Thursday, July 17, 2014

Talbot Hall property news available online

For current information regarding the sale of the diocese's Talbot Hall property, please visit our website, On the home page, you'll find a link to Talbot Hall Property News, including a recent message from Bishop Hollerith and an editorial by diocesan Chancellor Sam Webster that was published in the Virginian-Pilot.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ridley Foundation awards $153,183 in scholarships and grants

The Ridley Foundation Board awarded scholarships totaling $123,183 to 40 students from the Diocese of Southern Virginia and Southampton County for the 2014-15 academic year. Click here for a list of 2014-15 recipients. The Board also awarded grants of $10,000 each to: Jackson-Feild Homes, Mission of the Holy Spirit, and Covington Boys Home.  

Jackson-Feild elects officers and new trustees

At its annual meeting the Jackson-Feild Homes Board of Trustees elected new officers for a two-year term. They are Ms. Anne G. Greever - President, Mrs. Beblon G. Parks - Vice President, Mr. Craig A. Tilley - Treasurer and Mr. T. Darnley Adamson, III - Secretary.

Also elected are four new trustees who will serve a three-year term each. They are Ms. Ann H. Smoot, Mr. Shane M. Tilka, Mr. James M. Cox and Ms. Narendra R. Pleas.

Ms. Smoot is retired from the Virginia Department of Education as its Training Director. She previously worked as a district training and safety officer for the Virginia Department of Transportation. Prior to her service with state government, Ms. Smoot was an educator for thirteen years. A graduate of Emory & Henry, she received her Master's Degree from the University of Virginia. Her volunteer experience includes serving as a CASA volunteer and a parent representative on Hanover County's Family Assessment and Planning Team. Ms. Smoot lives in Culpepper and has summer home in the Northern Neck.

Mr. Tilka currently is the Vice President of Operations for Iluka Resources America having served in a number of capacities within Iluka since 2005. He received his undergraduate degree from Edith Cowan University in Australia and his graduate degree from Western Australian School of Mines. Mr. Tilka and his family live in Chesterfield County.

Mr. Cox is a Vice President and partner with Manry Rawls, LLC in Franklin. He also is President of Cox & Moncure, a company that operates a chain of sixteen mattress stores under the name of Mattress Outlet. A native of Richmond and an alumnus of St. Christopher's School, Mr. Cox received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Military Institute and his MBA from the College of William & Mary. He and his family live in Franklin.

Ms. Pleas is native of Georgia who moved to Virginia Beach when she was in high school. A graduate of Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, she received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Indiana. Previously a practicing attorney in the Emporia/Greensville and Sussex County Common wealth Attorney's Offices, she is now the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney for Suffolk. Ms. Pleas is a member and treasurer of the Emporia/Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, a former secretary for the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads District 2, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Emporia/Greensville YMCA.

Education for Ministry (EfM) groups forming

By John Hoppe, EfM mentor, Grace Church, Yorktown

Education for Ministry (EfM) offers a progressive four year program of study and discussion which affords everyone an opportunity to learn more about scripture, Church history, and where theological thought stands in our world today. A core element of the program is the Theological Reflection, which is an activity designed to encourage participants to connect biblical and theological knowledge with everyday issues of contemporary life, and to ultimately discover ways to enhance our lives in the Christian context. The program is open to any person seeking further knowledge of the Bible and related documents, theology, church history, and ethics. The context is the mentored small group, as authorized and supported by the School of Theology at Sewanee, University of the South. Beginning in early September, EfM groups meet on a weekly schedule through the school year.  Click here to learn more about EfM

EfM groups seeking participants  
Grace, Yorktown, hosts several EfM groups. A preliminary informational meeting is planned for August 7 at 6 p.m. in the Parish House at Grace. Please contact John Hoppe (757-229-5113), Janet Stephens (757-898-5079), or call the office at Grace Church (757-898-3261) to obtain additional information and to learn how you may join us for this program.

