Monday, September 29, 2014

Praying for and with students at CNU

  The Rev. Lauren McDonald, campus chaplain at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, took a leap out of her comfort zone and is ministering to the students at CNU in a new way - the plaza prayer station.

"Sometime last spring I read a blog post by Jonathan Melton, campus minister at University of Wisconsin-Madison," writes McDonald. "In the post Jonathan talked about starting what I call a 'chapel steps' ministry in which he put out a couple of chairs next to a sign that said, 'How may I pray for you?' Although I didn't remember all the details, that blog post lodged itself in my brain, and from time to time I would think about it and ask myself whether I wanted to start such a ministry at CNU. What he did sounded so brave to this shy introvert."

The Rev. Lauren McDonald (L) with two CNU Canterburians.
McDonald is sharing her experiences on her blog, Leaping Greenly Spirits. If you spend any time on Facebook you may have seen some of her posts. They are highly recommended reading.

"I had such low expectations for this ministry," writes McDonald. "My whole goal was to be brave enough to set up a sign and sit next to it. I had figured it would take a long time for students to get used to me being there. Never underestimate God."

Just three weeks into her effort, McDonald has "repeat customers" join her as soon as she arrives - talking about their lives and their classes, asking questions, sharing problems.

 The students "are drawn to the presence of a person praying for them, someone who doesn't judge or grade them, someone who isn't there to enforce rules, someone with a little more life experience, someone who has time to listen," writes McDonald. "Maybe we'll spontaneously start doing noon-day prayer together... Maybe I'll have another week where no one comes. But they will see me, sitting there, available if they need me, ready to listen. There's no telling what might happen.  We need to stay open for surprises - there's no telling what God might do next."

The Rev. Lauren McDonald's blog is Leaping Greenly Spirits,

Jan Brown assists in establishment of Governor's Task Force on Prescription Drug & Heroin Abuse

On September 26, Governor McAuliffe established a Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse. Jan M. Brown was a consultant on the order and hosted the signing, telling her story and introducing Senator Kaine, who also participated in the event.  
Jan is the Founder and Executive Director for SpiritWorks Foundation, a community recovery organization in Williamsburg for people healing from addiction, trauma, and abuse. She is also a Postulant for Holy Orders for the Diaconate in the Diocese of Southern Virginia and a member of the board of Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church.

Photo at right: Jan M. Brown and Governor Terry McAuliffe. Photo by Michaele L. White, Governor's Office. 

Fall Clergy Conference: Transforming Work

The Fall Clergy Conference will be held November 11-12 at Chanco on the James. This year's guest speaker will be the Rev. Canon Matthew Stockard, Canon to the Ordinary of Diocese of East Carolina, on Transforming Work. Sessions will include Neuroscience and Ministry, Jung Again, and Finding Joy.
The Rev. Matthew Stockard has served as Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of East Carolina since 2000. He has worked extensively during this time in the area of ministry development and vocation with several Episcopal Church boards and agencies. His vocational path has included training and practice as a cellular physiologist, an Episcopal priest serving parishes in North Carolina as well as East Carolina, and an organization development consultant for several Episcopal dioceses and their interactions.
Click here for more information and online registration. 

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Daniel Perkins began as Priest in Charge at St. Andrew's, Newport News, 9/14/14.

The Rev. Sherry Munday, Deacon, left St. John's, Chester, 9/21/14.

Executive Board hosting conversations about stewardship

The Stewardship Focus Group of the diocesan Executive Board is once again hosting informal gatherings for parish wardens and stewardship/finance chairs to share successes and challenges with our parish giving programs. Anyone interested in parish stewardship is invited and encouraged to attend.
  • Saturday, November 22, 10 to 11 a.m. at St. John's, Chester. Contact the Rev. Gini DiStanislao if you plan to attend the gathering at St. John's,
  • Saturday, December 6, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Ascension, Norfolk. Contact Bob Motley if you plan to attend the gathering at Ascension,
Plans are underway for additional gatherings this year in Hampton and Virginia Beach. Watch the eNews for dates and locations.
Plans are underway for additional gatherings this year in Hampton and Virginia Beach. Watch the eNews for dates and locations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will not stand for re-election in 2015

Below is an excerpt from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's message to the Episcopal Church. Click here to read the full message.

