Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Open House this weekend at Chanco

This Saturday, March 29 from 1 to 5 pm is a FREE event open to the public! Meet our Executive Director and some of our staff and friends, take a tour, see a video, learn more about the best camp in Virginia, and fly along a zip line if you dare (this means you too, parents)! Bring a friend! Remember for every new camper who registers that you refer, you receive $50 off your own camp tuition! So introduce a best friend to Chanco this Saturday and share the fun! Hope to see you there!  Questions? Contact us at or 888-7-CHANCO (888-724-2626).   

Kindling Conference created for young adult ministry leaders

Registration is now open for a visionary Episcopal conference for young adult ministry leaders called Kindling, July 28 - 31 at the Humphrey Center, University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. Designed for leaders in ministry with young adults both on and off college campuses, Kindling will provide an opportunity for those seasoned in these ministries as well as new leaders with young adults to meet, share, discuss and, mostly, learn from each other.

"Our goal in convening Kindling is to equip ministry leaders for engaging young adults where they live, work, and study," said the Rev. Mike Angell, Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministries.  "Building a ministry with young adults is like building campfire. You have to pay attention to the kindling, your initial source of heat, for your work to catch fire. This conference is designed to provide those initial sparks of creative ideas, community and inspiration for leaders working with young adults in The Episcopal Church."

Registration and conference information can be found here.

Convocation 6 ECW meeting

The Petersburg Convocation 6 ECW Board will meet at Christ & Grace, Petersburg, following the 12:15 p.m. Lenten Service on April 8. Lunch will be offered by the Ladies of Christ & Grace for $5.  If you are in the area, please join us for this annual networking opportunity.  The speaker for the Service will be the Rev. David Davenport.

Share a link and help support Mission of the Holy Spirit

Mission of the Holy Spirit has kicked off their Flower Power fundraiser.  You can help make the effort a success by including this link - - to the fundraiser in your church's Sunday bulletins and newsletters. Share it on Facebook and Twitter too. Your support will help the Mission continue to educate and empower inner city youth and to provide opportunities for their spiritual growth and worship.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

May Weekend is May 16-18 at Chanco

Join teens in grades 8 through 12 from all over the diocese for a spring retreat at Chanco, May 16-18. The event includes a variety of activities and opportunities to make new friends and learn more about the church. EYC Board elections will also take place during this weekend, as well as small groups, singing, socials, and so much more! Click here for details and registration. Registration deadline is May 5. If you would like to run for EYC Board 2014-15, you'll need to complete the application in advance. Click here for the EYC Board application form.

Convocation 5 to host Liturgical Arts Festival

Celebrate and share the unique creative beauty that flourishes in Southern Virginia.

For two thousand years, the Liturgy of the Christian Church has inspired some the world's most beautiful works of art--music, architecture, sculpture, stained glass, textiles, etc. The Anglican tradition has produced its own unique flavor in countless examples of liturgical art, growing out of the traditions and cultures of parishes. These unique offerings come from hundreds of thousands of loving hands, hearts, and voices.
Churches in Convocation 5 (Jamestown Convocation) will host a Liturgical Arts Festival May 30 through June 8. The festival will provide opportunities for parishes to learn from each other and to share their knowledge. The festival will include:
  • Concerts & Performances
  • Workshops
  • Exhibits of Hangings & Vestments
  • Activities
  • Sharing and Networking
Click here for more information. A schedule of events is coming soon!

BCP app available from Church Publishing, Inc.

eCP (electronic Common Prayer, Version 1.0) is the first, fully authorized, interactive version of the Book of Common Prayer 1979 of the Episcopal Church USA. Created by Church Publishing, Inc., eCP for iOS is built to run on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. eCP requires no internet connection, as all texts are stored locally on your device, allowing you access to these texts no matter where you go.

Webinar: Using Visual Social Media to Embrace the Sacred and Build Community

Visual social media, notably Pinterest and Instagram, are considered must-have-and-use platforms among secular social media experts. Within the past year or so, church communicators and religion educators have become enthusiastic about these social media platforms. Author and communicator Meredith Gould will host this online exploration of visual social media. Join her on May 13, 7 to 8 p.m. to learn: why visual social media platforms work especially well for faith-based organizations; how to use visual social media platforms strategically and tactically; and tips for setting up and managing accounts to optimize their value.

