Friday, January 31, 2014

Absalom Jones Service on Feb. 23

A service celebrating the life and work of Absalom Jones will be held on Sunday, February 23 at 4:00 p.m. at St. Cyprian's, Hampton. Bishop Hollerith will celebrate and the Rev. Willis Foster, rector of St. Stephen's, Petersburg, will preach. 

Absalom Jones was an African-American abolitionist and clergyman. After founding a black congregation in 1794, he was the first African American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States, in 1804. 

CE-Net Speaker Series: Planning domestic and foreign youth mission trips

Please join CE-Net on February 27 as we welcome The Rev. Wes Wubbenhorst, Canon for Youth for the Diocese of Maryland; Ashley Scruggs, Youth Missioner for the Diocese of Southern Virginia; and Steve Tonic, Staff Development Director for Appalachia Service Project for a panel discussion on the Lunch will be provided. nuts and bolts for planning successful and meaningful international and stateside mission trips. Thursday, February 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hickory Neck, Toano. Cost is $15 for all attendees. Click here to register. For more information, please contact Jennifer Nauroth, at

LPM Spring workshop: Recruiting and maintaining a children's music program

The Leadership Program for Musicians will present a workshop led by Walden Moore on Recruiting and Maintaining a Children's Music Program on March 7-8 at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Richmond. Moore is the organist and choirmaster at Trinity Church, New Haven, CT. Register before March 1 for a discounted rate of $50 per person. Click here for more information and registration.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Report from our Episcopal Relief & Development diocesan coordinator

By The Rev. Dr. Keith Emerson, St. Paul's, Suffolk

I want to express my thanks to the parishes in our diocese who contributed to Episcopal Relief & Development between October and December in 2013. The following parishes made undesignated gifts. These gifts are particularly helpful because they allow Episcopal Relief & Development to apply funds where they are most needed:
                  100.00      St. Luke's, Powhatan
                  100.00      St. Luke's, Blackstone
               1,000.00      Church of the Good Shepherd, McKenney
                  155.00      Emmanuel, Virginia Beach
                  500.00      Christ and Grace, Petersburg
                  500.00      Diocese of Southern Virginia
                  100.00      St. Luke's, Powhatan
                  300.00      St. George's, Newport News
                  150.00      Christ Church, Waverly
                  100.00      St. Luke's, Powhatan
                  100.00      Christ Church, Amelia Court House
               1,330.00      Emmanuel, Hampton
                  300.00      St. Luke's, Blackstone
                  200.00      Emmanuel, Virginia Beach
                  200.00      Emmanuel, Franklin
                  500.00      St. James, Warfield
               3,475.00      St. Michael's, Colonial Heights
                  125.00      St. Michael's, Chesterfield
                  800.00      Christ Church, Waverly
                  300.00      St. Paul and St. Andrew, Kenbridge
The following parishes made donations toward disaster and/or tornado relief efforts:
               1,375.00      St. Andrew's, Newport News
                  300.00      Christ Church, Amelia Court House
                  300.00      Christ Church, Amelia Court House
                  100.00      St. John's, Chester
                  514.00      John's Memorial, Farmville
                  813.14      St. John's, Hampton (also included funds for Malaria relief efforts)
               2,000.00      Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
                  201.00      Emmanuel, Hampton
                    35.00      St. Andrew's, Lawrenceville

A great number of parishes gave funds to aid relief work in the Philippines:
               3,000.00      Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
                  500.00      St. Michael's, Chesterfield
                  621.43      St. Stephen's, Newport News
               2,993.00      Galilee, Virginia Beach
                  569.21      St. Paul's, Norfolk
                  255.65      John's Memorial, Farmville
                    50.00      St. Cecelia Guild, Christ Church, Eastville
                  975.00      Emmanuel, Hampton
                  747.50      Holy Apostles, Virginia Beach
                    50.00      St. Paul's, Norfolk
               4,000.00      Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
                  100.00      St. Stephen's, Newport News
               1,000.00      All Saints', Virginia Beach
               6,000.00      Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
               1,850.47      Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach
               1,000.00      Christ Church, Eastville
                  100.00      Old Donation, Virginia Beach
                  275.00      St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach
               4,688.00      Diocese of Southern Virginia
                  200.00      St. Martin's, Williamsburg
               2,150.00      St. Simon by-the-Sea, Sandbridge
                  225.00      Galilee, Virginia Beach
                  300.00      Emmanuel, Franklin
                  300.00      St. Matthias', Midlothian
                  835.00      Christ the King, Yorktown
                  150.00      Galilee, Virginia Beach
               1,388.00      All Saints', Virginia Beach (a portion was designated for Tornado Response)
                  200.00      Good Shepherd, Richmond.

