Monday, December 16, 2019

2019 Seeds of Hope Grants awarded

Seeds of Hope Grants are diocesan grants available to congregations and groups to begin or expand ministries for social and economic justice causes as they relate to the Five Marks of Mission. 
Christ & St. Luke's, Norfolk
A Community Garden: Many Hands Make for Light Work. Grant will be used to purchase equipment for the garden which supplies the parish soup kitchen and local food bank.
Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk
Bridging the Gaps. Grant will provide funds for facilitators, transportation, supplies and snacks for this educational program for Mission families.
St. Andrew's, Lawrenceville and St. Paul's, Lawrenceville
Seed & Feed Program and People in Need Program. Grant funds will fund a variety of educational programming for senior citizens, youth, dialysis patients and children being raised by single parents or grandparents. Grant will also provide funds for join program with Dept. of Social Services to assist with basic needs for residents of Brunswick County.
St. Andrew's, Norfolk
Mentally Healthy Norfolk Initiative: Stigma Free Campaign. Grant will fund production of brochures and posters, training expenses for identifying people in crisis, and re-design of program website.
St. James, Warfield
Senior Citizen Outreach Program. Grant will fund printing of program materials for participants and food for healthy lunches program.
St. Thomas, Freeman
Senior Pals Program and Youth Empowerment Project. Grant will fund presenters, food and supplies, transportation for cultural trips for programs serving the senior citizens and youth of the community.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Kairos Prison Ministry team forming

Kairos Prison Ministry
shares the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to incarcerated men, women, youth and their families. Kairos sprang from the Cursillo movement and is supported by volunteers from the 4th Day movements such as Cursillo, National Episcopal Cursillo, Presbyterian Cursillo, Lutheran Via de Cristo, The Upper Room's Walk To Emmaus, and independently ecumenical Tres Dias, as well as by volunteers from independent and non-denominational churches. As a ministry, Kairos embraces a diverse group of volunteers working together to fulfill Christ's call to action in Matthew 25:36.
The team is forming now for KAIROS 18 at Sussex II State Prison which will be in April, 2020. If you would like to learn of the many opportunities to serve, or if you would like to have a presentation for your parish, please contact Lee Davis, or 757-679-3249.

Boys Home Christmas Tree Farm open for 26th season

Boys Home of Virginia is marking the Christmas season with the 26th year of harvest from its Christmas tree farm. The boys and staff work on the trees throughout the year to ensure they are ready when the Christmas season rolls around. The tree farm features family activities like choosing your own tree, refreshments and hot chocolate, a photo booth, a children's craft table, small petting zoo, and drawing to win a gift basket. The gift shop is decorated with traditional Christmas trimmings selling fresh garland, ornaments made by the students, a variety of Christmas items, as well as wreaths of various sizes.

The 2019 Boys Home Christmas Tree Farm season began Friday, November 29 and will extend to Saturday, December 21. The tree farm, located in West Augusta, is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Santa will visit our tree farm on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8 and Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Be sure to stop in for pictures and hot chocolate with Santa!
The tree farm is located off of Route 688 at 1118 Bear Wallow Flat in West Augusta, Va. For more information call 540-965-7700. You can also visit the Boys Home website at

Clergy transitions

The Rev. Daniel Crockett conducted his final services at Hungars Parish, Machipongo, and Christ Church, Eastville, on November 24, 2019.
The Rev. Ross Wright will retire from Church of the Good Shepherd, Richmond, on January 5, 2020.

Ridley Scholarship applications due January 15

The Ridley Foundation board will meet in February to consider new applicants for the second semester. New applications and documents are due by January 15. Current recipients need to send their first semester transcript in order to receive the second half of their grant. Complete information about Ridley Scholarships is available here.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Registration for 128th Annual Council is open

