Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Southern Virginia author featured in Forward Day by Day in January

Ken Woodley, a member of St. Anne's, Appomattox, is the author of the Forward Day by Day meditations for January 2018. If you are not a regular reader of Forward Day by Day, this is a wonderful opportunity that you don't want to miss. You can read the daily devotions online here. You can also subscribe to the print version of the devotions here or probably pick up a copy at your church. 
Ken Woodley spent thirty-six years as a journalist in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and his book, Gather Your Light, will be forthcoming from NewSouth Books. He and his wife, Kim, are licensed lay preachers at St. Anne's, Appomattox. You can follow Ken's wonderful blog, Gleaning in the Fields of Light, at

Bishop Hollerith's Christmas message 2017

Just a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of making a Sunday visitation to St. Paul's Church in Newport News. For those who have never visited the church building, St. Paul's is situated in the remains of what once was a grand downtown neighborhood in the center of the city. All that remains in that neighborhood now are municipal government buildings, a few businesses, structures belonging to the Newport News shipyard, and bits and pieces of low income housing. There is no longer any true neighborhood there like most of our parishes enjoy. In a real sense, St. Paul's is a parish in an urban wasteland.  
And yet, the membership of St. Paul's is very clear about their parish's role in the community - why they are there and what they believe God is calling them to do. While a portion of the congregation is made up of dedicated people who live in more desirable parts of town, the largest portion is comprised of people who are homeless, or very near homeless.
During my visit I was asked to lead a bible study and hold a general discussion with the community. Most who gathered for the conversation had come both to talk and to receive the free breakfast served after the class. For some the meal would be their only meal of the day - possibly the best of the week.
Needless to say, leading an adult class made up predominately of street people is not at all like leading any other adult class in our diocese. The attendees are not the least bit interested in talking about the diocesan budget, Talbot Hall, the bishop's vision for congregational development, or this summer's General Convention. In our discussion, other than some interesting initial questions about why bishops wear "pointy hats" (a question for which, I must confess, I did not have an adequate answer), the real topic of interest was the shooting in the Baptist church in Texas. It was clear that although the news was a few weeks old, many in attendance were still struggling to understand the tragedy. After several minutes of conversation, I became deeply impressed by the level of passion being expressed. People were genuinely perplexed and outraged that such a thing could ever happen in a church. And they wanted to talk about it!
But, it wasn't until later that afternoon while driving home that I figured out the meaning of what I had witnessed during the class. I had not witnessed an abstracted intellectual discussion on the need for gun control, or on politics, or on the psychology or sociology of mass murder. Rather, I had witnessed the passionate concerns of those who literally depend on their church to be their "safe space," their sanctuary, from the dangers of the world. The people of St. Paul's - at least those who are its street clientele - attend church to escape the day-to-day violence of the streets. Church is where they go to escape being shot. The notion that church could be otherwise invokes in those challenged people a sense of injustice and a level of anxiety that most of us fortunate types will never comprehend.
I am not at all sure what it means to live in a world where innocent people are murdered in church. I don't know how to live with that reality yet. But, I do know - have been reminded by the good people of St. Paul's - the incredible power of grace that the Church conveys when it takes the risk of offering itself to the world as a true sanctuary of God. The Church is always at its best when it seeks to find ways of un-protecting itself, of being more vulnerable and more risk-taking. And its witness to the love of God is never as powerful as when it opens its doors to the world when all other doors are shut and locked down on Main Street. After all, such action is our way of saying to those suffering, or fearful, or in need, that there is room in the inn, by God! There is room in the inn!
Note: Many of our churches in Southern Virginia are actively engaged in various forms of ministry to the homeless. I hope all of us will find some way to both financially and physically support the unique ministry of St. Paul's, Newport News, as well as our local ministries during the holiday season and throughout the coming year.
Merry Christmas,
Click here for a PDF of this reflection you can download or print.   
The Bishop's reflection can also be found at

ECW Grapevine newsletter available

The Winter 2017 issue of the Diocesan ECW newsletter, The Grapevine, is now available here. You can also download this, and other ECW resources from the ECW pages of our website,  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Diocesan Connection newsletter available

The October-December 2017 issue of the Diocesan Connection newsletter is now available. The newsletter offers a digest of stories from our weekly Parish News and Diocesan eNews. Please print and share a copy with church members who do not have email, and post a copy on a bulletin board or in your narthex.  
You can also find the Diocesan Connection on the News & Publications page of our website. 