"I have spent many months in discernment about how I am being called to serve God's people and God's creation in this season. I have resisted the assumption by some that presiding bishops can only be elected to serve one term, knowing the depth of relational work and learning that is involved in this ministry. There is a tradeoff between the learning curve and the ability to lead more effectively as a result of developed relationships both within and beyond this Church. At the same time, I recognize that standing for election as Presiding Bishop carries the implicit expectation that one is ready to serve a full term. I do not at present believe I should serve and lead in this ministry for another nine years.

I believe I can best serve this Church by opening the door for other bishops to more freely discern their own vocation to this ministry. I also believe that I can offer this Church stronger and clearer leadership in the coming year as we move toward that election and a whole-hearted engagement with necessary structural reforms. I will continue to engage us in becoming a more fully diverse Church, spreading the gospel among all sorts and conditions of people, and wholeheartedly devoted to God's vision of a healed and restored Creation.

I will continue in discernment about the ministry I may be called to in the coming years, but my present focus is and will remain on being the vigorous and faithful leader I believe I am called to be."

Administrators & Treasurers lunch group to meet in Hampton

Lunch group meeting at Eastern Shore Chapel,
Virginia Beach.
The next Administrators and Treasurers lunch will be Thursday, October 16, noon to 1:30, at Emmanuel, Hampton (179 E. Mercury Blvd, Hampton). This is a wonderful opportunity to meet with other parish administrators and treasurers to talk about common issues. Bring your own lunch; beverages will be provided. There's no agenda for this gathering - just an opportunity to get together, share, encourage, support, and ask questions. RSVP to

Jump Start Workshop: Pursuing Renewal and Vitality in the Midst of Change

Saturday, October 4
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Richmond 

The Diocese of Virginia, in conjunction with the Episcopal Church Building Fund and Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Richmond, invites you to a one-day workshop to address how your congregation can Jump Start itself to a more vibrant, vital, and authentic community of faith.  
Cost is $25 and includes lunch. Click here for more information and registration. Emmanuel Episcopal Church is located at 1214 Wilmer Ave., Richmond.   

Monday, September 22, 2014

Biking for a Better World raises over $5000

The Biking for a Better World event held in Williamsburg on Sept. 13 raised over $5000 for Chanco on the James and Episcopal Relief & Development. Many thanks to the Very Rev. Keith Emerson, Rector of St. Paul's, Suffolk, and our diocesan liaison for Episcopal Relief & Development, for coordinating this event. Thanks also to St. Martin's, Williamsburg, for their hospitality as the starting location for the event.

"It is difficult for me to express how gratified I am that 22 riders garnered so much support. We will have to use our imaginations to understand how this meager effort will change the lives of future Chanco campers as well as those whose life life is touched by the immeasurable efforts of Episcopal Relief & Development," Emerson posted on our Facebook page. "I can't wait for the 'second' annual Biking for Better World and am also wondering of there are 5K runners out there who are ready to make their contribution."

Resource for November liturgies on healing the sin of racism

A Reconciliation Resource for November Liturgies on healing the sin of racism is now available from the Repairers of the Breach. Following the format of Holy Women, Holy Men, the booklet offers several options for readings and psalms. It is available on the Repairing the Beach page of our website. The Reconciliation Service from November 2, 2013 is also available with anthems and hymns that are suitable for parish use.  

Annual Council Resolution R-1 resolved that "November 2, 2014, All Souls Day will be designated as the 'Day of Repentance and Reconciliation' in the Diocese of Southern Virginia and parishes will annually hold this observance during the octave of All Saints." If you need further assistance or have questions, please contact Canon Caroline Black, or 757-213-3377.  

