Thursday, June 18, 2015

27 Episcopalians ready to serve as missionaries through the Young Adult Service Corps

Twenty-seven young adults representing 21 Episcopal Church dioceses are serving as missionaries in the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) for the 2015-2016 term in locales throughout the Anglican Communion. Andy Russell, from Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, will be serving in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, Tanzania. Andy will be in Dodoma, Tanzania with The Carpenter's Kids program, which provides education to children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. There are an estimated 40,000 of these orphans within the diocese.  

"This year we witnessed the largest group ever of applications for positions as YASC missionaries," said Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer.   "A record 45 applications from 27 dioceses across all nine provinces in the Church were reviewed.  Of those, more than half have discerned to serve as YASC missionaries. We are proud of our YASC missionaries and of this remarkable achievement."

YASC is a ministry of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society for Episcopal young adults, ages 21 to 30, who are interested in exploring their faith in new ways by living and serving in communities around the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Sauls noted that most of the YASC missionaries will provide ministry work in education, youth work, social services, community development, and agriculture. He noted that YASC missionaries will assist in expanding the relationship with the Mission to Seafarers, will support an existing diocese-to-diocese relationship (Virginia-Liverpool), and will support mission initiatives in the northern region of Haiti by partnering with Episcopal Volunteers in Mission who are serving in the area.
Each YASC missionary maintains a blog, detailing his/her service, reflections and adventures. Andy Russell's blog is Looking Out, Looking In: A Mission to Tanzania.  

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

St. Martin's, Williamsburg
Gracious God, whose peace subdues every storm: give us calmness of heart that we may, with joyful expectation, see you at work in the world and join you as helping hands, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. George's, Newport News
Almighty God, you have called us to be your church and blessed our congregation with compassion for others, deep-seated faith, and a strong commitment to following you through good times and bad.  Help us to create a new vision and find new ways to be Church in northern Newport News, offering hope, help and hospitality to those inside and outside our doors.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

Boys Home guides boys from challenging circumstances to develop their full potential

By Steve Hansen, Boys Home, Covington

Boys Home addresses the physical, academic, social, and spiritual needs of their residents. In a privately funded, faith-based, residential setting, they provide a stable environment, parallel parenting, and the opportunity to attend either public or their on-campus school. The Boys Home setting of 1,250 scenic acres in the Alleghany Highlands provides an ideal setting for growing boys to experience the simple gifts that living and playing in the outdoors bring.

A few quick facts about Boys Home of Virginia (also known as Boys Home Incorporated):
  • Boys Home is an Episcopal Church ministry started in 1906 by the rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Covington, VA and incorporated in 1925 under the Diocese of Southern Virginia and the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. The bishops of both dioceses continue to play an active role in the affairs of Boys Home.
  • Boys Home is mission driven, not tuition driven. No boy is turned away from Boys Home because of financial reasons. Boys Home receives very little government funding; it is 97% privately funded. No diocese is responsible for our funding so we rely on donations from parishes and individuals and a modest amount of private grant funding.
  • Boys Home employs a full-time, ordained Episcopal chaplain at its own expense. (Boys Home is currently in the search process for a replacement for their retired chaplain.)
  • Boys Home residents come from many states besides Virginia. Currently they have residents from MD, OH, NJ, PA, FL, MO, CO, TN, and NY.
You are encouraged to check these sources of information on Boys Home: website; Facebook; Twitter. Of special interest, the Boys Home website has a number of church resources that can be downloaded here.

The Boys Home Mission Works! Program is a great opportunity for youth groups, women groups, or men groups. Info can be found in the "Spiritual Life" and "News" sections of the Boys Home website and throughout the Boys Home Facebook and Twitter postings.

Your prayers and donations for Boys Home are greatly appreciated by the boys and the staff!

Jackson-Feild annual fishing outing lures young anglers

On June 12, thirty-two residents and staff left campus bright and early to travel to Smithfield for a day of fishing. For many it was the first time they held a rod and reel in their hands, baited a hook and cast a line. Residents headed to their special fishing hole, and volunteers retrieved lines of out the trees and tall grass. When asked, they even removed the catch from the lines of squeamish fishers.

This annual fishing trip is a day that the boys and girls always enjoy, but "Hannah" was most the excited of them all. She landed the biggest fish of the day!