Plan to take part in Cursillo #164, April 18-22

Plan now to take part in the co-ed Cursillo #164 weekend to be held at Chanco on the James April 18-22. The rector of this weekend will be Tina Sinclair.
Cursillo is Spanish for "short course" - a short course in Christianity. On the three day weekend, candidates learn how to grow as leaders in their communities and in their own personal journey with Jesus. Cursillo is a living expression of Christ's love for us. It is filled with color, and joy, music and a new life of friendship in the church. It may be just what you are thirsting for.
For more information and application forms, go to

Santa's elves come to Jackson-Feild

On December 13, members of two different groups traveled far and wide to Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services' main campus in Jarratt, VA to wrap all the children's Christmas presents
The volunteers included members from the PEO Chapter C-D-Littleton, N.C. and the Lake Gaston Ladies Club. They both have been actively involved with Jackson-Feild in a variety of ways over the years. This will be the 12th Christmas they served as Santa's helpers wrapping the presents for the boys and girls.
The day began when the women arrived bright and early in the morning and got right to work. By the end of the day over 250 presents were carefully wrapped with loving by these special ladies. They made sure no presents went unwrapped and each ribbon curled to perfection.
The children are very grateful to these special elves for their wonderful efforts to make Christmas special for children who have never experienced a "real" Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Presiding Bishop's Christmas message

Video of the Presiding Bishop's message is here. The text is available in Spanish here.  
In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul says, "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new is come." At a point in that passage, St. Paul says, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself," and he also says at another point in the same passage, "and we have been given the ministry of reconciliation."  
Have you ever gone to the movies or read a story or a novel, and the novel starts with the end, so you know where the story ends, but then the rest of the story or the novel is actually the story behind the story. We know about Christmas. We know about Mary.  We know about Joseph. We know about the angels singing Gloria in excelsis deo. We know from our childhood the animals in the stable. We know of the magi who come from afar, arriving around Epiphany, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We know of the angels singing in the heavens, and the star that shown above them.  Therein is the story.  
But the story behind the story is what St. Paul was talking about. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and Jesus has now given us that same ministry of reconciliation. God was reconciling the world to himself by becoming one of us. The divine became human. God entered history. Eternity became part of time. God was reconciling the world to himself by actually living it himself. In Jesus, God came among us to show us the way, to be reconciled with the God who has created us all and everything that is. And God has likewise come in the person of Jesus, to show us how to be reconciled with each other, as children of the one God who is the Creator of us all.  That's the story behind Christmas.
God is showing us the Way to become God's children, and as God's children, brothers and sisters of each other. God is showing us in Jesus how to become God's family and how to change, and build, and make a world where everybody is a part of that family. Where children don't go to bed hungry. Where no one has to be lonely. Where justice is real for all and where love is the ultimate law. Know there is a story behind the story, and it's a story worth singing about, and giving thanks for, and then living.
One of my favorite writers, the late Howard Thurman, composed a poem many years ago about Christmas, and he says it probably better than I:
     When the song of the angels is stilled,
     When the star in the sky is gone,
     When the kings and the princes are home,
     When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
     Then the work of Christmas begins:
     To find the lost,
     To heal the broken,
     To feed the hungry,
     To release the prisoner,
     To rebuild the nations,
     To bring peace to others,
     And alas, to make music in the heart.
The story behind the story is that God so loved the world, and so loves you, and so loves me.
Have a blessed Christmas, a wonderful New Year, and go out and make music in the heart of the world.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate 

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Dr. Katherine Dunagan started as interim rector at Epiphany, Danville on November 1, 2017.
The Rev. Marjorie Holm started as interim rector at Emmanuel, Franklin on December 1, 2017.

The Action Bible and Jackson-Feild

Thanks in part to the generosity of the members of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, the boys and girls at Jackson-Feild have brand new Action Bibles! The best-selling Action Bible - created by a member of Marvel Comics - is designed to be action-grabbing through illustrations full of rich color and bold designs that brings to life the emotions and significance of the stories and figures of the Bible.  
Jackson-Feild's chaplain The Rev. Dr. Robin Jones will use the Action Bible's four-step lesson path to engage teens at every step. The path starts by setting the stage to help teens feel comfortable with the Bible, and then brings the Bible stories and passages to life through animation. It helps readers make a connection and prompts them to ask questions. The Action Bible helps the boys and girls understand who God is and what they mean to Him, and it helps them develop their own value system.
Everyone involved in the Spiritual Program at Jackson-Feild is grateful to St. Martin's for helping to fund the purchase of these Bibles that will help to connect timeless truths to life today.

Young Adult Service Corps applications

Young adults (21-30 years old) have an opportunity to transform their own lives while engaging mission and ministry in the Anglican Communion by joining the Young Adult Service Corps. Now, applications are available for 2018-2019 placements in the Young Adult Service Corps, commonly known as YASC. Currently YASCers are serving throughout the Anglican Communion, working alongside partners in administration, agriculture, communication, development, and education. They are serving in Brazil, Costa Rica, England, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa and Tanzania.
Among possible placements for 2018-2019 include (but not limited to) Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, England, Honduras, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Jerusalem, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, and Tanzania. The application for a 2018-2019 placement with additional information and instructions is available here. The application deadline is Friday, January 12, 2018.