Observances of a Day of Repentance and Reconciliation: 

St. Martin's, Williamsburg 
The spirit of reconciliation and repentance for the sin of racism will be prayerfully honored at Saint Martin's on November 1 at 5pm as we acknowledge our transgressions of the past and repent for those sins against our brothers and sisters in Christ that we have committed as an institution and as individuals. The service will conclude with the celebrating of Holy Eucharist where we will acknowledge our reconciliation with Christ, as well as the entirety of the Body of Christ. The evening will then conclude with a meal of thanksgiving that will acknowledge the gift of reconciliation that God so bountifully provides to us. The meal will be served in Miles Hall at approximately 6:15 p.m.
St. John's, Chester
Contemplative Evening Prayer for Reconciliation and Healing  on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.

Good Shepherd, Norfolk and Mission of the Holy Spirit
On Wednesday, Nov. 5 at Good Shepherd there will be a dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed by a Service of Repentance at 6:30 p.m. 
St. James', Accomac
Service of Reconciliation and Healing, Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. 

Bruton Parish, Williamsburg 
On Nov. 5, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Bruton Parish, there will be a screening of "The House I Live In," a documentary that explores the moral failure of the war on drugs and particularly looks at the role that racism has played in incarceration and mandatory minimums. The Rev. Charles Robinson, Vicar of Bruton Parish and Jan M. Brown, Founder and Executive Director, of SpiritWorks Foundation, will facilitate a conversation following the film. On Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m., the monthly First Fridays Eucharist will weave together the themes of repentance, reconciliation and recovery. The Rev. Chris Epperson, Rector of Bruton Parish, will be the celebrant. Parking is available on Duke of Gloucester Street during the service.  

Nominations now being accepted for Annual Council elections

The 123rd Annual Council will be held February 6-7, 2015 at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center. You can find the latest information on the Annual Council page of our website. Registration will begin in December.

The following elections will take place at the 2015 Annual Council:
Standing Committee: 1 Lay, 1 Clergy
Disciplinary Board: 2 Lay, 1 Clergy
General Convention Deputation: 1 Lay Young Adult Alternate

Information about each position and a nomination form can be found on our website.

Get ready for the ECW Fall Annual Meeting with the new issue of The Grapevine

The latest edition of the Diocesan ECW's newsletter, The Grapevine, is now available on our website. It's full of important information for the ECW's upcoming Fall Annual Meeting to be held Saturday, October 18 at Christ Church, Danville.

The ECW will celebrate its work in mission at this meeting. Susan Broaddus, Women-to-Women chair, Diocese of Southern Virginia, a former missionary in the Congo, will give an account on the status of the Tamar Project today. ECW board members, including a new diocesan president, will be elected to take office in January, 2015. The Rev. Helen McKee will install the newly elected board members.

Contact Louise Boss, corresponding secretary, to register for the meeting at (757-678-5331) or by October 10. The registration fee is $10. Lunch is included.

Longwood expresses regret over institution's actions during civil rights era

Longwood University's Board of Visitors has passed a formal resolution expressing regret over the institution's actions during the civil rights era, and established a new "Moton Legacy" scholarship program to support equality in educational opportunity. The university is in conversation with our Diocese regarding next steps forward. 

"It is a moment of great promise, with the Moton Museum and Longwood poised to work more closely together in support of Moton's mission of civil rights in education," said Longwood Rector Colleen McCrink Margiloff '97.  "Through time, Longwood has not always lived up to the ideals we hold dear, and that has caused genuine pain.  The University's mission of citizen leadership is at the heart of the Board's action. "

The resolution passed by the Board also establishes the Moton Legacy scholarship program, which will provide financial assistance for Longwood students with a demonstrated commitment to the cause of equality of opportunity in education.