Registration for the 128th Annual Council is now open for attendees and exhibitors. Council will be held February 28-29, 2020 at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. Go to for complete Council information, including registration and lodging.  
The Very Rev. Cynthia Kittredge
Keynote Speaker 
The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, ThD, is our keynote speaker for this year's Council. She is dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest. The focus of Kittredge's leadership is the formation of Christian leaders in community for the vitality of the church and to advance God's mission of reconciliation. Read more here.  
Nominations for Elections at Council
The following elections will take place at Annual Council: Standing Committee (one lay and one clergy); Disciplinary Board (two lay and one clergy); Provincial Synod (one lay), and General Convention 2021 (4 clergy deputies, 4 lay deputies. Note: Alternate deputies will be elected in 2021). More info and nomination form can be found here.  
Youth Delegation & Adult Advisors
Every year a special delegation of 12 youth in grades 9-12 are invited to attend Diocesan Council. This is an annual gathering of clergy and lay people from all over our diocese. This weekend is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Episcopal Church, to find out more about the life of our diocese, to participate in and help to lead worship, to hear inspiring keynote speeches, to meet new friends, and to serve the church. Two adult leaders are selected to serve as advisors for the youth delegation to help them engage in and process Council. More info and application forms can be found here.  
Communicator Credentials
Church communicators are an integral part of connecting their Convocations and congregations with Council while it is in session and, afterward, through their reporting. Credentialed communicators (whether volunteers or church staff) have their registration fee waived. More info and application form can be found here.  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Advent: Transitioning into the dark time of the year

A new blog post from Bishop Magness
By another name, transition is change. The longer I live the more I recognize, and at times even accept, that living a balanced life is largely contingent upon how successfully I handle the transitions in my lives.  Ready or not, new events and occurrences happen in our lives and invite us to change. Transitions and changes occur when we move to a job or change positions; when we move to a new school or start a new grade; when children are born into our families and then grow up; when new friends appear and old friends leave; and when our Christian faith community leaders prepare to depart as new leaders prepare to arrive.

Diocesan ECW seeking vice president and historian

The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) of the Diocese of Southern Virginia announces the following vacant positions: Vice President; Historian. Click here for information about these positions and their requirements.  
If you are interested, please contact Laura L. Manigault, Diocesan ECW president, or Deborah Austin, Nominating Committee chair, Please also make this announcement to your ECW Chapter in your parish.

Jackson-Feild: Sponsor-a-Child for Christmas

For most of us the Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year filled with symbols and traditions that are happy and joyous. Sadly the girls and boys at Jackson-Feild have been denied these happy holiday memorials. Christmas is often the worst time of the year and triggers memories of past trauma which causes anger, sadness and depression.
Thankfully you can make this Christmas the best one the girls and boys at Jackson-Feild have ever had----one they will cherish for a lifetime.
Please make a gift by sending your tax deductible contribution to Jackson-Feild Homes, 546 Walnut Grove Drive, Jarratt, Virginia 23867. Or you can visit their web site,, to make an online or credit card gift. If you have any questions please call the Development Office at 804-354-6929.
Since 1855 Jackson-Feild has been helping hurting children. Please help ensure that these children are not forgotten by sending a gift today. Thank you and bless you.

A Colonial Christmas Concert at Historic St. Luke's

St. Luke's Historic Church & Museum in Smithfield invite you to A Colonial Christmas Concert featuring the Choraliers Ensemble of Smithfield High School. Performances will be held Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Advance ticket purchase is encouraged as seats are limited. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at St Luke's is located at 14477 Benn's Church Blvd. in Smithfield.  

Churchwide Bible reading initiative begins in Epiphany 2020

Forward Movement, along with partners from across the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, invites followers of Jesus to participate in the Good Book Club, a churchwide Bible reading initiative. The Good Book Club will focus on the Gospel of John, with participants reading a section of scripture each day during the Epiphany season, starting on January 6, 2020.
"The Good book Club is helping us to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the holy scripture, anew in our time," said Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry. "The Good Book Club is a helpful tool to engaging in 'Learn,' one of the seven Way of Love practices for a Jesus-centered life.
Click here for more information and resources.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Church Stories: An Interview with the Rev. Joseph N. Green, Sr. & the Rev. Robert O. Johnston