Pilgrimage Opportunities

Scotland & England in May 2018
A Pilgrimage to Scotland and England is being organized for May 2018. After a time for quiet and reflection on Iona, the group will travel to Melrose. At Melrose, they will walk the Way of St. Cuthbert, approximately 70 miles, to Lindisfarne.  After completing the Way of St. Cuthbert, they will visit The Shrine of St. Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral. Pilgrims will conclude their time with a visit to Edinburgh. For more information, contact Doris Custer ( or Dale Custer (
Ireland in May 2018
If you're interested in a 12-day tour of Ireland, the Friends of Bruton invite you to join them May 1-12, 2018. Go to for trip brochure.
Holy Land in April 2018
Westminster-Canterbury, Virginia Beach, is hosting a pilgrimage to Israel April 6-15, 2018. Cost is $4690 per person, double occupancy, or $5710 per person, single occupancy. Air travel, lodging, transportation in Israel and meals (except lunches) are included. For more information contact the Rev. Doug Gray, 757-496-1651 or
Holy Land for Advent 2018
St. John's, Portsmouth, is pleased to announce our next international pilgrimage opportunity, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, from November 29 to December 9, 2018. This pilgrimage is open to anyone who desires to take this journey but is limited to a total group size of 17-30. Is God calling you to join this group? Cost from the Norfolk airport for this 11-day spiritual adventure (including all expenses and two meals daily) is $3,379 double occupancy (excluding airline taxes and fuel surcharges) and decreases depending on the number of Pilgrims over the minimum number of 17 taking the journey. Your spot can be reserved by making a $300 deposit using this form. Pilgrimage is truly praying with your eyes open. Come walk in the footsteps of Jesus next Advent! Click here for a detailed brochure. Contact the Rev. Derek Harbin,

Monday, December 11, 2017

Update on progress of James Solomon Russell - Saint Paul's College Museum and Archives

James Grimstead, chairman, provides this update on the progress of the James Solomon Russell - Saint Paul's College Museum and Archives. The purpose of the museum is to preserve and honor the legacy of Archdeacon James Salomon Russell and the archives of Saint Paul's college, which Russell founded.
The floor plan for the museum display rooms has been completed. Earlier the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors approved using the former school board office at 219 North Main Street for the museum. The museum was granted 501(c)3 federal tax exempted status in April 2017 and has obtained membership in the Virginia Association of Museums.
"This membership gives us direct association with over 2000 other museums in the state of Virginia. It offers training in all aspects of museum operations, gives us access to equipment donations from other museums, and provides school credit to students who visit the museum," said Grimstead.
Another significant accomplishment this year was to purchase a computer system to catalog the archives. With over thousands of items to catalog, the process will take several months. The museum committee also now has an email address:
Grimstead said the next goals are to set up a grant-writing committee, obtain showcases for displays, and to set up a committee to organize the grand opening, tentatively set for May 2018.

2018 UTO Grant applications now accepted

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 United Thank Offering grants. Application forms are available here. The focus for 2018 grants is "Becoming the Beloved Community: Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice." Information on Becoming the Beloved Community is available here. UTO grant applications must be endorsed by the Bishop and submitted by the diocesan office. Therefore, applications must be sent to the diocesan office no later than February 2, 2018. This will allow the diocesan UTO Grant Committee to review all applications and select the application that will be submitted no later than March 2, 2018 for consideration by United Thank Offering.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Adopt-a-Canterburian bridges generations

In 2015, the Rev. Tyler Montgomery, associate rector at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, and chaplain to William & Mary, resurrected the Adopt-a-Canterburian program in conjunction with the university. The program pairs church members with W&M students to lend them support and friendship during their time at the university.
"Our first year, we had 25 sign-ups," he said. "Now we're up to 55. In three years, we've doubled the number of students adopted. The feedback has been really positive. With few exceptions, it's worked out really well."  
The program was recently featured in William & Mary's university communications. Click here to read about this successful program. 

