Tuesday, March 29, 2016

May Weekend now open to grades 6 through 12!

May Weekend 2016: We Are All God's Children, is a weekend retreat for all teens in grades 6-12 sponsored by the Episcopal Youth Community Board. It will be held May 20-22 at Chanco on the James. Check-in is 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday and departure is 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Throughout the weekend, teens will participate in large group program blocks, where they will hear talks by EYC Board members, as well as small groups, where they will have opportunities for discussion and activities. The weekend also features the full cycle of daily prayer and worship with fantastic music.  Click here for more information and online registration.

EYC Board election 
Rising 10th through 12th graders are invited to run for election to the EYC Board. If you are interested, please bring the application with you to the weekend. 

Bishop Vaché Scholarship applications due June 30

The Bishop Vaché Scholarships provide funds to assist low-income and minority college students in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. First-year students as well as returning college students are welcome to apply. Scholarship awards range from $1000 to $5000 per academic year. Applications must be postmarked by June 30, 2016. Notifications will go out by July 15, 2016 and awards will be made by August 1, 2016. Click here for an application form. 

Easter message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

"This world does not need another fairy tale," Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Easter 2016 Message. "This week's story of crucifixion and resurrection is not a fairy tale."

I actually love fairy tales and I used to enjoy reading them to our children when they were young and little.  Now to be sure those were the more sanitized fairy tales but there was something good about them, a way of confronting what was tough in life with genuine hope.  But they were fairy tales.
This week called Holy Week, the remembrance of Jesus entering Jerusalem and offering His life in the ultimate act of sacrificial love.  Good Friday, the experience of betrayal, the experience of friends abandoning you, the experience of injustice and wrong, criminal self-centered conspiracies.  And then beyond that Holy Week, the resurrection from the dead. This is not a fairy tale.
The truth is even as we speak this Holy Week, we do so not only in the shadow of the cross but we do so in the shadow of those who have been killed in Brussels, of those who have been wounded and maimed, of those who weep and mourn.  And of a world mourning, and not too sure how to move forward.  And this world does not need another fairy tale. This week's story of crucifixion and resurrection is not a fairy tale. Click here to continue reading.

Click here to watch video of Bishop Curry's message.

Monday, March 21, 2016

GO (Gwaltney Online) gives Jackson-Feild students the opportunity to complete their education

Gwaltney School students at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services who are discharged from Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health services prior to earning their high school diploma or GED certificate now have the opportunity to complete their education through our new GO - Gwaltney Online - program.
Students at Gwaltney School are enrolled and withdrawn according to their individual situation. They often arrive - or leave - in the middle of a semester. For students nearing the age at which they may no longer attend high school, such interruptions can be damaging to their ability and desire to complete their education.
Dr. Bowling, Director of Education, and Ms. Denise Moss, Individual Student Alternative Education Coordinator, developed GO. Using the web-based curriculum called Odysseyware, students who have left Jackson-Feild may take elective subjects and GED preparation courses. We mail textbooks and educational materials to participating students, and - through Odysseyware - follow their progress on a daily basis. Ms. Moss is available via telephone to provide assistance as needed to help students understand and complete the course assignments. When a student has completed the online GED prep course and is ready to take the test, Ms. Moss makes the arrangements for the student to take the test in his or her home locality.
As of press time, five students have earned their GED certificate by participating in GO. This innovative approach is only one of our many commitments to our students. By completing their education through GO, our students are able to go out into the world and live independent, successful lives.

