- Region I
- Region II
- Region IV
- Region V
- Region VI
- Region VII
- Region IX
- Region X
- Region XI
- Region XII
- Region XIII
- Region XIV
- Region XV
- Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School
- Church Schools
- Ecumenical Interfaith Relations Committee
- Episcopal Church Women (ECW)
- Executive Board
- Region Re-Visioning Task Force
- Shrine Mont
- Standing Committee
- Stewardship Committee
- Stewardship of Creation Committee
- Trustees of the Funds
- Virginia Diocesan Homes
Region 1 is composed of the 19 churches at the center of the Diocese of Virginia from the Blue Ridge to the Northern Neck. Geographically, it is the largest region of the Diocese, stretching some 100 miles from Piedmont, Madison to St. Peter’s, Port Royal and from Aquia, Stafford to St. James, Louisa. Each parish is unique, with its own history, traditions, and culture. Our local parishes are at the core of our mission and ministry; they are where we live and serve God in community. Our Regional Council consists of clergy and lay representatives from each parish who see the value of regional collaboration in supporting local ministry and in responding to larger community needs and Diocesan priorities.
Last year at Council, you heard about five Region 1 churches in the Fredericksburg area that are working together to take Morning Prayer to nursing homes and retirement communities. This wonderful example of sharing resources for ministry is possible because those churches are reasonably close in geography and community. In general, Region 1 faces challenges in facilitating shared ministry because it covers such a wide swath of the center of the Diocese and because needs and resources vary widely among our diverse family-, pastoral-, and program-sized parishes. Our first goal during this past year was to enhance relationships among the Regional Council representatives and churches so that as a Council we could serve more collaboratively and effectively. To this end, we began sharing Eucharist before each meeting, updated the Council directory, and resurrected our earlier practice of using name tents at meetings.
Early in the year, the Regional Council decided to focus on pastoral care ministries as an opportunity for information sharing and collaboration. In May, the Region sponsored a “ministry roundtable” bringing together those engaged in pastoral care ministry from nine churches to discuss challenges, aspirations, and resources. As a direct result of that dialogue, a few participants began learning more about the Community of Hope (COH) model of pastoral care. In September, an official of COH made a presentation at our Council meeting and noted that several of our smaller churches could share the initial cost of the program and become one “center”. A few of our churches are now meeting to decide whether and how to do just that. Some of our larger churches are exploring the possibility of implementing the program within their own parishes. All of our churches had the opportunity to share ideas and challenges and to learn more about COH. We hope that this year’s pilot ministry roundtable will serve as a model for regional collaboration and sharing around many ministry areas in the future. In 2016, we plan to focus on evangelism.
Our budget expenditures this past year reflect our commitment to sharing resources. To benefit local parishes, in 2015 we contributed $1,000 from our Mission and Youth Funds to support Aquia Church’s youth mission trip to Accident, MD in the Appalachian Mountains. We made a grant of $1,000 to Church of the Incarnation from our Congregation Emergency Fund to help defray legal costs after their Vicarage was vandalized. We disbursed $500 from our Sabbatical Fund to support Kent Rahm from Trinity during his trip to the Holy Land. To support Diocesan priorities, in 2015 we gave $1,000 to support two members of our Council as they traveled to the ECW Triennial meetings. We also continued our support of the Shrine Mont Capital Campaign, donating $1,000 in 2015 with plans to donate the same amount again in 2016.
During this past year we have stressed the importance of building relationships, sharing ideas and resources, and exploring collaborative ministries. To do this, we have had to confront the realities of geography and diverse parish needs. As we explore models of collaboration that support our parishes despite these challenges, we also look forward to the results of the Diocesan Task Force on Regional Re-Visioning (of which I am a member). Region 1 is fortunate to have a long history of strong parish support and active lay and clergy participation. We hope to continue to find new, effective ways to work together as we serve our local communities, our Region, and our Diocese in Christ’s name.
Submitted by: Sharon Boivin, President
Regional quarterly meetings were held on March 15 at St. Stephen’s-Heathsville, May 17 at Christ Church-Middlesex, St. John’s-Warsaw with annual meeting at St. John’s Tapphannock.
Annual Evensong service was held on June 3 at Grace Church-Kilmarnock with a regional choir and sermon by The Rev. Deacon Edward Jones, Diocese of Virginia Chief of Staff.
Ann Brown of Ware Church and Suzanne Hood of Abingdon Parish were respectively elected delegate and alternative to the Diocesan Executive Board.
Rev. Deacon Linda Murphy of St. Peter’s-Oak Grove was elected Secretary.
2015 revenue was $14,514 with expenses of $13,135.54. Expenditures included $8,200 in Mission Support, $1,000 in Shrine Mont youth scholarships, and support to volunteer chaperones to PYM Youth Retreat.
New clergy in the Region are The Rev. Stuart Wood at Christ Church and The Rev. Dr. Candine Johnson at St. John’s-Tappahannock.
Retirements in 2015 are The Rev. Paul Andersen of Christ Church and The Very Rev. Torrence Harman of St. Mary’s Whitechapel and Trinity.
Region II Theological Education Fund awarded a scholarship to organist Carina Harrison of St. Mary’s Church-Fleeton to attend the Leadership Program for Musicians. Unfortunately, the number of attendees was not sufficient for the program to be held.
Informative speakers at regional meetings included Boyd Spencer of St. Margaret’s School, Lance Barton of Northern Neck Food Bank, and Sarah Pope of Menokin Foundation.
Region II president Steve Walker is a member of Region Re-Visioning Task Force of the Diocese and attended both meetings of the group.
Region IV comprises the eight Episcopal Churches within the city limits of Alexandra. The Region Council meets four times each year: February, May, September, and November. Business outside of our meetings is conducted via e-mail, and in some cases, committee meetings.
Our representative to the Executive Board, the Rev. David Crosby, has completed the first year of his term, and at each Council meeting reports to the region about the activities/news of the Diocese. Our region President attended two Executive Board meetings, in addition to attending the Region Presidents’ retreat in June at Shrine Mont.
Region IV has become more collegial this year as we focused on ways to assist the needy in Alexandria. Each of our parishes is active in feeding and/or affordable housing programs. We share ministries with each other and with other denominations and faith communities. Our very active Outreach Committee has members from each of the eight churches. We have participated with Hunger-Free Alexandria, including the dedication of a warehouse that collects food donations from grocery stores and serves local food pantries; the Lazarus Program, now active in three of our churches and which, as part of providing financial assistance, also provides counseling to assist the clients reach a more independent life for themselves and their families; food and furniture programs with Alexandrians InVolved Ecumenically (ALIVE!); and four of our parishes plus students and faculty from VTS participated this year in affordable-housing initiatives with Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE).
Region IV sponsored a “first” Halloween event for the youth of the region. It was well attended and from what we heard in our parishes and saw in the pictures, it was great fun and will be repeated in 2016.
We also elected both delegate and alternate youth delegates this year, and both will be attending Council in January.
Other events for the year included our third Lenten series, Vacation Bible School by two of our parishes for many years now, and a Choral Evensong led by the clergy and choirs of two more of our parishes.
