Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Scriptural direction for Lenten disciplines

An Ash Wednesday reflection from Bishop Haynes
In a culture that does not encourage much attention to the interior life, Lent offers us a time to focus on exactly that. During the 40 days (excluding Sundays) that lead up to Easter, Christians have an opportunity to engage in disciplines that deepen their relationship to God and to each other. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (February 26), and we mark its beginning by receiving the sign of the cross in ashes upon our forehead. Then hopefully, for the next 40 days, we engage in a discipline that enables the deepening of our spiritual life. Many people settle easily on a Lenten discipline. Others are at a loss. If we consider the Scriptures appointed for Ash Wednesday, we are actually given some direction.
In the Gospel of Matthew for Ash Wednesday (Matthew 16:1-6, 16-21), Jesus is counseling his disciples on the need for a humble practice of personal piety. The purpose of practicing piety is to move closer to the heart of God, not to show off for fellow Christians. Jesus offers three examples of how to practice this piety. These three examples form a sturdy three-legged stool that makes a good place to sit for Lent: Alms-giving, Prayer, and Fasting.
Jesus begins by saying, "Whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may be praised by others." Notice that Jesus says, "Whenever you give alms..." Not, "If you decide to give alms..." The assumption is that alms-giving is...well...a necessary spiritual discipline that is not a matter of choice. Further it is not a discipline that is done in order to show off. In fact, the secrecy of its execution probably adds to its spiritual benefit. What kind of alms-giving will you make your Lenten discipline? Maybe a dollar a day to your favorite charity? Maybe an item a day to your local food pantry? Maybe a few minutes a day to someone who is lonely and needs your friendship? It's not a matter of if, but when.
Jesus goes on to say, "Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others." Again, note that Jesus assumes not if you are going to pray but when you are going to pray. Christians are expected to pray, and Lenten disciplines are incomplete without some attention to prayer. And as with alms-giving, prayer is not a showy discipline but a matter between God and the one praying. What can you do during Lent to deepen your conversation with God? And once again, not a matter of if, but when.
Finally, Jesus counsels his disciples, "Whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others they are fasting." Once again, the admonition is when, not if. The practice of self-denial helps to deepen one's prayer life. For some people, fasting, in the earlier understandings of the word (not eating food), is medically counter-indicated. But if we think of fasting as self-denial, it can be the giving up of something upon which we have come too dependent. The point of fasting is to remind us of the source of provision for all of our needs - God alone. Some people fast from social media during Lent. Some fast from saying unkind words or engaging in gossip, disciplining themselves to put money in a jar each time they catch themselves slipping. Imagine the church deficits that could be righted with such a discipline!
The most important thing about Lenten disciplines is that they draw us more closely into the heart of Christ. The prophet Isaiah (as he talks about fasting) calls us to a spirit of humility, but also to action:
Is not this the fast that I choose:
   to loose the bonds of injustice,
   to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
   and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
   and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
   and not to hide yourself from your own kin? (Isaiah 58:6-7)
The kind of fasting, praying and alms-giving to which we are called is a discipline of justice and reconciliation...a kind of discipline that gives life and gives it abundantly. What is your Lenten discipline? If we engage in this discipline faithfully, listen to the promise that Isaiah foretells:
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
   the restorer of streets to live in. (Isaiah 58:12)
Can you imagine a world where ruins are rebuilt, foundations established that can be trusted, breaches repaired and streets restored? With heartfelt blessings, I wish for you a good and holy Lent, one that draws you and others closer to God.
Bishop Susan
Click here for a printable PDF of Bishop Haynes' reflection.

Join Bishop Haynes for Clergy & Vestry Day this spring!

