Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Camp Chanco will be open for 2021 season!

As our Easter season is a time of joy and rebirth, I am pleased to announce that Camp Chanco will be open for the 2021 season! After a time where so many of us have felt isolated and tied to technology, our young people will be able to gather together at Chanco away from screens, experiencing outdoor adventures, and challenging themselves in new ways. With our schools and churches mostly virtual over the last year, opportunities for our young people to be active and connect with one another in person have perhaps never been more needed than now. Our Missioner for Camp and Retreat Ministry, Gareth Kalfas, and his team have been working diligently to research all COVID safety camp guidelines to prepare for a safe and exciting camp experience. Chanco will operate at a reduced capacity this summer and registrations are already ahead of schedule. Therefore, I recommend that all interested families register your camper today at www.chanco.org. I am very much looking forward to celebrating Eucharist with our campers during their session and to experiencing Camp Chanco alive with outdoor activity, laughter, singing, and worship. May Chanco’s programs be blessed with opportunities to find God in the outdoors, in each other, and in living and learning in Christian community. Please join me in holding the Camp Chanco staff and campers in our prayers for a healthy, fun and faith-filled season ahead.

-- Bishop Susan

Monday, March 29, 2021

Join the Bishop for Virtual Clergy & Vestry Event on Saturday, May 8

In lieu of our traditional vestry training days, the Bishop invites both clergy and vestry members to a fresh reformulation of annual vestry training. This year, a single Clergy & Vestry Day with the Bishop will be conducted via Zoom on Saturday, May 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30. p.m. The event will include opening remarks by the Bishop, a Vestry fundamentals session facilitated by the Rev. Canon Win Lewis, and a keynote address by leadership consultant and practical theologian Tod Bolsinger, who will join us to explore “Surviving the Pandemic and Thriving After: The Church on the Other Side of the Covid Mountain." Returning to the Diocese of Southern Virginia, Tod will share insights and practices to guide our churches through the process of looking past the pandemic into an unprecedented future. Plan to take part in this three hour session to inform, enrich, and inspire parish leadership in this pivotal season in life of the church! Register here.

Course on Understanding Addiction and Supporting Recovery through Pathways for Baptismal Living begins April 11

The Rev. Jan M. Brown and the Rev. Lauren McDonald, co-chairs of the diocesan Addictions & Recovery Commission, will be offering a course on Understanding Addiction and Supporting Recovery through Pathways for Baptismal Living at Bexley Seabury Seminary. Beginning April 11, this 8 week, online course will give clergy and congregational leaders tools to help increase understanding about those predisposed to addictions and to offer them a path to recovery and wholeness in the spirit of our Baptismal Covenant. It also will prepare participants to minister as Recovery Allies and/or Rapid Response Teams, to prepare their churches and dioceses to be Safe Havens and/or Recovery Ready Churches, and to share Christ’s love with those struggling with substance use. Click here for more information and to register.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Sing a New Song to the Lord: A Word from the Bishop about Singing

(and also about Books of Common Prayer and Children’s Formation)

Beginning with Palm Sunday, congregational singing is now permitted for OUTDOOR services. Members of the congregation must continue to socially distance and should wear their masks even while singing. Congregational singing should be limited, when possible, to fewer verses in hymns, antiphons only for the Psalm (while a quartet/octet may sing the verses), and/or a brief version of the Sanctus or Agnus Dei. Singing is still not permitted for indoor services.

It is now also acceptable to move BOOKS OF COMMON PRAYER back into the pews for use. Use should be limited to one service only and if a book is used during one service and another service is taking place that same day, that book should be removed from the pew and replaced with a different prayer book for the next service. However, in churches that have only one service per Sunday, the Books of Common Prayer may remain in the pews from week to week.

Regarding CHILDREN’S FORMATION, the Health Advisory Panel is encouraged by a recent study from the CDC that has reduced the physical distancing requirement for children from six feet to three feet. They still note, however, that physical distancing with adults should remain at six feet. While Children’s Formation is currently on hiatus, the panel will begin exploring safe ways to resume Children’s Formation hopefully to allow for Vacation Bible School this summer. Please stay tuned.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Dr. Catherine Meeks to speak at William & Mary virtual symposium this week

Our diocese is cosponsoring the appearance of Dr. Catherine Meeks, founder and director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, at a virtual symposium this week presented by The Lemon Project, William & Mary's long-term commitment to grappling with its slave-holding past. Dr. Meeks is doing a Friday evening keynote and Saturday afternoon workshop, both connected to the symposium theme, "Four Centuries of Black Women in America: Freedom, Activism and Justice for All." The week includes other keynotes and panel presentations and concludes with a Saturday evening event of dance, music and poetry, "For Colored Girls Who Inspired the World." The schedule and a link to registration (required and free) can be found here, and the full symposium program is available here.

ECW scholarship applications now being accepted

Applications for the ECW Elise Holiday and Beverley D. Tucker Scholarships are now being accepted. Applications must be received by May 8, 2021, to be considered for the fall semester. Questions? Contact Deborah Austin, 757-538-1797. Click here for information and an application form.

Evangelism Matters audioconference, an innovative approach to sharing, learning, and growing evangelism ministry

This spring’s Evangelism Matters conference invites participants to turn off the Zoom screen and “tune in” for an audioconference featuring podcast-style talks on the opportunity and challenge of evangelism today. Read more here (In English and Spanish). Conference launches on April 12, 2021.