Friday, March 30, 2012

27 parishes represented at Blackstone Weekend

March 23-25, youth in grades 8-12 from around our diocese gathered for Blackstone 2012: Episcopal 101. 27 parishes were represented at the weekend. Designed by the EYC Board, the weekend offered reflections on what it means to be an Episcopalian, small group conversation, variety in worship, including an Agape Meal and Eucharist, workshops, a dance, and much more. 

Congratulations to our newly elected EYC Board 2012-2013: Meredith Allen, All Saints South Hill
Sandy Brothers, St. Matthias Midlothian
Erica Cooke, Emmanuel Virginia Beach
Molly Golski, St. Andrew's Norfolk
Chris Gregg, St. John's Portsmouth
Jeremiah Hoyt, St. David's Chesterfield
Lauren Jones, St. Aidan's Virginia Beach
Carson Merritt, St. Andrew's Norfolk
Nick Sarandria, St. John's Portsmouth
Holly Waide, St. Aidan's Virginia Beach (EYC Board President)
Matt Wheeler, Ascension Norfolk
Torin Wright, Emmanuel Virginia Beach

News from Mission of the Holy Spirit

The Mission of the Holy Spirit invites you to their "Get Fit Spring Fling" Health Fair on Saturday, April 14, noon to 4 p.m. at St. Stephen's, Norfolk. The health fair is organized by nursing students from Old Dominion University and partially funded by a diocesan Seeds of Hope Grant. It will include health screenings and information, food, and fun for the kids too. Click here for more information.

Get all the latest Mission news in their Spring newsletter. Be sure to mark your calendar for the first annual Mission of the Holy Spirit Celebration Dinner on Saturday, June 9 at Old Donation, Virginia Beach. The evening will honor the Revs. Bev and Julia Tucker and the Rev. Bill Starkey. More information is available in the Spring newsletter.

Check out Chanco at their Open House events

Camp registrations are flowing!  Chanco is currently ahead of last year's to date registration numbers, so don't wait!  Register today for the session of your choice! Haven't been to Chanco before and want to know more?  Never fear! Chanco has two open house dates this spring where you can tour the camp, meet the camp director and other staff, enjoy refreshments, and see a video. You will also be able to fly along one of our zip lines to see the camp in a whole new way while getting a taste of the fun that awaits you at Chanco on the James summer camp 2012!  Open house dates are April 15th and April 29th from 11 am to 5 pm. Click here for a flier with more information on our summer camp sessions. Visit our website for more information or easy on line registration at .  Any questions?  Contact Camp Director Jim Sitzler at 1-757-294-3012 or at  We look forward to seeing you soon at Chanco on the James!  

You can check out Camp Chanco on YouTube - click here!

Bishop Vache Scholarship applications now being accepted

The Bishop Vaché Scholarships provide funds to assist low-income and minority college students in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. First-year students as well as returning college students are welcome to apply. Scholarship awards range from $1000-$5000 per academic year. Applications must be postmarked by June 30, 2012. Notifications will go out by July 15, 2012 and awards will be made by August 1, 2012. Click here for application.

Seeds of Hope Grant applications now being accepted

Seeds of Hope Grants are available to congregations and diocesan for social justice ministries. The Seeds of Hope Grants came from the diocese's Second Century "Feed My Sheep" campaign conducted fifteen years ago.  Grants of up to $2500 must support the development of new programs or support the expansion of social justice ministries that are already in action within congregations of the diocese. Requests that do not meet these criteria will not be considered. Applications and more information can be found on the website. Grant applications are due August 1, 2012, and if approved, will be distributed in November 2012. All grants must be used by June 30, 2013, with a report due back to the diocese, including pictures if possible, describing the results of the grant. If you have any questions, please contact The Rev. Canon Jeunée Cunningham,, 434-603-1782.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

CE-Net invites you to join them for "Changing Trends in Christian Formation"

