Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Your diocesan pledge makes it possible

New and vital communities   

Bishop Holly has invited us to think about our Diocese as "The Episcopal Church in Southern Virginia", meaning that together, we are the church, and each congregation is a mission outpost or ministry center carrying out our common mission of sharing the Good News of Jesus. The Mission Network, the team focusing on Congregational Development and Vitality, Outreach, and Mission, looks for ways to enhance the ministry of local congregations, and to strategize for new mission opportunities.

Two new Mission Network initiatives are particularly exciting. Plans are underway to deploy an ordained Ministry Developer / Regional Priest to work with some of our small congregations in Convocations 8 and 9 who are interested in collaborative ministry. The Ministry Developer will help train lay ministers in worship, formation, and pastoral care ministries, and help the congregations coordinate regional formation and outreach activities. The Ministry Developer will grow a team of lay leaders and supply clergy who, together, minister to the needs of the congregations, and equip the congregations for expanded ministry in their communities. We hope to expand this ministry from one part-time ministry developer to two full-time ministry developers over the next three years.

Another exciting initiative is to reach out to the growing Hispanic population in our diocese. Our demographics show that the South Richmond area and the Chesapeake area both have large numbers of Latino/Latina residents, many of whom are not connected to a faith community. Convocation 7 will be using their recently approved Mission Initiative Grant to host a regional and diocesan workshop on Hispanic ministry in early 2014. Then, as funding becomes available, we are looking to hire a bi-lingual, bi-cultural Hispanic missioner who can plant a new Hispanic or multi-cultural ministry.

Meanwhile, the Mission Network continues to encourage vital mission locally through congregational consultations, the administration of the Seeds of Hope Grants for social justice ministries, and the Mission Initiative Grants for evangelistic ministry.

St. Thomas, Freeman's Youth Empowerment Program and Senior Pals Program, both supported with recent Seeds of Hope Grants, continues to make a significant impact in their rural community. The Senior Pal program focused on computer literacy for community seniors as well as needed socialization and fellowship to prevent isolation. The Youth empowerment program encouraged local young people in their academic achievement and participation. Coordinator Iris Jones of St. Thomas said, "Our Youth Empowerment ministry was a huge success this year. As a result, we had 7 youth to be baptized...and [besides the academic and cultural enrichment activities] our Sunday School grew from 10 to 20 participants." Senior Velma Jackson wrote a thank you note to the church saying, "This class was a God-sent resource to me. I've learned lots of new things and feel so much more comfortable searching the internet." Another participant, Berthemia Callis, wrote, "It was beautiful fellowship." Another senior wrote, "I thank God for St. Thomas being the kind of church that opens its doors always with their hearts to us all."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Open Enrollment for healthcare and dental plans is Oct. 31-Nov. 21

2014 Open Enrollment for clergy and lay employees participating in medical and dental plans is October 31 through November 21. During the Medical Trust's Open Enrollment period:
  • Current plan members may change their plan selections for the following year
  • Eligible non-participating employees have the option to join a plan
  • Eligible non-participating dependents may be added to a member's plan without the need of a qualifying event
Click here for complete information, including costs and plan comparisons.
If you have questions about Open Enrollment, please contact Canon for Administration the Rev. Canon Ed Tracy, 757-213-3378 or etracy@diosova.org

Your diocesan pledge makes it possible: Transition Ministry

What is "Transition Ministry?" Every church goes through times of change - growing or declining, finding new energy, developing new ministries, seeking God's will for the future. When there is a change in clergy leadership, the diocese engages in a discernment and assessment process to assist in moving forward toward continued health and vitality, to help weather the normal anxiety that emerges from a new situation, and to provide stability in the interim time between the leaving of one priest and the arrival of another. As a part of this process, lay and clergy consultants or "coaches" are used to be companions to vestries and search committees. Here is how two members of parish committees experienced the ministry provided by the Diocese in their own recent transitions.

Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach - By Elise Balcom
I found myself on the newly-formed Eastern Shore Chapel Discernment Committee in January, 2012. Picking a new rector - how hard could that be for our savvy group of 10 parishioners? But, then, I wondered, where do we start? Do we post a want ad somewhere and wait for resumes? How would we pick the "one"? Hmmmm. Enter the Transition and Pastoral Consultant, and the Canon for Transition Ministries and Clergy Development. We learned there was a method to finding a new rector, and the hard work was just beginning.  

