Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Rev. Roy Hoffman to join the diocesan staff

The Rev. Roy Hoffman will join the diocesan staff on July 15, working alongside the Rev. Canon Charles Robinson, as Hoffman prepares to assume the role of Canon to the Bishop Diocesan on August 1 when Robinson retires.
"It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our colleague and friend the Rev. Canon Charles Robinson as he retires after many years of loyal and valiant service to The Episcopal Church and to the Diocese of Southern Virginia," said Bishop Magness. "At the same time we joyfully greet the Rev. Roy Hoffman who will become the next Canon to the Bishop Diocesan. With his exceptional qualifications, Roy will be a significant and positive addition to our excellent diocesan staff."  
A native Virginian, Hoffman is in his twenty-fifth year of ordained ministry. As an Episcopal priest serving in the Navy Chaplain Corps, he has coordinated broad-based religious ministries programs on ships and ashore in the U.S. and the United Kingdom and mentored chaplains from a range of backgrounds and creeds. During his most recent tenure as senior chaplain at Naval Base San Diego, he has overseen a team of ordained clergy and support personnel providing pastoral and spiritual support to 38,000 people and the crews of 54 homeported ships while delivering worship services spanning seven faith traditions.
Hoffman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University, where he studied forestry, and a law degree from the University of Georgia. He practiced law for several years in Tennessee and subsequently taught law at the University of Cincinnati and Loyola University Chicago.
Before earning his Master of Divinity at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, he devoted six years to urban ministry as a Franciscan friar. Once ordained, he served Episcopal congregations in Knoxville, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois.
While living in the United Kingdom, Hoffman earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation and studied at Oxford. To hone strategic planning skills he earned a Master of Arts degree in 2012 and holds certificates in Spiritual Care in Crisis Intervention from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response from the United Nations. He is a certified trainer in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and a Guardian Quest Diversity Champion committed to bridging racial and cultural divides.
Hoffman is a Cherokee citizen and a member of the worldwide Community of the Cross of Nails. A devoted father to his delightful daughter Ruby, age 15, he and Ruby enjoy the outdoors, music, theater, biking, playing with their four-year-old dog Wendy, and setting out on new adventures.
Hoffman said, "I am humbled and delighted to be called to serve the Diocese of Southern Virginia, which has been my home as an Episcopal priest since 2004 though I have spent virtually all of my ministry since then in places as far flung as the United Kingdom, the Middle East, the D.C. area, New England, and California.  God has been faithful through it all, and I hope and pray that the experience has enabled me to grow day by day in my faithfulness to God."

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

St. Paul's, Newport News, makes the decision to close

The members of St. Paul's, Newport News, have made the difficult decision to close their 139-year old church. The last service will be on Sunday, July 14, and Bishop Magness will deconsecrate St. Paul's on Saturday, July 20 at 11 a.m.

St. Paul's was established out of the work of the Reverend Charles J.S. Mayo, associate rector at St. John's in Hampton in 1880, who was assigned the renewal of the Episcopal Church in what is now Newport News. In 1881, Mayo began holding interdenominational worship services in a railroad workers' dormitory. On Easter Monday in 1883, Episcopal members of that church formally organized St. Paul's and elected its first vestry.

St. Paul's parish house served as a center for armed forces personnel during World War I. During World War II, it was again used as a canteen for troops leaving from and returning to Newport News. A wing, including a new kitchen and library, was added for the operation of a community Hospitality House program. About 16,000 military personnel made use of the Hospitality House each month.

St. Paul's helped establish other Episcopal Churches in Newport News, including St. Augustine's in 1897, and St. Andrew's in 1919.

St. Paul's has remained in downtown Newport News, despite the significant changes to that area over the past few decades. The area is now dominated by Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding, which employs one of the largest work forces in Virginia. Downtown residents moved out, and other churches closed their doors or relocated. St. Paul's chose to remain to serve the poor, the homeless, and the few neighbors who remained.

St. Paul's partnered with other churches, civic organizations, and individuals to address hunger and poverty in Newport News through the formation of the Community Action Network. It combined traditional ministries, such as feeding programs, clothing and laundry, with counseling, job training, transportation, financial counseling, and employment services, seeking to empower those in need to lift themselves out of poverty. Dwindling resources caused St. Paul's to consider scaling back some of these services, but they decided to continue due to the high level of need. Much of the church's budget went to the Community Action Network.