Saturday, December 14, 2:00 p.m.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 228 Halifax Street, Petersburg, Virginia
The Rev. Joe Green 
The Episcopal Project invites you to a very special event. Enjoy the stories and experiences of two Southern Virginia churchmen of the Greatest Generation. The Rev. Dr. Joseph N. Green, Sr. (age 93), and the Rev. Robert O. Johnston (whose 100th birthday is this month) will take the stage and, in an interview format, share their stories: their journeys to becoming Christians and priests, their journeys in the Episcopal Church and the parishes they served, and how these journeys were experienced within the times in which they have lived.
The Rev. Bob Johnston was the rector of Bath Parish in Dinwiddie County in the 1970s and early 1980s and director of Jackson-Feild Home from 1975 and 1979. The Rev. Dr. Joe Green, Sr. is rector emeritus at Grace Episcopal Church in Norfolk and a former Norfolk vice mayor and City Council member. Both men are veterans of World War II.
The  Rev. Bob Johnston 
The event will be moderated by the Rev. Willis Foster, Sr., rector of St. Stephen's in Petersburg. The Rev. Foster served as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot before his ordination to the priesthood. He attended Virginia Theological Seminary.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Event begins at 2 p.m. A social hour follows the event.
The Episcopal Project
This event is also an opportunity to get to know The Episcopal Project and the historic preservation work being done in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. The Episcopal Project's mission is to help Episcopalians collect, preserve, protect, and share their stories. In so doing we will help the Episcopal Church use its history to care for its people, now and into the future.
Please Register
RSVP by December 3. Go to to register.
Click here for for a printable version of this invitation. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Important information about filing your 2019 Parochial Report

Filing of the 2019 Parochial Report opens January 2, 2020. To begin preparing for the upcoming filing year, downloadable forms and instructions are available on the Episcopal Church website here. The online filing site has been moved to 
Due to site security and convenience, a Unique Episcopal Identifier (UEID) and PIN are no longer being used or provided as login credentials. That means beginning January 2, you will be asked to create a new login. Complete information is available here
Please note that the canonical deadline to submit your reports to your diocese is March 1, 2020.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Harry Potter and the Sacraments

Join us at Holy Trinity, Onancock from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 16 for an inter-generational event as we have some fun while exploring  some of the Christian themes that J.K. Rowling wove into the Harry Potter series. We will  enjoy some Harry Potter themed treats and some friendly house competition for a chance to win some Chocolate Frogs. Costumes are welcome but not required. A free event.

Free webinar: Overcoming Anxiety on the Fresh Expressions Journey

Fresh Expressions is offering a free webinar on Wednesday, November 13 at 12 noon - Overcoming Anxiety on the Fresh Expressions Journey. Anxiety is normal, but if it is left unmanaged it can wreck the new work God is calling you to do. Learn tools that can help you break free of long term anxious patters, diagnose team health issues and encounter God at a deeper level. In this webinar you will learn:  
  • What anxiety is and how it spreads through groups
  • how to navigate an anxious church, organization or team
  • how to tell the difference between God's voice and your anxiety
Click here for more information and registration. 

Women's Guided Gratitude Workshop

Save the date! The Diocesan Episcopal Church Women (ECW) will host a Women's Guided Gratitude Workshop at Chanco on the James on Saturday, December 7 with an optional evening event on Friday, December 6. This special Time for Reflection in Advent is open to all. Details and registration information coming soon! 

The Episcopal Church responds to the Opioid Epidemic - Members invited to participate in survey

Responses requested by November 27, 2019
The Task Force to Respond to the Opioid Epidemic, created by legislation at the 79th General Convention, is seeking input from lay and ordained leaders throughout the church about the local response to the opioid epidemic through the short survey here in English and here in Spanish.  
Resolution 2018-C037 Call to Respond to Opioid Epidemic calls on all dioceses and parishes in The Episcopal Church to respond to the opioid epidemic with training, pastoral care, advocacy, and liturgy. Central to this response are partnerships with local responders and others in the medical community, other faith communities and local recovery programs to offer pastoral care to those affected by this epidemic, and with other faith leaders to advocate with local and state government regarding policies and laws to promote healing and wholeness for those affected by this epidemic.

This brief survey is designed to gather information in two areas: what is currently working in local contexts, as well as what kind of resources are still needed. There are eight survey questions and an open-ended space for sharing additional resource needs.
The information collected will help the Task Force to shape their work as they curate and create resources for real-life, church-based opioid response ministry for use by churches, organizations, and others in the communities we live, work, and worship in.

Please take a few minutes to help with the important work of loving our neighbors that this Task Force has been called to address. Your participation is greatly appreciated!

