Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Latino Ministries enters a new era

Signaling a clear commitment to the growth of Latino ministries in our diocese, the Executive Board recently approved calling Angelica Garcia-Randle to a part-time, contracted position as Latino Ministries Coordinator for the Eastern Shore. The move represents a critical step toward strengthening Latino ministries throughout Southern Virginia by capitalizing on efforts already underway on the Eastern Shore. The Mission Network and Congregational Vitality ministries, under the direction of Bishop Hollerith, are seeking to develop ministry with the growing Latino population in Southern Virginia.

Ms. Garcia-Randle is a native of Los Angeles, CA and the daughter of immigrants to the United States. Her mother emigrated from El Salvador and her father comes from a small village in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Angelica, who is fluent in written and spoken Spanish, moved to Virginia from Southern California in 2011 when her husband, The Rev. Cameron Randle, was called as rector of St. James, Accomac and St. George’s, Pungoteague. Together, the Garcia-Randles have pioneered Latino and Food Justice ministries in Southern Virginia.

Angelica is Director of Dos Santos Food Pantry, a ministry of the churches of St. George’s Parish. Dos Santos (two saints) is a partner agency of the Foodbank of Southeast Virginia and the Eastern Shore and the only Spanish-speaking pantry in the region. The outreach serves a sizable migrant farmworker and Latino immigrant community by providing staple foods such as corn flour for tortillas, rice, beans, poultry and fresh
vegetables, along with clothing and personal hygiene items.

In the past year, Dos Santos has expanded to include an organic community garden to help supply the pantry and a vibrant new tutoring program for children of Latino immigrant parents in two key Accomack County public elementary schools. A mobile version of the pantry also distributes food and other necessities in trailer parks and migrant camps.

A marketing professional with photography and graphic design experience, Angelica has studied at the Paeir College of Art in Hamden, CT and The Rhode Island School of Design. She is presently working toward a degree in Applied Design with a concentration in Photography at The University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, MD. She is a liaison to the Migrant Services Council of the Eastern Shore and has served on the board of Boys & Girls Club (Eastern Shore Unit), United Way and Una Familia, a tutoring program of the United Methodist Church in partnership with Dos Santos tutoring.

“I am honored to be able to help people in need and to contribute to cultural awareness on a broader level,” she explains.

In her new diocesan role, Angelica will make available resources and information for parishes and parish leaders drawn to establishing or cultivating Latino ministries. This includes cultural education and information exchange across the diocese through workshops, site visits, etc. A seven-member Advisory Board for Episcopal Latino Ministries was recently formed to provide oversight and create benchmarks and goals for the venture.

“Latino ministry has been part of Bishop Hollerith’s vision since the beginning of his episcopate, and the Eastern Shore, with the largest percentage of Latino population is the logical place to begin our concentrated efforts,” said the Rev. Canon Jeunee Godsey, Diocese of Southern Virginia’s Canon for Congregational Development.  “Angelica’s work incorporates what we learned through the Hispanic Ministry Conference last spring, and I believe we will see much spiritual fruit from this investment of our Mission and Ministry grant funds to support this venture. Our diocese is blessed to have Angelica offer her skills, gifts, and experience not only to grow the Latino ministry on the Eastern Shore, but also to serve as a resource to explore and expand Latino ministries throughout the diocese.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

Pre-Council Convocation Meetings

Location, date and time of each Pre-Council Convocation meeting will be posted on the Annual Council page of our website as they are received.

Convocation 1 - Sunday, January 17, 5 pm at St. James', Accomac
Convocation 2 - TBA
Convocation 3 - Sunday, January 31, 2 pm at St. Andrew's, Norfolk
Convocation 4 - Wednesday, January 27, 7 pm at St. Paul's, Suffolk
Convocation 5 - Wednesday, January 20, 7 pm at Bruton, Williamsburg
Convocation 6 - TBA
Convocation 7 - Wednesday, January 20, 7 pm at St. David's, North Chesterfield
Convocation 8 - TBA
Convocation 9 - TBA

Registration open for Happening #64

Happening is an experiential weekend retreat developed by teens for teens. Come and see what it's like to be transformed by God's love!

Happening #64 will be March 11-13 at Chanco on the James. It is open to all youth in grades 10-12 and adults who have never attended a Happening program. Cost to attend is $165. Please register no later than Friday, Feb. 26 so we can prepare for you.