"This scholarship program will help Longwood honor those who strove so mightily for educational opportunity, by teaching and sending into the world citizen leaders who will do the same in their communities around the Commonwealth and nation," said Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV.  Read more here

Safe Church trainer responds to NFL child abuse allegations

Ian Danielson, a Safe Church trainer in Diocese of Southern Virginia and a member of St. Luke's, Powhatan, is a licensed clinical social worker and coordinator at Greater Richmond SCAN. He supports the decision by the Minnesota Vikings to keep Adrian Peterson off the field following allegations of child abuse, but he's wary of the team's motives. Danielson works with child victims of abuse every day. Danielson hopes that this case will lead to the creation of set policies regarding violence that all players have to follow, "where all players know equally going in that physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence in general is unacceptable to all." Watch/read the interview here

Monday, September 15, 2014

Register now for fabulous Fall youth events!

Registration is now open for Fall diocesan youth events! Visit the Youth Ministry pages of our website for complete information on all upcoming events for the 2014-2015 program year and important youth ministry resources.

October Weekend - Oct. 10-12 at Chanco on the James. For grades 8-12 and their adult advisors. Visit Camp Chanco on the James River for a weekend in the woods with teens from all over our diocese!  October Weekend  features great music, small groups, socials and games, meaningful discussions, a dance, and really incredible worship experiences.  Come experience the presence of God in community! Click here for details and registration.

Happening #62 - Nov. 7-9 at Chanco on the James. For grades 10-12 and adult advisors who have never attended a Happening program. Happening- A Christian Experience is a Christian renewal program designed for youth in grades 10-12. The focal point of the weekend is learning and experiencing the love of Christ.  The weekend format includes series of talks, movies, small group activities and worship, as well as opportunities for fellowship, fun and making new friends. Click here for details and registration.

November Weekend - Nov. 14-16 at Chanco on the James. For grades 6-9 and their adult advisors. Make new friends at this fall retreat at Chanco!  November Weekend includes music, games, activities, socials, small group discussions and amazing worship! Click here for details and registration.

Jan Brown appointed to board of Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church

Jan M. Brown was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church (RMEC). RMEC is an independent, nationwide network of Episcopal laity and clergy, dioceses and parishes, schools, agencies, and other institutions with a common commitment to address the effects of addiction, in all its forms, in relation to the church's mission. RMEC provides resources through its website,, raises awareness by providing training about addiction and recovery, and hosts a national gathering each year.  

This year Jan Brown and the Rev. Lauren McDonald attended RMEC's national Gathering held in June in Buffalo, New York and networked with Episcopalians in recovery from across the country. The Gathering theme was "Addiction and the Role of the Church in Recovery," and featured The Rev. Stuart Hoke, Dr. John MacDougall and other speakers on a variety of topics related to addiction. Jan was one of the presenters for the Gathering, leading the Candlelight Evening Prayer Service at the Hope Center.

Jan is the Founder and Executive Director for SpiritWorks Foundation, a community recovery organization in Williamsburg for people healing from addiction, trauma, and abuse. She is also a Postulant for Holy Orders for the Diaconate in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

Ecumenical/Interfaith opportunity to work for peace

"Harmonious Interfaith Relations"
Monday, September 22, 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm
Light refreshments will be available from 5:30 - 6:00pm in the Parish Hall
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 800 S. Cathedral Street, Richmond, VA 23220
Public participation is encouraged.  Admission is free.

Area churches from around Richmond will gather to discuss working toward peace through dialogue.  Speakers and attendees will represent the major faith traditions.  They will discuss economic empowerment, education, health care, and security.

"To achieve peace we must work towards a mutual understanding, and a shared vision of justice," said Most Reverend Francis X. DiLorenzo, Bishop of Richmond.  "This event is the start of new collective work towards pragmatic outcomes that truly benefit people, in a time in which it is so clearly needed."