New Digital Invitation Kits for Advent

New and updated Advent resources for congregations, dioceses, and communities of faith are now available: Way of Love Digital Invitation Kit, updated Journeying the Way of Love Advent calendar and curriculum, AdventWord 2019, Sermons That Work compilation of Advent and Christmas selections, Advent reflections from Episcopal Migration Ministries, and bulletin inserts. Also offered again this year are digital Christmas Eve services. All resources are available here

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Camp Spirit Song serves children affected by opioid addiction

Camp Spirit Song is a summer camp program that provides youth in grades 4-8 whose lives have been touched by addiction with the opportunity to feel safe, feel supported, and develop life skills that promote resiliency while in the camp environment. The camp is a program of the Spiritworks Foundation, a recovery community organization based in Williamsburg. Spiritworks is the ministry of the Rev. Jan Brown, co-chair of the diocesan Addictions & Recovery Commission and deacon at Bruton Parish, Williamsburg. Jan is the founding/executive director of Spiritworks Foundation and she participated in Camp Spirit Song this past summer. The camp was featured in BBC News and Radio reports, and included interviews with Jan. Click here to watch video. Click here to listen to the radio report. The full documentary, Addicted: America's Opioid Crisis, can be viewed here. If you would like to learn more about Camp Spirit Song and how you can get involved, please contact the Rev. Jan Brown,

Convocation VIII ECW gathers

Convocation VIII Episcopal Church Women (ECW) Fall meeting was held on Saturday, October 26, at St. Paul's  Memorial Chapel, Lawrenceville. The speaker was Ms. Carol Edwards of St Mark's, Bracey, whose topic was "Have you ever been Disappointed." There were four churches represented: St. Marks, Bracey; St.  Thomas, Freeman; St. James, Warfield; and St. Paul's, Lawrenceville.

Convocation VIII Chair is Dr. Angela M. Parker. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Messy Church webinar on Nov. 6

Join the Rev. Roberta Egli, team leader for Messy Church USA, for a webinar on Wednesday, November 6 at 6 p.m. to discover the basics of Messy Church. You will learn about how the Messy Church global movement began and why it works in many different 'flavors' of the Christian church. In addition you will discover how the five foundational values of Messy Church (Christ-centered, Hospitality, Creativity, Celebration, All ages together) weave in and out of the Messy Church worship experience. You will also be given resources as you consider beginning your own Messy Church.  Click here to register. There is no fee to attend.  
The Rev. Roberta Egli led a team to start a Messy Church in Eugene, Oregon in the fall of 2013 and now works as the team leader for Messy Church USA. She is an ordained elder in the Oregon-Idaho conference of the United Methodist Church and serves in extension ministry to Messy Church USA.

Canterbury Fall Retreat Nov. 15-17

College students are invited to attend the Canterbury Fall Retreat at Chanco on the James, November 15-17. Our retreat will consist of corporate reflection and prayer time, conversation, lots of free time, eating, campfire, and the famous Chanco ropes course. The cost of the retreat is $20 to help defray the expenses related to lodging, meals, and activities. After you finish filling out the sign-up form, click submit and then submit your payment by clicking the link on the last page.
Register here

Creating Safe Havens: Recovery Ally Training for Churches

Nov. 23 - Christ & St. Luke's, Norfolk
Dec. 7 - St. David's, North Chesterfield
The Addictions & Recovery Commission (ARC), in partnership with the SpiritWorks Institute for Recovery & Resilience (SIRR), is excited to offer Recovery Ally Training for Faith Communities.  The aim of Recovery Ally Training for Faith Communities is to foster church's ability to provide a safe haven for individuals, children, youth and other family members in or seeking recovery.  Safe Havens allow people affected by addiction to feel accepted, to be empowered to live genuinely, to feel comfortable asking for help and to be celebrated by the faith community.  By becoming a Recovery Ally, you and your parish are declaring to the addiction & recovery that you embody these ideals. Click here for more information and registration.

John Randolph Foundation awards grant to Jackson-Feild

Thanks to a recent grant provided by The John Randolph Foundation, students at Gwaltney School at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) will now be able to conduct science experiments. A portable science lab table - a first for Gwaltney School - will offer active, hands-on learning designed to promote and develop scientific thinking in students.
While in treatment for their mental health disorders and/or substance use disorders, students are able to continue their education according to the education plan mapped out for them upon arrival. This science lab table is a tremendous addition to the science curriculum at Gwaltney School, and the students and faculty thank the board and staff of the John Randolph Foundation for this grant in support of education.
Gwaltney School, located on the JFBHS campus, is licensed by the Virginia Department of Education and accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Educational Facilities.
The John Randolph Foundation partners with donors and organization in the Tri-Cities area of Virginia to support healthy communities and bright futures. Since 1995, the Foundation has invested over $18 million in the community through grants and over $1.6 million in scholarships.