Don Lancaster, host of the radio show Fishing Tidewater, conducted a quick "Fishing 101" giving the boys and girls the benefit of his vast fishing knowledge. Old Point National Bank, longtime host of this event, provided the rods, reels, bait and tackle in addition to underwriting the cost of a cookout.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

Good Shepherd, McKenney
Gracious God, you have blessed our parish all these years. We ask your continued blessing and for your guidance in the coming year as we reach out and invite others, especially the young people around us, to join in worship each week and to become a part of our Christian community. We ask this through the Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Thomas', Chesapeake
O God, who wonderfully created and yet more graciously gives care humanity over your creation: grant St. Thomas Episcopal Church the power to endeavor to strengthen our stewardship of your church; so that we may improve our ministries to those who are new among us, in need, and the young, all of this we ask in the name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

VTS opens Center for Liturgy and Music

Virginia Theological Seminary announces the opening of the Center for Liturgy and Music (CLM) at VTS. The Center exists to serve clergy and musicians by helping them to discover resources and to develop skills in liturgy, music and preaching.

"The future of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. depends on high quality liturgical and musical experience," said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary. "Whether it's a big church or a small church, liturgy and music need to be done with care and attention. As a service to congregations, we are now offering a consultancy service and rich website resources to support liturgical and musical excellence."

The Center will provide information, instruction and inspiration that will create the desire in leaders to grow beyond their current capacity via:

*    A website providing quick access to resources (
*    A "Dear Ambrose" column for questions
*    An electronic newsletter
*    Conferences and workshops in the field and on-site
*    Consultations with parishes either in person or via Skype
*    Links with other groups who seek to enhance music and liturgy, i.e. the Leadership Program for Musicians, North American Academy of Liturgy, the Mentoring Program of the Association of Anglican Musicians, Episcopal Preaching Foundation
*    Distance learning in partnership with the Leadership Program for Musicians
*    Presentations at diocesan conventions or other diocesan gatherings
*    Exposure to models of effective music and liturgy in diverse styles and languages
*    Master classes in preaching

For more information about the Center's offerings, please contact Ellen Johnston, program coordinator for the Center of Liturgy and Music, by phone at 703-461-1792 or by email at

Jackson-Feild Homes' Gwaltney School holds its 18th commencement excercises

On June 5, three students at the Edna Hayden Gwaltney School received their high school diploma, and one received his GED certificate. Six students received their ServSafe food certificate and two their food occupation certificate of completion.

Dr. Bill Bowling, Director of Education, presided over the ceremony at the Golden Leaf Commons at the Southside Virginia Community College Emporia Campus. Mrs. Angela M. Carter was the commencement speaker.

Angela M. Carter, born and raised in Alberta, VA, is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Memory Chose a Woman's Body, a poetic journey and memoir that spotlights the effects of abuse, neglect and depression. An advocate of the healing ability of the arts, Mrs. Carter is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee, a nominee for the 2015 Virginia Library Literacy Award (poetry), a motivational speaker, an arts advocate, a painter and a photographer. Mrs. Carter lives in Harrisonburg with her husband, two children and a collection of pets.

Mrs. Carter - herself a victim of child abuse - shared her life story and spoke of her continuing struggle with mental illness. She urged the graduates to know that they are not alone in their daily struggles, and that they can make a difference in their lives. "Each new day is a new beginning. Don't give up. Don't convince yourself that you do not matter. And don't convince yourself that you cannot become the person you want to be, if you want to become someone new."

Over the last eighteen years, 149 students have graduated from the Gwaltney School with either a diploma or GED certificate. Each year, in honor and recognition of the student's work, an anonymous donor has provided a bouquet of roses for each girl, a wallet for each boy, and a gift card for each graduate.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Diocesan office has moved!

Movers spent two days loading and moving the Diocesan office to its new location in Newport News' City Center. Everything from desks and copy paper to Communion silver and bishops' portraits made the trip. The movers unloaded the last boxes at the new office yesterday afternoon, and staff are starting to unpack and settle in. Unfortunately our internet and phone system will not be installed until the end of the week. You can still reach Diocesan staff via email, which they are accessing with mobile devices for the time being.

Once we are settled, we look forward to hosting an open house for our Diocesan family. Watch for your invitation!

Ordination to the Sacred Order of Deacons

On June 6, at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, Bishop Hollerith ordained Tyler Montgomery and Mark Riley to the Sacred Order of Deacons. Click here for pictures from the service. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Godly Play training: The basics and beyond

July 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trinity, Portsmouth

Learning about God is an essential part of religious education, but Godly Play also emphasizes the spiritual formation of children and the adults who work with them. In those moments of crisis that all of us inevitably face, a sense of God's presence can sustain us and carry us through. At this day-long workshop, you can learn - or refresh your enthusiasm for the basics of Godly Play - and experience time-tested approaches to classroom enrichment from veteran Godly Play trainer Kathleen Capcara.

