Thursday, January 28, 2016

Deacons in Southern Virginia unite to support refugees in crisis - how you can help

Deacons in Southern Virginia are raising funds for refugee. Your donation will help refugees forced to flee from conflict or natural disaster. At work in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, the International Rescue Committee leads refugees in their journey from harm to home and supports their efforts to rebuild their lives.

Funds raised in this campaign will go to the IRC in Charlottesville and the newest office in Richmond. They will be used for resettlement, education, language skills and health.

Each year, thousands of refugees are invited by the U.S. government to seek safety and freedom. Forced to flee conflict or persecution, many have survived for years against incredible odds. They step off the plane with next to nothing but their dignity, hope and determination. In Charlottesville, Richmond and many other regional offices across the country, the IRC helps them rebuild their lives.

To learn more and how you can help, go to

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Resources to help you keep a holy Lent

Growing a Rule of Life is this year's Lenten offering from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. This series uses a tool from monastic spirituality called a 'Rule of Life' to explore and cultivate our relationships with God, Self, Others, and Creation.  
Episcopal Relief & Development offers a 2016 Lenten Meditations guide. Available in English and Spanish, this year's devotional focuses on creating economic opportunities and strengthening communities, with a particular focus on empowering women.
d365 Daily Devotionalis written especially for students and seeks to provide reflections on themes that impact our faith journey. Although devotions are available every day of the year, they offer a special series for Lent. For iPhone and iPad users, there's a handy d365 app.
Lent Madness is back again!
The format is straightforward: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as they offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.

Praying in Color - For fans of Sybil MacBeth's Praying in Color, she offers several free Lenten Calendar templates. She say, "On the calendar template I choose a word or name for each day, write the word in a space, and draw or doodle around it. I think of each mark or stroke of color as a wordless prayer. This process can take three minutes or thirty. Each day is different. I love the accumulation of words or peoples' names in a visual tapestry." 
Christ Walk is a 40 day program that combines spiritual and physical fitness by Anna Fitch Courie, an Episcopalian formerly residing here in Southern Virginia.
ChurchNext is offering a complete free Lenten curriculum. The first of the five courses is "Spirituality and Racial Justice" led by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Learn about the spiritual dimensions and responsibilities inherent in building racial justice.
Forward Movement offers very inexpensive devotionals for Lent, including "Meeting Jesus on the Margins" and "Lent is Not Rocket Science".
Church Publishing has a nice selection of Lenten reading materials for adults, children and families, including "Love Life Live Lent: Be the Change!", "Under the Fig Tree: Visual Prayers and Poems for Lent", and "What We Do in Lent: A Child's Activity Book".

The power of Mission Insite demographic research tool

By The Rev. Fletcher Wells, St. Thomas', Chesapeake
Did you know that our diocese provides a demographic research tool that allows each parish to know the demographic information of the population in their area?  Said more plainly, we have the ability to know what the spending habits, hopes and dreams, psychology, and even struggles are of the people in and around our churches.

Demographic reports that would cost $250 to $1000 are provided free through Mission Insite to each congregation through our subscription.
Although churches may have an unlimited number of people sign up to use the service, this tool is underutilized. Although over 50 churches have signed up, only 28 people utilized the tool over the last year. The diocese is considering  whether to renew the contract. I think it's a valuable tool.  
As part of a course with Dwight Zscheile, a past speaker at Diocesan Annual Council, I was able to do all of my demographic research for a paper describing Chesapeake and the people who live in the area. This program allowed me to see what the people in may immediate area did for a living, how they spent their money, and even infer what needs and concerns they faced. The data collected changed my preaching, changed ministry focuses for the church and helped us to help our community.  
As the landscape of the church continues to change, how we do ministry and attract others to our ministry will necessarily change as well. For instance, the time when creating programs for people to take part in simply does not work any longer because folks do not attend church in the ways or in the masses that they used to.  
But there is a way for us to continue to grow as individual churches, as dioceses, and as a national church and that is to, in the words of our presiding bishop and primate, be the Episcopal manifestation of Jesus in our neighborhood.  In order to be that, we have gotta get out into our neighborhoods!  
Mission Insite helps us to do just that: get out into our neighborhood.  Have you wondered how you might find a niche in outreach?  The mosaic indicator (a program in Mission Insite that tells about who people are) will disclose those types of challenges.  Perhaps you wonder what people struggle with; for instance, in my own ministry neighborhood we found out that people struggle with debt.  We created a forum around finances and it is still one of the best attended events put on by our church.  Now imagine if we had created this for our community, meeting them where they are.  
I would like to invite and encourage all parishes to checkout this helpful tool here.  Look at how it can help you find how your great work can meet your communities deep need. Use Mission Insite to create new and wonderful ways to seek Jesus in the neighborhood.  Who knows, you might even find ways to grow with the people around you and grow your church in the process.

Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services welcomes Dr. J. Michael Griffin

Jackson-Feild is pleased to announce that Dr. J. Michael Griffin, PhD. has joined its clinical staff.
Dr Griffin is a licensed psychologist and is Board Certified in EEG Biofeedback (Neurofeedback).
Dr. Griffin has special interest in attention and memory issues of children, adolescents and adults. As a survivor of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), he is accomplished in the assessment and treatment of patients who have experienced TBI and/or attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities.
In his treatment of boys and girls who are severely emotionally impaired, Dr. Griffin utilizes biofeedback to help his patients understand the complexity of their disorders and how to function successfully while managing them.
Dr. Griffin received a B.S. in Biology from Guilford College, an M.A. in Biology from Western Carolina University, an M.A. in Psychology from North Carolina Central University, a doctorate in education (Ed.D) from the University of Sarasota, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Walden University.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bishop Hollerith on the outcome of the Anglican Primates' meeting

As you may already know, the Anglican Primates, meeting in Canterbury, England, voted to suspend The Episcopal Church from decision-making and interfaith bodies of the Anglican Communion for three years. The suspension is a direct response to The Episcopal Church's decision at General Convention last year to authorize marriage of same-sex couples.
My initial reaction to the agreement was one of surprise, followed by disappointment. I'm particularly disappointed that our new Presiding Bishop, who was present at the meeting,  was forced to endure what was most certainly a difficult and painful experience. I ask that you keep Michael in your prayers.
Despite what you are hearing from the media, The Episcopal Church has not been removed from the Anglican Communion. While we have been censured, the primate's  recent decision also confirms the Communion's "unanimous commitment to walk together".

From my perspective, this recent decision should not in any way seriously impact the mission and ministry of the greater Episcopal Church. It certainly should not affect our ministry here in Southern Virginia.
In closing, let me say that I find myself agreeing with Bishop Curry's hopeful statement that this recent turn of events is perhaps part of our calling to lead the Communion in its becoming a church where all God's children are fully welcomed. Please pray for The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion as we continue to walk together in spite of our differences.

+H. Hollerith 

Read the statement from the Primates here.

Read Episcopal News Service story here.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on the actions at the Anglican Primates Meeting

"We are part of the Jesus Movement, and the cause of God's love in this world can never stop and will never be defeated."  

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry has issued a video statement concerning the actions of the Anglican Primates at the meeting in Canterbury, England. Click here to watch (and read) Bishop Curry's statement.

Trinity Institute webcast cancelled, to be re-scheduled

After much thought and consideration, we have decided to cancel the Trinity Institute live webcast Jan. 21-23.  Weather reports are calling for "significant" snow north and west of Williamsburg and a possible "wintry mix" on the lower Peninsula.  Our desire is to have a full, meaningful engagement around the topic of racism, and uncertain weather provides a distraction.
We will show the entire Trinity Institute broadcast at a later date in parishes in Newport News, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and possibly the Richmond area within the next few months.  While this will not be a live telecast, it will give us an opportunity to hear all speakers and presentations in their entirety and to engage in dialogue with other participants at these locations.  The dates for these events will be publicized very soon and we hope that you will be able to join us at one of these events.

Ecumenical Biblical Storytelling workshop Jan. 30

Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach, will host an Ecumenical Biblical Storytelling workshop on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to noon. This is an interactive workshop which will cover how to prepare, deliver and share biblical stories. The workshop is free, bu you should register by emailing Good Samaritan is located at 848 Baker Road, Virginia Beach. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Angelica Garcia-Randle named Missioner for Latino Ministries for the Eastern Shore

Congratulations to Angelica Garcia-Randle on being named Diocesan Missioner for Latino Ministries for the Eastern Shore. In her new 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.
"I'm incredibly honored and grateful to be doing this work that I'm so passionate about," Angelica says. "Serving the Eastern Shore Latino community and growing the mission in Southern Virginia is a dream come true. I'm thankful to so many people that have supported this ministry along the way."
For more information on the work of this ministry, visit

Celebrating Absalom Jones and James Solomon Russell

The Union Of Black Episcopalians will celebrate Absalom Jones day on Sunday, February 28, at 4 p.m. at St. Paul's Chapel on the campus of St Paul's College in Lawrenceville. They will also celebrate James Solomon Russell at the same service. A reception will follow the service.

Congregations across Southern Virginia - including choirs and acolytes - are invited to participate in this service. For more information about the service and how your congregation can participate, call David Flores at 757-466-1991 or the Rev. Joseph Green at 757-461-3864. 

New Safe Church training classes scheduled

Safe Church training is available in both classroom and online formats. Based on the positive training evaluations received from participants, we strongly recommend that all first-time users complete a live classroom training. The collaborative learning, and question and answer period are invaluable in evaluating individual parish needs. Upcoming classroom training:
  • Jan. 23 - Johns Memorial, Farmville
  • Feb. 27 - Good Shepherd, Richmond
  • Mar. 19 - St. John's, Hopewell
  • Apr. 2 - Emmanuel, Franklin
  • Apr. 9 - St. Matthias', Midlothian
  • Apr. 23 - Hickory Neck, Toano
  • May 21 - St. Christopher's, Portsmouth
  • Jun. 18 - Good Shepherd, Norfolk
Click here for more upcoming classes, information about Safe Church training and to register for an upcoming class or for online training. 

