Hall at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg with a practical, compassionate and research-proven roadmap for addressing addiction led by Dr. Carrie Wilkens. 
Click here for a flyer with more information.  
To register go to 

James Solomon Russell Celebration April 5

The James Solomon Russell Commemoration Committee has worked diligently to organize the annual Feast of the Ven. Dr. James Solomon Russell, priest and educator. Please mark your calendars for Sunday, April 5, at 2:00 p.m. Bishop Haynes will be the celebrant and preacher for the event, which will be held at New Hope Baptist Church, 255 Union Mill Road, South Hill.   
A Patrons' List will contain the names of individuals who donate $20 or more to the event. Names and funds for the Patrons' List are due by Monday, March 23. Checks should be made out to: Treasurer, James Solomon Russell Commemoration Committee, and should be mailed to Mrs. Annie F. Walker, Chair; James Solomon Russell Commemoration Committee, P.O. Box 463, South Hill, Virginia 23970.
The Committee looks forward to your presence and participation in this remembrance of the history of the Episcopal Church in Virginia.

Are you planning to attend this year's Fresh Expressions conference?

This year's Fresh Expressions national conference, The Present Future: Cultivating a Church for Tomorrow Today, is planned for April 1-3 in Reston, Virginia. If you are interested in or planning to attend, please contact Canon for Formation Lynn Farlin, or 757-213-3377, to possibly facilitate carpooling.  

Planting & Growing Your Food Ministry webinar

Diocese of Virginia invites you to join them for Planting & Growing Your Food Ministry - a free webinar on March 18, 7 to 8 p.m. The event is free, but registration is required. Register here
If you have a seedling idea for a food, garden or land ministry, or want to grow your current ministry, join this conversation with agrarian ministry practitioner, Brian Sellers-Petersen. Brian will provide you with:
  • Examples from churches across the country that are creatively using their land and property to grow food, feed the hungry and care for the environment.
  • Ideas and inspiration to help you become church gardeners and farmers.More uses for your existing church garden.
  • Ways your church land can be used to further care for creation.
  • Ways to involve our children and youth in creation care, gardening and food ministries.
Brian Sellers-Petersen is the Agrarian Missioner for the Diocese of Olympia and author of Harvesting Abundance: Local Initiatives of Food and Faith. He was a keynote speaker and preacher at Diocese of Virginia's recent Annual Convention.