CE-NET (Christian Educators Network) invites you to attend their Tuesday, April 17 gathering at Hickory Neck, Toano, from 12:00 to 2:30. Dr. Lisa Kimball, Ph.D., Director of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching and Professor of Christian Formation and Congregational Leadership at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria will be our featured guest speaker. She will be sharing her insights about the Changing Trends in Christian Formation. Lisa is passionate about building a healthy Church and equipping people of all ages with genuine Christian faith. She pays close attention to trends in American religious life, current research in human development, demographic changes, and popular culture to understand the spiritual hunger of our time and to identify effective models of Christian formation in diverse contexts. Lisa enjoys working with church leaders to address ministry challenges and imagine innovative responses. Lunch will be provided for $7.00 per person. Click here to register. If you have questions or require additional information please contact Lynn Farlin 757-423-6715 or Harper Lewis at 757-595-0371. Directions to Hickory Neck Episcopal Church can be found here

Friday, March 9, 2012

SCLM issues report on blessing of same-gender unions

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) of the Episcopal Church has forwarded to the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies excerpts from its report, "I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing": Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.The report, nearly three years in the making, was prepared by the SCLM in compliance 2009-C056, "Liturgies for Blessings,"  a resolution  approved by the General Convention (GC) of the Episcopal Church in 2009 which directed the SCLM to collect and develop theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-gender relationships through an open process. Excerpts from the report are being made available for discussion at the upcoming House of Bishops (HOB) meeting in March. Members of the House of Deputies (HOD) will discuss the excerpts in the online forum on the website of Bonnie Anderson, HOD President,  The discussion on the Deputy Online Forum will take place March 16-23 and is available to the public for viewing. In addition, excerpts are also being made available to the wider church on Anderson's website:  

"Since 2009, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has consulted widely throughout the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion," said the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and chair of the SCLM. "Providing our report to the church's two legislative houses, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, is the next step in our open process. We look forward to their discussions and to presenting our report to General Convention in July." 

The excerpts released March 8 include a theological reflection on blessing same-gender relationships, a proposed liturgical rite, and the legislative resolutions that the SCLM will recommend to GC12 in Indianapolis July 5-12.  

Presiding Bishop to address Province III Synod

The Province III Synod will convene in Martinsburg, West Virginia April 30-May 1. The gathering will include an address from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and General Convention deputy orientation in addition to the Province III business meeting and elections. Following the adjournment of the meeting, the Province III Ministries on Evangelism will present "Communications as Evangelism: Using the Media, Social Media and Common Sense to Draw People to Your Church." The workshop will be led by Jim Naughton of Canticle Communications and founder of the blog Episcopal Cafe. For more information and registration for the Synod and communications workshop, go to the "Workshops, Training & Events" page of

Episcopal Church launches blog for comments on the draft 2013-2015 budget

The Episcopal Church Joint Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has established a blog for comments on the draft budget approved by Executive Council in January. The blog can be found at "PB&F offers this blog as a place for the Church to comment on the Executive Council draft budget," explained Diane Pollard, PB&F chair. "Concurrently, the purpose of the blog is also to give PB&F an additional way to hear the comments on the Draft Budget." Pollard, a deputy from the Diocese of New York, stressed that the blog is open to all: bishops, deputies, alternates, clergy and lay people. The blog was launched on Thursday, March 8 and will be monitored by PB&F members. Following the approval by Executive Council, the draft budget of $104.9 million was sent to PB&F for review.  In July the information shared on the blog as well as the testimony received at three General Convention hearings will help to inform the budget that is presented to General Convention for approval. PB&F will prepare a proposed budget which then will be presented at a joint session of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops on July 10.  The final triennial budget will be approved by General Convention.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Upcoming events for clergy

Clergy Holy Week Eucharist & Renewal of Ordination Vows
Wednesday, April 4
9:30 a.m. at St. Cyprian's, Hampton 
2:30 p.m. at Manakin, Midlothian   

