Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exploring Gifts for Ministry in Daily Life: Being a Christian 24/7

Join us for this new workshop designed especially for laity to assist them in identifying their spiritual gifts and to begin discovering new ways to use these gifts to glorify God. Sponsored by the Commission on Ministry for Ministry of the Baptized. Questions? Contact Caroline Black, Saturday, Nov. 12 from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fee is $25. Registration deadline is Oct. 29. Click here for more information and registration.

Mission Initiative Grant Applications Due October 1

Don't let your Convocation miss out on up to $1000! So far, two Convocations have submitted proposals and received their grants: Convocation 1, the Eastern Shore, is using their grant for website and promotional brochure development. Convocation 5, the Jamestown Convocation, is holding a facilitated retreat to develop an evangelistic strategy for their region. 

Grant applications are available on the Congregational Development page of our website. Grants can be used for anything that furthers the evangelistic mission of your region: sponsoring a conference or speaker to equip congregations, advertising and marketing, hosting events for the community, and more. Contact the Rev. Canon Jeunee Cunningham with any questions, 434-603-1782,

ECW Time for Reflection: Praying in Color

The Prayer & Worship Committee of the Episcopal Church Women welcomes Sybil MacBeth, author of Praying in Color, to lead their 2011 Time for Reflection October 7-8 at Chanco on the James. Sybil is a longtime friend of many in our diocese. She is a teacher and author. What she is not, she stresses, is an artist. She is a doodler and it is from that unconscious activity that her prayer practice, book and retreat were born. The Parish Book Store will be at Chanco for this retreat and will have copies of Sybil's book available for purchase. You can learn more about Praying in Color at Click here for a retreat brochure and registration form.

Changes at Chanco

As of August 31, 2011 Talley Banazek will complete her tenure as Interim Executive Director at Chanco on the James. During her six month tenure Talley has provided amazing leadership at a time when Chanco was experiencing many, many transitions. In addition to typical managerial duties, Talley implemented systems that improved communication with the Office of the Bishop, resulting in improved training and accountability for our Summer Camp staff. In addition, Talley was instrumental in a property-wide survey that identified several areas of needed renovations and oversight. This survey is crucial in planning future improvements to both our property and our service. Prior to assuming the helm as Interim Executive Director, Talley led Chanco's marketing and development efforts, resulting in over $70,000 in annual donations and steady growth in both the camp and conference center business. Talley will be succeeded by Mr. Bill Porter, former Sr. Warden of Bruton Parish, who will assume responsibilities on September 1. Please join me in thanking Talley for all of her service, and wishing her well in her future ministries.
God's Peace,
The Rev. Conor M. Alexander, Chanco on the James Board President

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Resources & Services Commemorating 9/11

Christ Church, Danville
Forward Movement has created a webpage of resources to support prayer and reflection in the month leading up to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. You can access them here.

Congregations across the Diocese will be commemorating this anniversary in a variety of ways. Redeemer, Midlothian, is inviting their local community and representatives of local fire, rescue and police departments and service members and veterans to participate in a special service. Emmanuel, Jenkins Bridge, will hold a Service of Remembrance and Prayer Sunday morning; and Trinity, Portsmouth, will join with other local churches for a special community commemoration service on Sunday evening. Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach, has created a Litany of Remembrance that they will use to open their worship on September 11. Christ Church, Danville, is constantly reminded of the tragic events of 9/11 - a parishioner's brother was killed that day and a stained glass window was placed in the church and dedicated to all victims of 9/11. The window, pictured here in this post, is also on our Facebook page. They will commemorate the anniversary with special prayers and music at all services on September 11.
Epiphany, Norfolk, will observe the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by tolling the church bell on the hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The doors of the church will be open wide all day in invitation to any and all who seek to enter for prayer and meditation. St. Paul's, Suffolk, will gather Sunday morning to hang ribbons in the sanctuary, each representing a person who died during the attacks. The 10:30 a.m. celebration of Holy Eucharist on Sept. 11 will use liturgy, lessons, sermon and music to take a journey from remembering 10 years ago to envisioning how we would like the world to be 10 years from now; dreaming how we might work, pray and give to make it happen. St. Thomas, Chesapeake, has invited city of Chesapeake police, fire and rescue officers to participate in a special Service of Remembrance Sunday morning, Sept. 11. Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff and Police Chief K.L. Wright will be special guests as that service. St. Anne's, Appomattox, will hold an evening prayer service on September 10 at 5 p.m. focusing on peace and reconciliation. The service will be followed by a prayer vigil that will conclude with the Sunday morning worship on September 11. Christ & Grace, Petersburg, will hold a service of Remembrance, Recognition and Reconciliation on Sunday morning September 11 at 10:30. They will remember those who died and their families. They will recognize first responders in their city, and will seek great understanding and reconciliation with Muslims in their community. Representatives from police, fire and emergency services will participate in the service. A Muslim sergeant major from nearby Ft. Lee will also participate and will speak at the Adult Forum regarding Muslim/Christian relations.