Chanco Volunteer Work Weekend

On Saturday, Nov 2nd we invite you to help us keep Chanco beautiful. Projects will include painting, landscaping, and some light carpentry. All skill levels welcome - we will find the job for you! This is a free event and lodging is provided for those who wish to stay.  Our work day will begin at 9 am on Saturday and will conclude around 4 pm. Dinner will be a cookout - please bring a side dish or dessert to share. Click here for more information and to register.  Questions? Email Director of Programs Nathan Hoyt at We look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Join the Consecration Choir!

Come and sing with the Consecration Choir to help celebrate the election of the Rev. Susan B. Haynes as the 11th Bishop of Southern Virginia! The Ordination & Consecration of the 11th Bishop of Southern Virginia will be held February 1, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Bede Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg. We are hoping singers from across the Diocese will join in this special event.  
You do not need to be a member of your church choir to participate. You must commit to attend at least one of the regional rehearsals and are encouraged to attend more than one rehearsal if your schedule permits. You must attend the choir warmup on Saturday, February 1 at 9 a.m. at St. Bede's Church in Williamsburg. Proficiency in choral music reading ability (4 part singing) is recommended. Click here for complete details and registration. 

American Guild of Organists presents Repertoire You Can Count On!

Calling all church musicians, organists, choir members, choir directors!  The American Guild of Organists Tidewater Chapter presents Repertoire You Can Count On!  Join us for a wonderful educational opportunity to explore 'tried and true' repertoire for choirs and organists.  Five of our experienced colleagues will bring us five compositions each which they enjoy using.  These choral anthems or organ works are their 'go to' pieces and they will share them with YOU!  This event will take place on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1004 Graydon Ave, Norfolk.  Free and open to all.  For more information and to RSVP, please contact Deborah Carr at or call/text 757-406-4970.  

2019 Virginia LARCUM Conference

Please plan to join us at this year's Annual State  (Lutheran, Anglican/Episcopal, Roman Catholic, United Methodist) LARCUM Conference being held in Virginia Beach, Virginia at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23, 2019. Fr. James Loughran, SA, Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute will present the historical development of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the challenges to the modern day movement and practical ways in which local ecumenical communities can celebrate this year's theme "They Showed Unusual Kindness". Please visit to learn more. Registration fee is $35 and includes a box lunch - registration closes November 8, 2019.

New Way of Love, Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life resources for small group use

A year after the introduction by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the Way of Love, Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life, The Episcopal Church continues to offer new resources for congregations interested in following the Way of Love as a way of life. New this fall are the FAQ's for Small Group Ministry video, a social media infographic, as well as a postcard-sized infographic. These resources are available here.
The nine-session Living the Way of Love in Community curriculum is designed for small groups organized for the purpose of exploring The Way of Love. Group members study and experience each of seven practices: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest. These intentional small groups may choose to meet weekly, every other week, or once a month. The facilitation guide offers leaders a process for guiding an intentional small group for nine, 90-minute sessions with an option for extending a session 30-minutes should a group choose to gather over a meal. Each session includes prayer, a check-in process, discussion, practice time, a check-out process, and worship. Suggested scripture readings and hymns are also included.

Young Adult Service Corps accepting applications for 2020-2021 placements

Applications are now available for 2020-2021 placements with the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC), the international missionary program of The Episcopal Church. YASC offers Episcopalians ages 21-30 the opportunity to follow the Way of Love into deeper relationship with God and the global Anglican Church while spending a year living and working with communities around the world. From Guatemala to Oman, the Philippines to England, El Salvador to South Africa, and dozens of countries in between, YASC volunteers are building relationships that transform their lives and their faith.  
These young adults serve as teachers in church-run schools, work alongside development professionals who seek to empower their local communities, and participate in the daily life and ministry of churches and cathedrals around the Anglican Communion. Potential placements for 2020-2021 include (but are not limited to) Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Tanzania. Additional information, as well as the application form and instructions, for a 2020-2021 placement is available here. The application deadline is Friday, January 10, 2020. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Message about hurricane recovery efforts from Bishop of the Bahamas