The UN International Day of Peace marks a time devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and people.  In Greater Richmond and across Virginia, we embrace our solidarity as people of faith; working together through love, truth, and hope.  We recognize our inter-connectedness, and a sense of the eternal.  We affirm the call of our Creator to greater participation, dialogue, and collective action to address the injustices of our time. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mission of the Holy Spirit needs your help

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

Thank you for supporting the Mission of the Holy Spirit with your prayers, gifts, time and resources. This summer, we were fortunate to provide many fun activities, including trips to the beach, pool, D'Art Center, Tides games, Busch Gardens and Ocean Breeze Fun Park, as well as life skills classes and Bible study to our children. All of this was made possible because of your generosity, and because you gave out of a love for helping others and a belief in the services we provide at the Mission.

Despite all the daily struggles faced in our community, seeds of hope, joy and purpose are planted with the support of each of you. At the Mission of the Holy Spirit, we strive to effectively change lives by nurturing the gifts of the people we serve and offering opportunities for all to experience God's love in many ways. Through our efforts, lives are being changed as evidenced by the many young Mission members who graduate high school and go on to college. We have also experienced an increase in our attendance with both children and adults. Our growth is a result of quality programs, people and purpose. As we move into the fall months, our programming has shifted from activity-centered to educational enrichment and healthy living. We have partnered with the Old Dominion School of Nursing, and their interns will provide health-related activities to our members this fall.

In order to sustain our purpose "to effectively change lives" we need your help. While we continue to receive limited grant funding, we are in serious need of your continued financial assistance. These tough economic times make your giving so much more important than ever before. Your support can come in various ways; you can:
  • Challenge your friends or the different committees in your church to each raise $500.00 or more to give in support of this ministry.
  • Adopt a program: Transportation, Feed my Lambs, Dream Builders (life skills and healthy living groups), or Crossings (educational enrichment).
  • Arrange a fundraiser with the proceeds benefiting the Mission of the Holy Spirit.
  • Volunteer your time to be a mentor, tutor and a blessing to a child.
  • Donate items such as canned goods, hygiene products, movie tickets, gift cards, or school supplies that will directly impact families.
These times are challenging, but "we can make a difference and we will make a change." Through working together to share God's love and allowing the light of Christ to shine, we can continue to touch the lives of the people we serve.

To learn more about the Mission and to make a donation, go to

Jackson-Feild has new modular classrooms

After much anticipation - not to mention great need - our two new modular classrooms are up and running and will house our vocational education classes.  

For years, we have been providing classes in Food Occupation & Safety and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Because we did not have a dedicated space for the food occupation classes, they were frequently moved around campus much to the detriment of consistency and continuity. One of our new modular classrooms is specifically designed and equipped for the food occupation curriculum.

The other new classroom will house a horticulture program that is being reintroduced. In years past, we had a horticulture program that was extremely popular among our students. Due to the death of the horticulture teacher, the program unfortunately was suspended. We are thrilled to be able to bring back this educational program that had been so popular and successful.

We are so very blessed to have a donor who provided the funding for these classrooms. The equipment and materials were purchased with donations from foundations, civic and service clubs, and individuals. Every day, we see the positive results brought about through the generosity of so many people and we thank each and every donor.

However, even with this new addition we still need more classroom space. We are currently working to raise funds for another modular classroom building and hope to have it in place before the end of the current school year.

Church offering meals-to-go for JMU Parents' Weekend tailgate parties

Attention JMU parents and alumni - if you're planning to be at JMU for the Parents' Weekend football game on October 11, you should check out Tailgate Meals-to-Go from Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Harrisonburg. Every cent of your purchase goes to support  mission and outreach projects, including a summer mission to an orphanage in Honduras and the church's weekly food pantry. Click here for details and how to place your order.