Submitted by: Beth Wiggers, Region IV President
Region V launched our “Region Life Committee”, an initiative to discern and act upon our “shared mission and ministry”. We identified a number of challenges in our community for which we wanted to offer a Christian response. The first issue addressed was Teen Sex Trafficking, as Fairfax County is reported to be the third most active area for this tragic activity in the U.S. Featuring community leaders and service organizations, law enforcement and others, Region V hosted a workshop to increase awareness and discuss positive actions we could take at Region and parish levels. We continued to seek opportunities to leverage the strengths and resources of our individual parishes to make an even greater impact in Northern Fairfax County. Highlights include:
Youth and Young Adult Ministry – Blessed with an extremely gifted and energetic Region Deacon, the Reverend Mary Beth Emerson, our youth ministry was very active again this year in Christian formation, opportunities to seek and serve Christ in others, fellowship and great fun! A highlight was the gathering of over 60 for the Region V Youth Service Event where they prepared a record number of infant care kits for the Alternative House’s Assistance for Young Mothers program. Rev. Mary Beth continued to leverage the network she created among youth leaders in our Region’s parishes, led our Youth Delegate nomination process and shepherded Youth Delegates at the Annual Diocesan Council.
Strengthening our Congregations – Region V meetings actively engaged our delegates and increased awareness of activities and opportunities in other Region parishes and in our broader community. External speakers and Diocesan representatives also sparked our imaginations and helped us identify ways to strengthen our congregations and our shared ministry. Prompted by the indaba sessions, a compelling presentation by Ms. Ellyn Crawford of the Diocesan Committee on Race and Reconciliation, and the Region V president’s participation on the advisory committee to the current Diocesan initiative, the Region Life Committee is considering an activity focused on racial reconciliation for 2016.
Evangelism and Proclamation – With relatively close proximity of our parishes, we sought creative ways to engage and serve God’s people wherever they may be in our community. We continued to provide financial support to the ARISE Campus Ministry at George Mason University. Epiphany’s 2nd annual Hypothermia Prevention Shelter brought volunteers and supplies from across Region V.
Multiculturalism and Ethnic Ministries – The small but committed Latino Ministry at St. Timothy’s Herndon chose to fully integrate into the parish’s other services. Mass continues to be celebrated in Spanish weekly at St. Timothy’s and is open to all in the Region. We are blessed to also have St. Francis Korean congregation in our Region.
Mission Beyond Ourselves – A highlight is our annual youth mission trip to Dungannon. Over 60 youth from across the Region participated in this week-long service trip to one of the poorest areas in Virginia. Through strong collaboration among our parishes and youth leaders and financial support from the Region, this continues to be one of our flagship initiatives and a model of effective shared ministry. Most Region V parishes have active domestic and international mission programs which we highlight at Region Council as we seek opportunities to leverage each other’s successes and collaborate.
In 2016, we will seek to expand participation in the Region Life Committee as we continue to address critical issues in our area.
Region VI is comprised of 10 parishes in a compact area along the Potomac River between Alexandria and Woodbridge. It includes a contemporary congregation (Church of the Spirit Kingstown), and a Latino Ministry (San Marcos). Three parishes (Al Saint’s Sharon Chapel, St. Luke’s and St. Mark’s) started out as missions of Virginia Theological Seminary, and one (San Marcos) is a mission of the diocese. The demographic is largely suburban, weighted toward government employees and the military. The region seeks to facilitate communication between the diocese and the parishes and to focus our synergies for mission and ministry within our geographic area and the diocese.
At our January 8, 2015 meeting:
The proposed budget for 2014-2015 was presented and accepted by unanimous vote. San Marcos’ Treasurer’s Report and 2015 budget request were presented, and Delegate Yuris Guzman provided a chart documenting the increase in pledges received.
Dean Weatherly’s final report covered changes to the diocesan staff and council procedures.
The Executive Committee report dwelt mainly on the status of Day Spring.
At our May 14, 2015 meeting:
The Region budget for the year was discussed and approved.
Executive Committee Rep Jim Bailes reported on the diocesan priorities and progress on the Race and Reconciliation meetings.
San Marcos reported on their April retreat and noted that Jose Reyes would soon be departing. A supply priest would be used until the arrival of Rev. Adolfo Moronta.
President Doug Varner reported on his attendance at a Race and Reconciliation meeting in April, and race and reconciliation became the subject of a lively roundtable discussion.
At our October 8, 2015 meeting:
Yuris Guzman presented the San Marcos report and the budget they presented to CCM in August, showing requests to the diocese and the region.
The Very Reverend Charles Brock gave a report on most recent dean’s meeting.
Discussion was held on Racial Reconciliation resulted in a decision to sponsor a discussion in November.
Jim Bailes reported on the most recent meeting of the Executive Committee.
Doug Varner reported on the Region President’s retreat, featuring Julie Simonton, two Korean priests and Kirk Gibson on the Shrine Mont Capital Campaign.
On November 14 St Aiden’s hosted the first region workshop on racial reconciliation, facilitated by Ellyn Crawford and David Niemeyer. The group discussed various attributes and goals of parish life, then began to explore indications of institutional racism. The findings and conclusions will form the core for another meeting planned for a future date.
The Regional Council for Region VII met quarterly this year, in four different parishes. We wish to thank St. Andrew’s in Burke, St. Christopher’s in Springfield, St. John’s in Centreville and St. Peter’s-in-the-woods in Fairfax Station for their hospitality. Our representative to the Executive Board has completed the first year of his term, and has been giving excellent reports to the region as to what is going on in the Diocese. Our regional President attended two of those meetings, in addition to attending the Regional President’s retreat in June at Shrine Mont. Our Clericus meets monthly. Our regional Dean was on sabbatical for the summer and the early part of the fall, and had a healthy and restful time. Diocesan information is distributed via email and at meetings.
Collegiality is growing within our region as we regroup and find ways to move forward as servants of Christ in Fairfax and Prince William Counties. All our parishes are active in both inreach and outreach ministries, shared ministry with other denominations, youth ministry, and pastoral care for each other and the communities around us. We have two parishes involved in the search process and three parishes either involved in capital campaigns or looking at capital campaign possibilities.
We continue to be blessed with good leadership from all our parishes as we move forward in the work of being Christ’s hands and feet in this world. We give thanks for all the support we receive from the Diocese and look forward to continuing to work with the Diocese as we move forward.
Submitted by: Helen K. Spence, President
Region IX sought to better serve each other and our regional community, as we undertook the following in 2015:
Celebrated with fierce joy and graceful remembrance the closure of Trinity - Highland Springs in February.
Retained all clergy in all 6 churches; and welcomed Associate Rector Molly Bosscher to St. Paul’s Richmond.
Within the span of one regional quarterly meeting, re-established regional clericus!
Happily helped return “our” camper from our region to Shrine Mont summer camp; who later returned to the mountain with her family and entire parish for a first-time fall retreat and led the Shouting Prayer.
Elected Baxter Jones, Westover, as our 2016 Youth Delegate; while recognizing the need to better promote this learning and leadership opportunity offered to our youth after several baton passes among our parishes.
Met our regional goals of achieving lay and clergy quorums at every meeting, and streamlining our quarterly meetings to 2 hours including supper, presentation, business and ending in compline.
Learned about our community through four conversations: updating progress on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to serve Richmonders as reported by Dominick and Amy Carter; sharing with Rev. Janie Walker in the exciting transitions at our Richmond Hill as a search ensues for co-pastors following the planned move by Rev. Ben Campbell off the Hill, and Rev. Andrew Terry becoming Vicar of St. Peter’s Richmond and East End Missioner, all while doing such good works including tutoring Armstrong High students and the Pastoral Care and Counseling School; visiting with Rev. Patrick Wingo, Canon to the Ordinary, for news of Mayo House during their sabbatical season, such as Mustard Seeds for confirmands; and witnessing the trials, tireless commitment to educating youth, and growth of St. Peter’s Richmond through historical pictures and stories stretching back to the 1850s as presented by Dr. Ron Carey.