Southern Virginia is one of the dioceses that has contributed to hurricane recovery and general outreach in the Bahamas. On September 30, Bishop Laish Z. Boyd, Sr. sent this message to the bishops and dioceses of The Episcopal Church:
My Sisters and Brothers:
Sincere and warm greetings from my Diocese. We are comprised of 46 parishes on 25 islands: 21 islands in The Bahamas and 4 islands in The Turks and Caicos Islands, with 96 individual congregations in all.
As you know two of our islands, Grand Bahama and Abaco, were devastated by Hurricane Dorian recently. These two islands are the second and third largest economies, respectively, in the country. This category 5 system was a monster storm. We have never experienced or imagined anything like it: catastrophic damage to homes, businesses, infrastructure, two economies, landscape and crops. More than fifty persons are confirmed dead so far and the number is expected to rise significantly.  
The most heart-breaking aspect of this is the humanitarian crisis: between the two islands, 70,000 persons disrupted, many dislocated, many homeless, some have lost loved ones, many people are still unaccounted for, not to mention thousands evacuated. The Bahamas nor the Diocese has the capacity to recover from alone.  
Thank you for the compassionate reception which our dilemma received at the recent House of Bishops meeting. We appreciate your prayers and your generosity in supporting short term relief and long term rebuilding efforts. We are particularly grateful to Episcopal Relief and Development for agreeing to journey with us along this difficult road.
We need assistance of any and all kinds from you, and your Dioceses as we seek to continue to recover from the worst natural disaster in this country's history. We will have many long-term rebuilding and development needs. At this time money would be extremely helpful.
The Rt. Rev. Laish Z. Boyd
Bishop of the Diocese of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands

Nominations for elections at Annual Council now being accepted

The following elections will take place at Annual Council:  
  • Standing Committee (one lay and one clergy)
  • Disciplinary Board (two lay and one clergy)
  • Provincial Synod (one lay)
  • General Convention 2021 (4 clergy deputies, 4 lay deputies) Note: Alternate deputies will be elected in 2021
Visit the Annual Council page of the diocesan website for more information about these elections and to obtain a nomination form.

Historic St. Luke's Twilight Cemetery Tour tickets now available

Dead men don't tell tales, but their tombstones do! Historic St. Luke's Church in Smithfield has been the site of burials since the 1600's. Enjoy the stories of local saints and sinners on a guided tour through the Ancient Cemetery. They have two dates for cemetery tours this Halloween season: an Adults Only tour on October 18, and a family-friendly tour on October 19. Learn about local lore and ancient curses through a historical lens, and separate fact from fiction. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Registration is live for November Weekend!

November 22-24 at Chanco  
For youth in grades 6-12
The demands of our daily lives can often be stressful and draining. We simply can't rest and replenish our souls when we are on the go all the time, multi-tasking, constantly bombarded with noise, and always on our phones. November Weekend is an opportunity for youth to come together with friends from all over the Diocese and to spend time in retreat with God. This year we will explore the ongoing process of personal growth and the inner strength that God's great love provides us all.
Fellowship is fun, spiritual, motivating, musical, and active... AND it's at Chanco, so register now at!
Sign up today! Happening #71 registration closes Oct. 10
Happening #71 will be held November 8-10 at Chanco on the James. Happening is an experiential weekend retreat for young adults in grades 10 and up that may just change your life. Come and see what it's like to be transformed by God's love! Details and registration can be found on the Youth page of the diocesan website, Sign up now - registration closes Oct. 10.

CE-Net gathering on October 10

Join CE-Net (Christian Education Network) for an informal roundtable conversation on Thursday, October 10, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Diocesan offices. Please share one thing from your ministry that is going well AND one thing that is a growth opportunity in your ministry. If you are available, please join us for a Dutch treat lunch at a nearby restaurant. Hope to see you there!

Cursillo #167 - a retreat full of grace

Thank you to all the team and participants of Cursillo #167 held September 26-29. Thank you to all who prayed for and supported this Cursillo. Thank you to our Rector, Laura Frank Sale, for her leadership of love and grace. And special thanks to Bishop Magness for officiating our closing Eucharist. It was a weekend full of new friendships, fantastic music, joyful worship, wonderful discussions and new tools for living our lives ever closer to Christ in our Fourth Day. Don't miss our Day of Deeper Understanding November 9 at Chanco! Missed this Cursillo? Never fear! We have a weekend upcoming this spring - watch for more information. Questions? Contact Lay Director Lydia Dyson Cersley at

Rooted in Jesus 2020 Conference

A diverse group of presenters will be coming to Atlanta, Georgia January 21-24 for the Rooted in Jesus Conference, a collaborative effort of Episcopal Church Foundation, Missional Voices, Forma, Episcopal Evangelism Society, Forma, Forward Movement, Episcopal Preaching Foundation, Diocese of Atlanta, Evangelism Matters, and of course, The Episcopal Church. 
Tracks reflecting the various aspects of discipleship will be offered: formation, mission, stewardship, evangelism, preaching, leadership, and communications, or you can chart your own course from the long list of workshops, panels, and plenaries. For more information, please visit Group discounts available.