St. John's, Hampton also made a $55 contribution toward Malaria relief.  

Diocesan Coordinators do not receive specific information about individual contributions to Episcopal Relief & Development. I do know that during the fourth quarter of 2013 Episcopal Relief & Development received 447 contributions from people and congregations in the Diocese of Southern Virginia for a total of $112,330.00. Thank you for this fantastic response.

I also want to thank congregations who raised funds in Advent for pigs, goats, beehives, and chickens through the Gifts for Life program. St. George's, Newport News raised $1,278.93 and St. Paul's, Suffolk raised $712.00. These gifts will change lives and are greatly appreciated.

Prison and faith documentary to premiere in Richmond

A new documentary on prisons and faith--Through the Door--will premiere at Richmond's Bon Air Baptist Church on Monday, February 17. The documentary explores the initiatives of churches and faith-based organizations in Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Interviewees speak to the issues of prescription drug abuse, addiction, mental health, the role of religious volunteers and chaplains, and the often overlooked stresses of prison officials. Stories of redemption and hope run through the documentary--from a quilting program at a correctional facility in Indiana to a bus stop ministry in Texas to a remarkable program for women re-entering society from the Tennessee Prison for Women.

Bon Air Baptist Church will host two screenings on Feb. 17. The first screening runs from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. The evening event runs from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Confirmed screening panelists include Travis Collins, senior pastor at Bon Air Baptist Church, and Randy Myers, president of Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia, Inc. For more information about the documentary, go to

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pre-Council Convocation Meetings

Deans of Convocations are scheduling Pre-Council meetings to take place in the next couple of weeks. A list of Pre-Council Meetings can be found on the Annual Council page of our website.
  • Convocation 1 - January 19, 4 p.m. at St. George's, Pungoteague   
  • Convocation 2 - January 26, 4 p.m. at Old Donation, Virginia Beach 
  • Convocation 3 - February 2, 2 p.m. at St. Andrew's, Norfolk 
  • Convocation 4 - January 29, 7 p.m. at St. Paul's, Suffolk
  • Convocation 5 - January 29, 7 p.m. at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg 
  • Convocation 6 - January 30, 7 p.m. at St. Michael's, Colonial Heights
  • Convocation 7 - January 21, 7 p.m. at Manakin, Midlothian 
  • Convocation 8 - January 25, 10 a.m. at St. Luke's, Blackstone
  • Convocation 9 - January 30, 7 p.m. at Epiphany, Danville

Save the date: Small Church Ministry Conference

The Small Church Conference is a bi-annual conference hosted by the Province 3 Small Church committee, and will be held May 12-15, 2014, at Shrine Mont, Orkney Springs, Virginia.  The theme for 2014 is, "Envisioning A Bright Future:  Empowering the Small Church." Dent Davidson will once again be our keynote speaker, and he will be joined by Phyllis Tickle. As Phyllis is in the process of retiring from accepting speaking engagements, this will be one of the last opportunities to spend time with her at Shrine Mont! Other presenters are Dr. Barbara Anne Fisher, Sister Cassandra Grace, and the Rev. Kathy Gray. For a full description of the presentations and registration information, please refer to the conference brochure. 

Conferences coming to Kanuga

Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC, holds its 25th Annual Bowen conference February 16-18. The Bowen Conference engages the most basic and fundamental of questions: how does our image of God shape the way we live, pray, and worship? Lauren Winner, professor, Episcopal priest, and writer, will join this group to offer a fresh perspective and new voice to our conversations about how to live faithful lives as followers of Christ. Click here for more information and registration. 