If you are the mentor of an EfM group seeking new participants and would like to have your information included in the eNews, please contact Diocesan Communications Officer Ann Turner, 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Presiding Bishop addresses crisis of unaccompanied children at the U.S. border

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on the current crisis of unaccompanied children and families at the United States border.

"The influx of vulnerable people from Central America, including unaccompanied minors as well as mothers with children, continues to challenge the United States to respond compassionately.  Like Sudanese or Syrian refugees, these people are fleeing hunger, violence, and the fear of rape, murder, and enslavement.  The violence in Central America has escalated significantly in recent months, particularly as a result of gangs and trafficking in drugs and human beings.  These people are literally fleeing for their lives.   

The United States has a checkered history in responding to refugee crises.  We shut our eyes and ears, as well as our ports, during the crimes against Jews and other vulnerable persons in the midst of the Second World War.  We have been more welcoming to Sudanese youths looking for survival in the last 20 years.

The Episcopal Church believes we have a responsibility to all our neighbors, particularly the strangers and sojourners around us.  We have been resettling refugees since 1939.  Today, Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) and Episcopal Relief & Development are working with churches and dioceses in areas where these Central American women and children are being served.   

Episcopalians are responding with prayers and concern, and asking how to help.  I urge you to remember these people and their difficult and dangerous position in your prayers - today, this coming Sunday, and continuing until we find a just resolution.  The Episcopal Church has established an account to receive financial contributions to assist Episcopal Migration Ministries in this work.  For details, please contact 
I would also encourage you to contact your legislators, and ask them to support an appropriate humanitarian response to this crisis.  We are our brothers' and sisters' keeper, and as a Church, we are asking the United States government to support such a response, grounded in justice and the fundamental dignity of every human being.  Our Office of Government Relations is submitting detailed testimony to a United States Senate hearing today, as that chamber prepares to consider a budget request from the President.  You may read that testimony here, and I encourage you to share it with your own Representative and Senators here."

The Presiding Bishop's statement can be found online here. 

Mission of the Holy Spirit in need of bibles

The Mission of the Holy Spirit needs 20 NIV Bibles (new or used) for teens and adults in our Bible study programs. The Mission is currently running two bible study programs and our participants really want to have their own bibles so they can study further at home. If your parish has even a few NIV Bibles that you no longer use, please contact the Mission office Monday through Wednesday at 757-858-0010. Thank you for helping us spread the Word!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Episcopal Youth Event 2014 gets under way - #EYE14

Southern Virginia's EYE14 team departs for Philadelphia today.
Almost 1000 youth along with more than 200 adults are gathering for the popular Episcopal Youth Event 2014 (EYE14), getting under way today at Villanova University in Philadelphia.

Our Diocese sent a team of 20 - 16 youth and four adult leaders - to Philadelphia today to take part in EYE14. Please keep them in your prayers as EYE14 continues through July 13. You can follow their adventure on Facebook,

Bronwyn Clark Skov, Episcopal Church Youth Ministries Officer, noted: "EYE14 is an amazing opportunity for youth to experience The Episcopal Church on a vastly different scale than that of their local faith communities. They will be immersed in music, scripture, worship, and fellowship as they discern their own call to engage in the Five Marks of Mission." In addition to the camaraderie, opportunities abound for learning, prayer and mission work.