Reached out from our churches through knitting and renewal, social media and old school Bible study, offering new service times and types -- even to go, continuing conversations and taking steps to racial reconciliation, and, yes, feeding the poor and comforting those suffering loss.
Held an executive committee meeting with Bishop Ted Gulick concerning regional changes and charges, wherein he expressed his support of our regions as we consider how to be missional, and to go beyond administrative.
Revamped duties of Secretary to be a Mission Reporter, seeking what inspires our churches beyond annual doings;
Initiated an ad hoc regional committee to further focus our regional relationship with each other and all those we touch in God’s kingdom.
Region IX goals for 2016: continuing prayerful consideration of how we want to define Region IX in terms of our passions and spiritual affinities, within and well beyond any geographic boundaries, and welcoming opportunities to serve with regions around us.
Submitted by: Susan D. Bland, President
Region X comprises five parishes in Richmond – Grace & Holy Trinity, Holy Comforter, St. Andrew’s, St. James’s and St. Mark’s. We meet five times per year on the first Thursday of the following months: January, March, May, September and November. Business outside of our meetings is conducted by e-mail.
All of the parishes within Region X have active mission and community outreach programs. Some of the highlights of the past year include:
- The continuing success of the Grace on the Hill program at St. Andrew’s, with six (6) recent college graduates serving internships and living together in an intentional Christian community on Oregon Hill in Richmond.
- St. Mark’s is in the process of re-establishing the Reading Stars Program started by Trinity in Highland Springs. The goal is to have the program active throughout the summer.
- St. James’s participated in the annual Stuart Circle Good Friday Blood Drive with other churches located on Stuart Circle. The drive was held at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
- All of the churches participate in ACTS (Area Congregations Together in Service), an area-wide program to prevent homelessness, and CARITAS, a provider of homeless services within the city of Richmond. Congregations within Region X serve as shelter sites and, in some cases, intake sites.
- Members of St. Andrew’s, Grace on the Hill interns, Oregon Hill residents and representatives of RVA Clean Sweep participated in a project in March to install storm drain markers throughout the Oregon Hill Neighborhood to discourage dumping of environmental hazards that end up in the James River. The effort also included a general cleaning of trash and debris from the streets.
- St. Andrew’s and St. Mark’s operate a joint Saturday Soup Kitchen twice a month in conjunction with the food pantry; Holy Comforter has a growing food pantry ministry; Grace & Holy Trinity has established a Food Pantry for students who fall into food crisis, and also operates a Soup Kitchen on Fridays.
- Grace & Holy Trinity operates the Red Door Ministries, providing assistance and spiritual support to persons in need. The programs included in this ministry are the Friday Soup kitchen and a service of prayers and healing, a clothes closet and prescription assistance. G&HT has been feeding about 80 individuals and providing approximately $400 in prescription assistance per week.
- St. Andrews offers a laundry service for the Homeless every Wednesday at a local laundromat.
- St. Mark’s serves as a cooling center in the summer – one of the few in the city that will allow pets
- Grace & Holy Trinity supported college student interns for Summer Camp on the Hill, serving children from Richmond’s East End for week-long day camps.
- St. Mark’s continues its tradition of providing a Community Dinner on the first Tuesday of each month.
- Mission efforts within the Region include trips by St. James’s to Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Brooklyn, Montana, and Virginia’s Eastern Shore; Grace & Holy Trinity sent a group to Belize; St. Mark’s partnered with St. Paul’s and St. Andrew’s in Norfolk on a Youth Mission trip to St. Paul, Virginia; and St. James’s is a supporter of the World Pediatric Project.
- Other commonly supported organizations include Anna Julia Cooper School and RVA Rapid Transit, an initiative to bring a rapid transit system to the Richmond Metropolitan area.
As a region, we provide financial support to the VCU Campus Ministry. About twice a year the region sends a cooking team to provide one of the Sunday night dinners for the students. This ministry makes its home at Grace & Holy Trinity and is developing a companion relationship with the Anglican Diocese of Belize.
Several clergy changes have occurred over the past year:
- Reverend Dr. Hilary Smith was called as Rector of Holy Comforter (she previously was Priest-in-Charge)
- Reverend Judy Davis left her position as part-time Associate Rector at St. Andrews to become Associate Rector of All Saints
- Grace & Holy Trinity welcomed the Reverend Kimberly Reinholz as the Associate Rector for Service, Campus Ministry and Pastoral Care. Paul Evans is the new Youth Ministry Assistant.
- St. James’s has a new Associate Rector, the Reverend Hilary Streever. The Reverend Robert Friend has joined as Priest Associate.
- Reverend Abbott Bailey took a well-deserved sabbatical over the summer.
Other key events include the long awaited completion of the renovation of Grace & Holy Trinity. May 31st saw a service of Celebration of their new Parish Hall. St. Andrew’s completed renovations to their school and held a Rededication on November 3rd. St. James’s has begun their strategic planning process. St. Mark’s will be celebrating their 150th anniversary on April 24th of this year. The Sesquicentennial Speaker Series is focusing on race relations. Guest speakers have included the Very Reverend Mike Kinman from Ferguson, Missouri, and the Very Reverend Phoebe Roaf, Rector of St. Philip’s Church in Richmond.
Submitted by: Mickie Jones, President, Region X
In 2015, Region XI was led by our Region Dean The Very Rev. Phoebe Roaf and Executive Board Member The Rev. Amelie Wilmer. Region XI embraces urban, suburban and rural settings located in the counties of Hanover, Henrico, King William and the City of Richmond.
Region XI has experienced many clergy transitions in 2015:
- Emmanuel Brook Hill installed The Rev. Sara-Scott Wingo as Rector in April following her service there as Priest-in-charge
- Epiphany brought aboard The Rev. David Knight as Interim
- Fork Church’s former Supply Priest The Rev. Bob Partlow died in May
- Immanuel welcomed The Rev. Charles Spigner as Interim following the departure of The Rev. Anne Lane Witt in April
- St. James the Less continues with Interim The Rev. Claudia Merritt
- St. Paul’s Hanover welcomed The Rev. Connor Newlun as Priest-in-charge, following the retirement of Rector The Rev. Jack Sutor in January
Supply Priests continue at St. David’s Aylett with The Rev. Roger Robillard and St. Martin’s King William with The Rev. C. Thomas Holliday once a month. Region XI clergy and laypersons strive to build relationships by supporting one another, sharing ideas, and communicating about the Region’s goings-on and other important information related to the Diocese of Virginia and Episcopal Church of the USA.
During 2015, quarterly meetings were held around the region in February-Fork Church Doswell, May-Christ Ascension Richmond, August-All Souls Hanover, and November-St. Thomas’.