The 2014 Church Leadership Conference, February 21-23, has assembled a broad collection of savvy guides, observers and coaches to help leaders in local faith communities navigate these formidable and exciting times and unlock the future of the Church. Episcopal and Lutheran keynoters will be joined by staff from the Episcopal Church Foundation and presenters from parishes who are successfully meeting the challenges of growing and nurturing God's people. Click here for more information and registration.

Hampton Roads Community Foundation Scholarships for students in Southern Virginia

Applications are available for the following Hampton Roads Community Foundation scholarships. The 2014-2015 theological scholarship application is due April 1, 2014. The application is available here. Applicants should be native or long-time residents of the specified geographic areas rather than those temporarily living in the area to attend school.
  • Barron F. Black Theological Scholarship- For students at Virginia Theological Seminary (Alexandria, VA) who are candidates for the ministry. Students must be residents of the geographic region served by the Diocese of Southern Virginia. Richard D. and Sheppard R.  
  • Cooke Memorial Scholarship - For students from Hampton Roads attending Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond who are candidates for the ministry. Preference will be given to students from Norfolk churches within the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia.
  • William F. Miles - For a student from Hampton Roads who is preparing for leadership in a field of religious service.
  • Hy Smith Endowment Fund- For students at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria who are candidates for the ministry. Students must be residents of the geographic region served by the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy hosts Episcopal Day at State Capitol

On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy will sponsor an Episcopal Day at the State Capitol in Richmond. This is an opportunity for people of faith to learn how the General Assembly functions. Attendees will spend time in conversation with delegates and others knowledgeable about the General Assembly, and will also receive briefings on a number of issues at play in the legislature.

The Virginia Interfaith Center is a nonpartisan coalition of faith communities that works to create progressive public policy by engaging people of faith about the call to advocacy. As Episcopalians, we have a unique voice to lend to issues of the day, particularly when it comes to matters of social justice. The Episcopal Church General Convention has passed a number of resolutions that call for dioceses to take action and reach out to their state and federal legislators. Episcopal Day will be an opportunity for us to strengthen that voice and learn how to be effective advocates in the name of Jesus Christ.

Episcopal Day will take place from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Jan. 23, with lunch provided. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided for a donation of $14/person, payable to St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Schedule of the day's events: 
  • 8:30 a.m. - Gather at St. Paul's, 815. E. Grace St., Norwood Room
  • 8:45 a.m. - Welcome and Opening Prayer
  • 9 a.m. - Policy Briefings from VICPP
  • 10:30 a.m. - Move to the General Assembly Building
  • 10:45 a.m. - Visit with Legislators
  • 11:45 a.m. - Gathering in the Galleries of the House and Senate
  • 12 p.m. - Observe House and/or Senate session
  • 12:30 p.m. - Return to St. Paul's
  • 1 p.m. - Lunch catered by Boaz & Ruth (vegetarian options available)
  • 1:45 p.m. - Debriefing, Closing Prayer
Parking is extremely limited during the General Assembly. Please try the following options: Central Parking System, 101 N. 6th St; Central Parking System, 700 E. Franklin St.; CityParking Inc., 801 E Main St #1002. For more information or to register, please e-mail 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Annual Council: Registration closes after January 24!

Annual Council is just weeks away - the 122nd Annual Council will be held February 7-8 at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center. The deadline for registration and cancellation for Council 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.
Church Communicator Credentials 
Church communicators are an integral part of connecting their Convocations and congregations with Council while it is in session (via email, blogging, social networks) and, afterward, by reporting on the work was accomplished (via presentations to Vestries and forums, newsletter articles, blogs, etc). To register for Annual Council as a credentialed church communicator, please complete the  application available on our website no later than January 24, 2014.  