2018 Safe Church training schedule

Safe Church classroom training for 2018 has been scheduled. Now is the time to start planning for your new vestry members, lay ministers, teachers, vacation Bible school volunteers, and others to get the necessary Safe Church training. In addition to the scheduled classroom training, online training is also available. Current diocesan policy requires re-certification every three years for online training and every five years for classroom training. Click here for more information on Safe Church training and requirements.
  • January 20, 2018 - St. Mark's, Hampton (registration closes Jan. 16) Register here.  February 3, 2018 - St. Barnabas, North Chesterfield (registration closes Jan. 30) Register here
  • February 10, 2018 - Epiphany, Norfolk (registration closes Feb. 6) Register here.
  • February 24, 2018 - Bruton Parish, Williamsburg (registration closes Feb. 20) Register here
  • March 10, 2018 - Merchants Hope, Hopewell (registration closes March 6) Register here
  • April 14, 2018 - St. Paul's, Suffolk  
  • April 21, 2018 - Holy Trinity, Onancock
  • April 28, 2018 - St. Paul's & St. Andrew's, Kenbridge
  • May 12, 2018 - Galilee, Virginia Beach
  • June 2, 2018 - Trinity, South Boston
  • September 8, 2018 - Ascension, Norfolk
  • September 22, 2018 - St. Andrew's, Newport News
  • October 13, 2018 - St. Aidan's, Virginia Beach
  • October 27, 2018 - St. Matthias', Midlothian

Westminster-Canterbury to host pilgrimage to Israel

Westminster-Canterbury, Virginia Beach, is hosting a pilgrimage to Israel April 6-15, 2018. It will be led by David Hyman, a well-known tour guide in Israel and who has led trips for Galilee, Virginia Beach. The Rev. Doug Gray, Westminster-Canterbury chaplain, will be offering Bible teachings as well. Cost is $4690 per person, double occupancy, or $5710 per person, single occupancy. Air travel, lodging, transportation in Israel and meals (except lunches) are included. Click here for a pilgrimage brochure. For more information contact the Rev. Doug Gray, 757-496-1651 or   

Episcopal Migration Ministries offers Epiphany curriculum

Episcopal Migration Ministries is offering an Epiphany Curriculum, which includes free resources to oversee a faithful and meaningful Epiphany 2018. Designed for Adult Christian Formation, the six-week Epiphany Curriculum is ideal for congregations, individuals, adult forums, discussion groups, and other church-based gatherings. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of Episcopal Migration Ministries, refugee resettlement, the stories of our new American neighbors, and how God is calling each of us into this work. Click here for more information and to download the curriculum. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

2018 Annual Council: Fear and Love in a Divided World

Registration is now open for the 126th Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, February 16-17, 2018 at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center. Bookmark this page,, for the most current information about Annual Council.
Scott Bader-Saye, Ph.D. 
Keynote Speaker: Scott Bader-Saye, Ph.D.
Scott Bader-Saye is the Academic Dean and Helen and Everett H. Jones Professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. His publications include two books, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear and Church and Israel After Christendom. His topic will be "Fear and Love in a Divided World."

Registration & Hotel
You may register individually or you may register your entire delegation. Early registration through January 12, 2018 is $125 per attendee. Clergy spouses/partners, youth aged 18 and younger, and college students may register at the $50 rate. Payment is due no later than Jan. 12, 2017 to avoid a $25 late registration fee. Registration for exhibitors is also open. Attendees will need to make their own hotel reservations. Discounted rates will be available at the Williamsburg Lodge and The Woodlands. Click here for more information.
Nominations for Elections at Annual Council
The following elections will take place at Annual Council: Standing Committee (one lay, one clergy); Disciplinary Board (two lay, one clergy); General Convention (one young adult lay alternate). Get more info and the nomination form here
Youth Delegation Application
Every year a special delegation of 12 youth in grades 9-12 are invited to attend Diocesan Council. Click here for more info and an application form. Applications are due by January 19, 2018.  
Communicator Credentials
Church communicators play an important role in connecting their Convocations and congregations with Council while it is in session and afterward. To help facilitate this work, the Council registration fee is waived for church communicators who submit this application form no later than February 2, 2018. 

Thank you for your support of Episcopal Relief & Development

The Rev. Keith Emerson; St. Paul's, Suffolk; Diocesan Episcopal Relief & Development Coordinator 
I am deeply grateful to the people and parishes of our diocese who have given money to Episcopal Relief & Development over the summer months (July-September). It has been a time of incredible need and we in the Diocese of Southern Virginia have responded generously. During this period, we made 555 contributions for a total of $112,144.37.
I am grateful for donations made by the following parishes and organizations:
Water & Sanitation and Hunger Food Security
Emmanuel, Franklin
St. John's, Hopewell
Sudan Relief Efforts
Bruton Parish, Williamsburg
Undesignated Gifts
Emmanuel, Hampton
Christ Church, Amelia Courthouse
St. Stephen's, Newport News
Church of the Advent, Norfolk                                                    
Christ and Grace, Petersburg
St. Luke's, Powhatan
All Saints', Virginia Beach
US Disaster/Hurricane Harvey Relief
Christ Church, Amelia Courthouse
St. Luke's, Blackstone
St. Mark's, Bracey
St. Thomas', Chesapeake
St. Matthew's, Chesterfield
St. Cecelia Guild, Eastville
Emmanuel, Hampton
St. Martha's Guild, Hopewell
Manakin, Midlothian
St. Andrew's, Newport News
St. Paul's, Norfolk
St. Michael's, North Chesterfield
Christ and Grace, Petersburg
St. Mark's, Suffolk
Old Donation, Virginia Beach
Emmanuel, Virginia Beach
Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach
Christ the King, Yorktown
Once again, thank you to everyone who has contributed. Together we are healing a hurting world.