Highlights of 2015:
- Council 2015 Youth Delegate was Clara Giorgis from Church of Our Saviour Montpelier
- Special services:
Absalom Jones Day
Blessing of the Animals
Blue Grass Mass
Ecumenical Thanksgiving Eucharist
Fourth of July
Mass on the Grass
- Lenten programs:
Music, music, and more music
The Priesthood of All Believers
- Children/Youth education:
Afternoon Sunday school for neighborhood children
St. Giles Gate for children who can benefit from nontraditional Christian education
Sunday schools teaching 2 to 200 each session
Vacation Bible School music camp
Ecumenical Service for the Week of prayer for Christian Unity
- Adult education and formation:
Church Next online coursework
Contemplative Bible study
Diana Butler Bass study
Education for Ministry
Exploring the Hebrew Bible
“Help, Thanks, Wow”
“Learning to Walk in the Dark”
Marriage Equality and the Church
Men’s yoga group
Prayer Books and Potables
“Stop, Pray, Work, Play, Love”
Vestry retreats at Roslyn
Women’s healing and prayer groups
“Women Who Loved the Lord, Women of the Bible”
- Mission work:
Adult group home residents
Congregations Around Richmond Involved to Assure Shelter
Community gardens (7 of 15 congregations)
East end hospice groups
Ecumenical project “Sack Hunger” lunch bags
Episcopal Church Women projects
Food collections for Peter Paul Development Center by youth
Habitat for Humanity builds
Halloween party at Peter Paul Development Center
James River mission project with children
School supply drives
South Carolina youth mission project with St. James Warrenton
Tutoring neighborhood students
- Special projects, events, and fun:
National music workshop leader
Church bazaars and yard sales
Food: steak, oysters, chili, Brunswick stew, soup cook-off, food trucks
Relay for Life cancer fundraiser
Priorities for Region XI in 2016:
- Racial reconciliation
- Further engagement of youth and young adults in the Church
Submitted by: Ginny Dunaway Ferguson, Region XI President
Region XII met quarterly this past year, combining two of our meetings with a regional dinner and our annual Ascension Day service. We thank St. Martin's, St. Bartholomew's, and Grace for hosting our meetings.
We held our annual Ascension Day service in the Bishop's Chapel at Roslyn and were pleased to have the Rev. Ben Campbell of Richmond Hill as our guest preacher. The Boy's Choir and Dr. Brian Taylor of All Saints Richmond provided the music for the service.
In mid-November, we held our annual regional dinner at Roslyn, which is open to all members of the region. We dined on a wonderful meal prepared by Chef Joe Graham and his staff. Our guest speaker this year was The Honorable Justice William Mims of the Virginia Supreme Court. He held everyone's attention while speaking on his faith, growing up as an Episcopalian and writing articles for the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Our regional president attended both of the Executive Committee meetings this year. He is serving on the Regional Restructuring Task Force. Our representative on the Executive Board has attended the meetings and has presented reports of those meetings.
We continue to have excellent leadership within Region XII along with some changes in clergy assignments with the region.
Submitted by: R. Edward Rhodes, Region President
Region XIII met five times in 2015: January, March, May, September and November. We normally met during lunch at Council, but could not do so due to last year's tight schedule. Instead, we met in January as a regular meeting.
Region XIII is also continuing to provide financial support to St. Gabriel's, a mission in our region. We were unable to meet our pledge to St. Gabriel's out of existing funds this year, but held a pig roast as a fund raiser in October, which augmented our funds sufficiently to meet our goal.
Region XIII continues to support a Trade School in Trouin, Haiti, which is operated by St. Marc Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Haiti. The school offers classes in Cooking, Sewing, Embroidery, Music, Floral/Paper Arts and Computer. The first class of 12 students graduated in August of 2014.
I will no longer be President of Region XIII after our January 12, 2016 meeting, but I would like to share a few observations of my time as Region President.
I am concerned that attendance has dropped off sharply for our Regional meetings. Sometimes, we do not even constitute a quorum, and thus cannot put anything to a vote. We have 18 parishes in our Region, and many of these parishes have not been heard from in some time, despite overtures. Perhaps it is too far to travel to the meetings? Are we not meeting their expectations or interests? What do we need to do to get them involved with the Region? Should the Region be divided? These are questions to ponder.
Another area of concern for me was an attitude pervasive among some members that was resistant to change. This negative attitude was hard to deal with and made introducing new ideas almost impossible. Perhaps it might be a good idea to impose some sort of term limit to our members, in order to keep fresh ideas coming. On a personal level, these frustrations told me that it was time to take a break.
My best wishes to the Region and its new officers in the coming year.
Submitted by: Mary Coate, President, Region XIII
Comprising the churches and missions of the Shenandoah Valley that stretches some 200 miles mostly along the Shenandoah River and between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, including: Calvary, Front Royal; Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration, Orkney Springs (Shrine Mont); Christ Church, Luray; Christ Church, Winchester; Christ Church/Cunningham Chapel Parish, Millwood; Emmanuel, Harrisonburg; Emmanuel, Woodstock; Good Shepherd, Bluemont; Grace, Berryville; Grace Memorial, Port Republic; Meade Memorial, White Post; St. Andrew's, Mount Jackson; St. George's, Stanley; St. Mary's, Berryville; St. Paul's, Shenandoah, St. Paul's on- the-Hill, Winchester; St. Stephen and the Good Shepherd, Elkton; and Canterbury Episcopal Campus Ministry (serving James Madison and Eastern Mennonite Universities along with Bridgewater and Blue Ridge Community Colleges), Harrisonburg; Region XIV is undergoing a rejuvenated sense of mission. We met four times during 2015: March, June, September, and November.
We lost our beloved Dean, the Very Rev. Alexander MacPhail (and also his wife, the Rev. Karin MacPhail) to the Diocese of Southwest Virginia. The Very Rev. Dwight Brown has been appointed our new Dean. Additionally, the Rev. Stuart Wood was called beyond our region. There are currently several churches in active search for clergy.
Our leadership was reconstituted with a full slate of officers. Joining our Treasurer, Jay Munnikhuysen, and myself, are Joan Inger, Vice President, and Cohen Adkins, Secretary. We are striving to renew a sense of diocesan and regional community through shared meals and worship together combined with our Regional Councils and, by implementing ideas gleaned from other Region Presidents, experimenting with rotating our meeting locations to those parishes willing to host. Most recently, Council met at Emmanuel, Harrisonburg, and Christ Church, Winchester.
With the increased sense of regional/diocesan identity we developed ideas for shared ministry and, under the tutelage of Bishop Ted, are currently exploring the idea of a pilot program to provide full and complete scholarships (including all camp necessities) to the children of the incarcerated throughout our region. There seems to be much interest in developing this idea as a template that might be utilized in other regions.
Additionally, many, if not most, of our churches continue to participate in amazing feeding programs – from the tiniest of missions to our large and midsized. Some are also providing firewood and others offering their facilities as thermal shelters during winter’s coldest months. In summary, Region XIV continues to humble and astound me.
Submitted by: Skip Barchers, President
Region XV is comprised of 18churches within the city of Charlottesville, the county of Albemarle, and also in parts of Greene, Fluvanna, and Orange counties.
The Region XV Council met three times since our last Diocesan Council meeting. Each of our gatherings was held at a different parish within our region. Each evening began with a fellowship social gathering, a dinner, and a service chosen by the hosting priest. We had evening prayer at one church and compline at two.
On Thursday April 30th, we met at Grace Episcopal Church in Standardsville. On Thursday, September 10th we met at St. John’s the Baptist, Crozet and on Thursday, November 5 we met at St. Paul’s, Ivy.
The April meeting was a networking session of churches in the Region. Ed Jones, Secretary of the Diocese and Alisha Michel, the new director pf communications of the Diocese shared their impressions of this year’s General Convention in September. In November, Grace Ahern of Charis discussed her new program at the McIlhany Parish House of intentional Christian living..