The process started with discerning what the parish wanted for the future of ESC. This gave the Discernment Committee what it needed to post both its online profile on the ESC webpage, and to write what became a kind of want-ad. All of this formed the basis for the questions we would later ask of candidates, both in Skype interviews, and in person for the finalists. Without this orderly process, it is unlikely we would have had our new rector in just one year. It is also possible we might not have found a rector who was like-minded and had a skill set matched to what we need. Without the leadership provided by the Diocese, we likely would have floundered in trying to figure out how to proceed.
No process is perfect, and we certainly encountered our share of bumps in the road, but we called our new rector. Our parish is now working with him to reach our long term goals set forth by the congregation in its discernment process a year and a half earlier. Time will tell how good the match is, but the process used, and the help of the consultant and the Diocese were certainly valuable to ESC in its search.

St. Augustine's, Newport News - By Joyce Douglas

My experience as a member of the Discernment Committee was both challenging and rewarding. I learned to listen to the parishioners and to give them the feedback that engendered a relationship of trust and respect. Because I learned so much about the Episcopal Church, our parish, and the process, my question was, "How may I use my experience to help parishes going through transition?"

The assistance of a knowledgeable, patient, and caring consultant was essential to our success. He guided us through the steps of the search process, which made me a believer because it works! In addition, our diocese made sure that we were financially stable, that our profile was a reflection of our parish, and that we were prepared for the interview process. As a result, we were able to call a priest who was (and still is) an answer to our search prayer.

Your Diocesan budget supports the training of our consultants and diocesan staff who focus in this important area of church life and mission.

Supporting Episcopal Relief & Development: Johns Memorial, Farmville

Congratulations to the young people at John's Memorial, Farmville for raising over $515 for Episcopal Relief & Development. They raised this money by hosting a Coffee Hour after church. People were encouraged to give a donation for a treat and every person who made a donation was entered into a raffle drawing. I hope their witness and example will inspire others in the diocese to undertake simple and creative ways to help fund one of the most important ministries of the Episcopal Church.  -  The Very Rev. Keith Emerson, Diocesan Representative for Episcopal Relief & Development

CE-Net Speaker Series: Formation on Facebook

CE-Net (Christian Education Network) invites you to join them at Hickory Neck Church, Toano, on November 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the next installment in their speaker series - Formation on Facebook, led by diocesan Communications Officer Ann Turner. There are a myriad of digital tools available to Christian educators. Making use of the social network giant Facebook can help you engage an audience beyond your congregation, and to reach a generation of social media natives. We'll talk about what Facebook is and what it isn't; curating your page; and ways to engage participation. Please note that participants should already be somewhat familiar with Facebook. This workshop will NOT cover basic Facebook use. Click here for details and registration.

Taskforce to Reimagine the Episcopal Church wants to hear from you!

In 2012, the General Convention created a taskforce to reimagine The Episcopal Church for the future. The members of the Taskforce want to hear the memories, hopes and dreams that people have for The Church. We are trying to reach as many people as we can over the next few months. We will use what we hear to help us shape recommendations for The Church's structure, administration and governance. Click here to engage in a group conversation or to post your individual response.  If you would like more information, please contact Caroline Black, cblack@diosova.org, or Ann Turner, aturner@diosova.org.  Remember that your voice is important!

Altar Book seeking a new home

Johns Memorial, Farmville, has an Altar Book that has been in service at the church since about 1980 that was recently replaced. The old book has some wear and some marks, but is still very serviceable. If your church or mission is interested in having the Altar Book, please contact Bob Zupanek, Campus Chaplain & Parish Administrator, Johns Memorial Church, 400 High Street, Farmville, VA 23901, 434-392-5695 or  admin@johnsmemorial.org

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Your diocesan pledge makes it possible

Chanco on the James Camp & Conference Center  

Chanco on the James, our diocesan camp and conference center, is the home for Christian spiritual formation for many youth and adults from around our diocese. This summer, 446 campers attended summer camp. Last year, 62 conference groups utilized our retreat center.