In place of our traditional vestry training days, Bishop Haynes is reformulating our approach to include both clergy and vestries. The Bishop will be taking part in all three Clergy & Vestry Days being held throughout the Diocese this year. Clergy will be an integral part of the day with their vestries. Healthy, skilled vestries who understand their role and ministry in the life of the church and their relationship with their clergy are essential in creating and maintaining vital congregations. Bishop Haynes looks forward to welcoming vestries and clergy to this year's sessions.  
Saturday, March 21, at Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach. Register here.
Saturday, March 28, at Christ & Grace, Petersburg. Register here.
Saturday, April 4, at Trinity, South Boston. Register here

Clergy Renewal of Vows services April 8

The annual Renewal of Ordination Vows services for clergy will take place on Wednesday, April 8 at:
  • 10:00 a.m. at St. Cyprian's (1242 W. Queen Street, Hampton)
  • 2:30 p.m. at Manakin Church (985 Huguenot Trail, Midlothian)

Go golfing and help children

Help children at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services who suffer from mental health and/or substance use disorders while having fun golfing.
Jackson-Feild will host its 25th Annual Golf Tournament on May 4 at the Golf Club at the Highlands in Chesterfield County. Over the past 24 years, this tournament has raised $538,520 to meet a variety of operating and capital needs that benefited its children.
The proceeds this year will be used to improve upgrade much-needed infrastructure projects on campus. Jackson-Feild seeks raise $30,000 from the tournament to meet these needs.
The cost to pay is $150 per player, or $600 for a team. Lunch is provided at noon, and a banquet at the close of play. Play begins at 1:00 p.m. with shotgun start.
Jackson-Feild's mission is to provide high-quality evidence-based services for children who have suffered severe emotional trauma, mental illness, and/or struggling with addiction. The goal is to restore wellness so that children can successfully return home to their community.
For more information, call Tod Balsbaugh at 804-354-6929 or tbalsbaugh@jacksonfeild.org. You may register by phone or on our website at www.jacksonfeild.org.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls for Good Friday Offering to support ministry in Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Love is at the foundation of the Good Friday Offering of our Church which provides an opportunity for every parish throughout our Church to be connected with the ministry of love and compassion carried out by our Anglican sisters and brothers throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East," Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry wrote to the bishops and clergy of The Episcopal Church. "Love is at the heart of the meaning of the cross.  Love is at the heart of the life Christ calls us to live.  Love is at the heart of the movement Jesus began and which we live in our own time."
In his Good Friday letter, Presiding Bishop Curry asks each Bishop and congregation to consider providing assistance for the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.
"I believe our partnership with those who keep the faith of Jesus alive in the region, where our Lord walked and began his movement, is a significant aspect of our work as part of the church catholic," he wrote.
Information, including bulletin covers and bulletin inserts on the Good Friday Offering, is available here.  

Nominations open for positions on Episcopal Church committees and boards

The Joint Standing Committee on Nominations has issued a call for nomination for Episcopal Church positions, committees, and boards. A full list of the open positions and their applications is available here. The deadline to submit an application is March 31, 2020. Applications may be submitted electronically, and nominees are able to apply for multiple positions on the same application.   
If you have questions, please contact Toni Hogg, tonih68@gmail.com. Elections will take place at the 80th General Convention, in Baltimore, Maryland from June 30 to July 9, 2021. Nomination materials are available in English, French, and Spanish. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Youth Missioner leads retreat in Chatham

The first ever Chatham Hall youth retreat was held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church the weekend of Feb. 7th. For two nights, Youth Missioner Megan Dern, led the girls in prayer stations and practices, small group discussions, a service project and a town scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt took the girls around town, to businesses and other important places in the town. The girls then wrote prayers for each place they went and these prayers were offered during a noon day worship service at a local gathering spot in town.  
In their evaluation the girls mentioned the importance of learning about different ways to pray, making an Anglican Rosary and the time for spiritual reflection. 