October United Thank Offering donations bountiful

Ronda Toll; Christ the King, Tabb; Diocesan UTO Coordinator 
Donations to the United Thank Offering (UTO) collected during October ingatherings throughout the Diocese have been coming in at a swift and steady pace - what a blessing! Monies will be collected and sent for 2107 through December 10, 2017. Please send donations to Ronda Toll, Diocesan UTO Coordinator, at the following address: 42 Cherbourg Drive, Newport News, VA  23606.  
ECW Falls in Love with New UTO Prayer
The National UTO Board recently created a simple prayer (memorable and easy enough for children to recite) that can be said when making an offering in a Blue Box. This prayer, which will soon be featured on Blue Boxes, was shared by the Diocesan UTO Coordinator at the ECW Annual Fall Meeting on November 4. The reaction was immediate. The ECW loved it! Here's the new prayer: Almighty God, I give you praise for blessing me in many ways. Create in me a grateful heart and with this gift, a blessing start. Amen.

Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group to meet in Newport News on Dec. 14

The Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group will meet on Thursday, December 14 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at St. Stephen's, Newport News. 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 the Diocesan Comptroller Judy Dobson, at or 757-213-3386. St. Stephen's is located at 372 Hiden Boulevard, Newport News. 

Advent resource for Preparing to Become the Beloved Community

A newly developed Advent resource is now available to help Episcopalians everywhere to take up Jesus' ministry of reconciliation and healing. Every congregation will soon receive in the mail Preparing to Become the Beloved Community, a multi-fold poster and resource pack with prayer, reflections and activities for each week of Advent. The resources can also be downloaded here. Preparing to Become the Beloved Community was developed by the Episcopal Church's Racial Reconciliation Team. The resources are designed for group use among all ages, including adult forums, Sunday school, women's and men's groups, Advent preparation, vestry meetings, and more. Click here for more information.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bishop Magness speaks at retreat for combat vets

Bishop Magness was the keynote speaker at the closing ceremony for the Welcome Home Initiative retreat for combat zone veterans. During the ceremony, Bishop Magness presented the Rev. Nigel Mumford, retreat leader, with a Chaplain's (camoflage) stole.  
The Welcome Home Initiative program is an intense, focused three-day retreat for military veterans, and their spouses, who served their country in combat and may be suffering, in varying degrees, from post-traumatic stress. Click here to learn more.

Grants available from The Episcopal Church

Young Adult & Campus Ministries grant info available  
It's time to start the process of discerning whether to apply for a 2018 Young Adult and Campus Ministry Grants, which provide funding for dioceses, congregations, and community college/tribal college/university campuses for an Episcopal ministry (or ecumenical ministry with an Episcopal presence). The online application will open on January 2, 2018.  However, information is now available and a webinar has been slated to assist in discerning the application process. Click here to learn more. A one-hour webinar to discuss the grants process and answer any questions has been slated for webinar on Thursday, December 7 at 4 p.m. Space is limited. Register here.
Episcopal Evangelism grants available for local and regional efforts
The application process is now open for the new Episcopal Evangelism Grants Program, designed to fund local and regional evangelism efforts in the Episcopal Church. Episcopal institutions (congregations, dioceses, provinces, schools, monastic communities, Episcopal organizations and other Episcopal affiliated entities) are eligible to receive these funds. Regional collaborative partnerships with non-Episcopal entities are welcome, but an Episcopal entity must serve as the project leader, active manager, and reporting agent. Grants are available for up to $2,000 for an individual congregation and up to $8,000 for multi-church, diocesan and regional collaborations. Groups receiving funding are expected to make a significant financial contribution toward the project, as well. Click here for more information.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Presiding Bishop on Texas church shooting

Presiding Bishop Curry offered his comments during a visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. Text is below. Click here to watch video.
I'm in Aberdeen, Scotland, where last night we had a service at St. Andrew's Cathedral, giving God thanks for the deep roots of the Episcopal Church here in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church is indeed the mother church of the Episcopal Church, and we give thanks for the ties that bind us together.
But even as we gave thanks last evening, we received word that in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a gunman entered the First Baptist Church, and now some 26 people have been killed and many more wounded and afflicted. I offer this prayer for those who have died, for those who are suffering, for those who are still healing from physical wounds, and the emotional, spiritual and mental scars. As I pray and invite you to pray the prayer the Lord taught us. I invite you to pray that God's will might be done, that God might guide us to find a better way, to find concrete steps so that this kind of thing doesn't happen anymore. But above all, we pray for those who suffer and for those who have died. Will you pray with me?
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. The Lord bless you and keep you.  
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give us all his peace this day and forevermore. Amen.