The conference center is home to youth events such as October Weekend and Happening and to adult events such as the Fresh Start clergy program and Cursillo. Numerous parishes within our diocese host annual parish family retreats and vestry retreats often taking advantage of our ropes course for team building activities. Family reunions, not for profit groups, the College of William and Mary and many other businesses take advantage of Chanco's remote, peaceful and beautiful location to rest and rejuvenate while enjoying strategic planning and/or fellowship.

The camp program at Chanco has been running continuously since 1968 and is accredited by the American Camping Association. In 2012, Chanco enjoyed the recognition of being voted "Best Summer Camp" in Virginia Living Magazine's May 2012 "Best Of" edition. In 2013, in absence of a "Best Summer Camp" category, Chanco earned third place as "Best Outdoor Adventure" right behind Busch Gardens! Residential campers enjoy a range of outdoor activities; traditional camp skits, songs, and traditions; along with a structured chaplain program including small group activities with a camp chaplain, worship and Eucharist. Many youth report discovering God in a different way in our relaxed, natural environment. Breaking bread among old and new friends with a priest who has developed a personal relationship with them through their camping experience can be profound and a different awakening to their spirituality than can be found elsewhere.

None of these programs could exist without the diocesan subsidy that Chanco receives annually. For example, Chanco awarded over $16,000 in tuition assistance to camper families in 2013 and Conference Center Lodges B and C have undergone extensive exterior renovations this past summer, with Lodges A and B renovated in 2011 and 2012. Chanco depends on the diocesan subsidy in order to continue this type of scholarship assistance and needed property renovation while keeping costs low to our camp and conference guests. Thank you for being a part of our progress and our future with your support.

Listen to what our camp and conference guests say about Chanco's ministry:
  • "Sending our 13 year old daughter and 10 year old son to Chanco at the same time was so good for both of them - they have a shared experience that I can already see has strengthened their relationship...they are making friendship bracelets together in the back of our van right now! Thank you all!" - Ginger White
  • "We had a great retreat! You are our diocesan retreat center! We tell EVERYBODY (all other Canterbury groups) what a great place Chanco is!" - The Rev. John Maxwell Kerr, Canterbury, William and Mary
  • "I will always carry the Chanco spirit with me no matter how old or far away I am. Thank you for everything you have done for me. By introducing me to Chanco, my life has been changed. I have met great life-long friends and have definitely been brought closer to God." - Jessica Denomme, Redeemer, Midlothian
  • "I am extremely thankful for Christ and Grace's contribution to my scholarship for Camp Chanco on the James. It helped enable me to spend a wonderful twelve days of my summer at a camp where I have made lifelong friends and bonds. Chanco has urged the leader in me to step forward...The lessons I have learned will forever accompany me as I made decisions in my everyday life." - Catherine Poarch, Christ and Grace, Petersburg
  • "We laughed, listened and learned all weekend. Thank you for each, every and all things done to accommodate our group. Every year we say 'This is the best' and then the next year it gets better! You are a shining example of hospitality and it is clear that you are being used by God to further His kingdom as you manage and share His resources. - Annette Irving, St. Gile's Presbyterian Church Women's Retreat

Highway marker honoring James Solomon Russell to be dedicated

The James Solomon Russell Celebration Committee has made application and received approval from the Virginia Director of Historical Resources to have a state highway marker placed recognizing the accomplishments of Archdeacon James Solomon Russell. The marker will be located on U.S. route 1 in Mecklenburg County near the place of his birth. A dedication ceremony will be held there on Saturday, October 26 at 2:00 pm. You are invited to be present at this important event. If you plan to attend, please be present at Trinity, South Hill by 1:00 p.m. on that date. Please contact Eugene Roberts if you plan to attend, rchrisgene@aol.com or 434-594-4437.

Mission of the Holy Spirit chaplain honored as Hometown Hero

Keith Josey, lay pastor of Mission of the Holy Spirit in Norfolk, was named a Hampton Roads Hometown Hero recently. Watch it here! 

Episcopal Church live webcast: Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America

Live webcast on November 15
Day of workshops, discussions on November 16

On November 15, the Episcopal Church will host and produce a 90 minute live forum in collaboration with the Diocese of Mississippi. The forum will be held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS beginning at 1 pm Central (2 pm Eastern). It can be viewed here

This year marks significant landmark anniversaries in the struggle to end discrimination, provide equal rights and combat racism: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the pivotal March on Washington, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers, the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks.  In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.

