Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Send us a picture of your pet for our St. Francis Day celebration on Facebook!

  The Feast of St. Francis is October 4. Help us celebrate by sharing a picture of your animal companions that we can share in our St. Francis Facebook Celebration. Send your picture to Be sure to include your name, parish and your pet's name. Be sure to visit our Facebook page on Oct. 4 to see all the "Episco-Pets" in Southern Virginia! 

Don't miss October Weekend! Registration deadline is Sep. 30

  Have you registered for October Weekend yet? The deadline is Monday, September 30. October Weekend is for young people in grades 8 through 12 and their adult leaders. Come to Chanco October 11-13 for a weekend in the woods with teens from all over our diocese! October Weekend  features great music, small groups, socials and games, meaningful discussions, a dance, and really incredible worship experiences. Come experience the presence of God in community! Click here for details and online registration.  

Mark your calendar for these other important dates:

Living Waters Summit examines water quality through the lens of faith

The Living Waters Summit, November 19, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is an opportunity to join faith and conservation leaders from across the Commonwealth as they examine water quality through the lens of faith. Investigate where faith and conservation priorities intersect. Immerse yourself in the wisdom and inspiration of speakers from the interfaith and science communities. Examine ways the faith and conservation communities can facilitate richer, more relevant conversations by working together. Collaborate across faiths to develop "next steps" to improve water quality in our communities during the coming year. Click here for details and registration. 

New Chorister Program open to all children ages 8-18

Christ and St. Luke's, Norfolk, is starting a Chorister Program for children ages 8-18, under the direction of Kevin Kwan, newly appointed Director of Music.  Boys and girls, regardless of religious affiliation, church membership, or musical experience, are welcome to join the choir.  The Choristers will be trained according to the standards set forth by the Royal School of Church Music. 

This opportunity is open to all families in the Diocese who would benefit from professional music training,  at no expense to the parents besides their commitment.  More than just music skills, the Choristers training can be an essential part of the whole formation of a child.  Each boy and girl receives significant individual attention in a stimulating, challenging, yet fun environment.

Rehearsals are on Wednesdays from 5-6pm, followed by a light supper open to all families.  This meal, organized by the parents, is a way to build community among the families in a casual setting.  Currently, the Choristers sing on Sundays every 4-6 weeks, in addition to the popular Christmas Eve and Holy Week services. For more information, please contact Kevin Kwan at or 757-627-5665 extension 18. 

St. John's, Halifax, ready to show off their new look

St. John's, Halifax, has just completed and $200,000 renovation of their church and parish house and will be showing them off to the community this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. St. John's, a Greek Revival building erected in 1844, has a rich history. Veterans from almost every American-fought war lie in the church's cemetery. One of the church's rectors, the Rev. Charles Dresser, married President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd.  

The extensive renovations at St. John's preserve the church's past while helping it to move forward into the 21st century. Among the many improvements to the structure, was making the church and parish house completely handicap-accessible. "Essentially, we've redone that building from top to bottom," said the Rev. Cleon Ross, interim rector. "There's no part of the building that hasn't been touched. "

The open house on Saturday will include tours of the church, parish house and cemetery. A dedication and blessing for both the church and parish house will take place on Sunday.   

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Boys' Home participates in The Amazing Raise

 The Community Foundation, serving Richmond and Central Virginia, will again sponsor The Amazing Raise. For 36 hours beginning Wednesday, September 18, at 6 a.m. and extending to Thursday, September 19, at 6 p.m., supporters can designate online donations to eligible nonprofits. Boys' Home is one of the 571 organizations in this select group. The Boys' Home page can be accessed here.  

The Community Foundation does not benefit from the online donations and all monies except for a processing fee goes directly to the organization. As in the past, there may be times that the website is so busy that there could be delays in accessing the Boys' Home page. If you have problems, please use the online donations on the Boys' Home webpage or contact Boys' Home Development Director Janet Lemmer, 540-965-7715 or Thank you for considering this venue to support Boys' Home!