Region XV has several significant outreach ministries which it supports. The Schoolhouse Thrift Shop at Rio just celebrated its 23rd anniversary. It continues to be not only a wonderful place of fellowship for members of the region who volunteer there, but is also a very much needed ministry to the community. The Thrift Shop also continues to be a large contributor to the outreach budget of the region. The Ministry with the Aging, under the guidance of our marvelous missioners,continues to meet the needs of many elderly within the region. AIM serves to help those in emergency situations by helping with prescriptions, utility bills, and transportation. PACEM is a local homeless shelter and program. Again this year Region XV supported the ministry of Habitat for Humanity, inboth Albemarle and Greene Counties. There are also several significant donations given to local charities including the Mitchell House for battered women, Grace Alliance in Greene County and the Christian Emergency Council in Orange County.
A request for funding for an addition with handicapped bathrooms for Good Shepard of the Hills was received by the Region. $2,000 was awarded in September and an additional $1,000 was awarded to them in November to complete their project funding. In November a grant of $500 was also given to the Charis project.
All of us in Region XV are looking forward to continuing and strengthening our ministries in communities throughout our region in 2016.
Submitted by: Stephen C. Wachenfeld, Acting President, Region XV
The primary narrative and arc of Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School remain the same: 1) we are making steady progress in every aspect of the life of the school; and 2) owing to the challenges which so many of our students face, each day there are battles.
Developments and highlights for the past year include:
- Our highest enrollment ever with 90 students in 5th through 8th grades, i.e. 18 students in one 5th grade class, 24 students each in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades split into two sections by gender.
- 74 students in high school, all currently on track to graduate on time. Our oldest students are seniors, another watershed mark in the life of the school as many if not most of them apply to and prepare for transition to college.
- A full-fledged Graduate Support Program with dedicated personnel and resources focused solely on our graduates.
- Standardized test scores showed significant improvement.
- Our first financial audit was done and we passed it with no significant concerns or issues. (Previous to this year we had an annual financial review.)
- The School is forward-funded for one school year, the strongest financial position we’ve been in at any time.
- An accreditation team from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) visited for three full days in October. We expect an affirmative result when the VAIS Board meets in January to vote.
- More active and committed volunteers than at any time in the School’s history.
Goals for 2016:
- Our primary goal remains the same: focusing on helping our students gain increasingly greater emotional health and academic wherewithal.
- We have a Strategic Planning Committee actively engaged in possible future plans for the school, e.g. expanding to another building; moving down to 4th grade; strengthening our support of our graduates; exploring concrete and systematic ways to help our families; maintaining our current size and focus. The Committee will make recommendations to the full board in February.
Submitted by: Michael Maruca, Head of School
Bloomfield appreciates the support it receives from various Churches in the Diocese of Virginia, Southern Virginia and Southwestern Virginia. In 2015 the Bloomfield Board of Directors granted $99,000 for equipment needed by disabled children and young adults which was not availab le by any other means . Each grant request has complete history of Child or Young adult, their disability and Doctors prescription for needed item.
Most requests come from Social Workers, Hospitals or family members.
Examples of the request we receive are for Zippy wheelchairs to provide mobility in the outside world, bicycles that are specially fitted for each individual to their needs for exercise and to socialize with their peers, computers that are essential for their school work, bathroom conversions and bedroom lifts and in some cases ramps . There are some grant requests that members of the Board have never heard of. One such request was for a special car seat that was priced at $8000.
We research all items and the Vendors that we deal with provide Bloomfield a discount
The Bloomfield members encourage Churches to inquire in their communities to see if there is a child or young adult that needs some assistance with equipment that sometimes is not available to them. Being able to socialize with their peers is very important in the development of a child.
Submitted by: Courtney Kohler, President
I am always tempted, when still close to it, to describe an academic year as extraordinary. I would be wrong in almost every case. A year of extraordinary experiences in our wonderful school system of almost 4,000 young people, their families, thousands of alumni and approximately 800 teachers and staff is an annual affair and absolutely ordinary.
A highlight of the year was the arrival of Kirsten Adams and her family to St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School (SSSAS) in Alexandria. Mrs. Adams gave SSSAS and Church Schools an absolutely wonderful first year demonstrating the wisdom of an excellent search committee and board and demonstrating that the school has emerged from a potentially delicate transition, following a 30-year headship, strong, stable and looking forward.
During academic year 2014-15 all six of the Church Schools were engaged at some stage of in-depth strategic planning. Challenges as well as opportunities abound, and careful assessment, setting of priorities and vigorous pursuit of goals are paramount to continued sustainability and the pursuit of excellence. Visible at the schools is a more diverse day student body and an increasingly international boarding population. Much thought is given to what skills and knowledge will best prepare young people for the 21st Century. Technology, a greater emphasis on collaboration, research and communication skills, and interdisciplinary location-based and team-based problem solving projects are evident at every school and every level of education.
The three large day schools in Alexandria and Richmond enjoyed continuing historically high combined enrollment, excellent retention and record philanthropic support. The three smaller schools, reliant on boarding, face significant challenges. The market for domestic boarders has become smaller over recent years and decades as more independent day schools have been founded and inexpensive or free competitors such as Governor’s Schools, Charter Schools and a rapidly growing home schooling infrastructure have emerged onto the education scene. The need for financial assistance, although leveling somewhat, has grown steadily at all schools since the recession of 2008.
The number of service trips, projects and hours served seems, again, extraordinary, but the volume is quite typical for those who teach and those who learn in our Church Schools. A community of human beings, the Church Schools family experienced joys and sorrows as well as victories and defeats. Pastoral support, however, was and is always present, and educators find teaching and learning opportunities in all aspects of life.
Thousands of students and families were, again, served well in 2014-15. The schools, students and families were and are served by hundreds of committed and generous faculty and staff as well as hundreds of volunteers in governance and other roles. It is a big messy, sometimes cumbersome, and almost always deeply satisfying. I am very proud of the work done in our schools. I hope you are as well.
Submitted by: David H. Charlton, President
At the 217th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia in 2012, Bishop Johnston introduced the Dayspring initiative for discernment and decision in effecting the return of formerly disputed properties to the Diocese of Virginia. Based in Luke 1:78, the name 'Dayspring' embodied the challenge and excitement of the work to be done; 'challenging' because it was not something we had ever done before on this scale and 'exciting' because the church need always be open to new ways of being as our Lord leads us.
In March of 2012, some 30 folks began to meet regularly for prayer and discernment. We prayed for all concerned on every side of the issues, every time we met. Liaison teams were assigned for each continuing congregation, folks were detailed to solve immediate property care needs, long range fiscal plans were developed, properties were assessed for future use possibilities, and ever new problems were identified for attention. We often met and coordinated with the Resource and Messaging Teams. As we began, we had no clear idea what the road ahead held for us, for such is the nature of new enterprise. Every congregation and every property presented its own set of concerns and possibilities. As we engaged the tasks before us, we gathered our diverse perspectives into a living dialogue, which served well in meeting the challenge.
Through this process, over the last four years, some 'continuing' congregations have strengthened into vibrant and vital members of the diocesan family, others are well on their way to that result, and one new congregation has come forth in an 'old' property. Some properties have been brought back to fit condition for the work of the Diocese, some are leased, and others have been sold. Those sales have allowed us to recondition others and cover costs of the Dayspring process. All of which has required fresh ways of seeing and doing and it in fact has been very exciting!