Episcopal Relief & Development launches ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE

Episcopal Relief & Development announces the launch of
ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE, a $3 million grassroots Church-wide fundraising campaign dedicated to expanding the organization's global programs improving the lives of children up to age six. The campaign started on September 4, 2019, and will run for 1,000 days, ending May 31, 2022.
"Love allows us to bridge great distances so that children an ocean away are as precious to us as the little ones living right down the block," said the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church and Honorary Co-Chair of ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE. "Episcopal Relief & Development's programs with children share our love with thousands of children in Africa, Asia and Latin America. With your help, we can demonstrate God's love to thousands more."
Research shows that the first 1,000 days for children are critical in setting a foundation that affects their ability to grow, learn and thrive over their entire lives. Around the world, 155 million children under five are stunted due to inadequate nutrition and health care. Episcopal Relief & Development works with communities to ensure that children have access to food, clean water, and quality health care.
Episcopal Relief & Development invites individuals, congregations and dioceses to join ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE by engaging in acts of love of their own. These acts can include:
  • Learning about the campaign and the organization's work with children. 
  • Sharing the campaign with their congregations and communities on social media, through online peer-to-peer fundraising and other creative campaign activities.
  • Giving as an individual or congregation to help expand the organization's work with children.
To learn more about ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE and how individuals and congregations can participate, visit

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2019

Did you know: Federal policy defines “Hispanic” not as a race, but as an ethnicity; it prescribes that Hispanics can in fact be of any race; this means that a Hispanic can be Black, White, Asian, etc., or a combination of two or more groups. Some famous Hispanic/Latino people include Admiral David Farragut, Rita Hayworth, Cesar Chavez, Lynda Carter, Guillermo del Toro, Bruno Mars, Salma Hayek, and others.

The etymology of “Hispanic” goes back to “Hispania” during the Roman Empire.  Hispania was the region comprising the Iberian Peninsula, now occupied by Portugal and Spain. When those countries conquered America, their culture and influence spread from modern day United States to Argentina. Another fact: St. Augustine in Florida was established as a Spanish fort in 1565, the first permanent European settlement in the United States before the English settlement of Jamestown in Virginia later in 1607. The oldest and active government building in the United States is “La Fortaleza”, the house of the governor of Puerto Rico. 

When it comes to reporting their racial/ethnic identity, Latinos stand out from other Americans. In the 2010 census, for example, 94% of the U.S. population selected at least one of the five standard, government-defined racial categories – white, black, Asian, American Indian or Pacific Islander. But among Latinos, just 63% selected at least one of these categories; 37% of Latinos, or 19 million, instead selected only “some other race,” with many offering write-in responses such as “Mexican,” Hispanic” or “Latin American.”[1] In my case I have used “Hispanic”, “White-Hispanic” (when it is an option), “Latino”, and “Puerto Rican.” All of these categories of course can lead to interesting conversations since “Hispanic” or “Latino” could mean different things to different people. 

Today, 57.5 million people or 18% of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population. Here in Virginia the “Hispanic population in Virginia is the 15th largest in the nation. About 732,000 Hispanics reside in Virginia, 1.3% of all Hispanics in the United States.”[2]  

During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) I ask for your prayers on behalf of my ministry to our siblings in Christ in our diocese. You can also share in this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. We are your neighbors, friends, co-workers, doctors, fellow veterans, and those of us that come into your life for only a moment. Blessings to all of you. 

Gracias, The Rev. (Padre) Mario
Missioner for Latino/a/x Ministries  

[1] Gonzalez-Barrera, Ana and Hugo-Lopez, Mark. “Is being Hispanic a matter of race, ethnicity or both?” Pew Research Center.

[2] Pew Research Center: Hispanic Trends. “Latinos in the 2016 Election: Virginia” Pew Research Center.