St. John's honors the Rev. James Chisholm

The Rev. Brian Hobden, 14th rector of St. John's, and the Rev. Derek Harbin, 16th and current rector, bless a bronze plaque at the Rev. James Chisholm's grave.
In 2010, the Rev. James Chisholm was added to the Episcopal Church's calendar of saints for giving his life in service to others during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1855. His feast day is September 15. Chisholm was the first rector of St. John's, Portsmouth. Chisholm sent his family away to safety, staying behind to provide whatever care for the sick he could. Chisholm provided food, medical assistance, and pastoral care. He was even known to have dug graves for those who had died. According to "History of Portsmouth, Virginia," "During that awful summer of 1855, Mr. Chisholm labored night and day among people of every denomination." "He was, however, spared to comfort the pest-ridden sufferings until the disease had abated; then his frail body, worn out by privation and toil, succumbed to the fever." Chisholm died on September 15, 1855 in the Portsmouth Naval Hospital.

St. John's honored Chisholm with series of events over the weekend, including tours of Olde Towne and the original Naval Hospital building, highlighting Chisholm's work. Sunday afternoon's event included the dedication of a new bronze plaque and the reading of a city proclamation by Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright. A collection in Chisholm's honor will pay for mosquito bed nets. A fitting tribute since Yellow Fever, although now eradicated, was a mosquito-borne disease. Today, the nets could help prevent malaria, which causes 200 million illnesses and kills 600,000 people a year.  

Jackson-Feild completes capital campaign

Jackson-Feild Homes launched the Act of Faith Capital Campaign in November 2011 to raise funds to make repairs and improvements to its All Saints Chapel. With a campaign goal of $85,000, Tricia Delano, Executive Director, is pleased to announce that the goal has been met. Donations were received from thirty donors that included individuals, churches, church organizations and foundations.

Constructed in 1978, the chapel was in need of both exterior and interior repairs in order to continue serving as the home of Jackson-Feild's spiritual program. In addition to weekly worship services in All Saints Chapel, The Rev. Robin Jones also provides Bible study, character education, pastoral counseling, holy yoga and quarterly bible schools within the structure.

Exterior repairs were completed in 2012, and work has begun to complete the interior work. In the spring of 2014, Jackson-Feild will offer a special worship ceremony to re-dedicate the chapel.

There's still time to register for LPM classes

The Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) is a two-year program offering a certificate in church music upon completion.LPM classes are open to anyone; whether church musician, clergy, or interested lay person, LPM's outstanding faculty will help you hone your musical and leadership skills with practical courses tailored to suit your needs. LPM provides professional support, introduces students to church music resources, connects students with others who share their dedication to and interest in church music, and sends students back to their parishes with new ideas and perspectives.

LPM classes are held once a month over the course of five months: Sept. 13-14, Oct. 11-12, Nov. 8-9, 2013, and Jan. 10-11, Feb. 7-8, 2014. On Friday evenings classes are held from 7:00-9:15 pm, and on Saturdays from 8:30 am-3:45 pm. Classes are held at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter at 4819 Monument Avenue in Richmond. Go to for more information and registration.

Conference at VTS for retiring clergy

Deciding to retire, leaving a ministry and embracing new patterns of life are exciting challenges that call for learning, reflection and healthy anticipation. Join other clergy and clergy couples who are preparing for one of life's most significant transitions at this conference hosted by Virginia Theological Seminary. Our leaders, the The Rev. Dr. Frank H. Wade and Mrs. Ellen Sell, will lead the group through workshops that will prepare those getting ready for this important shift in identity and work. Registration includes most meals & refreshments. Monday, October 21, 3 p.m. through Wednesday, October 23 at noon. Cost: $300.00 One Registrant; $550.00 Two Registrants (Clergy Couple) Registration closes October 9. Click here for more information and registration.

VIPCare Pastoral Ministries Consultation & Support Program

The Virginia Institute for Pastoral Care is offering a Pastoral Ministries Consultation and Support Program for parish and specialized ministry leaders in an ecumenical and small group setting. The program is designed to promote mature pastoral leadership and healthy congregational dynamics in a complicated age, this program will offer twice monthly sessions focused on facilitating ministers' growth, ministry consultation, and periodic forums on high interest topics. Share and learn with your peers what you do and who you are. Program begins in October. Click here for more information and registration. 