In the morning, participants will experience a full Godly Play session with an opportunity to learn about time, sacred space and classroom management techniques. Included will be ideas about ways students of all ages can use the Godly Play approach. The afternoon will concentrate on helping each participant leave the workshop with the skills and confidence to present a Godly Play lesson. Click here to register.

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Tyler Montgomery will begin as Associate Rector and Canterbury Chaplain at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, 6/8/2015

The Rev. Cherian Pulimootil will retire from Good Shepherd, McKenney, 6/28/2015

The Rev. Ashley Urquidi will begin as Assistant Rector at Old Donation, Virginia Beach, 7/1/2015 

News from Mission of the Holy Spirit

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

I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for supporting the Mission of the Holy Spirit. Our ability to impact so many lives is made possible by your generosity. The donations we receive from individuals, churches and other organizations help wholeheartedly with building the lives of the young people we serve.

Our desire is to continue reaching out into a hurting community and offer hope by modeling the Love of God through our worship and the programs we offer.

Our worship community is growing, and we are actively searching for priest to volunteer one Sunday afternoon per month to provide a Eucharistic presence in our service. Celebrating Holy Communion one Sunday a month would be a real blessing for us.

As the school year draws to an end, it's imperative that we begin to establish a fun, safe alternative to hanging out in the neighborhood for our children and teens. Throughout this year, we have been blessed to offer educational support for our young people on Tuesday evenings and music and arts on Wednesdays. Many of the school-aged members have taken advantage of these programs and are developing academically as well as boosting their self-esteem by sharing their gifts.

"Grown and Growing" is our adult life skills support group that combines Bible study, coping skills and positive strategies for everyday life. Through this program, many adults are raising the level of functionality for themselves and their families.

You are the catalyst of this great change that is touching the lives of every member of the Mission. Your support is crucial to the continuation of our programs. With all the violence and hopelessness that is gripping the country, our presence in the community remains important to bridge gaps and break down barriers by standing together and giving, out of a true Godly love for our neighbors.

To learn more about Mission of the Holy Spirit and how you can help support their programs, contact them at or 757-858-0010.

Beneath the Sea of Enchantment - a night to remember at Jackson-Feild

Students created this prom photo backdrop with the help of their art teacher.
May 30 was a special evening that will be etched into the memories of the children at Jackson-Feild Homes forever. The Robinson-Withers Gym was transformed into an undersea world as residents celebrated the 2015 Prom.

The theme was Beneath the Sea of Enchantment. Students in the art program prepared the decorations that hung throughout the gym. The boys and girls were gussied up in evening gowns and tuxedos and looked great.

A great deal of hard work was done prior to the event to ensure it would be a success. Staff members met with children do discuss self-awareness and prom etiquette. Girls received had their hair and nails done by a JFH friend who performed these services at a greatly discounted cost. The DJ for the event, Craig Mangrum, is a staff member who also provided his services at a discount. The table decorations were loaned by Wootton Brothers Greenhouse. The Home's food service staff prepared all the food for the event taking a special interest in making special treats for the occasion. The Fairy Godmother program provided prom dresses, shoes and accessories for the girls. A photographer shoots prom photos for the boys and girls as a memory of this evening.

Prom is a rite of passage for most teenagers is a spring. Jackson-Feild's staff members were committed to ensuring that their children would have this special opportunity and worked hard to make it a night that the residents will cherish for a lifetime.

Historic St. Luke's presents The Role of the Church in the Early Commonwealth

Historic St. Luke's in Smithfield is proud to present the first of a two part series on religion in Colonial Virginia. Part 1, on June 13 at 7 p.m., is presented by local author and church historian Tony Williams. Mr. Williams will present on the role of the Church of England in 17th-century Virginia and will be available for selling and autographing several of his books and taking and addressing questions from guests.

Part 2 will take place in September 2015 by guest presenter Dr. Jeffry Morrison, Ph.D., a distinguished professor at Regent University and Georgetown University and the Director of Academics at the James Madison Foundation, who will discuss "Revolution in the Revolution".

Seating is limited in the Church make your reservation today. Registration is $35 for individuals or $50 for couples. Registration closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12. All current members of Historic St. Luke's at the Friend level or above are welcomed as complimentary guests to this and future opportunities. If you are a member at the Friend ($100) or Patron ($150) level please call us to register or email our development coordinator Laura at If not already a member, join us today; become a member at the Friend or Patron level, and attend this special event as a complimentary guest.