Neighboring Diocese of Virginia invites those in the Richmond metro area to take part in an interfaith service on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Temple Beth El, 3330 Grove Avenue The focus of the service will be Memory & Hope. Participants will include Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, Methodist Bishop Charlene Kammerer, Rabbi Martin Beifield, Imam Ammar Amonette, and other members of the faith communities.

If your congregation is holding a special 9/11 commemoration, please tell us about it. Send your announcement to Ann Turner,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Retreat: Writing Down Your Prayer - Journaling With God

The Commission on Prayer & Healing will offer another in their retreat series, Saturdays with God, on September 17 at St. Luke's, Smithfield. The retreat, Writing Down Your Prayer: Journaling With God, will be led with meditations by the Rev. Gary Barker, vicar of St. Luke's and rector of Christ Church, Smithfield. The retreat is from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is free. Registration is not required, but appreciated. Please email Gary,, or call Christ Church, 757-357-2826, before September 12. Go to our website to download a retreat brochure.

Social Media for Congregations Workshop in Virginia Beach

St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach, will host a Social Media for Congregations workshop on Saturday, September 17 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. This workshop will introduce the most popular social media services, including blogging, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Information moves in very different ways today than it did just a decade ago. We'll talk about what that means for your church communications plan and how to get the most benefit from these powerful communications tools. Led by Ann Turner, diocesan communications officer. Cost is $20. Click here for registration.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chanco Restoration Project Under Way

Gracious volunteers Doug Weymouth, Jack Mace, Bruce Comfort, Latane Sale, and Steve Wallace arrived at Chanco Ausgust 8th to begin the 10-day project of restoring Conference Center building A. They went straight to work removing siding as they begin the process of re-insulating, re-siding and re-roofing the building. Numerous volunteers are donating their time over the next ten days to make this much needed project a reality. Special thanks is extended to Doug Weymouth, Jack Mace, Bruce Comfort and Steve Wallace who are generously giving 10 full days to working on this project. If you are interested in donating a day or more to helping Chanco renovate, it's not too late! Contact Interim Executive Director Talley Banazek at  with your availability (project date: August 8-18). Not able to give any time? Donated funds are making this project a reality and are still needed. Checks may be made to Chanco on the James with "restoration fund" in the memo line and mailed to Chanco at P.O. Box 378  Surry, VA  23883.  Thank you for your support of Chanco and the improvement of its facilities.