The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and PBS commentator Ray Suarez. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will present the keynote address. The forum will begin with a thought-provoking video. Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: "Racism in America today - why does it persist?" and "Racism in America's future - where is there hope for change?" On November 16, faith leaders and educators will gather to discuss and create curriculum and tools on the topics raised in Friday's forum. The day-long event will be held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS.  

The live webcast of the forum will be available on the Episcopal Church website here. Questions for the panelists can be emailed prior or during the forum to Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, at PublicAffairs@episcopalchurch.org.

Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later.  It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussions groups, and community gatherings. Registration is not required to watch the forum.

Resources such as suggested readings, bibliography, videos, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available here.

VIPCare Pastoral Ministries Consultation & Support Program now enrolling

The Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care (VIPCare) is currently offering its 2013-2104 Pastoral Ministries Consultation and Support Program.  The Program is a small, interfaith group of pastors that meets twice a month October 2013 through May 2014. Click here for details.  
For information or to register please contact Dr. Sandy Hamilton, 804-282-8332

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Your diocesan pledge makes it possible

Formation Ministries 

Annual Stewardship Conference
Formation is vital to the life of the church from the very beginning and Formation in Southern Virginia continues to expand to meet the changing needs and challenges of our congregations. Diocesan formation programs are designed in collaboration with liturgists, communication and technical experts, as well as experts in content such as stewardship, to provide a springboard for parishes to continue the work of making disciples.

This past year we were able to produce a video and a study guide for the diocese addressing the sin of racism and that work will continue in 2014 with your support. This venture has touched the lives of a number of our members and our November 2 Service of Repentance will be the highlight of our years work.

Essential Building Dimensions participants
Events such as the CENet speaker series attract clergy and laity, with speakers who address all aspects of formation and the cost is minimal, thanks to your financial support. Bishop's Days and Stewardship conferences are well attended because the cost is low. All Formation events in Southern Virginia are underwritten by the diocesan budget so they are affordable for everyone. In addition, scholarships are available for laity for almost every event. These dollars are bolstered by your diocesan pledge and are being stretched even further by sharing and collaboration among parishes, convocations, and diocesan staff members. The upcoming Liturgical Arts Festival in the spring of 2014, sponsored by Emmanuel, Hampton, is in collaboration with other parishes in Convocation 5 and diocesan Formation ministries. In each event, we strive to model new ways of working together and sharing our resources.

Caroline Black collaborates with other dioceses in the Essential Building Dimensions Professional Leadership initiative, and the Hybrid Faith Formation Initiative with VTS. Both programs have strong participation from parishes in our diocese. EBD, mentioned above, was free to any paid Christian Formation staff in our diocese, again thanks to the financial support of Formation.
The Formation office purchases or provides access to the latest curricula, videos and other resources that are available to all parishes as well as training, consultations and any other assistance with formation implementation. Thank you for your support of the formation work in Southern Virginia.

Bishop Hollerith at Cursillo Weekend

Bishop Hollerith took part in the closing service of the Cursillo weekend held at Chanco on the James Oct. 3-6. Cursillo is an adult retreat designed to help us grow closer to Jesus Christ. It's also a community where we're encouraged to live joyfully and serve faithfully in grace. Want to learn more? Go to www.cursillodsv.org.   

Pictured: Bishop Hollerith with the Rev. Sandi Kerner, rector of St. Luke's, Powhatan.

Susan Broaddus to speak at ECW Fall Meeting

The ECW of the Diocese Southern Virginia voted to raise $10,000 in 2013-2014 to support the work 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. Susan Broaddus, a former mission partner in the Diocese of Bukavu will speak about Women-to-Women and report on her visit with the Mothers' Union in the city of Bukavu, Congo at the ECW Fall Annual Meeting at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, October 19. The deadline to register for the meeting is Oct. 13.  Please call or email Louise Boss, 757-678-5331, lrboss@isp.com. Click here for more information and a registration form. 

Project Giving Back at Jackson-Feild Homes

Ms. Theresa Hicks, residential counselor in Rodgers Cottage at Jackson-Feild Homes, cares deeply about others and is passionate about instilling this spirit of caring in the children at Jackson-Feild Homes. Hicks created Project Giving Back to identify opportunities for residents to help others.  