Monday, March 14, 2016

ECW will gift Boys Home and Jackson-Feild Home grads

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

In June, Boys Home of Virginia and Jackson-Feild Homes graduates will be the first to receive graduation gifts from the Episcopal Church Women in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.
"The ECW's Graduation Gift Fund, part two of our 2015-2016 outreach project, God Bless the Children, will help the graduates as they begin a new phase of their lives," said Nancy Sands, Diocesan ECW President. "Please help the ECW Graduation Gift Fund grow."
Contributions received through May 27 will be used to gift the graduates this year. The amount of each gift will be based on the funds collected and the number of graduates.   This year a total of thirteen students are expected to graduate from the Boys Home and Jackson-Field. The number of graduates varies each year.
"We've averaged about six graduates a year over the last six years," said Megan-Drew Tiller, Church Relations, Boys Home of Virginia. "This year, we're expecting nine!"
"The past five years we have had between four and twelve Gwaltney School graduates, with the average being four to seven," said Ann Chaffins, Vice President of Advancement, Jackson-Feild Homes. "This number remains fluid until we get closer to graduation day, June 10, 2016. Currently, we anticipate having four graduates who have earned their GEDs."
Like most high school graduates, Boys Home and Jackson-Feild graduates chose a variety of paths to follow from attending college to joining a military service. This year most of the graduates are planning a career in a technical field or they will enter the workforce. A new Center for Applied Trades, opened recently at the Boys Home and led by an alum and his wife, offers graduates training to be certified in trades such as welding and plumbing. At Jackson-Feild vocational programs at the Gwaltney School prepare graduates to enter the workforce with certification in fields such as home health care, food preparation and cake decorating.

Tri Diocesan Council on Aging Fall Camp Oct. 24-27

Keynote speaker will be The Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton
Fall Camp - Oct. 24-27 at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, VA - is an opportunity to spend time in the mountains of Virginia with other seniors (but we don't have an age limit) from across the Commonwealth and from other states. The Camp is an attempt to take seriously the spiritual needs and journeys of primarily retired people. We attempt to challenge participants through keynote speakers, workshops, worship and interaction with one another. We worship together in daily sessions, explore various issues, and participate in one or two session workshops (each session is an hour and a half) on a variety of topics. A social "half-hour" is held before dinner with appetizers provided by a different diocese each evening. In addition to the scheduled activities, there is plenty of time to sit on the porches, visit with friends, relax, and enjoy the amazing scenery and to explore the surrounding area.  Click here for more information and registration.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Absalom Jones, James Solomon Russell joint celebration held

By James Grimstead

Absalom Jones
Nearly two-hundred people joined in Sunday, February 28, at Saint Paul’s Memorial Chapel, Lawrenceville, to celebrate the life and legacy two great pioneers, Absalom Jones and James Solomon Russell, who fought vigorously for religious liberty for all people. 

Absalom Jones, born a slavery in Delaware in 1746, taught himself to read from the New Testament and others books.  At sixteen he was sold to a Philadelphia Quaker store owner and there he attended a school for Blacks. At twenty, he married another slave, and purchased her freedom with his earnings.  He later in 1784 purchased his own freedom. 

He endured much hardship and discrimination in his early experiences at Saint George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. After being told to move from the sanctuary up to the balcony he and his friend Richard Allen became infuriated  and moved their group out of this church and proceeded to form their own parishes.  His new parish, Saint Thomas African Episcopal Church, applied for membership in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, with conditions, and  was admitted in 1794.  Bishop White ordained Absalom Jones as a deacon in 1795 and as a priest in 1802.

Absalom Jones was an earnest preacher and denounced slavery and warned oppressors to clean their hands of slaves. To him, God was the Father, who always acted on behalf of the oppressed and the distressed. His mild manner made him beloved by his own flock and by the community. His church grew to over 500 members during its first year. Known as the Black Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Jones was an example of persistent faith in God and in the Church as God’s instrument.

James Solomon Russell was also born into slavery in 1857 on the Hendrick plantation in Virginia. His father worked on a plantation in another county so his mother raised him until after the Civil War when his father was allowed to join the family.  Life was grueling for Russell and his family as they struggled to run a small farm in Palmer Springs, VA.  He was a committed worker and had a strong desire for learning and with the support of his parents and community he prepared himself to enter Hampton Institute. Finances were difficult which caused him to drop out of school. He compensated by teaching in the community where he was introduced to the Apostle’s Creed which caused him the fall in love with the Episcopal Church doctrine. Mrs. Pattie Buford, a white woman in Lawrenceville, who was interested in missionary work in the black community, gave him a copy of the Book of Common Prayer and introduced him to Bishop Francis M. Whittle who arranged for Russell to attend the Theological Seminary in Petersburg, VA. He was the first and only student in the new school.