While St. Paul's is closing, the needs of the people in downtown Newport News are not going away. Those who volunteer and those who are served at St. Paul's are hopeful that the other churches and organizations that helped make up the Community Action Network will seek out new avenues and will continue to minister to their neighbors downtown. 

Camp Chanco 2019 off to a great start

Thank you to all who have entrusted their campers to us this week for First Session. Monday's key words were "pause", "listen", "turn", and "choose" and Monday's challenge was "to try something new". Many campers tried new activities with archery, paddle boarding, the ropes course and zip lines, to name just a few! In chaplain program, campers made prayer flags. And from the looks of their flags, the future of the world is bright!  Our chaplain program this year is based on the Most Rev. Michael Curry's The Way of Love. If you think your camper would enjoy fun, challenging new activities and benefit from a message of love, there is still time to register for Sessions 2-4, Ropes Camp, Family Camp, and Senior Week! Visit for more information or to register today! Questions? Contact us at or 888-724-2626.

Camp Chanco FUNdraiser benefiting scholarships

Every year, Chanco has more scholarship requests than funding. Click here to purchase an awesome baseball camp designed by a Camp Chanco alumni offered in multiple colors with a feather that represents friendship, spirit and love - everything we strive for our young people to experience here at Chanco. All proceeds benefit Chanco scholarships. You may also support our scholarships by making a gift today. Click here to make an easy on line donation and indicate "scholarship" in the notes section or you may mail a check to Chanco (394 Floods Drive, Spring Grove, VA 23881) with "scholarship" in the memo line. Thank you for your support!

Coming soon: Episcopal Church digital invitation kits for Back-2-School and Back to Ministry

Continuing the invitation to connect The Way of Love more deeply to the seasons of the year, The Episcopal Church is developing additional free and downloadable resources for congregations. Coming this summer are Back-2-School Digital Invitation Kit and the Back to Ministry Digital Invitation Kit.

Each of these kits include: a customizable poster and postcard; a social media-ready graphic; and a Facebook cover image. Each kit also includes a video prayer message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry which can be embedded on a church's website. These resources are themed both with and without Way of Love graphics. All resources will be available here.

In addition to the back-2-school, ministry fair, and previously-released Easter Digital Invitation Kits, similar resources are planned for the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.  They will be offered in Spanish and English.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Safe Church Training for VBS volunteers

If you have Vacation Bible School (VBS) volunteers who need to complete Safe Church Training, we are offering a VBS-focused training option that VBS Directors can facilitate with their VBS volunteers. The training format consists of an online training module and a PowerPoint presentation highlighting key safe church issues, as well as best practice guidelines. Given that the training focuses exclusively on the VBS setting, the Safe Church certification will expire immediately after the VBS program concludes. If you are interested in this training option please contact Susan Allen at to gain access to the VBS training materials. 

Summer camp season has begun with All God's Children camp

All God's Children
camp at Chanco serves young people with one or both parents incarcerated and offers them fun, fellowship and faith in God's creation. So far the campers have enjoyed games, soccer and swimming and a favorite meal has been tachos (tater tots topped with taco meat and all the fixings)! At night they enjoy fellowship in their cabins and have an opportunity to journal about their day and reflect upon where they found God that day. Please keep all the All God's Children campers and staff in your prayers this week as they challenge themselves with new activities, enjoy living together in Christian community, and find God's spirit in each other and in the great outdoors.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Clergy transitions

The Rev. John Kerr, Vicar, left St. Luke's, Blackstone, May 31, 2019.
The Rev. Bruce Cheney, Rector, left St. Paul's, Newport News, and began as Priest in Charge, at St. George's, Newport News, June 1, 2019.
The Rev. Wendy Wilkinson, Rector, will be leaving Good Samaritan, Virginia Beach, June 16, 2019. She also will leave as Chaplain to Old Dominion University Canterbury Center. 