The most recent venture was to make bracelets for our troops serving in Afghanistan. The brother of a Rodgers Cottage resident is serving there as is the son of a staff member. Allan, another resident, is a talented young man who showed the other boys in Rodgers how to make the bracelets using Paracord. When the girls saw what the boys were doing, they wanted to join the effort. All told, a total of 75 bracelets were made and shipped to our troops. The residents also wrote personal letters to accompany the bracelets.
Some of the children's comments were Eddie "It gave me a special feeling to give back to the men and women defending us", Diane "heart-felt feelings to do something for someone else" and Anthony "a nice feeling to give back".
This is the seventh Project Giving Back effort this year. The residents previously collected clothing and other items for the Oklahoma tornado victims, and have made food items and other gifts for residents of Emporia and Greensville Manor on a number of occasions.The residents are looking forward to their next opportunity to help others. In the process of helping others, they are also helping themselves. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Your diocesan pledge makes it possible

 Youth and Young Adult Ministries: Transformation and Collaboration

Youth and young adult ministries in Southern Virginia embody the spirit of transformation and collaboration. Our shared efforts help teens and young adults to discover their faith and live into their call to discipleship through meaningful programs and opportunities for service. We also empower leadership at the parish, convocation and diocesan levels, offering teens and adults who are called to this crucial ministry the essential tools they need for their work.   

Chanco is the heart of our youth ministry efforts in this diocese. Over the past few years, we have moved strategically and intentionally in order to unite our mutual ministries around a shared mission in this diocese. All major youth events, including EYC weekends for both Junior and Senior High, as well as the Happening program, are now held at Chanco. The revamped team approach to the chaplain program at Chanco has been instrumental in providing necessary pastoral support, quality spiritual formation, and compelling worship services at our summer camp.

Leadership development has also been a priority for our shared initiatives in youth ministry. In recent years we have witnessed a greater spirit of local collaboration in convocations and strong participation at trainings and parish consultations. The EYC Board and Happening Team are both highly effective leadership groups, who not only engage in regular program evaluation and creative planning, but also increasingly function as local ambassadors for our ministries. In the summer of 2014, the triennial Episcopal Youth Event will be held in Philadelphia, and we look forward to sending a large delegation of youth to this important and formative gathering.   

Our college ministries efforts sustain young adults through chaplaincies at the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University, Christopher Newport University, Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College. We also administer the Bishop Vaché Scholarships which provided much-needed tuition assistance to low-income and minority students. In July 2013, Ashley Scruggs was appointed to be the Province III Campus Missions Coordinator. As the Diocese of Southern Virginia broadens our reach in the Episcopal Church, we also seek to further develop our local mission and vision for college ministries, and we are beginning conversations about strategic planning in this area.

Without sustained giving, none of this would be possible. An investment in youth and young adult ministry is an investment in the vitality of the whole Church. Generous financial support allows us together to build a firm foundation for the future and respond daily to Christ's call to make apostles and share the Gospel. Please prayerfully consider how you might be able to more generously support these essential ministries, whether it is through your time, talent or treasure. Thank you for your investment in the lives of our young Christians.  

Resources and training for church leaders: Financial Management & Communications 

Administrators & Treasurers Workshop
Our Treasurer's Office works hard to manage the finances of our diocese efficiently, effectively, and with complete transparency. For our congregations, the Treasurer's Office is a rich resource for assistance with administrative and financial questions.

Church financial management includes some issues that may surprise and confuse even the most experienced financial manager. We provide training, resources, and one-on-one support to help administrators and treasurers navigate those areas. We also help our churches to stay on top of changing IRS and legal requirements.

This May, we offered a day-long workshop full of practical information, including: property insurance; audits and internal controls; IRS regulations; clergy employment information; personnel issues; and records management. The workshop was very well-attended and participants were enthusiastic:
  • "I found the session to be very informative. Each speaker covered the information very clearly and asked for questions. The procedures I am using as treasurer are good but need to be improved with the information I received from this class. Thank you, for a job well done."
  • "I think the information from the insurance folks was helpful. I would love to have the safety person talk about what he looks for when he does an inspection."
  • "This was a fabulous, useful, well-organized workshop. I learned so much and appreciated the great handouts for future reference and copies of the PowerPoint presentation for easy note-taking. Thank you so much!"
For guidance or advice on church finances, please contact Comptroller Nancy James, njames@diosova.org or 757-213-3386.