Volunteers needed for Easter Morning Sunrise Service on Jamestown Island

The Easter Morning Sunrise Service on Jamestown Island is looking for Volunteers. We especially need lay readers and singers. If you are interested in participating in one of the longest-running Sunrise Services in the country, at  the birthplace of the Protestant Church in America, please contact easterjamestownisland@gmail.com.
The Easter Morning Sunrise Service on Jamestown Island is an annual service that has been held under the Jamestown Cross for more than 65 years. It is an all-volunteer organization.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Walking Toward Truth Pilgrimage

This Lent, the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and the Episcopal Church Center invite you to a sacred time of pilgrimage, reflection, ritual, prayer, and embodied witness as we walk toward the truth about our Church's role in slavery. The pilgrimage will occur
Friday, March 6, Noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, March 7, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Space is limited to 40 participants.The $25 registration fee includes transportation, entrance fees and lunch both days. Register here 
We'll visit sites of memory at Old Point Comfort, the Emancipation Oak, and the Tucker family cemetery in Hampton on Friday, and Historic Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg on Saturday. Our time together will include a welcome from our new Bishop Susan B. Haynes, worship at historic St. John's, Hampton and Bruton Parish, presentations, historical interpretation, and a panel presentation with churches reflecting on their history, facilitated by Barbara Hamm Lee, host of Another View.
Inspired by The Episcopal Church's Becoming Beloved Community and our diocesan Repairing the Breach initiatives, this pilgrimage promises to be an important step in our ongoing journey toward racial healing, reconciliation, and justice.

Getting Started with Messy Church conference

Messy Church USA in cooperation with the Diocese of Southern Virginia is offering a regional conference event on the best practices to use in starting your own Messy Church. The Getting Started With Messy Church conference will be held at Ascension, Norfolk, on April 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (lunch will be provided). Cost for individuals is $45, groups of 2 to 4 people per church is $130 (fifth person and over per church is an additional $10 per person). There is a discount for participants from the Diocese of Southern Virginia - contact Lynn Farlin at
lfarlin@diosova.org  or 757-213-3377 to get the discount code before registering. Each participating church will receive one issue of the magazine Get Messy! and one copy of the book Messy Church. Click here to register.  
This training will give your team the vital tools to begin your own Messy Church. You will learn about the history, values, format and best practices to get your Messy Church started. If you've already begun Messy church, this is an opportunity to share best practices and gain new ideas for sustaining your Messy Church in your local setting. This training is open to all denominations.  
Messy Church is a monthly intergenerational worship experience that explores God's love in an accessible way. At Messy Church, today's busy households of all shapes and sizes are invited into a welcoming space to experience faith. Everyone is welcomed as they are. Whether you are singe or partnered, young or old, tidy or messy, have questions or doubts are filled with joy or struggling with life, you will be welcomed with open arms at Messy Church.

Lent 2020: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Repentance Leading to Action An Invitation from Presiding Bishop Curry to Turn and Pray on Behalf our Nation

As the season of Lent approaches, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invites Episcopalians and people of faith to turn and pray on behalf of our nation:
"In times of great national concern and urgency, people of faith have returned to ancient practices of repentance, prayer and fasting as ways of interceding with God on behalf of their nation and the world. This is such a moment for us in the United States."  
Click here to continue reading and to watch video of the Presiding Bishop's message. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Clergy transitions

The Rt. Rev. Susan Haynes was consecrated the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia on February 1, 2020.
The Rt. Rev. James Magness concluded his tenure as Bishop Diocesan Pro Tempore on February 1, 2020.
The Rev. Paul Rowles will conclude his tenure as Interim Rector of St. John, Halifax, on February 9, 2020
The Very Rev. Tim Jones will begin as Rector of St. John, Halifax, on February 19, 2020.
The Rev. Penny Nash will begin as Interim Rector of St. Michael, Colonial Heights, on February 24, 2020.
The Rev. Marc Vance will begin as Associate Rector at St. Andrew, Newport News, on March 1, 2020.

Nags Head Acolyte Festival

This year will be the 11th Annual East Carolina Acolyte Festival, April 24-25 at St. Andrew's By-the-Sea in Nags Head, NC. The Diocese of East Carolina invites all acolytes, directors, youth ministers, and parents to join them. Participants will return home with both new skills and a renewed enthusiasm for liturgy, and the rich, tradition of Anglican worship. Click here for information and registration. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Susan B. Haynes consecrated as bishop of Southern Virginia

The Rev. Susan Bunton Haynes was ordained and consecrated as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia at 11 a.m. on February 1 at Williamsburg Community Chapel in Williamsburg, Virginia. Approximately 1,300 people attended the historic service, and over 1,000 watched the live stream, as Haynes became the first woman bishop in the diocese's 128-year history. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry led the service as chief consecrator. The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, seventh bishop of Northern Indiana, was the preacher.  Read more here.  