Campus Ministries retreat at Chanco

The Episcopal Campus Ministries from Christopher Newport University, Longwood University, Hapden-Sydney College, Old Dominion University, and College of William & Mary joined together for an overnight retreat at Chanco this past weekend. With the theme of "Sabbath Time," the students centered their retreat around the Daily Offices, and concluded their time together with Eucharist. Taking time to nourish themselves in the beauty of God's creation, the students joined together for praying, hiking, zip-lining, rock climbing, guided meditation, and time around a campfire. The students enjoyed having time to be together as members of campus ministry in Southern Virginia. 

2018 Clergy Compensation Guidelines available

The Executive Board has approved a cost of living increase for clergy and lay employees of 2% for 2018. Click here for the 2018 Clergy Compensation Guidelines manual.

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Becky Crites left Epiphany, Danville, on September 30, 2017.
The Rev. Dr. Regina Christianson left Emmanuel, Chatham, on October 16, 2017.
The Rev. Gini DiStanislao will leave St. Paul & St. Andrew, Kenbridge, on November 5, 2017.
The Rev. Dr. K. Drew Baker will leave Epiphany, Danville, on November 30, 2017.
The Rev. Gini DiStanislao will begin as Rector of Manakin, Midlothian on December 1, 2017.
The Rev. Lisa Green will begin as Associate Rector at St. Martin's, Williamsburg, on December 11, 2017.
The Rev. J. Scott Baker will leave St. Stephen's, Newport News, on December 31, 2017.

James R. Chisman recognized by Jackson-Feild

In recognition of and appreciation for 33 years of outstanding and dedicated service to helping children and furthering the mission of Jackson-Feild, the Board of Trustees of Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) presented Chisman with a personalized captain's chair at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Chisman's ties to Jackson-Feild are long. For more than twenty years, his father was a member of the Board of Trustees, and Jimmy himself currently serves as the Chairman of the Jackson-Feild Homes Foundation.
By his own wry admission, Jimmy could all too easily have been a Jackson-Feild child himself. "I was an underachiever as a youth," says Chisman. "I had a number of role models, and - but for the grace of God - I didn't wander down the wrong path."
Chisman has served in a number of important capacities including Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. He was also the campaign chairman for our Act of Faith capital campaign which raised $3,000,000 for campus improvements and for our endowment.
Chisman has devoted countless hours to provide opportunities that improve the quality of life for the boys and girls at Jackson-Feild. Very often, he works behind the scenes to help procure necessities either at no cost or with deep discounts. While he is very committed and faithful in such efforts, Chisman gets particular pleasure and satisfaction in planning events and activities that directly benefit the children.
When asked why it's been so important to him to support the work at Jackson-Feild, Chisman says, "When I look back on my youth, I realize that there is a thin line separating success and struggle, and it's important that we provide our youth the opportunities and support to help them overcome their obstacles."
JFBHS is blessed to have such a wonderful donor and champion, and Jimmy Chisman cherishes and values his efforts and the efforts of his father. "Not a day goes by that I don't think of JFBHS and the children."

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Directory of spiritual directors

For several years, the Rev. Mike Ferguson convened a group of spiritual directors for a monthly gathering at the diocesan office. Whenever I received a request for names of spiritual directors, I would always contact Mike. Since his death, we no longer have a designated contact person for this ministry, even though we receive requests on a regular basis. To that end, we are asking anyone who is doing spiritual direction, to send contact information to Caroline Black at so we can begin to compile a directory. Thanks for your assistance.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

CE-Net meeting on Nov. 16

CE-Net (Christian Education Network) will hold an informal face to face meeting on Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Diocesan office in Newport News. Please join us as we catch up and discuss future CE-Net meetings. We would love to hear your plans for the upcoming Advent season as well as how your summer programs went.  For those who wish, we can head to a local restaurant for lunch after the conversation. Feel free to pass this invite along to anyone who you think would be interested! Please RSVP to Jennifer Nauroth,, or Lynn Farlin,

Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group in Farmville on Nov. 16

Attention parish administrators, treasurers, and anyone (staff or volunteer) involved in the financial or administrative functions of your parish -- on Thursday, November 16, John's Memorial will host the Administrators and Treasurers Lunch Group. This is your opportunity to learn, ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with your colleagues in other parishes. There is no agenda other than the one you set. Bring your own lunch. Beverages will be provided. Please RSVP Judy Dobson, Diocesan Comptroller at Johns Memorial is located at 400 High Street, Farmville. 