Click here for more information and registration.

Save a date: 2016 Vestry Training Days

Healthy, skilled vestries who understand their role in the life of the church and their relationship to the clergy and congregation are essential in creating and maintaining vital congregations.  
These workshops are designed for all vestry members, and will include: Presentations on the role and duties of the vestry; Best practices; Opportunities to have conversations with other vestry members; Discussion of common challenges that vestries face.
In 2016, we will be hosting three events:
  • February 13 at St. John's, Halifax - Anyone is welcome, but this will be focused on the churches of Convocations 8 & 9, as their context is somewhat different from parishes in other parts of our diocese.
  • February 20 at Good Shepherd, Norfolk
  • February 27 at St. David's, Chesterfield - At this session there will be a concurrent workshop for new senior wardens with the Bishop.
Further details and registration will follow in January, but please save one of these dates to join us, along with your fellow vestry members. Spread the word!

Radical Sending: Go to Love and Serve

As congregations explore their emerging visions, they need support in "equipping the saints" for their day-to-day lives and ministries beyond the doors of the building. The Dismissal - "go in peace, to love and serve the Lord" - becomes as important as the Eucharist in feeding the people for the journey. But churches often fail to focus on this baptismal calling to "go" into the worlds of work, family, and community. This book fills that void, focusing on how the baptized become "go-ers," providing practical and tested ways of fulfilling that calling.
* Core resource for discernment in living out baptismal promises
* Empowers the laity for their ministries beyond the church doors
* Study questions for small group discussion or individual reflection concludes each chapter.
Radical Sending: Go to Love and Serve builds on and complements the work of Stephanie Spellers' Radical Welcome, which called congregations to move beyond diversity and inclusion to be places where the transforming gifts, voices, and power of marginalized cultures and groups bring new life to the mainline church. Each chapter is followed by discussion questions for use with small groups or for personal reflection.
Author Fletcher Lowe has been a parish priest for 37 years and has served parishes in the Dioceses of Southern Virginia and Virginia. He has a passion for empowering the laity for their ministries in daily life. He is the co-editor of Ministry in Daily Life, Living the Baptismal Covenant and he compiled Baptism: the Event and the Adventure. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

First Holiday Lock-In at Chanco a great success

Last weekend, 35 registrants participated in the first ever Holiday Lock-In for teens in grades 6-12 at Chanco. Beginning with icebreakers, followed by Eucharist, and finally a massive dance party on Friday night, the weekend continued with more games, discussions, worship and outdoor recreation on Saturday. Teens brought their sleeping bags and camped out overnight in Conference Rooms C and D. The fee to attend was just $15 along with a donation of canned goods. The donations from the youth were generous and will go to support the food pantry at St. Paul's, Newport News. We were blessed mild and sunny weather for the event, so we were able to enjoy a little gaga and a walk down to the dock. Initial feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, and they all said they would like to see us host more of these relaxed, affordable, short-term programs. So be on the lookout for another lock-in soon!

Registration open for 124th Annual Council, Feb 5-6, 2016

Continuing the Sacred Conversation:Racial Justice and the Role of the Church

Registration is now open for the 124th Annual Council of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, February 5-6, 2016 at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center.

Our keynote speaker this year is the Very Rev. Mike Kinman, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, MO. Kinman will make two presentations, "#Ferguson Theology" and "Sacred Conversations About Race and Class, Power and Protest".

Preacher at the Council Eucharist will be The Rev. Canon Dr. Sandye A. Wilson, rector of St. Andrew and Holy Communion Episcopal Church in South Orange, New Jersey.

Click here for more information about Council, including registration and lodging, Youth Delegation application, Communicator Credentials, and nominations for elections. 

Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group to meet Dec. 17 at Diocesan office

Take a break from your busy end of year work and join other parish administrators and treasurers to talk about common issues - including financial management, administration, communications, and much more. We'll be meeting on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Diocesan office (11827 Canon Blvd., Suite 101, Newport News). 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 Nancy James, njames@diosova.org.