The webinar includes time for Q&A, so be sure to bring questions and concerns. Cost is $10. Click here for details and registration.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bishop Hollerith heads to House of Bishops meeting this week

The Episcopal Church House of Bishops will meet at the Camp Allen Conference and Retreat Center in Navasota, TX (Diocese of Texas) March 21-25. Meeting in retreat, the theme for the gathering will be "How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land." The schedule calls for prayer-filled sessions, and bishops will participate in daily Bible study, reflection and worship. Presentations and discussion will focus on mission of the Church.

As in previous years, this spring meeting of the House of Bishop is a retreat and therefore not open to the media. However, Daily Accounts, along with other related information, will be prepared by HOB members and released. You can follow those via Episcopal News Service

James Solomon Russell Celebration cancelled

The James Solomon Russell Celebration planned for March 30 at St. Stephen's, Petersburg has been cancelled. 

St. Stephen's, Petersburg, invites you to join them for the dedication of an historical marker for Bishop Payne Divinity School on March 29, at 11 a.m. Established in 1878, the school began as the Theological Department of the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Normal and Industrial School, and for more than 70 years it prepared black men for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Giles B. Cooke headed the vocational school and was instrumental in developing the divinity school. Later, the school was named for the Rt. Rev. John Payne, first bishop of Liberia. For more information about the dedication and historical marker, contact the Rev. Willis Foster, or 804-733-6228.    

Golfing for Jackson-Feild's children

Jackson-Feild Homes is seeking golfers for its annual golf tournament to be held Thursday, May 8th at the Country Club at the Highlands in Chesterfield County. Proceeds from the tournament will be used to support Jackson-Feild Homes' Expressive Arts and Education programs.

The 19th annual tournament will be held Thursday, Hardees is the title sponsor and Modern Woodmen of America is the presenting sponsor of this event. Lunch is served from noon to 1:00 p.m. followed by the captain's choice tournament. Golfers are given the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for a variety of items and the drawing is held at the awards dinner at the conclusion of play.  

Close to $400,000 has been raised since from previous tournaments. These funds are used to operate our summer program which operates afternoons after summer school has been dismissed. They are also used to support specific events and activities such as our college and career day, beautiful me program, dances, community service opportunities and trips and outings.

For more information contact Tod Balsbaugh, or 804-354-6929.

e-Formation: A conference on faith formation for a connected, digital world

The Center for the Ministry of Teaching (CMT) at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) is sponsoring e-Formation: A conference on faith formation for a connected, digital world June 2-4 in Alexandria. The annual event began in 2012 to fill a leadership and training need in the faith formation/Christian education community.

Last summer, almost 200 Christian educators and communicators, lay and ordained and from several denominations, converged on VTS to learn from experts and peers about using technology for forming faith in congregations and other ministry settings. Many of these participants will return to an expanded 2014 program at the Washington, DC-area seminary in what is expected to be an even larger gathering.

"The first e-Formation was strictly a learning exchange," says Lisa Kimball, CMT Director and Professor of Christian Formation and Congregational Leadership. "We knew we didn't have all the answers about faith, learning, and technology, but we knew many friends and colleagues were thinking carefully and working hard. We brought them together to teach each other."
In 2013, the event expanded to a full-fledged professional and missional development conference. The 2014 conference features a yet larger slate of well-known speakers and exemplary practitioners, as well as a creative menu of participatory workshop formats and topics. These include intensive courses on Google tools and video production; introductory sessions on blogging, online learning, and digital curriculum resources; break-out groups organized by ministry setting and age group; and two public evening presentations about the big picture of using technology in faith learning.

The conference rate of $348 includes meals, the evening sessions, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday's conference program. Student rates and limited on-campus housing are available. Registration is now open and is expected to fill quickly. More information is available at The hashtag for the event is #eform14.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Diocesan Partnership representative visits Southern Virginia

Bishop Hollerith and the diocesan staff welcomed Katie Conway - Immigration and Refugee Policy Analyst from the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations - to the diocesan office on March 11. Katie is Southern Virginia's Diocesan Partnership representative from the national church. 

Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls announced this innovative missionary program in July 2013. The program is designed to connect dioceses and staff in a collaborative manner. "Our Episcopal Church yearns for connection," Bishop Sauls explained.  "Our people want to be connected.  Our leaders are looking for opportunities to be connected. Through the Diocesan Partnership Representatives, the DFMS (Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society) staff can assist in connecting and offering resources to our dioceses and congregations."

