Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2013-2014 Youth Ministry events and resources now online

Youth Ministry events and resources for the 2013-2014 program year are now available on our website, www.diosova.org/youth. The new materials include the 2013-2014 Youth Ministry Toolkit, applications, forms, and other resources. There's also a full calendar of upcoming events for youth.

Jackson-Feild residents share their talents

By Tod Balsbaugh, Jackson-Feild Homes 
The children at Jackson-Feild Homes have been assisting the residents of Emporia Manor and Greensville Manor in Emporia, Virginia by making a variety of gifts and delivering them to residents once a month.Theresa Hicks, Program Coordinator, initiated this effort last fall. She wanted to instill a sense of community service in the Home's residents. The residents have made such items as Halloween cup cakes, decorative wreaths, snowman candy canes, Valentine centerpieces and their most recent gifts of butterfly treat bags. When delivering these gifts, Hicks encourages the children to interact with the residents. In doing so, both children and residents are enriched and changed. Through the simple act of being kind, the boys and girls are instilled with a sense of pride. The children look forward to the next trip where they can share their lives and talents with others.

Bishop Vache Scholarship applications being accepted

Applications for the C. Charles Vache Scholarship are now being accepted. Applications are available on our website. The Bishop Vache Scholarships provide funds to assist low-income and minority college students in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. First year students as well as returning college students are welcome to apply. Scholarship awards range from $1000 to $5000 per academic year. Applications must be postmarked by June 30. Notifications will go out by July 15, and awards will be made by August 1.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Diaconal Ordination Exploration Program application deadline is May 15

The deadline for applications to the Diaconal Ordination Exploration Program in the Diocese of Southern Virginia is May 15.  Applicants will interview with the Commission on Ministry for postulancy in the fall of 2013. Those granted postulancy will receive formation and training in the new cross diocesan school for deacons. The school is a joint effort of the Episcopal Dioceses of Southern Virginia and Virginia. For more information, click here.

ECW Annual Spring Meeting will be May 18

The ECW Annual Spring Meeting will be held May 18 at Christ Church, Danville. For further information and registration, please to go ECW News & Events page on the diocesan website.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

News from Mission of the Holy Spirit

By Keith Josey, Chaplain
Thank you for your continued support of the Mission of the Holy Spirit; it is through caring individuals like yourselves that lives are being changed. I would like to take a moment to share with you some of the amazing accomplishments that have occurred over the past several months. 
Our most recent achievements have been the development of a Monday evening GED program and a teenage health and wellness class. We have had several adult students take and pass the GED test. Our teens look forward to coming out and learning about health and nutrition as well as participating in exercise class and enjoying a healthy meal.    
Since September, we have enjoyed helping our young people with their academic studies through our enrichment and tutoring program. Thank you to all the volunteers who assist in supporting the educational needs as well as providing meals for our Tuesday and Thursday evening programs. The average attendance is around 25 children and adolescents for each program, and we have seen a steady increase in their overall progress in school.    
We have increased our community outreach and evidence of its effectiveness has been shown in the steady rise of our attendance on Sunday. As our worship service has grown, our adult members are requesting additional services such as Bible study. To meet that need, we have begun a community conference call Bible study on Wednesday evenings. This is turning into a huge success as each week more adults are calling in and listening to a lesson that is reshaping their lives. None of this would be possible without the support of individuals like you and the support of our local churches. As we move forward, it is vital that you continue to support the Mission of the Holy Spirit.

We have partnered with the Yes! Dare2Dream! program, a faith-based initiative program that allows many of our members to become trained group facilitators in areas like career development, abstinence, and self-esteem. As we begin to market these programs to the community and draw more young people to the Mission, we will need additional support from you and our partner churches. Our goal is to find positive ways to impact the lives of the families we serve and move them forward.   
Your gifts go directly towards the improvement of our programs and the changing of people's lives. We are counting on you to assist our efforts to relieve the stressors that our families go through by connecting them to a strong faith community, and continuing to offer hope through our quality programs. Thank you!