"Rebuild Our Church in Haiti" Update

Thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to "sell bricks" for the Rebuild Our Church in Haiti campaign. To date our Diocese has raised $21,561.45. Participating congregations:
Advent, Norfolk
Ascension, Norfolk
Christ, Eastville
Christ the King, Yorktown
Emmanuel, Virginia Beach
Epiphany, Norfolk
Grace, Yorktown
Holy Trinity, Onancock
Hungars Parish, Eastville 
Johns Memorial, Farmville
Old Donation, Virginia Beach
St. Andrew's, Norfolk
St. Anne's, Appomattox
St. George's, Accomac
St. James', Accomac
St. John's, Chester
St. John's, Halifax
St. John's, Hampton
St. John's, Portsmouth
St. Martin's, Williamsburg
St. Paul & St. Andrew, Kenbridge
St. Paul's, Newport News
St. Paul's, Norfolk
Trinity, Portsmouth
Trinity, South Boston

This is a wonderful contribution to our church in Haiti! Thank you. If any church is still working on the project, please contact Diocesan Coordinator Barbara Byers, or call 757-537-6605.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Leading A Holy Life Task Force Convenes

In his address at the 2011 Annual Council, Bishop Hollerith spoke of the need for conversation to occur around questions of human sexuality that will come before next summer's General Convention. The Bishop spoke of our need in the Diocese of Southern Virginia to prepare for that moment thoughtfully and in fellowship with one another.

To that end, the Bishop has called together a task force called Leading a Holy Life: Human Sexuality & Blessing of Relationships, and appointed each of us to serve on it. We have met twice and divided into three working groups to have more focused discernment around the following areas:

  •      Biblical & Theological Questions
  •      Diocesan/Communal Relationship Questions
  •      Personal/Individual/Pastoral Questions
We are a diverse group of lay and ordained persons whose stories and perspectives closely match the wide spectrum of our diocese. We see ourselves called to service by the Bishop for the health and welfare of us all. We look forward to our task, to God's leading, and to open communication with every member of the diocese as our work progresses.

Canon Caroline Black
The Rev. Kathleen Bobbitt
The Rev. Richard Bridgford, Co-Chair
Mike Diaz
Juli Edwards
The Very Rev. Keith Emerson, Co-Chair
The Rev. Drew Foisie
Bill Hunter
The Rev. Maria Kane
The Rev. James Medley
Cornelia Taylor
Ann Turner
Jeff Vogel
The Rev. Rhonda Wheeler

Virtual Bike Ride Benefits Boys' Home

Paul English, member of the Boys' Home Board of Trustees and immediate Past President of the Board, was scheduled to participate in a transcontinental bike ride to begin June 19 in Astoria, Oregon. His ride was to last 50 days, go through two countries, ten states and one province to total 3,667 miles. Paul was embarking on this journey to raise awareness for Boys' Home and specifically the Boys' Home School in Covington. While raising awareness, he was aiming to raise $100,000 for the school to be used this coming school year. During his final preparation for the ride, Paul sustained a broken collarbone. While he was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to complete his trip, he and the Boys' Home staff decided to turn the ride into a virtual walk/bike ride. Since the virtual ride has been created, there has been a high level of participation from Boys' Home residents, staff and supporters. They are striving to match the 3,667 miles and, so far, have 1,806 miles.

Everyone is welcome to turn in their miles from biking. walking, rowing, swimming or any other activity. Send your miles to Sandra Scruggs at Miles will be accepted up to August 20. Donations can be made at, using the link to Paul's Bike Ride. You can follow the progress of the virtual ride on Facebook.

Boys' Home provides residential education for young men, ages 6-18. With the focus of socially and economically disadvantaged young men, they center on those who have great promise, but few opportunities for success. Boys' Home operates on 97% private funds which is why Paul's Virtual Bike Ride for the boys is so important.

New 2011-2012 Youth Ministry Toolkit Available Online

The new 2011-2012 Youth Ministry Toolkit is now available on the diocesan website. You'll also find updated registration and permission forms, Youth Community Covenant, Youth Ministry Planning Calendar, and much more. All of youth pages have been updated for the upcoming program year. Check them out here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bishop's Days Registration Open!

Registration for Bishop's Days with Parish Leadership 2011 is now open!

Click to register online for:

Click here to download a brochure for registration by mail or fax.

For more information about Bishop's Days for Parish Leadership, including full list of workshops, go to our Bishop's Days blogsite,