The purpose and goals of the Diocesan Partnership Program are twofold: to make resources available at the local levels; and to build networks and partnerships to connect people across geography. The Diocesan Partnership Representatives are DFMS staff members who will work together to connect the Church across a vast geographical area in 16 countries through Virtual Regional Offices. The Virtual Regional Offices, Bishop Sauls said, "will consist of representatives of DFMS staff from Formation, Diversity, Congregational and Diocesan Ministries, Global Partnerships, Government Relations, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Development, and Communications."

A Diocesan Partnership Representative has been assigned to each diocese in The Episcopal Church. "The Diocesan Partnership Representatives will connect the dioceses and provinces within their regions with mission efforts at the most local level in partnership with the local bishop, clergy, and lay leaders," Bishop Sauls noted.  "They will be ambassadors, consultants, links, and colleagues in mission with those on the ground, bringing a global perspective to local action, visible reminders that all of us are connected, that each has need of all the others in the service of Christ's reconciling mission in the world."   

CE-Net Speaker Series: Confirmation

Join us on Thursday, March 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hickory Neck Church, Toano, for the next installment in CE-Net's Speaker Series. 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. The cost is $15, which includes lunch. Click here for more information and registration.

Register now for Administrative & Financial Best Practices Workshop on May 15

Join us on Thursday, May 15, at Grace Church, Yorktown for a day designed especially for parish administrators, treasurers, and anyone (staff or volunteer) involved in the financial or administrative functions of your church. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn, ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with your colleagues in other churches. Topics will include: compensation, audits and internal controls, health insurance, electronic giving and more. Watch the eNews and our website for more details coming soon.  

If you missed last year's workshop, listen to what participants had to say:  
  • "I learned so much ...great handouts for future reference"
  • "I look forward to the next workshop!"
  • "Loved it. Great info & awesome lunch"
  • "very informative"
If you did come last year, this year's workshop offers new topics and speakers. Don't miss it!

Registration fee $20 (includes lunch). Click here for more information and online registration.  

Clergy, mark your calendars for these important events

Renewal of Ordination Vows
Renewal of Ordination Vows will be held on Wednesday, April 16 at 10 a.m. at St. John's, Hampton and at 2:30 p.m. at St. Barnabas', Richmond.

Spring Clergy Conference
Registration for the Spring Clergy Conference opens soon. Mark your calendar and plan to join us on Tuesday, May 13 at Chanco on the James. 

ECW Annual Spring Meeting: How to transform your ECW - the Redeemer success story

Two years ago, the ECW at Redeemer, Midlothian, like many ECWs in the Diocese of Southern Virginia, struggled to survive. Then, they decided to transform their ECW program. Today, meetings are well-attended. Volunteers gladly help with outreach and service projects and enjoy enriching fellowship. 
What inspired the women of Redeemer, and how did they accomplish this transformation? 

Come to the ECW Spring Annual Meeting at Good Shepherd, McKenney, VA, May 17 to hear first-hand how they did it. Redeemer ECW board members who drove the ECW transformation will share their success story. To RSVP, contact Louise Boss, 757-678-5331, by May 5.

Mission of the Holy Spirit flowery fundraiser

The Mission of the Holy Spirit has partnered with Flower Power Fundraising for this season's fundraiser. Flower Power offers top-quality flower bulbs for purchase. All orders ship directly to purchasers and Mission of the Holy Spirit gets to keep 50% of every dollar sold. How can you help? Just go to the Mission's Flower Power web page to place an order. Invite your friends. Share it on Facebook. Click here to get started! 

New website offers ways to assist Navajoland

from The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs  

Opportunities abound to assist the self-sustaining ministry of Navajoland, a regional district in the Episcopal Church.  Ideas to help sustain Navajoland by volunteering or donating are offered at a visually engaging new website, The website was produced by the Episcopal Church Office of Communication in collaboration with the Navajoland Area Mission and the Development Office of The Episcopal Church.

Bishop David Bailey notes, "More than half of the Navajo people in the United States live in Navajoland. There are a significant number of homes without plumbing, heating or electricity. As a church it is important for us to have a witness to the Navajo, and to take steps for the area to be self-sustaining."