While Dayspring is now completed as a task force meeting and praying, the Dayspring possibilities will continue to unfold as those moving parts mature. Our lingering questions, answers to which will also continue to unfold, center around learnings to be had. Bringing forth these newly strengthened congregations can offer us all lessons in what it means to be church when the building has gone away, what it means to bring forth a new congregation in an established church building, what it means to totally reconsider how a building might be resourced for God's ministry, and more. As we give thanks for this opportunity to serve the larger church our teams raise up these questions as possibilities for learning. As yet we do not offer specific answers so much as we invite the members of this Diocese to ask their own questions of the participants and learn from them their own answers. Bishop Goff's "Five Numbers in Five Minutes" talk given at the 220th council speaks to substantive accomplishment. Consideration of the questions expressed here is open ended and may offer even more to the ongoing ministry of the Diocese of Virginia.
Submitted by: The Rev. Jennings W. Hobson III, Dayspring Vision and Strategy Team - Chair
The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Agnew serves as Ecumenical Officer. The Rev. Diane Carroll served as Associate Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese until her retirement in June. The Ecumenical Officer and Associate Ecumenical Officer also serve as co-chairs of the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee (DEIC). In 2015 your Ecumenical Officers and the DEIC have been involved in a number of activities to promote the unity of the one Church for whom our Lord prayed on the eve of his death.
In response to the Call to Common Mission agreement of Full Communion between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we have continued to seek ways in which we can more fully live into this relationship. Our principal work in 2015 has been planning a Lutheran- Episcopal joint clergy conference for 2016. We have participated in a series of planning meetings with our counterparts from the Diocese of Southern Virginia, the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, the Virginia Synod of the ELCA, and the Metropolitan Washington Synod of the ELCA. The primary goal of the May 16-18, 2016 Shrine Mont Lutheran – Episcopal Clergy Conference is to enable the clergy of each church to function liturgically, preach, and give pastoral care in both churches. We will do this through worship in each tradition at the conference and through a series of three presentations focusing on liturgy. Since the current liturgical practice of the Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been greatly influenced by the liturgical reform movement, these presentations will examine, in part, the impact liturgical reform has had on the common worship life of the two churches and how the impact of liturgical reform on the two church can become a common resource for their emerging relationship of full communion. Our presenters will be noted liturgical scholars Gordon Lathrop and Neil Alexander.
An essential element for all ecumenical relations is the nurture of personal relationships. These relationships must take place between judicatory heads and those who work in the area of ecumenical relations on their behalf. Relationships of this type take time to develop and, once developed, need to be sustained over a period of years. The work of your Ecumenical Officers and of the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee is about developing and sustaining our ecumenical relationships. It also involves our joint witness with other Christians to the Gospel through mission and through the exploration of theology.
The Metropolitan Washington Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Coordinating Committee continues to meet. This committee is made up of representation from the Episcopal Dioceses of Washington and Virginia as well as the Metropolitan Washington Synod of the ELCA. The Rev. Dr. Agnew, the Rev. Jo Belser, and the Rev. Dr. Craig A. Phillips serve on this committee for the Diocese of Virginia. The Rev. Dr. Agnew attended the Annual Assembly of the Virginia Synod of the ELCA.
The Diocese of Virginia belongs to the Virginia LARCUM Covenant. This Covenant has been signed by the bishops of the three Episcopal dioceses in Virginia, the two Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synods, the two Roman Catholic dioceses and the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. The theme of the LARCUM conference in 2015 was “The Church always reforming – ecclesia semper reformanda”. The 2015 LARCUM conference took place in Sterling on December 4 and December 5. We are grateful to the people of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and their clergy the Reverend Rob Merola for helping to host this event.
The National Workshop on Christian Unity and the annual meeting of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers took place this year in Charlotte, North Carolina April 19-23. There were numerous seminars and presentations at the Workshop. The annual meeting of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Officers is the occasion for interaction between your ecumenical officers, the Presiding Bishop’s ecumenical staff, and the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. The Rev. Dr. Agnew serves as Vice-President of the National Episcopal Ecumenical and Interfaith Officers. The Annual Meeting of the National Episcopal Ecumenical and Interfaith Officers (EDEIO) takes place concurrently with the Workshop.
The principal ecumenical agencies supported by the Diocese of Virginia are the Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Graceinside, and the Virginia Council of Churches. The Center for Public Policy works on behalf the faith community with the General Assembly. Graceinside is Virginia’s Prison Chaplain Service. We encourage clergy and laity of the Diocese of Virginia to visit their website http://graceinside.org/ to learn about this vital ministry.
The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr. and the Rev. Dr. Agnew serve on the Coordinating Cabinet of the Virginia Council of Churches and the Rev. Dr. Agnew serves on the Steering Committee of VCC as well. The theological work of the council is done through the Commission on Faith and Order, which is chaired by the Rev. Dr. Agnew.
Submitted by: The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Agnew, Ecumenical Officer
Chair of Diocese of Virginia Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee
Greetings to the Diocese,
We stirred up the Spirit as we have been celebrating our 125th Anniversary of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Virginia! We are grateful to Miss Sallie Stuart for her years of dedication to our organization lifting up mission and ministry.
We presented The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones with a cross made by Rev. Deacon Harrison Higgins at Annual Council. It hangs at the Mayo House and is a visible sign and lasting tribute of our love and respect for him. We hold a deep sense of appreciation and admiration for his support and encouragement of the ECW.
Our Winter Board Meeting in February was held at Mayo House in Richmond. Emily Cherry attended our meeting and explained social media and showed us how to use it. We are grateful for her leadership and interest.
Our Spring Meeting was held on May 30th, a Saturday, from 1–5pm at Christ Church, Spotsylvania. The Rev. Deacon Carey Chirico led our panel and small group discussions on Saying Yes to God, giving everyone a chance to share. Our guest speakers, Michelle Trampe from the Central VA Justice Initiative and 1st Sergeant Grella from the Stafford Sherriff Department opened our eyes to the seriousness of human trafficking in our diocese. We learned the importance of everyday people being alert and willing to call the hot line for authorities to investigate what may be human trafficking.
Our hands-on project, as done in Miss Sallie’s day, was to stuff care packages for victims at Empower House. Everyone enjoyed the fellowship and delicious refreshments and hospitality of the women at Christ Church. Father Jeffrey Packard led Holy Eucharist at the conclusion of our Spring Meeting.
We had learned from our diocesan survey that change was needed to include young mothers and women that work in our meetings. We changed our format, day and time for our meeting in response to the need. We offered free registration for women under 50 years of age and free child care. The gathering was well attended including 3 children!
We had 4 delegates and 1 alternate attend the 48th Triennial Meeting of the Episcopal Church Women in conjunction with General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah the end of June. The theme was “Stir Up the Spirit: Celebremos”
We all had a meaningful experience, meeting women from all over the country. We had the pleasure of attending the Distinguished Woman’s Luncheon honoring Rev. Deacon Carey Chirico from our diocese. The Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori greeted everyone. The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff and The Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV and their delegation from the Southern Diocese of VA shared our table. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry at the UTO dinner. We attended a Provence III breakfast – a great way to get to know one another and plan for a future gathering. We attended the business meetings voted on resolutions; amendments to bylaws; and voted for new officers for the National Board. We also attended the 5K run and the Bishop’s March against Gun Violence. The highlight for most was the daily worship with wonderful messages and Holy Eucharist.