Ridley Foundation awards $91,575 in scholarships

The Ridley Foundation Board awarded scholarships totaling $91,575 to 37 students from the Diocese of Southern Virginia and Southampton County for the 2013-14 academic year. Click here for a list of this year's recipients. Here's what some of them had to say:

"I would like to take a moment to express my sincerest thanks to Ridley Board for selecting me as a recipient of The Ridley Foundation's scholarship. My passions for learning and serving my community are enduring and will continue to infiltrate every aspect of my life, during college and beyond. The Ridley Scholarship is making an enormous difference in my life by helping me and my family to pay for my college education. No number of 'Thank You's' will ever truly express how much I appreciate this generous award." - Kristen L. Cooke - Emmanuel, Franklin                                                                                      

"Words couldn't explain how I feel. As a single mother living in poverty, no college degree, and a teenage son it has really taken a toll on my revenue, but thanks to the committee and prayers I'm on my way out of the impoverished area. The committee has taught me the true definition of giving back." - Judy Wyche - St. Thomas', Freeman

"I was flabbergasted when the scholarship came in the mail. My parents were ecstatic and I felt a sense of accomplishment for working hard in high school. I can't thank you enough for awarding me with such an honor. For the second semester, I know I am supposed to send in a transcript to show what I've done for the first semester. I plan to attach pictures of the campus and surrounding area just to show you what is being funded!" - Patrick Mahloy - St. Andrew's, Newport News

"Your support is truly a blessing to my family and we are very grateful. As I head back to Virginia Tech for my last year I will remember your generosity and continue to pay it forward. I look forward to continuing to serve my community as well as finish up school and get ready for the next chapter of my life." - Peter Gunderson - St. Thomas', Chesapeake

"Thank you so much for the scholarship you have awarded me with. I appreciate it greatly and know it will help me a lot in the future. I look forward to attending James Madison University to try and become an Occupational Therapist and these funds will definitely help"- Bethany Vann - Southampton County, VA

"I was both surprised and honored to receive the Ridley scholarship. I sincerely appreciate your generosity. I appreciate your confidence in me and willingness to contribute to my future education. I am currently attending Tidewater Community College and look forward to completing my Bachelor's Degree at Virginia Wesleyan College. At the current time, I plan on majoring in Secondary Education in hopes of one day teaching History." - Ryan A. Watson - St. Mark's, Suffolk

Fall Clergy Conference Nov. 12-13

The Fall Clergy Conference - "Stewardship: Resourcing the Great Commission" - will be held November 12-13 at Chanco on the James. Our speaker will be the Rev. Canon Timothy Dombek, Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Arizona. Timothy serves as an officer of The Episcopal Network for Stewardship and has created an online Stewardship University called "Stew U."

He will lead us through an exploration of our own stewardship as clergy who must provide leadership in this area of growing as disciples.
His topics will include:
  • Straight Talk about Money in Your Life
  • The Truth about Church Budgets
  • 3 Simple Rules of Tithing
  • The Importance of Spiritual Gifts
  • Planned Giving - What You Pass On
  • Raising Money in Tough Economic Times
The conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. on November 12 and conclude by 3 p.m. on November 13. There will be an optional Quiet Day on Monday, November 11. Registration information and a schedule will be available soon.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Province III evangelism conference Oct. 25-26

Province III Evangelism Ministries will present a unique evangelism conference in Martinsburg, West Virginia on October 25-26. "The Human Heart: The Soul of Evangelism" features speaker the Rev. Dr. Alvin Johnson. Cost of the conference is $60 and includes meals. Click here for details and registration. For more information contact the Rev. Mary Norton, or the Rev. Barbara Seras,

Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop issues survey for your input

The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has issued a survey and is inviting responses from all Episcopalians. "In the summer of 2015, the Church will again assume the responsibility for electing the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church," explained Sally Johnson, co-chair of the Committee. "To assist us in that work, the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop has issued a survey seeking data that will be helpful in our process of developing the profile of the type of leader the Church is seeking."