The Episcopal Church Navajoland Area Mission encompasses more than 26,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.  While it began its work in 1889, the Episcopal Church Navajoland Area Mission was established in 1978. As stated on the new website: Yet today there is a new spirit and energy in this land - exploring sustainable farming and aquaponics, expanding retreat opportunities, and working to heal addictions. Donations of time, talent and treasure through this website will help to further the work of The Episcopal Church in Navajoland. That work involves healing the wounds of the past so that new beginnings may emerge - leading to an indigenous clergy, economic self-sufficiency, and a deeper appreciation of the unique gifts the Navajos bring to The Episcopal Church and to the world.

How to help
Check the website for opportunities to help sustain Navajoland. Volunteers are needed, especially carpenters, experienced roofers, licensed electricians, licensed plumbers, and painters. Listed on the website are various levels to assist with donations. The items range from household needs and doors to computers and paint. Essential repairs to buildings mean that the facilities can be used for programs, such as afterschool, computer training, or for rental income to help pay for clergy salaries and program needs. For more information contact Elizabeth Lowell,

Buildings for a New Tomorrow conference

The Episcopal Church Building Fund invites you to attend Buildings for a New Tomorrow conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL, April 28-30. This conference was created to bring people together to discuss the complex issues of church buildings, in an open, honest and realistic forum. It also challenges people to think differently - about their buildings, what they represented, how they supported ministry (or do they?); how to use them for revenue, and when to close them. Participants and presenters come from across the country to challenge themselves and each other to think differently, and to explore ways of using their buildings as an asset and to become thriving hubs of their community. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Presiding Bishop's Lenten reflection 2014

Click here for video of this message
The reality is that the season of Lent, which Christians have practiced for so many centuries, is about the same kind of yearning for greater light in the world, whether you live in the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere.  

The word "Lent" means "lengthen" and it's about the days getting longer.  The early Church began to practice a season of preparation for those who would be baptized at Easter, and before too long other members of the Christian community joined those candidates for baptism as an act of solidarity.  

It was a season during which Christians and future Christians learned about the disciplines of the faith - prayer and study and fasting and giving alms, sharing what they have.  

But the reality is that, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, the lengthening days were often times of famine and hunger, when people had used up their winter food stores and the spring had not yet produced more food to feed people.  Acting in solidarity with those who go hungry is a piece of what it means to be a Christian.  To be a follower of Jesus is to seek the healing of the whole world.  

And Lent is a time when we practice those disciplines as acts of solidarity with the broken and hungry and ill and despised parts of the world.

I would invite you this Lent to think about your Lenten practice as an exercise in solidarity with all that is - with other human beings and with all of creation.  That is most fundamentally what Jesus is about. He is about healing and restoring that broken world.  

So as you enter Lent, consider how you will live in solidarity with those who are hungry, or broken, or ill in one way or another.

May you have a blessed Lent this year, and may it yield greater light in the world.

- Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

Apply NOW for ECW Scholarships

The Episcopal Church Women's Elise Holladay Scholarship provides assistance to men and women for continued education beyond high school in undergraduate study only. In 2013, the ECW awarded $12,200.00 to 14 students throughout the diocese. The Beverley D. Tucker Scholarship provides assistance to men and women in church-related training in an accredited Episcopal Church training school. The deadline to apply is April 30. Click here for online scholarship applications. Questions? Contact Susan Broaddus, ECW Student Work Chair at 757-623-0205 or  

National Episcopal Health Ministries 6th Annual Conference is May 7-10 in New Orleans

Join National Episcopal Health Ministries (NEHM) in New Orleans, May 7-10, 2014 for our 6th Annual Conference on Health Ministry. The annual conference focuses on creating a health ministry,  the special health needs of veterans, spiritual aspects of healthcare and many other topics. This year's theme is "Empowering Health Ministries." Keynote speaker will be G. Scott Morris, M.D., M.Div., Chief Executive Officer of the Church Health Center. Click here for more information, event brochure and online registration. 

News from Mission of the Holy Spirit

By Keith Josey, Lay Pastor, Mission of the Holy Spirit 

As we move forward in 2014, snow and ice are not the only challenges we face at the Mission of the Holy Spirit. Over the past three years, we have had to make hard choices regarding how we meet the needs of the people we serve due to tough economic times. Thank you to all of our partners! It is because of your giving that we continue to offer quality programs for children, adolescents and adults.