ACS Year-End Documentation Training Dec. 6

ACS trainer Fred Forry will offer a one-day training on year-end documentation on Dec. 6 at the Diocesan Office, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. This is an outstanding opportunity for ACS users to get training on these vital processes. ACS is only offering one other year-end training in the Virginia-North Carolina region. The morning session will focus on contributions and the afternoon will cover financials. Participants should download and bring ACS year-end documentation to follow along in class. Cost of training is $50. Lunch is provided. Click here to register.

Lutheran-Episcopal Day of Prayer on Nov. 14

The Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Committee of Virginia is sponsoring a Day of Prayer on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Arlington. The Day of Prayer will be led by the Rev. Katherine A. Grieb, Meade Professor of Biblical Interpretation and New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA. Rev. Grieb will lead participants in considering how and why to pray, whom to pray with, resources for prayer, prayer and the liturgical year, and will share other personal prayer practices. Click here for more info and registration.  
Day of Prayer in Richmond  on March 8 
There will be another Lutheran-Episcopal Day of Prayer event on March 8, 2018 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Richmond. This day will be led by the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Click here for details and registration for that event. 

Trinity Institute 2018: Values in Action

St. Paul's, Newport News, will be a Trinity Institute Partner Site for the 2018 conference to be held Feb. 2-3, 2018. Mark your calendar and plan to attend this important event.
We all want to create a better world, and that requires action and connection. Discerning shared values is crucial to forming powerful partnerships and moving forward with courageous intention. Explore how you and your community can set a collaborative course at Values in Action, a Trinity Institute conference designed to help you get grounded and connected so you can get going. The 2018 conference features leading activists, theologians, authors, and experts on how to integrate core values into strategic and effective action, including the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, and Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet, theologian, and mediator.    
Click here for more information and registration. Cost is $20 per person and includes both days, and lunch on Saturday.

Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue offers report

The Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue Committee met in Washington, D.C., to continue its work on establishing a full communion relationship between the two denominations. The committee has adopted a draft proposal for full communion entitled A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness (The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church, A Proposal for Full Communion) and is seeking feedback from laity, clergy and bishops in both denominations before an official resolution could be presented to respective legislative bodies. Click here to continue reading.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Where Love & Addiction Meet: An evening with Sandra Swenson

Where Love and Addiction Meet, An Evening with Sandra Swenson will be held at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, on Monday, Nov. 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul invites you to an evening with Sandra Swenson, author of two books about her journey as the mom of a son suffering with the disease of addiction: "The Joey Song" and "Tending Dandelions." Her most recent offering, "Tending Dandelions," is a collection of honest meditations for mothers with addicted children. While Sandra writes from a mother's perspective, the evening promises to be a meaningful experience for fathers and other family members as well. Ms. Swenson will read passages from her new book and answer questions after each. The reading will be followed by a Q & A. After this portion of our event, we will move from the church building to the Bruton Parish Hall for a meet and greet/book signing. Click here for more information and to reserve your FREE ticket. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Invite-Welcome-Connect training Oct. 21

St. David's, N. Chesterfield, made a "cardboard testimony video" last week, sharing what members have found at their church home. What's a cardboard testimony video? Check theirs out here and come to the Invite/Welcome/Connect workshop with Mary Parmer on Saturday, October 21 from 9 until 3 at St. Martin's, Williamsburg. This diocesan event is co-sponsored by St. Martins, St. David's and St. Michael's, Bon Air, and you will be inspired by great ideas for any budget. Click here for more info and registration. 

Bishop Magness: Pray for Holy Land pilgrims

Dear Friends,
As many of you know, from Oct. 17-28, many of your fellow parishioners and friends will be accompanying me on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Given the spiritual intent of this trip, I am requesting your prayers for us. While we are always interested in having a safe pilgrimage, the primary reason that I ask for your prayers is for spiritual enhancement during our time in Israel and Palestine. Since I like to pray for people by name, here is the listing of pilgrims: Fritz, Claire, Eric, Judy, Sam, Jane, Grace, Ginny, Betty, William, Ellen, Ann, Dan, Diana, Al, Rachel, Frank, Charlotte, Jay, Nora Ann, Margaret, Lee, Nancy, Michael, Holly, Lizzie, Jay and Carolyn. In advance of your offering of prayers, I thank you for the support you will give us.