Visit the diocesan Facebook page for many more photos. Video of the service will be available soon for on-demand viewing. Click here for the service program booklet. Click here for the Eucharistic bread recipe. 

Top photos by Greg Davy of Bruton Parish, Williamsburg. 
Bottom photos by Susan Pederson of St. Andrew's, Norfolk. 

EYE: unite! ¡unámonos!

The Diocese of Southern Virginia is putting together a group of youth to attend the Episcopal Youth Event, or also affectionately known as EYE, this upcoming summer. The theme for EYE20 will be "unite! ¡unámonos!" and it will be held this summer, July 7-11, 2020, in the Washington DC metro area.  Our Diocesan group will meet together July 6 in Newport News and then travel to the event together on July 7. EYE20 programs will focus on helping develop leadership skills, spiritual practices, and early stages of vocational discernment. Participants must have turned at least 15 and be no older than 19 by July 7, 2020. Current freshman who will be 14 on July 7, 2020 will have an opportunity to attend EYE2023 as the Episcopal Youth Event is on a three-year cycle.
 The cost for Diocesan participants will be $100 per person. There is limited housing available, so please be sure to register by March 10. For more information about the event check out the EYE20 website here. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Youth Missioner, Megan Dern, at mdern@diosova.org or 757-423-8287

Safe Church Training spring classes open for registration

Specialized Safe Church Training classes are now open for registration. All workshops are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and lunch is provided. Registration will close five days before the date of the workshop. The schedule of Universal Safe Church Training classes will be available soon. Click here to learn if this is the right training for you and to register for any of these classes: 
  • February 15 - St. Martin's, Williamsburg
  • March 7 - All Saints, Virginia Beach
  • March 14 - St. Thomas, Chesapeake
  • April 25 - Grace, Yorktown
  • April 30 - Manakin, Midlothian
  • May 9 - Epiphany, Norfolk
  • May 30 - St. Stephen's, Petersburg
  • June 6 - Holy Apostles, Virginia Beach
  • June 13 - St. John's, Suffolk
Go to www.diosova.org/safe_church for complete information about Safe Church Training.  

Save the date - Women's Lenten retreat at Chanco

Chanco on the James invites you to join women from around the Diocese as we gather together at Chanco on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 for our annual Women's Lenten retreat, Gravity and Grace: Exploring Themes of Darkness and Light In Our Lenten Journeys. Cost to Participants for Friday and Saturday is $95 ($135 for private room) and includes reception, accommodations, breakfast, lunch, and program. Cost for Saturday only is $35 and includes lunch and program. Register by calling 888-724-2626 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. You may also register by mail - include your check along with a note that indicates your name, contact information, and desired dates of attendance. Mail no later than February 21 to 394 Floods Drive, Spring Grove, VA  23881. Questions or assistance with registration, contact Ronda Toll at 757-869-8873 or at rtoll@cox.net.

Don't miss fantastic spring events at Chanco!