TREC issues a letter to The Episcopal Church

The Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has issued A Word To The Episcopal Church:

Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."  (John 11:43-44)

As the Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has progressed in our work, we have come to see the raising and unbinding of Lazarus as a helpful way of understanding this moment in the life of The Episcopal Church. We believe Jesus is calling our church to new life and vitality, but the church is held back by its bindings-old ways of working that no longer serve us well.
We write this as we begin the final months of our work, to give you an update about our thinking and emerging recommendations for your prayerful consideration and feedback. We will publish our final report and specific legislative proposals in December 2014. Click here to read the letter

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Welcome our new Archdeacon

It is with deep gratitude that we thank the Rev. Bill Jones for his six years of service as Archdeacon of our Diocese. While Bill is retiring from his role as Archdeacon, he will continue to serve at St. David's, Chesterfield, and in his ministry to Virginia prisons.

Our new Archdeacon is the Rev. Becki Dean. Becki serves at St. Michael's, Bon Air, and at The Gathering Place, an outdoor time of worship and community in downtown Richmond geared to meet the needs of those who might not find their way into a church on Sunday morning - from those in transitional housing situations, to local neighbors, to skeptics to those who work Sunday mornings.

Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group

Church administrative and financial staff are invited to join us on Thursday, September 18 for our first Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group. We'll meet from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach. Bring a brown bag lunch; beverages will be provided. There's no agenda for this gathering - just an opportunity to get together, share, encourage, support, and ask questions. Please RSVP if you plan to attend, or 757-213-3386. Eastern Shore Chapel is located at 2020 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach.

Clergy Transitions

The Rev. Michael Delk, rector of Hickory Neck, Toano, was called to Diocese of Lexington, KY, 7/13/14.

The Rev. Fred Poteet began as Associate Rector at Old Donation, Virginia Beach, 8/16/14.

The Rev. Kathleen Bobbitt will begin as Interim Rector at Emmanuel, Virginia Beach, 9/15/14.

The Rev. Earnest Graham will begin as Interim Rector at Hickory Neck, Toano, 9/16/14

The Rev. Nancy Meck will begin as Rector Time Certain at Johns Memorial, Farmville, 10/1/14.  

ECW to celebrate mission work at Fall Annual Meeting

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

When 2014 ends, Barbara Taylor, St. Francis, Virginia Beach, will complete her two-year term as ECW Diocesan President. She is happy to report, by year-end, the ECW will reach its goal to raise $10,000 to support the Mother's Union in the Diocese of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo through Women-to-Women, a partnership with the Diocese of Virginia.  

Barbara said, "Many thanks to Episcopal Church Women diocesan-wide for giving your support to our sisters in Christ in the Congo. Through their work and with our help, women who are victims of rape and torture have a chance to rebuild their lives."  
The ECW will celebrate its work in mission at the Fall Annual Meeting, Saturday, October 18, at Christ Church in Danville. Susan Broaddus, Women-to-Women chair, Diocese of Southern Virginia, a former missionary in the Congo, will give an account on the status of the Tamar Project today. ECW board members, including a new diocesan president, will be elected to take office in January, 2015. The Rev. Helen McKee will install the newly elected board members.  

Contact Louise Boss, corresponding secretary, to register for the meeting at (757-678-5331) or by October 10. The registration fee is $10. Lunch is included.  

Fall Visit Day at Virginia Theological Seminary

VTS invites you to be their guest on Wednesday, November 5 at Fall Visit Day for prospective students from the surrounding region. Whether you are considering graduate theological education to prepare for a vocation in the Church, to deepen your understanding of your faith, or to learn how to share your faith more effectively with others, the Fall Visit Day is the event to attend. You'll hear about programs, talk to faculty and students, go to classes, have lunch and tour the campus, and find out how Virginia Seminary equips people for faithful witness. You can register for the Fall Visit Day by visiting For further information email or call 703-461-1706.

This one-day event will begin at 7:45am and conclude at 4:00pm. The conference is designed serve the needs of visitors who can drive to and from campus on the day of the conference. Space is limited, so register now. The registration deadline is October 20. Virginia Theological Seminary is located at 3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304.