In 1882 he was ordained a deacon and his first assignment was in Lawrenceville where he organized social learning groups and new parishes throughout the counties.  He was ordained to the priesthood in 1887 and in 1888 he founded the St. Paul Normal and Industrial School which later became St. Paul’s College.

Archdeacon Russell had great financial challenges during this period but always found ways to meet his obligations through his vast associations with people and organizations from around the world.  He was deeply entrenched in the workings of the church and on two occasions turned down the offering of Bishop.  He went on to receive many honors and two doctorate degrees.  At his passing in 1935, left a school of more than 800 students, fifty plus educators, and numerous buildings.  James Solomon Russell was named a saint in the Diocese of Southern Virginia in 1996. The annual event celebrating Absalom Jones is held nationally at parishes around the country. The celebration of Archdeacon James Solomon Russell is held annually at parishes around the Dioceses of Southern Virginia. 

One of the highlights of the event was the family message of “Thanks” delivered by eleven year old, fifth generation, John Solomon Russell, Jr. He represented the many Russell family members who were in attendance for the occasion.

The featured speaker was the Reverend Terry Edwards of St. Augustine’s, Newport News.  She gave an outstanding message which focused on Moses’ trials and tribulations in Exodus in relationship to the ordeals of Absalom Jones and James Solomon Russell.  The audience was attentive to the very end as her conclusion brought us into today’s challenges and the solutions we seek to develop a better community for everyone.

Friday, March 4, 2016

In the Breaking of Bread: Finding Christ in Full Communion

May 16-18 at Shrine Mont, Orkney Springs, VA

The Virginia Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Committee is sponsoring a clergy conference led by Gordon Lathrop and Neil Alexander for clergy and rostered leaders of Lutheran and Episcopal churches. "In the Breaking of the Bread: Finding Christ in Full Communion" will be an opportunity to: 
  • speak with national ecumenical representatives from both churches and with bishops and deployment officers from the Dioceses of Virginia, Southern Virginia, and Southwestern Virginia (ECUSA) as well as with bishops and synod staff of the Virginia Synod and the Metro DC Synod (ELCA);
  • gain a renewed ability and confidence to preside at a full communion partner's table and evening liturgies;
  • hear from renowned liturgical scholars Gordon Lathrop and Neil Alexander; and
  • foster deep reflections rooted in the full communion relationship between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Click here for more information and registration.

News from the Episcopal Church Women

Apply now for ECW Scholarships

The Elise Holladay Scholarship, funded by Episcopal Church Women, awarded
$9,885 in grants, ranging from $500 to $1000, to 14 young men and women throughout the Diocese last spring. Also, the ECW Beverley D. Tucker Scholarship is available and provides assistance to men and women in church-related training in an accredited Episcopal school. Use the same form, available on the diocesan website here, to apply for either scholarship. Only complete applications will be considered and must be postmarked by April 27 for the student's application to be considered for the fall semester. A student may receive funds twice. If you have questions, call Susan Broaddus at 757-623-0205.

ECW Annual Spring Meeting

The ECW Annual Spring will be at Redeemer Episcopal Church in Midlothian Virginia on May 21. In keeping with our theme "God Bless the Children" the Boys Home of Virginia will be featured. Ms. Megan Drew-Tiller, Church Relations, Boys Home of Virginia will be our guest speaker and presenter. Come and join us. All are welcome.