The electronic survey on Survey Monkey consists of six substantive questions in areas such as most important personal characteristics of the next Presiding Bishop (life deeply formed by scripture and prayer; skillful manager of people and resources; understand and speak multiple languages), activities (engage in fund raising; head the restructuring of the Church; strengthen our relationships in the Anglican Communion) and areas of focus (articulating a compelling vision for the Church; work to heal divisions in the Church; demonstrate a commitment to interfaith and ecumenical cooperation). Six demographic questions request information on age, race, gender, role in the Church, and years as an Episcopalian.  

"The survey is designed to help us all discern some of the characteristics we hope to see in the person we will elect," noted Johnson.  "We want to hear from Episcopalians throughout the church as this will help guide us in our endeavors."

The survey is located here. In Spanish here. Deadline for completing the survey is September 30.
The Committee will release the profile for the next Presiding Bishop in December.  It expects to open the nomination process on March 1, 2014. For more information contact JNCPB at  

Episcopal Church survey input requested for 2014 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Input is requested from members of The Episcopal Church for a questionnaire that will form the foundation of the church's presence and participation at the 2014 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meeting, March 10-21, 2014. The priority theme for the 2014 UNCSW is "Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls.

"Ecumenical Women invite all to participate in deciding on its advocacy priorities," explained Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church Officer for Global Relations. "The questionnaire can be answered by anyone affiliated with The Episcopal Church. Answers will be gathered and posted to Ecumenical Women's website, and will be considered in forming Ecumenical Women's advocacy priorities at the UNCSW in 2014.  It will also be used to provide grassroots input into The Episcopal Church's advocacy process and create stories on MDGs and advocacy."

The questionnaire was prepared jointly by Ecumenical Women with input from The Episcopal Church and other faith denominations. The questionnaire can be completed either by individuals or by a group, even though it is marked as "individual." No name is required; demographic information is limited to the location of the respondent and gender. Deadline to participate in the survey is September 20. Data from the questionnaires will be submitted automatically to the Episcopal Church and Ecumenical Women upon submission. From the answers, advocacy priorities will be formulated and a joint written statement prepared to be submitted to UNCSW for the 2014 event.
For more information contact Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church Officer for Global Relations,

Boys' Home: An environment for success since 1906

Boys' Home is a residential education facility located in Covington. It has been an integral part of the Alleghany Highlands since 1906. It serves young men ages 6 to 18 who have great promise, but limited opportunities. "We see people in real crisis situations," said Development Director Janet Lemmer. Their mission is to help each resident strive toward becoming a productive member of society, by developing his potential, spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.

In 1906, the Rev. George Rogers, rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Covington, fulfilled the need for access to education and religion in the mountainous area, and founded Grace Mission. After conducting services on a roadside under some trees and then moving to a room in a vacant house, Rogers started a school and Sunday school in an old log cabin. By 1911, when Rogers left the parish, a schoolhouse and chapel had been built. The Mission was renamed The Industrial School and Farm for Mountain Children and Home for Homeless Boys. Rogers' dream became a reality. This was to become Boys' Home.

Today, Boys' Home 1400-acre campus offers recreational facilities, a chapel, and an on-campus school that allows boys to catch up academically before entering the public school system. Vocational-technical opportunities are also offered - including the Boys' Home Christmas Tree Farm. The spiritual life program is vibrant, under the auspices of The Rev. Connie Wolfe Gilman, Boys' Home Chaplain.

How you can help

How can you support Boys' Home and their mission? "An important way people can support Boys' Home is by referring families that are in need of out of home care," said Lemmer. Boys' Home exists to serve young men and their families.

You can also help the staff and residents in more immediate ways:
  • Wish List - The Boys' Home website includes a wish list of needed items, ranging from socks to sports equipment. "Our youngest resident is 6 years old," said Lemmer, "so we always need games, books and things for those little guys." Go to
  • Sponsorships - Consider sponsoring a Boys' Home resident for Christmas or birthday. A gift of just $100 helps Boy's Home provide a happy Christmas or birthday celebration for a young man living away from his home.
  • Just for fun - Come visit with the young men at Boys' Home or invite them for a weekend excursion. "It can be as simple as a trip to the beach, movie night or fishing trip," said Lemmer.
  • Mission Works! - This is an opportunity for youth groups, churches and other organizations to work side-by-side with residents and staff in week-long on-campus projects. Some groups return year after year to share in work and fellowship, helping with a "mission" close to home. Boys' Home, hosted a returning mission group of youth and adults from St. John's, Chester, this summer. They worked on projects that ranged from landscaping to assembling beds.
To learn more about Boys' Home and how you can get involved in their ministry, contact Development Director Janet Lemmer, 540-965-7715 or Visit their website, Be sure to visit their Facebook page  for updates and lots of great photos.