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

St. Paul's, Petersburg
O Gracious Father, who so lavishly welcomed the prodigal son:  Increase in us the gifts of hospitality, that we may become ever more responsive to the stranger in our midst, to those who have found a spiritual home amongst us, and to all those whom you love; through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
Loving and Eternal God, you have granted this parish the privilege of a continual presence to glorify you in our structure for three hundred years. As we honor this milestone, open our hearts to the future needs of our community and beyond, that we might be faithful witnesses to the truth of your Gospel and practitioners of our faith, for your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Advancing to General Convention 2015

Bishop Hollerith and a deputation from Diocese of Southern Virginia will head to Salt Lake City, UT, June 25 - July 3 to take part in the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Over the next few weeks, we'll be giving you some background on General Convention, explain how it works, and introduce our deputation. You can find lots of information about General Convention and follow the action in Salt Lake City on our General Convention blog and the diocesan Facebook page.  
General Convention goes green: 2015 to be a convention of screens

It won't be 'business as usual' for the 78th General Convention, and not just because the Church will be selecting a Presiding Bishop and considering what a 're-imagined' Church might be. "It will also be the gathering of a Church dedicated to continuing to reducing its carbon footprint, while using innovative software and technology to streamline its legislative work and improve on its efficiencies," said the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of the General Convention.

The Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements and the General Convention Office are focusing on efforts to make GC 2015 as paperless as possible, and to reduce reliance on paper copies and improve legislative efficiencies.

The Rev. David Michaud, Diocese of Easton and advisor in the revision of legislative software and systems, calls GC 2015 a "convention of screens".  To that end, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and video monitors will be the primary media of legislative materials, and for the first time, there will be no large, dedicated print shop. This "convention of screens" will be made possible by a robust Wi-Fi system, which will be available for the first time on the floors of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops.

Barlowe terms these efforts "the greening and screening" of General Convention, and says this "represents but two aspects of the adaptive changes that will make GC 2015 different from previous conventions."

Monday, June 1, 2015

Diocesan office moving on June 8

11827 Canon Blvd., Suite 101
Newport News, VA 23606-3071
We are very pleased to announce that on June 8, the Diocesan office will move to a new leased space in the heart of Newport News' City Center business district. The new office has been designed specifically to suit our needs. It is easily accessible from Interstate 64 and there is free parking in an adjoining parking garage.

Email addresses and phone numbers will not change and you can find a list of those  here. Please begin using the new mailing address listed above on June 8.
You can follow the progress of our move on our Facebook page.

Once the move to our new location is complete, we look forward to hosting an open house for our Diocesan family. Watch for your invitation!

Praying for the churches of Southern Virginia

As part of our liturgy at Annual Council 2015, each delegation wrote a prayer for their parish. We are sharing these prayers each week in the eNews so that we all can support one another in the upcoming year.

St. Paul's, Norfolk
Dear God, please guide us as we discern your will during our sabbatical year at St. Paul's Norfolk. We ask this in your Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach
God, you have blessed us with the greatest gift possible, your only beloved Son, we come to you once again with thanksgivings and requests, not only for ourselves but for others. We pray that during 2015 we may live out the Good Samaritan purpose for which we were named: To continue to attract, welcome and receive all persons, especially those with intellectual and physical limitations. We pray that the Family Life Center, which you have given us, will be completed and become a resource in our community to enable our neighbors to live in safety and security, without fear or want. May the Center be a place that reveals your love in our community. We pray that you will enable us to carry out our lay ministries, including worship, music and teaching. We want to care for ourselves and each other so that every person sees Christ in us and believes all things are possible with your help. We especially ask that those we meet will see and believe they can accept your Son as their Savior and live out your plan for their lives. Help us to continue to proclaim that we are your church and that you, our God, are working through us. We ask these things through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Center for Spiritual Recovery to host "Sundays at 7" throughout the summer

The Center for Spiritual Recovery, a SpiritWorks Foundation Community, will host Sundays at 7 each summer Sunday from June 7 through August 30 at 7 pm at the SpiritWorks Pavilion. We will gather to bear witness to the disease of addiction in all its forms, to pray for healing and reconciliation, and to celebrate the joy of recovery. Ice cream sundaes will follow the service that will include prayers, song, and meditation/reflections. All are welcome to join us. The SpiritWorks Pavilion is located behind the green house at 5800 Mooretown Rd. in Williamsburg. Please contact the Rev. Lauren McDonald at 757-903-0000 for more information. Click here for an event flyer you can share.