Learn more about Mission of the Holy Spirit and how you can support their ministry here. 

Diocesan news from Episcopal Relief & Development

By The Very Rev. Keith Emerson (St. Paul's, Suffolk) Diocesan Coordinator for Episcopal Relief & Development

During the first quarter of 2013, congregations throughout the Diocese of Southern Virginia contributed $13,548.80 to Episcopal Relief & Development. $4,789 was designated for Hurricane Sandy relief with the remaining amount donated to the general fund. I am grateful to the following congregations and groups for their gifts:
  • Church of the Advent, Norfolk
  • Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach
  • Emmanuel Church, Hampton
  • Emmanuel Church, Virginia Beach
  • Emmanuel Church, Cape Charles
  • Grace Church Women, Yorktown
  • Old Donation Church, Virginia Beach
  • Church of the Redeemer, Midlothian
  • The Diocese of Southern Virginia
  • St. James' Church, Warfield
  • St. John's Church, Hampton
  • St. Martin's Church, Williamsburg
Episcopal Relief & Development has launched a new website. You can find it at www.episcopalrelief.org. It provides great information about various projects and efforts as well as helpful resources you can use in the parish. Donating is easier than ever. Please check it out and share the site with friends.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Leadership Program for Musicians announces 2013-2014 classes

The new Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) program year begins September 13-14. LPM is a national program for church musicians, "trained" musicians AND enthusiastic amateurs - choir members, clergy, Music & Worship Committees, and anyone who loves church music. This year's courses are: Liturgy and Music: Foundations for Christian Worship;  Principles of Choral Leadership; Teaching New Music to the Congregation; and Philosophy of Church Music.  Take all four courses or one at a time. Register before September 1 and save $50. Click here for details and registration information.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Volunteer Program for churches seeking to participate in Hurricane Sandy recovery

Volunteers are the key to recovery and renewal for communities along the East Coast devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Episcopal Relief and Development and the Dioceses of NY, New Jersey, Long Island & Easton, MD have set up a Volunteer Program to help your church participate in that recovery. The Volunteer Program is structured to provide a deep, meaningful experience that take volunteers beyond just having a hammer in their hand to a place of better understanding how service, learning and reflection can truly transform all involved. Through this opportunity of community service volunteers have a chance to effect change in their own lives while serving the vulnerable along the Eastern Seaboard.     

We have added a Hurricane Sandy Recovery page to our website to help the churches of Southern Virginia learn more about the Volunteer Program and to connect with each other in planning trips to assist with recovery. If your church is planning to participate in the program and would like to invite individuals to join you, we will post your upcoming trip on our website. After you return, we invite you to share your story and pictures to encourage others to join in this effort. 

Convocation II Day of Service: Community Day at Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach

Convocation II churches are joining with Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach, in presenting a Community Day on May 4 from 1:00 to 5:00pm for the neighborhood surrounding Good Samaritan. The Western Bayside section of Virginia Beach is a community in which many residents are struggling day to day and that has one of the higher crime rates. Neighborhood churches - Good Samaritan, Enoch Baptist and Heritage Methodist Church - have come together as the Western Bayside Churches United in order to better reach out to their neighbors in need. Together they hold a Community Day in May and again at the end of August. City agencies - police, health, and family services - and agencies providing financial assistance are all on hand. The churches provide free food and entertainment for the children. The event requires many volunteers; the fall Community Day drew 3,000 people from the neighborhood. For more information about the Community Day, contact the Rev. Wendy Wilkinson, wendywilk54@verizon.net, or Carol Buckalew, cbuckalew@cox.net.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Convocation III work day at ODU Canterbury Center

Convocation III churches are planning a work day at the Old Dominion University  Canterbury Center, Norfolk, on Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for the event flyer. We hope to see lots of parishes represented! Jobs range from very simple to slightly more complex, but nothing requiring exceptionally high levels of skill. Some require getting up on ladders, others don't. There's lots of landscaping to be done, too, for those who want to dig in the dirt. And we'll need at least one team to help with snacks/lunch for the workers.

