Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bishop Hollerith's Christmas message

"The question that I hope each one of us will ponder this Christmas is this: Where is it that you might give the gift of life to another? It is one thing to simply mail packages or put presents under a tree. It is something altogether different to enable someone else to be whole or to thrive, or to reach some new potential, to know joy or comfort or to have new life. There are gifts and then there are Holy gifts. The difference between the two isn't a matter of lavishness or expense or even effort. A Holy gift is simply on some deep level a reflection, an extension of that gift given to the world in Bethlehem so long ago. It is heart felt in the deepest sense. It's what Christmas is truly all about. And what we can be about." For the full message, click the links below.

Click here to watch Bishop Hollerith's Christmas message. Click here for the text of the message.

A message from Bishop Hollerith about the Talbot Hall property

Dear Diocesan Family,
On behalf of the Talbot Hall Property Committee, Executive Board and Standing Committee, I am pleased to announce that the Diocese of Southern Virginia has entered into a contract for the sale of the Talbot Hall property. Subject to normal commercial contingencies, after a due diligence period, the property will be sold to Talbot Hall West, LLC.
This contract addresses all of the considerations discussed in the 2012 Council Resolution which commended the sale:
  • The historic Talbot Hall Manor House will be preserved.
  • The environment will be respected.
  • The property will be brought into conformity with the existing use of the Talbot Park neighborhood.
  • The diocesan offices will be improved and moved to a more accessible location.
  • Additional funds will become available to support the mission and ministry of the diocese.
Talbot Hall West is an ideal purchaser. The group is composed of well-known Norfolk people who will be building their own single-family dwellings. In short, the property is not being sold to a developer who would seek high density housing, or to maximize profits, but rather to a group of friends who intend to make the property their home.

I am tremendously grateful for the assistance of the Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate Group, and especially for the personal interest that Mr. Lindsay has himself taken in assuring the preservation of the historic Manor House. Their excellent work has led us to an outcome which maximizes the benefit to the diocese, the neighborhood, the environment and the historic house.
I also want to thank all of the people who have offered their time to bring us thus far: the members of the Talbot Hall Committee, the Conveyance Committee and the Relocation Committee, who have dedicated their work in memory of their friend and former chair, Bud Schoolar. I am also deeply thankful for the generosity of the Talbot family, who made the gracious gift of Talbot Hall many years ago.
Within the next few months, the diocesan Relocation Committee will be making its final recommendations regarding a new home for the diocesan staff.  The committee is narrowing down their recommendations on locations that are both appropriate and well-suited to the needs of our diocesan mission. Because of their hard work, I am confident that we will be in a new diocesan office well before the close of the sale.
The Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV

Monday, December 16, 2013

Presiding Bishop's Christmas message

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in her Christmas Message 2013 prays: "May you discover that humble authority born again on the edges of the world's notice. May that royal inheritance and authority of the stable be born in you, enliven your heart, and rest on your shoulders."

Click here to read the Presiding Bishop's message. Click here for the message in Spanish. 

Seeds of Hope Grants awarded

Ten Seeds of Hope Grants totaling $23,233 have been awarded for 2013. Seeds of Hope grants are awarded to congregations and diocesan groups in Southern Virginia to support the development or expansion of social justice ministries sponsored by diocesan congregations and organizations. Over the next few weeks, we'll tell you about our grant recipients. 

St. Paul's, Newport News
Single Mothers Support Program
Because of St. Paul's location in the very pit of poverty in Newport News, they work with single mothers who are struggling to keep body and soul together for themselves and for their children. A volunteer (retired) social worker is available weekly to offer family and financial counseling, employment counseling, etc. To help these vulnerable families avoid eviction, St. Paul's also offers financial support for rent and utilities.

St. James', Warfield
Senior Citizens Outreach Program
St. James started a Senior Citizens Outreach Program in 2004 with a Seed Of Hope Grant. During the years since the program was started, educational, recreational and social activities have been provided monthly for approximately 35 or more senior citizens from the parish and parish community. Each session has included a lunch and fellowship with each other. All of the participants live in this rural, socially isolated community and their lives have been enriched by the various activities. In 2010 -2011, the parish applied for a grant to add another component to the program - an Online Resource Center. The funds were used to purchase computers, pay for an instructor to teach the seniors how to use the computer and internet services. The senior citizens have participated in the training classes and have acquired basic computer skills that will enable them to access websites for information and to communicate with family and friends. The interest in these classes is so great, St. James' is expanding this program to provide services to a larger number of senior citizens.

Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk 
Building Dreams
The Mission will continue its partnership with Old Dominion University nursing students to help school-aged members succeed in school. Tutoring of younger participants will focus on reading, elementary-level skills and completion of homework, and older participants will be coached on the skills necessary to be successful at their grade levels. The weekly evening program will include a break for a nutritious dinner.

Commission on Ministry approves candidates

Candidacy - Priesthood: John Hogg - St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach 

Postulancy - Priesthood: Tyler Montgomery - Christ Church, New Haven, CT 

Postulancy - Diaconate:
Jan Brown - Bruton Parish, Williamsburg 
Linda Ricker - St. Luke's, Powhatan 
Genevieve Nelson - Ascension, Norfolk 
Mary Lou Crifasi - Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Forward Movement's new Daybook includes meditations by Bruton Parish priest

Forward Movement recently published Seeking God Day by Day: A Year of Meditations, their 2014 book of daily meditations. The Rev. Penny Nash, associate rector at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, wrote fifteen of the meditations in this volume that many refer to as the "Daybook."

Seeking God Day by Day shares stories from the hearts and souls of thirty-one authors who differ widely in age, ethnicity, gender, geography, and denomination. Some writers are well known, such as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the inspirational Bo Cox, while others are offering their stories for the first time.

"So many people have told me how much they love the Daybooks," shares Nash. "They read them over and over again, catching a new meaning with each reading. I'm grateful to be part of this project that touches so many and grateful to Forward Movement for creating such a community of people who seek God together day by day."

The meditations are as diverse as their authors - they are edgy, joyful, angry, gentle, struggling, and loving. What holds the stories together-and what connects all of us-is our common quest to be in a deeper relationship with God.

Seeking God Day by Day: A Year of Meditations is available from the Bruton Parish Shop or at  

Safe Church training update

Safe Church Trainings for 2014 will be published on the Christian Formation page of our website on Friday, December 13. Adult Safe Church Training is now available online along with the other modules. Anyone choosing the online option must complete all the assigned modules online within a two week period to receive certification. Please contact Judy Rieken to register to take the courses online. You may sign up for live classroom trainings, as usual, through the diocesan website. Please contact Judy at with any questions. 

Seeds of Hope Grants awarded

Ten Seeds of Hope Grants totaling $23,233 have been awarded for 2013. Seeds of Hope grants are awarded to congregations and diocesan groups in Southern Virginia to support the development or expansion of social justice ministries sponsored by diocesan congregations and organizations. Over the next few weeks, we'll tell you about our grant recipients. 

Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk 
Skills for Life
Mission of the Holy Spirit will offer a program designed for teens and adults that will help them learn skills necessary to become productive members of our community. The program will be presented one evening per week, with a break for a nutritious dinner. Participants will learn skills such as resume writing, interviewing for jobs, conflict resolution, prevention of domestic violence, time management, banking, using online resources to obtain college scholarships and employment, as well as other skills.

St. Matthias', Midlothian
Food Pantry
This fall the need for the St. Matthias' Food Pantry significantly increased with an expanded school program and increased clients from community programs. The pantry will participate in the Community in Schools (CIS) program at Chalkley Elementary School in Chesterfield and will provide food for three to five families per week. About 80% of Chalkley's students qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. the families who receive the food are selected by the school social worker and are different each week. The food is delivered to the school and parents pick it up. This ministry has begun on a trial basis and has been successful. St. Matthias' expects to expand the number of families during the school year. St. Matthias' pantry may be unique in that it provides enough appropriate food to supply three meals per day for seven days for each family member. the pantry grew by 15% in its first year and this growth is expected to continue. The pantry is also unique in that volunteers deliver the food to the school. The strain on resources has already been felt and Seeds of Hope Grant funding will help to increase the resources to meet the increased need.

Galilee, Virginia Beach
Job Seeker Academy
Over twenty-five years ago Galilee joined other local Virginia Beach churches to found the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) to serve the homeless on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. In January JCOC started providing the ServSafe Food Handler Program to its residents. The ServSafe food handler training program is nationally recognized throughout the food service industry. The ServSafe program at JCOC started with generous funding from Old Donation, Virginia Beach. Old Donation provided seed money to get the program up and running. The Seeds of Hope grant will build on the success of the ServSafe program by providing funds to pay for other types of job training. Residents will be able to use the Seeds of Hope funds for job training programs such as the ServSafe Managers Course, cosmetology, auto mechanic, or construction classes. Costs associated with job training will also be eligible for grant funding, such as text books and study guides.  