Volunteers Needed 
One of the important tasks of the diocesan council is elections. This year the council will not only elect people to fill positions for the diocese, but will also elect delegates to the next General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Tellers are need to help conduct voting and to count the votes. The council runs from 9 a.m. Friday, February 7 until 4 p.m. Saturday, February 8. The council is held at the Williamsburg Lodge. If you are interested in being a teller please contact the Rev. Bob Gay,

CE-Net Speaker Series: Karen Jackson of Faith Inclusion Network

Please join CE-Net on January 16, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Hickory Neck, Toano, as we welcome Karen Jackson-Faith Inclusion Network. The Faith Inclusion Network (FIN) of South Hampton Roads is a non-profit, grass roots organization founded in May of 2008, dedicated to helping faith communities develop inclusive ministries for people with disabilities and helping families affected by disability to find welcoming and accessible places to worship. Please join us as we have a discussion about how to make our churches a welcoming place for all. Cost is $15 and includes lunch. Click here to register. For more information, please contact Jennifer Nauroth,

Upcoming in the Speaker Series 

The speakers this spring have been selected based on the FAQ's from the last year or so.  These topics will be of interest to clergy and lay leaders alike, so make plans to join us. All meetings will be held at Hickory Neck Church, Toano. The program begins at 10:00 a.m. and will conclude by 1:00 p.m. The cost is $15, which includes lunch.

February 27 - "Planning and Implementing Successful Mission Trips for Youth" - Our speaker for this series is a panel of seasoned youth mission trip organizers, including:  The Rev. Wes Wubbenhorst, Canon for Youth for the Diocese of Maryland; Ashley Scruggs, Youth Missioner for the Diocese of Southern Virginia; and Steve Tonic, Staff Development Director for Appalachia Service Project. The panel will discuss the nuts and bolts for planning successful and meaningful international and stateside mission trips.

March 27 -  "Confirmation" - Jenifer Gamber, author of  "My Faith, My Life", and Director of Christian Formation at St. Anne's Church in Trexeltown, PA, will lead us in an honest conversation about the challenges of providing Confirmation instruction for young people.

May 8 - "Confirmation" - Bishop Hollerith will be our speaker and will lead us as we continue our conversation on Confirmation.

Two opportunities to attend Vestry Training Days

Spring Vestry Training Days will be held on Saturday, February 22 at St. John's, Chester and Saturday, March 1, at All Saints', Virginia Beach, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The cost of the event is $15, which includes lunch. All current vestry members are welcome to attend. Registration is open on our website.

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.  

Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk
Health - Life is a Choice
The Mission will expand its very successful "Life is a Choice" program that presents healthy lifestyle choices to children and their families. The 10-week program will continue to reinforce healthy choices, disease prevention, nutrition and activity, with a focus on health literacy. Nursing students from Old Dominion University will provide one-on-one health assessments, recommendations and encouragement for each participant. The program will include a segment on healthy shopping and cooking on a budget. At the end of the program, graduates will be treated to dinner at a restaurant where the nursing students will help them select healthy items from the menu, rather than high-fat, high­sodium and high-calorie dishes. Each participant will receive a cookbook that includes all of the recipes prepared in class.

Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
Bruton Builders
Bruton Builders performs essential repairs to private homes and structures where owners are constrained by financial resources or abilities, resulting in a safer environment for the occupants. Bruton has a long tradition of this type of ministry, including mission trips to assist with clean-up and repair efforts following natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. The ministry was formalized into the Bruton Builders in 2009, and a trailer was purchased to house and transport equipment and supplies. Bruton is in contact with organizers of clean-up andrepair efforts for areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and is planning a trip in the early fall of 2013 to provide assistance. They plan to extend this opportunity to members of Hickory Neck, Toano, St. Martin's, Williamsburg, and others that are interested in helping with relief efforts.

St. Thomas, Freeman
Senior Pals Program
This program reaches out to seniors in the community who are in need of companionship. The program provides a nutritious meal, fun activities, spiritual enrichment and learning workshops. Cultural trips are also included.

St. Thomas, Freeman
Youth Empowerment 
Program provides activities to empower the youth in their community to rise above their circumstances - broken homes, single parent families, parents who are drug abusers, incarcerated, unemployed, and impoverished. The program currently serves 35 youth. The goal for 2014 is to increase the number of participants to 50.