The opening Eucharist on July 10 will be live webcast along with two plenary sessions; Friday evening prayer; and the July 12 closing Eucharist. You can learn more about EYE14 on Facebook, Vine, Instagram. Twitter Hashtag is #EYE14. Apps: iPhone, Android
Live webcasts here. (all Eastern times):
  • Opening Eucharist - Thursday, July 10 at 9:30 am; the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon for Missional Vitality, Diocese of Long Island preaching and President of the House Of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings presiding
  • Plenary - Thursday, July 10 at 7:30 pm; the EYE14 Mission Planning Team
  • Evening Prayer - Friday, July 11 at 8:30 pm (approximate); Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preaching and officiating
  • Morning Plenary - Saturday, July 12 at 9:30 am; the Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms.
  • Closing Eucharist - Saturday, July 12 at 8 pm; Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina preaching and Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori presiding.
The Collect for EYE14
Ever loving God, you have brought us together and empowered us to serve as your disciples. We ask you to guide and bless us as we strive to tell the Good News of your love; teach and nurture all believers; tend to the human condition; transform and reconcile the world as Christ has shown us; and treasure your creation and our salvation through Jesus Christ. May we be engulfed in your love and blessings as we live out the mission and work you have given us, through Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

Register now for Biking for a Better World event

Biking for a Better World is a recreational bike ride fundraiser that will benefit Chanco on the James and Episcopal Relief & Development. The event will be Saturday, September 13 and will be based out of St. Martin's, Williamsburg.  

There are four different rides available - 8, 23, 31 and 40 miles. Riders can register as individuals or as a family. Registration is just a mere $10 per person or $25 per family, but individuals are requested to raise a minimum of $75 per person and families to raise a minimum of $200. When you register, you'll be able to set up a fundraising page that you can share via email and on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Lunch will be provided. Registrants who achieve the minimum fundraising request will also get a t-shirt featuring the event's very cool logo.   

If you are interested in helping to organize the ride please contact The Rev. Keith Emerson (Diocesan Coordinator for Episcopal Relief & Development) at

"Faith in Our Music" conference will feature Iona Community musician

Union Presbyterian Seminary will host "Faith in our Music: Many Voices, Diverse Chords, Common Hopes," on its Richmond campus September 23-25. This ecumenical and diverse event features John Bell from the Iona Community in Scotland, and other fine musicians helping us to learn about new forms of congregational music for folks of all denominations, abilities, and ages. The early registration deadline of July 31 is quickly approaching. There are significant discounts for three or more people from one congregation if they register together, especially if they register by the end of this month. Click here for more information. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Episcopal Youth Event gets under way this week

Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) is a youth leadership conference, the largest gathering of Episcopalians beside General Convention. It takes place every three years and occurs the year before General Convention. During EYE, the youth and their leaders will gain leadership skills and inspiration for mission in their local communities.  

This year's EYE will take place July 9 through 13 at Villanova University in Philadelphia. Youth, youth leaders, priests, bishops, and the Presiding Bishop will be in attendance. St. Andrew's, Newport News, Youth Director Harper Lewis will be joined by three adult youth leaders and 16 youth will travel from Southern Virginia to take part in EYE. Follow the action at EYE on Facebook. Watch the eNews for updates from EYE and our participants. 

Ecumenical news in Southern Virginia

By The Rev. Conor M. Alexander, Ecumenical Officer, Diocese of Southern Virginia

On June 30, the Tidewater LARCUM chapter hosted Dr. Mitzi Budde, Professor and Head Librarian at Virginia Theological Seminary and specialist in Ecumenism and Reconciliation. Holy Apostles' Virginia Beach hosted the evening, and held a program steeped in prayer, hymns, and Dr. Budde's reflections on the current state of ecumenism in the larger Church.

Dr. Budde's presentation focused on three major points: a theological rationale for ecumenism, several hopeful signs for how the movement is continuing, and discussion on two recent ecumenical agreements. Theologically speaking, our baptism is initiation into Christ's body, the Church. This is not limited to one denomination, but to all Christians everywhere. One participant in the evening remarked that for him, ecumenical work is not optional - to follow Christ is to seek Christian unity. Dr. Budde went on to describe several ways in which this theology is working itself out. One particular hopeful sign is the Global Freedom Network, an ecumenical and interfaith organization designed to combat global slavery and human trafficking, and has the support and backing of both Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby.