We have many dynamic retreats and events coming up this spring you won't want to miss! Save these dates:
  • Women's Lenten Retreat: March 6-7. Theme is "Gravity and Grace: Exploring Themes of Darkness and Light in our Lenten Journeys" featuring facilitator the Rev. Jackie Fulop. Registration coming soon.
  • Volunteer Work Weekend: March 20-22. This event will be FREE and will involve helping prepare Chanco for the busy spring and summer seasons! 18 and under must be accompanied by a guardian. Registration coming soon.
  • Open House Dates: March 21 and April 26 from 1-5 pm. Free and open to the public. Come see what Camp Chanco is all about!
  • Happening #72: March 27-29 for grades 10-12. Click here for more information and to register. Visit www.diosova.org/youth for more information and staff application.
  • Cursillo #168: Co-Ed Weekend: April 23-26. Adult retreat designed to help us grow closer to Jesus Christ and an opportunity to make friends all over our diocese. Visit www.cursillodiosova.org or contact Rector Travis Kennedy, St. David's, Chesterfield at travilus@gmail.com for more information and registration.
  • Chanco 1980's alumni reunion: May 1-3. Were you a camper, EYCer, or Happener in the 1980's?! If so mark your calendars and save the date! Registration coming soon.
  • Consecration of our Spirit Center: May 2 with the Rt. Rev. Susan B. Haynes officiating. More information coming soon!
  • May Weekend: May 15-17 for grades 6-12. More information and registration coming soon!
Have questions or need more information on any of our spring events? Contact us at hospitality@chanco.org or 888-7-CHANCO (888-724-2626).  We look forward to seeing you back on the banks of the James this spring!

Presiding Bishop encourages support for Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday on March 1

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, encourages congregations and supporters to support the ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE campaign through observance of Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday on March 1, 2020.  
"Lent is a time of reflection and of following Jesus, demonstrating his love for the world," said Presiding Bishop Curry. "I invite all congregations to devote a Sunday in Lent to reflect on the transformational work of Episcopal Relief & Development, particularly their work with children, and to tangibly demonstrate God's love by giving generously to support ONE THOUSAND DAYS OF LOVE."   
Episcopal Relief & Development's 2020 Lenten Meditations focus on the spiritual lives of children and how they can inform the prayers and meditations of all Christians. These booklets and other resources including hope chests, pew envelopes, bulletin inserts and special prayers are available at www.episcopalrelief.org/Lent. Supporters are encouraged to sign up for daily email meditations in English and Spanish, and, new this year, meditations as podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Sound Cloud and Google Play.  
To have printed copies of the Lenten Meditations in English or Spanish by Ash Wednesday, February 26, Forward Movement must receive orders by Friday, February 7. To place an order visit www.forwardmovement.org or call 800-543-1813. For additional information and to download a planning guide for Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday, visit www.episcopalrelief.org/Sunday

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Susan B. Haynes consecrated as bishop of Southern Virginia

The Rev. Susan Bunton Haynes was ordained and consecrated as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia at 11 a.m. on February 1 at Williamsburg Community Chapel in Williamsburg, Virginia. Approximately 1,300 people attended the historic service, and over 1,000 watched the live stream, as Haynes became the first woman bishop in the diocese’s 128-year history. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry led the service as chief consecrator. The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, seventh bishop of Northern Indiana, was the preacher.

Haynes was elected at a Diocesan Special Council in Dinwiddie, Virginia on September 21, 2019. One of six nominees, she was elected on the eighth ballot. Prior to the election, Haynes served as the rector of St. Paul’s in Mishawaka, Indiana, for 11 years.

The service, held on the Eve of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, began with a Candlemas ceremony by candle light. Congregants held candles blessed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem especially for use at this service.

A hymn written especially for the consecration by the Rev. Canon Henry G. Randolph, Jr. was sung during Communion.  Randolph’s text is set to the tune Kingsfold, a well-known tune from The Hymnal 1982. Randolph, a friend and colleague to Haynes, is also distantly related to The Rt. Rev. Alfred Magill Randolph, the first bishop of Southern Virginia.  The hymn was also shared with parishes in the Diocese of Northern Indiana, from which Haynes came, in order to be sung on February 2 during worship, as their way of supporting a priest from their own diocese who has become bishop. 

Haynes earned her Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School and was ordained in 2004. She is married to the Rev. Thomas Haynes, and they have two adult daughters, Sarah and Avery.

Haynes succeeds the Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV who served as the 10th bishop of Southern Virginia, who served the diocese for 10 years, retiring in January 2019.

The Diocese of Southern Virginia encompasses 101 congregations from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to the Dan River.

Photo: Bishop Haynes is presented the Pastoral Staff by the Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV, 10th bishop of Southern Virginia. Photo by Susan Pederson (St. Andrew's, Norfolk)