Crazy Christians: free online course with Bishop Michael Curry

From January 27 at 6:00 p.m. through February 3 at 9:00 a.m., the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, will teach The Big Class, a program of ChurchNext. The course will expand on "Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus," a new book based on "We Need Some Crazy Christians," a widely acclaimed sermon the bishop preached at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in 2012.

Bishop Curry will moderate the course and answer online questions during the week of The Big Class. Participants can take the course anytime during the week at No special software is required to access the Big Class, featuring audio and video segments with Bishop Curry. The Big Class will take an average student 45 minutes to work through. Or, it can be taken in increments, over the course of the entire week.

The Big Class is a worldwide, online course for all who want to go further in their walk with Christ, and is free to everyone, everywhere, thanks to the support of Bexley Seabury, Church Publishing, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, and Forward Movement. Special materials will be available for congregations and adult education classes who desire to take the class together as part of their Epiphany season study. Click here for more information or follow the conversation on Twitter at #TheBigClass or on Facebook.

Webinar: Healthcare tax credits and the church

Get a Government Subsidy for your church's Health Insurance cost: This free webinar will show you how to file a form 8941 and claim a tax credit for the health insurance costs for your staff. The credit will result in a cash refund to the congregation and often covers about 25% of your health care benefit costs. Led by Dr. John Litke. Click here to register.

Webinar: Five ways to get the message out

It's been said you need to tell someone five times about anything for it to "stick." In this webinar we'll talk about five levels of parish communications and what you can do to set up a five-tier strategy to get to the word out about your parish events.  
General Theological Seminary's Digital Formation invites you to learn about online resources for promoting your parish events by joining the fourth webinar of the 2013-14 series, Equipping Digital Saints. Join us on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, for the free webinar, "To All Nations: Five Ways to Get the Message Out." Click here to register

Enhance Your Digital Ministry: Strategy and tactics for integrating digital media

Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogging, Twitter...and who knows what other new social media platforms will emerge in the near future? Now add your church website, e-newsletter, and email blasts to that mix of digital tools. Everything is "integrated," right? Uh, maybe? During this interactive webinar digital strategist and church communications professional Meredith Gould will explain: how digital strategists define "integrated" communications; why integration across digital platforms is essential; how to evaluate cross-platform integration; and where cross-platform integration usually breaks down. Webinar will be held January 14 at 7 p.m. Cost is $10. Click here for more information and registration.

Pastoral Care Forum: Depression and the clergy

Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care will offer "Silent Suffering: Depression and the Clergy," a Pastoral Care Forum. Learn how to recognize and acknowledge depression in the pastoral leader. Identify steps and resources to overcome depression and isolation often associated with pastoral ministry.  Thursday, January 23, 9 am to noon at VIPCare, 2000 Bremo Rd, Ste, 105, Richmond. Call 804-282-8332 to register. $30 fee including CEU credit.   

Churches and parishioners sponsor children at Jackson-Feild Homes

The staff at Jackson-Feild Homes wishes to thank the churches, ECW's, church groups and parishioners for sponsoring the Christmas presents of their residents.  

For many of these children it is the first real Christmas that they have ever experienced. They will cherish it for a lifetime. Jackson-Feild serves boys and girls who suffer from severe emotional disorder. What should be a very joyous time is often painful because it brings back memories of a childhood that they seek to repress. They are dumbstruck that people, who they have never met or known, will open their hearts by giving them presents when the persons who should love them the most have not. It is tangible proof that they are valued and loved and that others care for them.

Every child was sponsored and there were some funds left over which will be use to purchase items for the cottages such as games, sporting equipment and recreational items.

The Episcopal Church seeks input on church center location

The Executive Council Subcommittee on the Location of the Episcopal Church Center has issued a survey and is inviting Episcopalians to offer their input. Click here to take the survey. The deadline for participation in the survey is January 19.   

In 2012, the General Convention expressed its desire that the Episcopal Church Center be moved out of its current building located at 815 Second Ave in New York City. In response to this call, the Executive Council has charged a subcommittee to explore and report back options for the relocation of the Episcopal Church's staff. This survey will gather broad input from the Church in choosing a future that best serves the mission and ministry of our Church.