New ECW Board members take office in January

By Nancy L. Smith, St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach

Episcopal Church Women have elected Susan Broaddus, Christ and St. Luke's, Norfolk as Student Work Chair and Ronda Toll, Christ the King, Tabb, Prayer and Worship Chair. Susan and Ronda will serve a two-year term on the ECW Diocesan Board beginning in January 2014.
The Rev. Christopher L. Epperson, Burton Parish Rector installed the new board members at the ECW Annual Fall Meeting hosted by the Burton Parish ECW October 16.  

Katherine Patterson, Christ and Grace, Petersburg, presiding in the absence of Diocesan President, Barbara Taylor, thanked outgoing board members, Student Work Chair, Deborah Austin, St. Mark's, Suffolk; Prayer and Worship Chair, Pricilla Benn, St. Mark's, Suffolk; and Recording Secretary, Betty Mariner, St. George's, Pungoteague for their service. An election will be held at the Spring meeting to fill vacant positions. Nominees for office are: Recording Secretary, Janis Chenery, Christ Church, Danville; and Treasurer Elect, Betty Mariner.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Annual Council: Registration is open!

Registration for the 122nd Annual Council (Feb. 7-8, 2014) at the Williamsburg Lodge is now open.  

Registration fee before January 7, 2014 is $125 per attendee. After January 7, registration will increase to $150. Online registration and cancellation deadline is January 24, 2014. Youth aged 18 and younger as well as college students may register at the $50 rate.  

Each attendee should make their own hotel reservations directly with the Williamsburg Lodge or The Woodlands in Colonial Williamsburg. Please refer to Group Code 9952 to receive the discounted rate.

Click here for complete information and online registration.

Click here for information and registration for Exhibitors at Council.

Presiding Bishop's Advent message

Advent is a time of waiting and for many people it's a time to reflect on what Mary must have experienced as she waited for the birth of this unusual child.  

You may never have been pregnant or lived with someone who was, but put yourself in her place for a while.  Consider what it would have been like to have a new life growing within you.  And reflect on what new is growing within you this season of Advent.  

What new concern is growing for the people around you? What new burden is on your heart for the woes of the world?  What new possibility do you see emerging in the world around you, and how might you be part of that?  

Advent is a quieter time of the year in the Church's understanding. It's a time to be still and listen, listen deep within to what is growing, ready to emerge into new life.  

And as the season for the birth of the Christ Child arrives, I would encourage you to consider how you yourself will be present in the world in a new way this year.  How will you give evidence of love incarnate to the world around you?  

I pray that you have a blessed and joyful and peace-filled Advent.  God be with you.  

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori 

Click here for the Presiding Bishop's message in Spanish. 

Mission of the Holy Spirit Christmas Gift Book Project

This year The Parish Book Store, inside Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach, will join with the Mission of the Holy Spirit for a Christmas Gift Book Project. The Episcopal Mission of the Holy Spirit serves the at-risk community of Norfolk, particularly focusing on the children and youth.

Inside the Parish Book Store is a Christmas tree with "decorations" providing the gender and age of a child. Visitors to the store can take a decoration from the tree and choose an age appropriate book from the various children's books available in the store. The book, with the decoration attached, will be placed in baskets around the tree. On December 4, the books will be picked up to be taken to the Mission and distributed to the children.

For more information, contact the Parish Book Store, or 757-425-0114. 

Episcopal Church Young Adult Service Corps accepting applications

The Episcopal Church offers untold opportunities for young adults to provide service and share their expertise worldwide through the Young Adult Service Corps. Commonly known as YASC, applications for 2014-15 are now being accepted for the Young Adult Service Corps from young adults between the ages of 21-30.

"YASC provides an opportunity for young adults to explore their faith in a new capacity and to live out the Baptismal Covenant by seeking and serving Christ in all persons," noted the Rev. David Copley, Mission Personnel Officer. "Applicants must have a high degree of maturity and possess a faith commitment and the willingness to be a humble guest, and the ability to be an authentic companion."

The application is available here . The application deadline is January 3, 2014.

Where are the YASC?

Current YASC members can be found throughout the Anglican Communion. They are working in administration, agriculture, development, education, and technology. They are serving in Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Panama, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, and Tanzania. Read their thoughts and reflections on their blogs here

Among the possible placements for 2014-15 are Brazil, Burundi, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, South Africa and Taiwan. For more information contact Grace Flint at