2016 ECW Yearbook & Parish Directory
At the ECW Spring Board Meeting, the diocesan ECW Board voted to have the 2016 Yearbook and Parish Directory distributed electronically only. This is a big money savings for the ECW. It also offers us the advantage of updating contact information as it changes. In order to preserve privacy, the yearbook will not be posted online, but information on how your ECW members may obtain copies is available on the diocesan website - www.diosova.org/ecw. Since there may be some women who do not use a computer, I hope you will work with all the women in your church to make sure they have access to a copy of the yearbook.

Thank you,
Nancy Polick Sands, ECW President

Upcoming Cursillo weekends

Cursillo is a movement within the Episcopal Church. It is an adult retreat designed to help us grow closer to Jesus Christ. It's also a community where we're encouraged to live joyfully and serve faithfully in grace. For more information on Cursillo or to apply to be a candidate or a team member, please visit the Cursillo website at www.cursillodsv.org.

Cursillo #159: Men's Weekend
April 14-17 at Chanco on the James
Rector: Joe Jerauld. For more information or to apply to be a candidate or a team member,go to www.cursillodsv.org or contact Joe at joe.jerauld@yahoo.com.  

Cursillo #160: Women's Weekend
April 28-May 1 at Chanco on the James
Rector: Susan Summerlin. For more information or to apply to be a candidate or a team member, go to www.cursillodsv.org or contact Susan at susan.summerlin@gmail.com.

Cursillo #161: Co-Ed Weekend
October 13-16 at Chanco on the James
Rector: Ronda Toll. For more information or to apply to be a candidate or a team member, go to www.cursillodsv.org or contact Ronda at rtoll@cox.net.

Saint Augustine's University announces grant worth up to $35,780 for new students

Saint Augustine's University is pleased to announce three institutional grants for new students which is effective for the 2016-2017 academic year.  A renewable grant worth $8,945 annually, which represents a 50 percent discount off the annual tuition and fees of $17,890, will be awarded to students in three categories:
  • Children and grandchildren of Saint Augustine's University graduates (Legacy Tuition Grant)
  • Episcopal students (Absalom Jones Tuition Grant)
  • Community college graduates from Vance-Granville and Wake Tech Community Colleges and other select community colleges (Community College Tuition Grant)
This administration made this decision to help ease the financial burden of new students and increase enrollment for the fall semester.
"We recognize that many families struggle with the costs associated with higher education," said President Everett B. Ward. "Subsequently, this administration evaluated how we could fiscally afford to support these students and established this program for a certain percentage of our prospective student population. If we can responsibly remove a financial barrier to provide prospective students access to a quality education, we have a responsibility to do so."
Saint Augustine's University is a historically black college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The college was founded in 1867 by prominent Episcopal clergy for the education of freed slaves.
For more information about the institutional grants and to apply for admission to Saint Augustine's University, contact the Office of Admissions at 919-516-4012 or apply online at admissions.st-aug.edu.

The Conciliation Project: uncle tom - deconstructed

Sunday, March 13, 6 p.m. at St. Mark's, Richmond
"The un-told history of our nation's racial past compelled audiences to question their own education and knowledge of history.  It became clear that the production could not exist on its own as merely a play or theatrical performance, it needed to function as the catalyst for a conversation with the audience - a dialogue about the long held feelings surrounding discrimination that would surely arise from a very immediate and very intensely personal response to this topic, as well as the associated feelings of guilt that may result from people not accustomed to facing the simple fact that Racism in America is systemic, institutionalized and current." www.theconciliationproject.org.
Who is uncle tom?  This play examines the idea of stereotypes as grotesque, dehumanizing exaggerations and examines the characters in Harriett Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as a major contributing factor in the way commercial and media images of African Americans are represented today. Built on the title character from Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous 1852 novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, this work is the original poetic drama that gave birth to The Conciliation Project in 2001. Ticket price is $20 - call the office to reserve!  804-358-4771.
St. Mark's is located at 520 N. Boulevard, Richmond. 804 358 4771. www.stmarksrva.org.