Our Summer Board meeting was held at Rainbow Acres Campground in August. We heard about Triennial, planned for our upcoming 125th Anniversary celebration at our Fall Meeting and decided to lift up our Gifts and Scholarships program at that meeting and at Annual Council.
In September, Bishop Susan led our Women’s Weekend Retreat at Roslyn titled Women of Acts, Woman of Action. We focused on learning about 3 Biblical women, discussing each one in detail. This time was followed by fellowship and an opportunity to express ourselves through three dimensional art. Everyone enjoyed the time with Bishop Susan, one another, and the beauty of Roslyn.
We were blessed to be offered the use of display cases for items from our history at the Mayo House in celebration of our 125th Anniversary. Julia Randle and Dale Brittle were instrumental in this effort. We held our Exhibit Opening on September 29th. It was a joyful event and well-attended, including past presidents and the diocesan staff. We mingled and shared stories, viewed the display cases and concluded with a viewing of a clip from our Oral History Project of Gladys Lewis sharing her story.
Our Fall Meeting and UTO Ingathering was held on October 15th. The Falls Church hosted a wonderful 125th Anniversary event for us! We all received a warm welcome from Rev John Ohmer and Nina Bacas, the Associate for Parish Life and Families. The gathering was well attended, 130 registered including 9 priests, Mrs. Barbara Gulick, and Ed Jones, Secretary of the Diocese and 3 past presidents; Martha High, Debora Williams and Beblon Parks. We especially appreciate Bishop Gulick and Julia Randle as Miss Sallie and all of the speakers for making it such a special gathering!
We had an informative meeting hearing from Rev. Catherine Hicks, Rector of St. Peter's Port Royal (UTO recipient) and from Beblon Parks, lifting up our Gifts & Scholarships program. Our Human Trafficking speaker was Beth Saunders of Just Ask on Teen Sex Trafficking. We are always amazed at how this is going on with our children. Just Ask is a new program with a great website explaining the signs of youth that may be in trouble and how to warn our children of luring predators. Please share this website with your family and friends.
The UTO, a ministry of the Episcopal Church, is supported by the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) of the Diocese of Virginia. This ministry is based on the offerings placed in the little UTO Blue Box with prayer and thanksgiving, and every penny is forwarded to the UTO Board at the national Church by the diocesan UTO Coordinator. The money is given in UTO Grants to address compelling human need in the diocese and around the world. The United Thank Offering ingathering collected $1,669.63, $486.63 from Annual Council and the ingatherings from the Diocese of Virginia so far this year total $73,733.79.
The Viva Voce recipients were Doorways (Region 3), Just Ask (Region 6), Project Hope (Region 9), Goochland Free Clinic (Region 12), Shelter for Help in Emergency (Region 15) each received $447 as well as awareness to their ministries.
Communion Alms collected that day went towards our Gifts and Scholarship program, $1867.
Following a delicious lunch and a visit and interview from our past, Miss Sallie, we reported on Triennial, the present and ended our time together in small groups discussing the future of ECW.
We are grateful for our Overnight Board Retreat in November at Roslyn. Our Spiritual time was led by The Rev Thom Blair. He asked us to see things the way Jesus saw them, to imagine ourselves in this story and to listen as he read Luke 16:19-31. We all appreciated his teaching. That evening we worshiped in the Chapel. Our music was led by Martha Burford from Holy Comforter and our Holy Eucharist was led by The Rev Molly Bosscher from St Paul’s Richmond.
Our special guest the next day was MegSchwarz, Liaison to the Diocese of Virginia Committee on Aging. She stressed that retired people have much to give to the church and need to be included. They not only have more time, but more knowledge. We had a long discussion with her on ways we could be more conscientious and inclusive of the elderly.
We spent time discussing our 2016 calendar and ended our meeting with prayer and well wishes to go in peace and serve the Lord!
As we continue into 2016 joyfully following Jesus through mission and ministry we will continue to bring awareness of how we can help the human trafficking situation in our diocese.
The Episcopal Church Women are blessed by the support from all of our Bishops, the Diocesan staff and clergy throughout our diocese. We are grateful and we thank you!
Submitted by: Jodie Pully, President
It has been a real privilege to serve on the Executive Board for the past three years as a representative of Region XIII. For those of you who are new to this, let me first describe the Executive Board. The Board can be considered the Vestry of the Diocese whose function is to consider and make decisions about program and budgetary issues that arise between the Annual Council meetings. The Board is composed of 15 members, one from each region. Regional representatives alternate between clergy and lay members, so the Board is always a balanced mix of both types.
The Board normally meets six times a year at different parishes in the Diocese, where the hosting church has an opportunity to welcome the group and tell a little about the history and highlights of its parish. This year we met at Grace, Keswick; St. Matthew’s, Richmond; St. Paul’s, Owens; and Aquia, Stafford, as well as the traditional December meeting at Mayo House. This practice provides a valuable opportunity to the Board for getting to know other parishes in the Diocese. There are two working committees: the Budget Work Group and the Program Work Group. During the last year, the Rev. Amelie Wilmer has chaired the Program group with staff support from Aisha Michel, Paris Ball and Emily Cherry. The Rev. Jay Morris has chaired the Budget Work Group with support from Treasurer Ted Smith. Two of the meetings are held jointly with the regional presidents, who meet as a group over lunch to discuss issues specifically related to the work of the regions.
Each region is asked to submit a written report for distribution to the Board prior to the meeting. The report contains updates from the parishes of the region on their activities related to the diocesan priorities, key transitional events, examples of collaborative efforts with other churches, activities related to the 2015 Council resolutions, and any plans for Mustard Seed applications. Regional budgets by each region may be submitted for approval by the Executive Board.
Bishop Shannon presides over the meeting and opens the meeting with a prayer. In the Bishop’s absence, the Vice President of the Board presides. The first part of the meeting, and the most informative, are the reports from the three Bishops and the Secretary, the Treasurer and the Canon to the Ordinary. We then break for a box lunch and the two work groups meet to handle the business of their groups. We reconvene for reports from the work groups and vote on any resolutions presented.
In his reports this year, Bishop Johnston emphasized his commitment to the Listening Sessions on racial reconciliation, introduced his spiritual direction initiative, and described a new ministry that is being developed with Truro Church based on peacemaking. He also reported that the Diocese of Virginia was hosting the Consultation of Bishops in Dialogue, composed of bishops from the US, Canada, and Africa, to discuss better ways to disagree and stay in communion with each other. This is the first time this group has met in the US. He shared his concerns about the approach to the basic issue of marriage equality and other organizational issues to be resolved at the General Convention. The Bishop also announced his planned, much deserved, sabbatical for September through December.
One of the highlights in Bishop Goff’s presentation was her report on the first meeting of the Diocesan Think Tank, which has defined its work with six guiding words: relevance, transformation, vulnerability, abundance, courage and connectedness. She also updated us on her work on the Committee on Congregational Missions and on our Ethnic and Latino congregations. She reported on her trip to El Salvador for the consecration of its new Bishop. She also shared highlights from the General Convention held in Salt Lake City this year, including the commitment to live together and to make difficult decisions on issues of serious disagreement, such as marriage equality. Racial reconciliation was a major theme. She noted that for the first time in a very long time, the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, was elected on the first ballot, which was a very strong show of unity.