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Clay Riley will leave St. Martin's, Williamsburg, for a call in another diocese, 1/23/2016  

Jackson-Feild's children express thanks

Every year, Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services conducts a "Sponsor-a-Child for Christmas" program to raise funds for gifts, special meals, outings and activities during the Christmas holidays and throughout the year.
The children want to thank the churches and church groups of the Diocese of Southern Virginia for their generosity and kindness in providing gifts and opportunities during the Christmas holidays.
Wayne, 13, commented that last year "I received a pair of socks. It was bad because I watched everyone else open gifts and I got only socks. This year I am blessed that I spent my Christmas as Jackson-Feild. I had the best Christmas ever!"
The staff also thanks the churches, ECW's, youth groups and parishioners for making Christmas wishes come true for the children in their care.

Theological education scholarships available

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation's 2016-2017 theological scholarship application is due April 1, 2016. Students may visit our website at to view the list of available scholarships and follow the steps for applying through our online application  process. Applicants should be native or long-time residents of the specified geographic areas rather than those temporarily living in the area to attend school. 
  • Barron F. Black Theological Scholarship
    - For students at Virginia Theological Seminary (Alexandria, VA) who are candidates for the ministry. Students must be residents of the geographic region served by the Diocese of Southern Virginia.
  •  Richard D. and Sheppard R. Cooke Memorial Scholarship - For students from Hampton Roads attending Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond who are candidates for the ministry. Preference will be given to students from Norfolk churches within the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia.
  • William F. Miles - For a student from Hampton Roads who is preparing for leadership in a field of religious service.
  • Reverend Doctor Joyce G. Moss Theologian Scholarship- For students attending Richmond Virginia Seminary or Regent University School of Divinity with the intent of pursuing a full-time career in Christian ministry.  Preference will be given to full-time graduate students who have at least a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Hy Smith Endowment Fund- For students at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria who are candidates for the ministry. Students must be residents of the geographic region served by the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

News from Chanco on the James

Camp staff applications being accepted - apply today!

The 2015 camp staff enjoyed their annual staff reunion earlier this month and many have handed in applications to work again this coming summer. Executive Director Gareth Kalfas is currently accepting camp staff applications and preference is given to those who apply early. So don't wait to apply to be on our 2016 summer camp staff! Ask anyone who has ever worked at Chanco and they will tell you it is more than a job, it is a family. If you enjoy the outdoors, working with young people in Christian community and have abundant patience, flexibility and humor, we are looking for you! More information can be found here  and you may click here for a camp staff application. Questions? Contact Gareth at 888-7CHANCO (888-724-2626) or

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on the sixth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry released the following statement on Tuesday, January 12 regarding the sixth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti:
Six years ago today, a tremendous earthquake of historic magnitude shattered the lives of Haitian mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Their cries of lamentation echoed across Haiti even as the aftershocks continued to rock Port-au-Prince and the surrounding countryside. Haiti, the poorest state in the Western Hemisphere, is also the island-home of a branch of The Episcopal Church. More Episcopal souls live and breathe in the Diocese of Haiti than in any other diocese in the world, and on this day, we stand in solidarity and solemn remembrance with Haitians everywhere. Click here to continue reading.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Celebration of New Ministry

A Celebration of New Ministry for Ascension, Norfolk, and the Rev. Stewart Mason Tabb will be held Tuesday, January 12 at 7 p.m. Bishop Hollerith will celebrate. A reception will follow the service. Clergy: green stoles. 

Safe Church tip of the month and upcoming training

Ensure your staff are aware that they have a legal and ethical duty to report suspected abuse. Also create a policy that requires employees and volunteers to report red flag behaviors to supervisors. Consider creating an incident report form and chain of command that ensures you are responding swiftly and effectively, even if the incident does not rise to the level of abuse.

We offer both live classroom training and online training. Based on the positive training evaluations received from participants, we strongly recommend that all first-time users complete a live classroom training. The collaborative learning, and question and answer period are invaluable in evaluating individual parish needs. Upcoming classroom training:

  • Jan. 23 - Johns Memorial, Farmville
  • Feb. 27 - Good Shepherd, Richmond
  • Mar. 19 - St. John's, Hopewell
  • Apr. 23 - Hickory Neck, Toano
Click here for more information about Safe Church training and to register for an upcoming class or for online training. 

New online courses for individuals and groups from ChurchNext

ChurchNext is an online resource that lets you learn from expert teachers in Scripture, liturgy, and important Christian topics. Students can interact in a safe, online environment that's convenient, engaging, and affordable. ChurchNext has several new online courses suitable for individual or group study:

FREE for 2016: A Sermon Every Sunday

"A Sermon Every Sunday" will be Free for 2016.  You have access to these lectionary based sermons by the best preachers in America like Michael Curry, Will Willimon, Lauren Winner, and Brian McLaren. These sermons can be used in churches without regular clergy, for adult forums and bible studies, or as part of your personal spiritual development. Go to