This will be such a huge help to Canterbury Center--making the property look much sharper and saving it a lot of money in its maintenance budget. The Canterbury Center has spent well over $30,000 on big-ticket deferred maintenance items since August, so every bit of donated skill and labor and materials to fix the little things is invaluable.

If your parish is planning on sending a group, please have someone call the Rev. Gillian Barr, ODU Canterbury Chaplain, so she can make sure there are enough supplies and supervisors, 757-351-4513. Workers should wear sturdy shoes, and bring work gloves if they have them. Additional gear will depend on which project(s) your team would like to focus on.

Thank you so much for your support of the Canterbury Center!

Belizean beaches, Holy Cross hard work and spiritual sentiments

By William Lee, William & Mary Canterbury
"Toes" by Zac Brown band plays in my headphones, over which I've pulled my cowboy hat, as I and 23 other Canterburians ride the Water Taxi from mainland Belize to the island of San Pedro where Holy Cross Anglican School is located. Fifteen hours of travel total to our beachside lodgings and hammocks. All last semester, Canterbury raised $14,000 (which equaled $28,000 in their currency) to buy the materials to build a palapa, an outdoor classroom with a thatched roof, and reflective paint for some of the roofs of the school.
The actual work consisted of painting the roof of the main school building so as to cool down the classrooms, constructing the palapa, and moving sand in wheelbarrows from one side of the school to the other to reclaim the land on which the palapa was being built from the surrounding mangrove swamp. Most days we also got to spend some time in the classrooms with the kids, play games with them, talk, avoid being pushed over by eight or nine five-year-olds all excitedly hugging you at once. Something that stuck in my mind was a quote that Lydia, a missionary at the school, shared with us from a book that she had been reading: "Only the rich measure poverty in possessions." I certainly witnessed the truth behind this. Several members of the group received gifts from the children they befriended who had nothing; some of the gifts were very sentimental for us and for them.
Those connections we made are what really made the trip as emotionally overwhelming as it was. Not just with the kids, but with each other too. After nightly Compline, most of the group would go and sit on the dock and hang out and inevitably have a D&M (deep and meaningful conversation). We became an incredibly cohesive group; we couldn't go to dinner in groups of fewer than eight, and three was the minimum number needed to be in any group going somewhere. I was warned that the trip would have a powerful emotional effect, I didn't realize how much until we left.
During one of our last dock conversations, someone asked, "What was the most emotional experience you've had this trip?" I'm not normally an emotional person, but this question took me awhile to come up with a clear answer. The more I thought, the more experiences I came up with. Everything from a sense of accomplishment as I watched my effort translate directly to progress on the palapa, to worry as I waited to hear whether the Town Council would permit us to continue work and frustration at being unable to finish what we started. I guess that means we have to go back now. From excitement the first time I walked into a classroom, to sadness at having to say goodbye to new friends. From the aliveness I felt while watching the sunrise, to the tiredness I felt while watching the sunset (both were gorgeous). The short answer I gave was the frustration of leaving a job unfinished and the difficulty I had leaving the kids at the school with whom I had bonded. The long, and probably more accurate, answer I came up with after reflecting more on the trip is "the entire thing." For the first time in a long time, I felt like the work I was doing had meaning, and it felt good. I had a sense of real contentment about where I was in my journey.

United Thank Offering Spring Ingathering

By Rosalyn Neal, UTO Coordinator
As we enter into the Spring Ingathering time for United Thank Offering, we might take the time to look into a few of the examples of Grant giving throughout the world. The following is just a sample of the Grants List from 2011:
  • $18,700.00 to the Diocese of Pittsburgh for Youth Arts and Film Project, a project of Neighborhood Youth Outreach Program at St. Stephens Episcopal church in Wilkinsburg, Pa.
  • Grant of $8,000.00 to the diocese of Southwest Florida for Solving Homelessness in the Florida Keys through Empowerment Programs.
  • Grant of $40,000.00 to the Diocese of Colombia toward purchase of a used dwelling to construct a chapel, Mission Cristo Rey in Quibdo.
Our Offerings can, and do help in more ways than we can ever imagine. This is why it continues to be so necessary that we keep our Thank Offerings coming during the Ingatherings. April is already here, and now begins our Spring Ingathering time! Hopefully, you will continue to respond and give as generously as you have in the past.