Two recent ecumenical agreements that Dr. Budde described were Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct put forth by The World Council of Churches, Ponitifcal Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the World Evangelical Alliance, and The Church: Towards a Common Vision again by The World Council of Churches. Both documents are available on the internet.

Update from the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) is continuing its work to prepare The Episcopal Church for the election of the 27th Presiding Bishop at General Convention in 2015. Between now and August 1, the JNCPB will publish three short educational essays.  

The first essay, available here, describes the basic timeline and steps for the nominating and election process. The second essay will outline the current roles, functions, and responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop. The third essay will discuss how the office of Presiding Bishop has changed and evolved from being the senior bishop by consecration who presides over meetings of the House of Bishops to the complex multifaceted position it is today.

It is the hope of the JNCPB that all members of General Convention and all Episcopalians will take the time to read these brief essays to learn the importance of what we will do next summer at General Convention.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Brenda Overfield, will begin as Rector Time Certain at St. Matthias', Midlothian, 7/13/2014

The Rev. Michael Delk, called to another diocese from Hickory Neck, Toano, 7/13/2014 

The Rev. Drew Foisie, called to another diocese from Old Donation, Virginia Beach, 7/20/2014

The Rev. Nancy Meck, resigned as Associate Rector of Redeemer, Midlothian, 8/3/2014 

The Rev. Fred Poteet, will begin as Associate Rector at Old Donation, Virginia Beach, 8/16/2014   

Task Force on Study of Marriage releases study guide, discussion resources

The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage has released Dearly Beloved, resources for conversation and discussion. It can be downloaded from the task force's website here.

The resource may be used in a variety of settings, and it consists of three different formats, which may be used independently of each other: a 90-minute event (which can be divided into three 35-minute sessions); a variety of 45-minute forums; and a lengthy article for a study group. All three formats cover theology, history, scripture, current trends, and more, with guidelines for presentation and questions for group discussion. 

Access the complete public website for General Convention's A050 Task Force on Marriage here.

Annual Summer Sale benefits Westminster-Canterbury Foundation

Westminster Canterbury will hold their annual Summer Sale August 14 through 16. This gigantic flea market features only the highest quality merchandise for sale by the the residents of Westminster-Canterbury Retirement Community. It will be held in the Cox High School cafeteria (2425 Shorehaven Road, Virginia Beach) August 14-15 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on August 16 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The sale includes just about everything you can imagine - books, china, kitchenwares, linens, clothing, CDs, and much more.

The Summer Sale is the largest of many sales volunteers coordinate throughout the year to raise funds for the Westminster-Canterbury Foundation which provides confidential need-based financial support for future and current residents. These volunteers have been recognized for their efforts by the Virginia Beach Mayor's Commission on Aging and are recipients of the "Aging Award" for demonstrating exemplary service to senior citizens. 

Stewardship resources for your church

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) membership benefits are available to all parishes through our diocesan membership. Benefits include formation and training resources, webinars, giving campaign materials and the new Walking the Way program (see below). For more information on stewardship resources from TENS and other organizations, visit the Stewardship Resources page of our website. 

2014 Walking the Way Stewardship program

All congregations throughout the diocese have access to TENS' 2014 Walking the Way Stewardship Narrative Series and Annual Giving Campaign. The Walking the Way series is designed to help your stewardship ministry team lead their congregation step by step through a six-week annual giving campaign. This year, eight contributing writers reflect on the Gospel lections, beginning Sunday, October 5 and continuing through Sunday, November 9, weaving in a stewardship principle or practice that invites the reader to reflect on their own journey of giving and their walk with Christ.  The Walking the Way series includes:
  • Eight Bulletin Inserts to include Worship Bulletins, E-Newsletters, and E-Blasts beginning October 5 - November 9.  Each reflection includes discussion questions that can be used for adult formation gatherings.
  • Pledge card and proportional giving chart
  • Prayers of the People to be used in liturgy over the course of six weeks
  • Introductory and thank you letters 
  • Template to Evaluate Campaign
  • And much more!