Integrity Eucharist on September 29

Please join the Virginia Beach Chapter of Integrity USA as we invite everyone to an Integrity Eucharist on Sunday afternoon, September 29, at 5:00 pm at St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach. There will be a reception afterwards. Integrity USA is an Episcopal organization that advocates for the full inclusion of the LGBT community in the life and sacraments of the church. We meet regularly on the third Tuesday of the month at MJ's Tavern in Norfolk at 6:30 for a meal together and a business meeting. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Help Mission of the Holy Spirit change lives

By Hank Luhring, Chairman, Mission of the Holy Spirit

There is a great photo on Facebook of Tiffani Satterwhite's newly decorated dorm room at Mary Baldwin College.  What an inspiring young lady!  Besides doing well in her course work at Granby High School, Tiffani was very active in ROTC.  She has been working for the last several years to help support her family.  And she has been a leader in the Mission, urging younger kids to keep up with their studies.

Tiffani is a good example of a young person with great potential benefiting from the support you give to the Mission. We have eight other Mission kids that will be in college this Fall. The need for assistance is great. Although a lot of their expenses are covered by scholarships and grants, there is a small but crucial gap that the Mission helps fill. Your donation helps immensely.

Supporting the Mission college students has an impact on the younger kids as well. They have watched the older kids get through high school, go through the college application process, get accepted, start college, and come back with stories of the new horizons and opportunities that college opens up for them, and jobs that will lift them from poverty. The younger kids are inspired, and strive to do better with their schoolwork.

Your donations are impactful in many ways -- they make it possible for our college kids to achieve success: this Fall we will be filling 25 new backpacks for our school-aged kids with supplies they need to succeed; the Tuesday and Thursday evening programs keep the kids focused on doing their schoolwork each week; and the Sunday church service is the core that brings God into the kids' lives and gives them hope through prayer, hearing the Word, and experiencing an uplifting sermon by Pastor Keith Josey, one of the best interpreters of God's role in these young people's lives that they'll ever hear.

Donations may be sent to Mission of the Holy Spirit, 1445 Norview Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23513. Questions? Call 757-858-0010. On behalf of those of us involved at the Mission, we thank you in advance for your donation. It truly makes a difference in the lives of a whole community of people.

 Follow Mission of the Holy Spirit on Facebook!  

ECW supports Mothers' Union through Women-to-Women

Susan Broaddus to speak at ECW Fall Annual Meeting Oct. 19
By Nancy Smith, Diocesan ECW 

L to R: Kathy Klein, Abingdon Church, Gloucester; Mme. Claudaline Muhindo, Mothers' Union; and Susan Broaddus, former mission partner, Diocese of Southern Virginia.
The ECW of the Diocese Southern Virginia voted to raise $10,000 in 2013-2014 to support the work of the Mothers' Union in the Diocese of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, through Women-to-Women, a ministry formed by the Diocese of Virginia in 2010.

Since revolutions and tribal wars began in the Congo in 1997, over 5 million people have died. Some 20 militias roam the area today raping, torturing, pillaging. The Mothers' Union provides rape counseling and job training for women; help for orphans, widows and teenaged girls and for Pygmies whose lifestyle has been disrupted by militias hiding in the forests. Women-to-Women helps spread the word about and gain support for the wonderful work being done by the Anglican Church in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.

To learn more about Women-to-Women, come to the ECW Fall Annual Meeting at Bruton Parish in Williamsburg, October 19. Susan Broaddus, the keynote speaker, will report on her visit with the Mothers' Union in Goma, Diocese of Bukava, Congo in May. To register for the meeting, please call or email Louise Boss, 757-678-5331,