Spring Clergy Day
Tuesday, May 8 at Chanco on the James
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
A review of Title IV. Details and registration coming soon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Safe Church webinar on the use of social media

Many congregations have posed questions on guidelines for social media use in a church, school or camp setting. In response to these requests, Church Pension Group and Praesidium, their partner in the development of misconduct materials, will host a webinar, Social Media and Sexual Abuse: Establishing Healthy Boundaries, on Tuesday, March 13, at 2 p.m. Click here to register. The webinar will deal with the most common uses of social media in these settings; the risks for adult to adult, adult to youth, and youth to youth interactions; and suggestions for developing controls over  the various social media options available to you. Britt Darwin-Looney, the director of Youth Development Services for Praesidium will conduct the webinar.  Questions will be taken during the last 10 minutes of the session and Britt will answer questions by e-mail or phone after the webinar.

ECBF hosts "Buildings for Tomorrow" symposium

The Episcopal Church Building Fund is more than a loan fund. ECBF is hosting a national symposium, 'Buildings for a New Tomorrow,' April 15-17 in Baltimore to bring people together to discuss the complex issues of church buildings, in an open, honest and realistic forum. It will challenge people to think differently--about their buildings, what they represented, how they supported ministry (or do they?), how to use them for revenue, and when to close them. Participants and presenters come from across the country to challenge themselves and each other to think differently, to "Go big or go home". Click here for more information. Learn more about ECBF at

Good Friday Offering for Jerusalem & the Middle East

Marking the 90th anniversary of the annual Good Friday Offering, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to all congregations asking them to consider assistance for Jerusalem and the Middle East. "This annual appeal is a unique spiritual opportunity to continue Jesus' work in the land of his birth and early ministry," the Presiding Bishop writes. "Please join me in continuing that incarnate presence of love and healing." Funds collected from the Good Friday Offering are gathered and distributed to the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East which includes the Dioceses of Jerusalem and Cyprus and the Gulf, all members of the Anglican Communion. Among the many projects assisted by past Good Friday offerings are: Diocese of Jerusalem's St. Peter's Elderly Home for Christian seniors, St. Andrew's Clinic for diabetes, educational scholarships, and St Andrew's Housing Projects for young Christian couples; and in the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, the many medical ministries of Ras Morbat Clinic based at Christ Church in Aden, Yemen, such as a clinic for mothers and babies, eye care, a vocational school, and ministry to seafarers. Information and resources for the Good Friday Offering are available here.

Saint Paul's College Founders' Day

Saint Paul's College will hold its annual Founders' Day Weekend March 10-11. The weekend kicks off on Saturday, March 10 with the Founders' Day banquet which will be held at 6 p.m. in the Student Union on campus. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from the College's cashier's office located in the William H. Scott Administration Building or at the door the night of the event. Founders' Day Convocation will be held Sunday, March 11 at 11 a.m. at Saint Paul's Memorial Chapel. Guest speaker for convocation is the great granddaughter of  Archdeacon James Solomon Russell, Judith K. Deane-Cisco.Celebrating 124 years of existence, Saint Paul's College was founded by the late Archdeacon James Solomon Russell as a way to educate freed slaves and offer educational opportunities not afforded to Blacks at White institutions during the days of legally mandated segregation.The community is invited and encouraged to celebrate Founders' Day Weekend.

Celebration of the Feast of James Solomon Russell

Join us on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 3 p.m. for the Feast of the Ven Dr. James Solomon Russell at St. Mark's, Bracey. We will celebrate the life and ministry of our local "saint" and his anticipated inclusion in the liturgical calendar of The Episcopal Church. Festive dress. Churches, please bring your banners. A reception will follow the service.

Your prayers and donations are also desired in support of the James Solomon Russell Memorial to be erected in Southside Virginia to pay tribute to the legacy of this great evangelist, educator, and churchman. (Patron's list: Individuals, $25 or more, churches or groups $300 or more, paid to the James Solomon Russell Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 608, Lawrenceville, VA 23868-0608, by March 16, 2012).