Episcopal Church Foundation spotlights Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Groups on their blog

The monthly Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group was featured on Episcopal Church Foundation's Vital Practices blog in November. The lunches are a wonderful opportunity to meet with other parish administrators and treasurers to talk about common issues. There's no agenda for this gathering - just an opportunity to get together, share, encourage, support, and ask questions. Currently, the lunches alternate monthly between the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area and the Peninsula. If you're interested in attending or hosting a gathering, contact Comptroller Nancy James, njames@diosova.org.

Stitchers benefits Jackson-Feild's children

Jim Otto, project coordinator; Tod Balsbaugh, VP of Advancement for Jackson-Feild, and Tom Foster with one of the quilts. 
Stitchers for a Cause, a Glen Allen based organization, prepared 50 quilts to be given to the residents of Jackson-Feild Homes for Christmas. The group meets every Thursday at Glen Allen Church of Christ in Richmond. These talented quilters have been using their talents and skills for the past eight years to help needy and deserving groups and individuals to improve their quality of Life.
Jim Otto, coordinator, and his wonderful volunteers have been making quilts, bags for walkers and wheel chairs and other specialty items for non-profit organizations. They also make items to be raffled to raise funds for needy individuals who have acute medical needs. They have donated over 2,648 quilts, 1,034 pillow cases, 3,067 wheel chair bags and 5,883 other kind of items sewing only one day a week.
For many of the residents Christmas is a very difficult time of year filled with bad and sad memories. They look longingly at other children who have happy and cherished Christmas memories. They don't want to get their hopes up for fear of another letdown....another day to hide their deep disappointment.
The quilts donated by Stitchers for a Cause will help the children feel valued and appreciated and make this Christmas a season they will cherish for a lifetime.

Reverse Advent Calendar, online resources and webinar

Here's an idea for a different kind of Advent calendar - a Reverse Advent Calendar. Here's the idea - find two empty wine boxes and keep them in your kitchen or pantry, somewhere where they will be at the front of mind. Starting December 1, place a non-perishable food item into one of the 24 compartments each day. Once the boxes are full, donate them to your local food bank.

#AdventWord 2015 - Participate in Society of Saint John the Evangelist's Advent calendar. Respond to a daily meditation with images and prayers that speak to your heart and be part of a global Advent calendar that brings people from around the world together.

Episcopal Church Foundation has collected links to lots of free Advent resources, including calendars and devotions; Advent wreaths and activities; St. Nicholas Day; and preparing for Christmas visitors at your church, and lots more.

Click here for an Advent toolkit that you can use to bring your community together in support of Episcopal Relief & Development.

ChurchNext has just launched a new online offering - Advent: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Bishop Susan Goff of the Diocese of Virginia offers a deeply inspiring class that's available for individuals, or groups. Watch a preview here

News from Mission of the Holy Spirit

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

As we prepare for the holiday season I would like to take a moment to remind you that many families depend on the generosity of individuals like yourselves to ensure that their family has a blessed holiday session.
Each year our challenges are increased due to the ever-growing needs of others. The generosity of churches and individuals like you has allowed us to serve numerous families. This year we have seen great changes and have enjoyed the growth of our members in the following ways: Currently our Sunday service has a Eucharistic presence on the second and fourth Sunday, we now have a number of parents who attend weekly and actively participate in the worship experience alongside their children. This helps to create a stable environment both at the Mission and in their homes. Our enrichment program has assisted many of our youth to achieve academic success. We continue to offer support to our college students and are excited about the members who will graduate this May. We have another exciting year of health and wellness with nursing interns from ODU here to assist our members and encourage healthy life choices for our children, adolescents, and adults.
Overall we are doing well, but there is a continued need for funding and the development of continued resources for the Mission. Remember that people tend to give to the organizations they know and trust, so this is why I'm sharing our successes and educating you about the needs we strive to meet.
While I am grateful for the support of all the Individuals and churches, we especially need your continued support for the following:
  • Groups and individuals to assist with donations for Christmas gifts for the children and Christmas food baskets
  • Volunteers to assist with enrichment and other programs
  • Volunteers who can help coordinate regular fundraising activities
  • Volunteer who wish to become members of our board
As we work to leave the hardships of our past behind us and live in the present, we must keep looking toward the future. Remember: "He who is not courageous enough to take risk will accomplish nothing in life." --Muhammad Ali

For more information or to volunteer, contact the Mission at 757-858-0010 or info@MissionoftheHolySpirit.orgClick here for the Fall 2015 newsletter.