Video: Presiding Bishop's message for World Refugee Day

"When we welcome the stranger, we welcome the Lord God himself. We welcome Jesus," commented Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry in his 2019 World Refugee Day Message. "On World Refugee Day, pray, learn about refugees, learn about what you can do, and do whatever you can to help the strangers in our midst." 
Click here to watch the video.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Pride Month statement honors LGBTQ Episcopalians

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry honors LGBTQ Episcopalians in his Pride Month statement --- "In my years of ministry, I have personally seen and been blessed by countless LGBTQ sisters, brothers and siblings. Dear friends, the church has in like manner been blessed by you. Together with many others you are faithful followers of Jesus of Nazareth and his way of love. You have helped the church to be truly catholic, universal, a house of prayer for all people. You have helped the church to truly be a reflection of the beloved community of God. You have helped the church to authentically be a branch of the Jesus movement in our time."

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Come join the celebration at Chanco holds the first Eucharist in the NEW Spirit Center!

Chanco is hosting an Evening of Celebration with Bishop Magness presiding over our first Eucharist in our NEW Spirit Center. Please join us June 18 beginning at 6 p.m. for dinner, camp staff commissioning and Eucharist followed by a dessert reception. We hope you can join us for this special event in Chanco history. Questions or to RSVP (by June 10) to the event, please contact Chanco Administrative Coordinator Marjorie at  or 888-724-2626. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Parish Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group to meet June 13

The Administrators & Treasurers Lunch Group will meet on Thursday, June 13, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at Redeemer, Midlothian (2341 Winterfield Road, Midlothian). This is a wonderful opportunity to meet with other parish administrators and treasurers to talk about common issues. There's no agenda for this gathering - just an opportunity to get together, share, encourage, support, and ask questions. Bring your own lunch; beverages will be provided. RSVP to Diocesan Comptroller Judy Dobson, or 757-213-3386 if you plan to attend.

Jackson-Feild Spring Fling is a night to remember

On May 23, Robinson-Withers Gym at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services was transformed into an elegant ballroom for the evening’s “Spring Fling” prom. JFBHS would like to recognize and thank everyone who worked so hard to ensure the event would be a success.
The residential program staff prepared and hung decorations throughout the gym. JFBHS food service staff prepared special foods and sweets for the event. Staff member and professional photographer Leon Robinson snapped photos throughout the evening while staff member and a professional DJ provided the music that kept the boys and girls dancing all night.
The children were outfitted in their prom attire that was provided by the students at the Collegiate School in Richmond. They provided prom dresses, shoes, and accessories through their Fairy Godmother Program. For many residents it was the first dance in their life and they were overjoyed.
Prom is a rite of passage for most American teenagers, and JFBHS is committed to providing this special event that residents will cherish for a lifetime.

New podcast: The Way of Love with Bishop Michael Curry

The Way of Love: with Bishop Michael Curry is a new podcast which launches on Pentecost, June 9. These weekly conversations, featuring Bishop Curry along with podcast hosts Kyle Oliver and Sandy Milien, explore living a life committed to living the way of God's unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial and redemptive love. Each week in Season 1, Bishop Curry introduces one of the seven Ways of Love, Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life. Listeners are invited to deeper engagement with each practice as Kyle and Sandy share their insights and offer questions for reflection or small group discussion. New episodes air Tuesdays, through July 30.

The Way of Love: with Bishop Michael Curry is available on all podcast apps and at Visit the Way of Love podcast webpage to subscribe to the podcast through Apple iTunes, Google Play or Spotify, and to sign up for notifications of new seasons as well as additional featured content. 

Sacred Ground race dialogue series informational webinar June 11

Individuals or groups interested in learning more about  Sacred Ground: a film-based dialogue series on race and faith are invited to an introductory webinar hosted by Katrina Browne, Sacred Ground curriculum developer, and producer/director of the acclaimed documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, canon to the Presiding Bishop for evangelism, reconciliation, and creation care.

Built around a curriculum of powerful documentary films, videos, and readings, Sacred Ground is a 10-part series that considers some of the major chapters of the United States of America's history of race and racism.  It focuses on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian American histories as they intersect with European American histories.  It also invites participants to weave in the threads of personal and family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.

In this webinar, Spellers and Browne share the "why and how" of the Sacred Ground series, including an overview of all of the elements of this resource. They will take participants through the online Sacred Ground curriculum and resources, including the password-protected pages. There will be time for questions. This free one-hour webinar is offered on Tuesday June 11, 1pm Eastern; register here.
You can view previously recorded webinars here