As promised, a new Diocesan UTO Coordinator is taking the reins, and your Parish Contact UTO Coordinator will work with your parish, as always, to receive the Ingathering Collections. Your church Contact Person or Coordinator or Representative for United Thank Offerings should then send a check representing the total collections from Ingathering, to the new Coordinator: Ms. Joyce Douglas, 4608 Coronet Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23455.

Thank you for all the support you have given during my short term as Diocesan Coordinator, and I do leave with sincere regrets. Other responsibilities dictate, however, that I relinquish this position. I am most confident that Ms. Douglas will serve you and our Diocese with great competence and enthusiasm. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sustainable landscapes for churches

God's Earth Ministry (GEM), a Peninsula-based interfaith creation care association, is hosting a lecture on Sustainable Landscapes for Churches at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hampton on April 21 at 2:00 p.m.  Diane Rosilius, an award winning certified Landscape Designer and Horticulturist, will be speaking on "Sustainable Landscapes for the Church: A Guide On How to Work With the Environment to Improve It, Not Destroy It."  This talk will teach how churches can work with the environment, not against it, when designing landscapes, columbaria and social areas.  We hope that you can join us, and spread the word on to others you think should be interested. It's free and open to anyone!

Chanco Open House

Visit us on Sunday, April 7 from 1 to 5 pm (394 Floods Drive, Spring Grove, VA 23881) and meet our new Executive Director, take a tour of our property, learn more about our camp programs and fly along a zip line if you dare! All our welcome, no charge. Bring a friend! (Remember you receive a $50 tuition discount for every new registered camper you refer to us!) We hope to see you on April 7!

Take the Chanco Challenge! Anonymous donor will match up to $30,000

Chanco is pleased and blessed to report that we have been offered a donation of up to $30,000 to match funds raised in our Restoration Fund this year!  Chanco is seeking to execute the complete exterior renovation of Conference Center lodges B and C among other major property renovations and is challenging our friends to prayerfully consider matching their Annual Fund donation (still needed for scholarships and to offset operating costs) with a donation to our Restoration Fund where this year your dollar will have double the impact!  Make your donation by April 16th and the Chanco Board can move forward with Lodge renovation plans for this summer! Checks should be made to Chanco on the James with Restoration Fund in the memo line and mailed to Chanco at 394 Floods Drive, Spring Grove, VA 23881.  Thank you for your support - you are making a difference in Chanco's future!

Province 3 ECW Annual Meeting April 27-28

The Province 3 ECW Annual Meeting will be held April 27-28, in conjunction with the Province 3 Synod Meeting, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The ECW and Synod will enjoy joint meals, worship and time for both entities to work, conduct business, and enjoy fellowship. Click here for more information and a registration form.

Easter: 50 Days of Fabulous

From the folks that brought you Lent Madness... 50 Days of Fabulous. This blog site is a way to engage the season of Easter beyond just one day. Each day of the Easter season is a day to celebrate rebirth, light, resurrection, surprise, joy, and the triumph of life over death. In the daily reflections, based on scripture, saints, art, music, and whatever else inspires contributors, readers will be invited into this amazing party that is the Feast of the Resurrection. Each day also has a response. Our faith is not a faith of reading something and thinking, "How nice." Our faith is a faith of proclamation, action, prayer, and response. Easter implores us to proclaim the resurrection, and this site will offer you some simple, profound, and even quirky ways to do so. Bloggers include our own the Rev. Penny Nash of Bruton Parish, Williamsburg and a couple of clergy folks who used to serve here in Southern Va - the Rev. Maria Kane and the Rev. Megan Castellan. Go to www.50days.org.