Oct. 20 deadline for tickets to ECW Fall meeting

Women and men are invited to come hear the Rev. Becca Stevens
speak at the ECW Diocesan Fall Annual Meeting, Nov. 4 at St. Francis, Virginia Beach.  An author, a Daughter of the King, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, Becca is founder and president of Thistle Farms, the largest social enterprise in the US run by survivors of domestic violence. The Nov. 4 meeting is from 9 to 11 a.m. Becca will speak from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be served at 1 p.m. A lunch ticket ($15.00) is required. The deadline to purchase lunch tickets is October 20. Contact Helen Sharpe-Williams, 757-487-8183 or
Thistle Farms is a powerful global community of women healing from prostitution, trafficking and addiction. They employ 50 survivors through social enterprises: Thistle Farms Home & Body, Thistle Stop Cafe, and an artisan studio. Thistle Farms Global helps employ more than 1,500 women. 

Gathering for EfM groups on Oct. 22

EfM groups in Southern Virginia are invited to a special gathering on Sunday, Oct. 22, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. There will be light refreshments and conversation with EfM Executive Director Karen Meridith, Diocesan EfM Coordinator Ann Meyer, and your fellow EfM mentors and participants.  Click here to RSVP.  

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Lorna H. Williams began as Associate Rector for Children & Youth at St. Andrew's, Newport News, on October 1, 2017.
The Rev. Robert K. Marshall will begin as Rector of Redeemer, Midlothian, on October 22, 2017

Virginia LARCUM Conference 2017 is Dec. 1-2

The 2017 Virginia LARCUM Conference will be held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2, in Richmond, VA.  This year's conference is "500 Years Later: Ecumenical Dialogue as Gift and Call." The keynote speaker is Susan K. Wood, SCL, Ph.D., a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas is professor of systematic theology in the Department of Theology at Marquette University. She is currently president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. Click here for the conference brochure and registration information.

RVA TALKS book and group discussion of "Blues for Mister Charlie" by James Baldwin

James Baldwin's "Blues for Mister Charlie" is an epic drama that confronts us all with the truth of just how widely we are still divided by race in America. This discussion will actively engage the audience examining the questions of race and racism as subject to our own perspective; framed by our history, cultural norms and personal experience.  The stories we know, the ones we have been told, and our lived experiences inform our beliefs and opinions about race in America no matter what the circumstance. Can we create healing space and employ restorative practices as we endeavor to work together and move forward towards change and conciliation? This will be a facilitated discussion on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. It is a collaborative program of The Conciliation Project, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and the African American Repertory Theatre Company. Please read Blues for Mister Charlie prior to the program. The play will be staged at University of Richmond April 18-22, 2018. St. Mark's is located at 520 North Boulevard, Richmond.  

Church Leadership Conference 2018

The Church Leadership Conference 2018 will be held at Kanuga Conference Center March 2-4, 2018. This year's conference is "Equipped for Every Good Work: Practical Tools for Tough Times." Kanuga and the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) partner to offer practical tools for the challenges of congregational leadership. Speakers and presenters will address core needs in strategic planning, church leadership and finances. Click here for more info. 
The Church Leadership Conference is an annual gathering of vestry members and other congregational leaders for practical learning, reflection and formation. The conference is designed in partnership by the Episcopal Church Foundation and Kanuga, and the focus is to strengthen, equip and re-energize church leaders for church leadership and ministry. Each year the conference gathers expert speakers and workshop leaders from around the Episcopal Church, to teach, inspire, and share practical tools, ideas and resources. In 2018, there will be four specialized workshop tracks for participants to dig deeper into an area of their need. The tracks are: strategic leadership, financial planning, creative communications and a Spanish language track. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bishops' messages on Nevada, resources

Message from Bishop Hollerith: 
By now you have heard that the people of Las Vegas, Nevada, are suffering through a terrible tragedy - one that the news media is defining as the worst mass shooting in US history. Please pray for those who have died, those who mourn, and for healing of the injured. The Diocese of Nevada is offering its healing ministry to the many affected by this tragedy. Pray also for our nation, as we continue to be a country plagued by gun violence.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Primates of the Anglican Communion prayed to honor the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada:
Presiding Bishop Curry presented a video message here.  

We were greatly distressed to learn of the dreadful events in Las Vegas last night. The scale of the loss of life and the numbers of injured is truly shocking. We are sending our deepest condolences to you and to the people of your diocese - in particular, the people of Las Vegas.
We are praying for the families and friends of those who have died and for the many people who have been wounded. We remember, too, everyone else caught up in this tragedy - including the emergency services (first responders). We pray that the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ will be with the people of Las Vegas as they endure this trauma.
Liturgical Resources from Bishops United Against Gun Violence
A Christian Response to Gun Violence, a ChurchNext resource for groups or individuals