As we look across the landscape of the communities served by this ministry, we see the value of our presence and the work that God has called us to do. Shattered pieces of broken lives are being made whole again at the Mission of the Holy Spirit. Our journey to heal the hurts that bind requires your prayers and support. As we strive to serve God's people, many lives are being changed. At the Mission of the Holy Spirit we are working to empower families in a variety of ways, but it is through partnerships with you that we are able to continue to provide life-changing experiences to the people we serve.

One example of such an experience was in January when youth from Convocation 3 and eleven of our members went on a ski trip. This adventure not only provided a fun outlet, but it also opened hearts and created new relationships that will last a lifetime.

Each day, there are opportunities for growth and ministry that surround us, and I invite you to seek out ways to strengthen your relationship with the Mission of the Holy Spirit by giving your time and/or resources to a powerful ministry that is uplifting so many lives.   

Boys' Home debuts new branding efforts with a little help from students at VCU

In a marketing effort based on students helping students, the Boys Home of Virginia, a nonprofit, nondenominational residential education program for boys ages six to 17, now has a new website,, brochure, logo and promotional video created by students at the nationally known VCU Brandcenter. The marketing materials reflect the organization's emphasis on providing services to deserving boys statewide - and beyond. "We have one of the best programs in the state, but we want to make sure people know our story," says Donnie Wheatley, CEO of the Boys Home of Virginia since 1985.

Kelly O'Keefe, a Boys Home of Virginia Board member, and a Brandcenter professor, agreed. "These new materials reflect an effort to let people know about this remarkable organization and its outreach and impact," said O'Keefe, whose students (now graduated) volunteered to create a Boys Home marketing campaign built around the theme, "A successful man has to start somewhere."

"All I asked for was a few volunteers to go with me to the Boys Home one Saturday morning to see the school." O'Keefe said. "I got more than I bargained for when 18 students signed up. Donnie Wheatley said, 'Don't worry, I'll bring the bus.' So we all went together. When we got back, the students were so impressed by the kids and staff at the Boys Home, they set to work on the campaign."

About 75 boys were enrolled at the Boys Home of Virginia over the course of 2013; many came needing a change in venue. "We like to say we're helping young men who have great promise, but limited opportunities," said Wheatley. And he should know, as he was once a Boys Home resident himself. "I believe strongly that there is a place for residential education, and I want to continue to build on the things that work, and provide a place for those children who are probably not going to be served in other ways," he added.

"The Boys Home of Virginia is different than other organizations because it provides a solution for children who might be walking a difficult path in their lives for no other reason than there simply isn't the right structure available," explained Len Slater, a Boys Home Board member. The bucolic setting of the school in Covington provides a place for boys to grow and flourish - physically, personally and spiritually. Besides class work, there is time for play and sports. The Boys Home of Virginia also maintains a Christmas tree farm in West Augusta, Va. year-round, so students can learn basic farming tasks and the satisfaction that comes from doing a job, and doing it well.

Wheatley's affection for Boys Home is infectious, and his energy and ability to interest others in the school never seems to wane. "This is not about doing a job," he explains. "It's about living a life."

About the Boys Home of Virginia
Boys Home was founded in 1906 and continues to provide a non-denominational, nurturing residential and educational environment for boys from all over Virginia and beyond. The mission of Boys Home is help each resident strive toward becoming a productive member of society, by developing his potential, spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.

Jackson-Feild Homes re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation

 Jackson-Feild Homes, a 159-year old organization providing residential treatment services for adolescent boys and girls, received notice that it has been re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

The Council noted in its letter that "re-accreditation is a tremendous achievement that demonstrates that Jackson-Feild is recognized as a provider that continues to successfully implement high performance standards and, as such, is delivering the highest quality services to all of its stakeholders.  

Accreditation provides an objective and reliable verification instilling confidence and support to Jackson-Feild's parents, donors, board members, community partners and stakeholders. The accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of both the administrative operation and service delivery practices. They are "measured" against national standards of best practice. The standards emphasize that Jackson-Feild's operations and practices are accessible, appropriate, responsive, evidence-based and outcomes-oriented. It confirms that services are provided by a skilled and supportive workforce and that children are treated with dignity and respect. Accreditation is conferred on the entire organization and not just one specific program or service with the intent to inspire confidence, credibility, integrity and achievement in Jackson-Feild Homes.

Tricia Delano, Executive Director, commented that "This is a wonderful milestone. A great deal of time and hard work went into this process but it is well worth the investment of time, energy and effort. I salute our dedicated staff members who made this happen.