Cleta Norcross of Glebe Church, Suffolk, gets hands-on Facebook training
Communication is vital to the life of a congregation and an important part of the way it connects to and shares the Gospel with its community. The way we communicate today is radically different than it was just a few years ago - and it is continuing to change. Digital tools like websites, email and social networks are important and necessary parts of any communications plan. The diocesan Communications Office is ready to help congregations make the move into the digital realm, and to provide guidance and resources for congregations ready to expand their current use of digital media into other areas, like Christian Formation. Communications Officer Ann Turner is available to answer questions and deliver hands-on training to help congregations communicate better. Communications grants, awarded annually, help parishes obtain the technology they need for digital communication.

"St. Augustine's was thrilled to receive a Communications Grant in 2012. The funds helped us in several ways - acquisition of the (web)site and the purchase of audio equipment." - Rose Parker, Vestry member, St. Augustine's, Newport News

In addition to the weekly Diocesan eNews delivered via email each week, churches can use our weekly Parish News email to share their stories and invite Episcopalians from across Southern Virginia to their special events. Sharing our stories is a great way to get ideas and make connections that grow ministries. Churches can also post stories and events on our Facebook and Google+ pages. These networks are an increasingly useful way to share information and to make connections between individuals and congregations.

"Your diocesan newsletters are chock full of information for everyone. I am so impressed with what is available for us to learn. It's remarkable. No demographic is ignored. I know you and your colleagues have been working non-stop to make sure everyone is aware of what is available. Thank you."  - Jo-Ann Mahony, St. John's, Hampton

To learn more about the assistance and resources available from the Communications Office, contact Ann Turner, aturner@diosova.org or 757-213-3388.

Fall Clergy Conference registration is open

Registration is now open for our Fall Clergy Conference - "Stewardship: Resourcing the Great Commission" - to 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."

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. Click here for more information and registration. 

On the First Sunday of Advent my true love gave to me... a goat!

Episcopal Relief & Development's program Gifts for Life is a special way to change our world for the better by providing lasting solutions that fight hunger, create economic opportunities, support health education, and strengthen communities around the world.  

As our diocesan representative to Episcopal Relief & Development, I want to encourage every congregation to consider partnering with me for a special Advent focus that invites parishioners to make small offerings (a pocket-full of change from each person is more than enough) that will make a big difference in someone's life. Here is how your offering will be used each week:
  • Advent 1: a goat. Goats are hardy, reproduce quickly and can be raised in a variety of climates to produce staple items such as milk, cheese and manure for farming. One goat costs $80
  • Advent 2: a Flock of Chickens. A flock of chickens is far more than some hens, a rooster and a daily supply of fresh eggs. This gift will help train families and community groups to raise poultry and sell surplus stock and eggs in the marketplace. A flock of chickens costs $135.
  • Advent 3: a Hive of Bees. For small-scale farmers whose land is too poor to accommodate livestock, this gift can literally transform lives by providing bees, apiary training and a whole new source of income through the sale of honey and beeswax. A hive with bees costs $55.
  • Advent 4: a Pig. This gift, which includes training on raising and selling pigs, gives families a better future fast. Pigs reproduce quickly and piglets are ready for market in just six months. A pig costs $100.
So for just $370 in change your congregation can buy a goat, some chickens, bees, and a pig! This is a simple way for our diocese to put our faith into action and make possible gifts that keep on giving. If your congregation would like to partner with me, please e-mail me at keith@saintpauls-suffolk.org to let me know. If you would like to know more about Episcopal Relief & Development and other Gifts for Life opportunities, visit its website at www.episcopalrelief.org.

National Church Administration Day 2013: Communication

The Tidewater Chapter of the National Association of Church Administrators invites you to National Church Administration Day 2013, October 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grove Baptist Church in Portsmouth. This year's event will focus on communication. The event will include teleconferences on "Deadly Sins of Church Communications" and "How Seasonal and Special Events Grow Your Church" and the opportunity to network with administrators and communications staff from area churches. For more information and registration, contact Maggi Curry-Williams, mcurry@grovebaptistchurch.com. Register no later than Oct. 15.