In November, Bishop Goff gave a passionate report, complete with slide show, on her trip to Rome where 14 US suffragan bishops, including seven women bishops, had an audience with the Pope. She was especially impressed with the Pope’s willingness to be vulnerable, in his asking “please pray for me” in many different languages. She also reported on attending the other momentous event: the installation of Presiding Bishop Curry in the National Cathedral. Finally, there were reports on the last meeting of Dayspring, a discussion of how we are responding to the refugee crisis, and the progress on the diocesan resolution to leverage the use of church properties for ministry.
Bishop Gulick’s insightful reports consisted of a number of personal anecdotes of God at work in the parishes that he visited and the meetings he attended. His stories were both inspirational and poignant.
Secretary Ed Jones introduced Aisha Michel who has replaced Emily Cherry as Communications Director. He announced that the staff will be looking at ways to become better organized and work collaboratively during the new year. Examples of challenging projects are the R-8 task force that is looking at our real estate assets, and the Treasurer’s initiative to create a road map of financial projections and spending over the next 5-10 years. He reported on the plans for additional racial reconciliation sessions, the efforts of the work with the Truro congregation on peacemaking, and the regional restructuring task force. Prior to the General Convention, Mr. Jones also previewed the issues for discussion in Salt Lake City and after the Convention he noted that he thought that the election of Bishop Curry will have profound implications for the Episcopal Church in the US and in the world. Mr. Jones also reported on his trip to Liverpool where he participated in discussions with the Church of England related to human sexuality and marriage equality. He presented plans and asked for input for the 2016 Annual Council program, and outlined priorities for 2016. There will be a collaborative power theme, looking to find ways to make collaboration more effective.
The Treasurer, Ted Smith, presented financial updates, including his concern about the cost of medical insurance. He announced that Mr. Stanley (Stas) Jones has been hired to replace Joy Buzzard as the new Financial Administrator. Mr. Smith also provided updates on the Trustees of the Funds accounts and the STAMP fund program. He also reported on the status of the property sales, the income statement, and the 2016 pledge status.
The Canon to the Ordinary, Pat Wingo, led discussions and provided updates on a revised alcohol use policy for the Diocese. He also reported that there were 35 churches in the Diocese currently in some phase of transition and complimented Mary Thorpe on the work she has done serving as the Director of Transition Ministry. He also reported on the approaching end of the Diaconate Training, and that we are looking forward to 8 new vocational deacons being ordained in the spring. Finally, he shared the experience of his visit to the Diocese of Christ the King in South Africa, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their creation as a diocese.
Buck Aiken, the representative to the Executive Board from the Trustees of the Funds, gave a report on the investors, the funds, and the performance for 2015.
The Program Work Group under the leadership of Amelie Wilmer addressed issues related to the declining fund balance of the Mustard Seed fund, and discussed potential discussion topics for Annual Council. Buck Blanchard gave in-depth information on the history and status of the Mustard Seed fund. The group gave an overview of the plans for the Annual Council
The Budget Work Group chairman, Jay Morris, gave reports on the Diocesan Budget, beginning with the annual pledge to the national church, and presented the finalized audit report to the board for approval. They presented to the Board a resolution to create the Diocese of Virginia Shout It Scholarship Fund, and a resolution to create the Diocese of Virginia Queen Esther Girls’ Secondary School Fund. Both resolutions passed unanimously. They discussed a proposed policy for the Clergy Sabbatical Policy to cover diocesan staff. A draft budget for 2016 was presented and approved.
I’d like to recognize and thank this year’s members of the Executive Board:
The Rev. Jay Morris, Aquia, Stafford, Region I
The Rev. Jen Kimball, Christchurch School, Christchurch, Region II
The Rev. Ann Barker, St. John’s, Arlington, Region III
The Rev. David Crosby, Immanuel on-the-Hill, Alexandria, Region IV
The Rev. Stephen Edmondson, St. Thomas, McLean, Region V
Mr. Jim Bailes, St. Mark’s, Alexandria, Region VI
Mr. Chris Conrad, St. Andrew’s, Burke, Region VII
Ms. Cindy McLaughlin, St. Barnabas, Annandale, Region VIII
The Rev. Paul Rowles, St. Peter’s, New Kent, Region IX
The Rev. Carmen Germino, St. James’, Richmond, Region X
The Rev. Amelie Wilmer, All Souls, Mechanicsville, Region XI
Mr. Tom Crockett, Christ Church, Glen Allen, Region XIIin
Mary Frances leMat, Trinity, Washington, Region XIII
Mr. Tommy Dunning, Christ Church, Millwood, Region XIV
Mr. Stephen Wachenfeld, Grace Church, Cismont, Keswick, Region XV
Ms. Jodie Pully, Grace & Holy Trinity, Richmond, ECW President
In addition to myself, the Rev. Germino, the Rev. Wilmer, the Rev. Kimball and Mr. Wachenfeld will be rotating off after this Council, so I would like to thank them for their service.
I’d especially like to recognize and thank Bill Martin, Coordinator of the Executive Board,who kept us all informed and organized and generally took care of all our needs and activities.
Submitted by: Mary Frances leMat, Vice President, Executive Board
Bishop Johnston launched a task force to study our current region structure with goals to enhance collaboration and communication across all levels of polity, and develop a means for consistent effectiveness and sustainability of our regions.
Re-Visioning Task Force Membership includes:
Bishop Shannon S. Johnston
Co-Chairs: The Rev. Rob Banse, Trinity, Upperville and Ms. Diane Miller, President, Region V
Diocesan Staff Support: The Rev. Ed Jones, Secretary of the Diocese and Mr. Bill Martin, Assistant to the Secretary of the Diocese
Dr. Sharon Boivin - St. James, Louisa, President, Region I
Mr. Steve Walker - Cople Parish, Hague, President Region II
Regions III and V
Ms. Diane Miller - St. Timothy’s, Herndon, President, Region V
Regions IV and VI
The Rev. David Crosby - Immanuel-on-the-Hill, Alexandria
Regions XIII and XIV
The Rev. Rob Banse - Trinity, Upperville
Regions VII and VIII
The Very Rev. Jeff Shankles - St. Albans, Annandale, Dean, Region VIII
Regions IX and X
The Rev. Buck Aiken - St. Mark’s, Richmond
Regions XI and XII
Mr. Ed Rhodes - All Saints’, Richmond, President Region XII
Mr. Steve Wachenfeld - Grace, Keswick
Ms. Julia Randle, Registrar and Historiographer of the Diocese, developed a “Brief Working History of The Regions of the Diocese of Virginia”. Her presentation at the initial meeting of the Task Force provided a valuable frame of reference; we had a much better understanding of the objectives and intent of the convocation and region structure initially established in the 1840’s. Task Force members then offered our own reflections on our varied region experiences and perspectives, both positive and negative. At their annual retreat with Bishop Gulick in 2015, the Region Presidents shared their unique perspective as leaders; their “Joys and Challenges” contributed greatly to our discussion. The Task Force has adopted the following as a working definition of a Region:
A Region of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is a community of congregations formed to collaborate in shared ministry within a geographic area and to enhance communication between the Diocese and a congregation.
The Task Force has remained open-minded to all possibilities of region structure, missional role and operations. Our discussions to date have focused around two areas –structure/geography of a region and infrastructure/operational support. The rich collection of inputs from the various sources was consolidated and categorized, enabling the Task Force to develop an initial view of the “characteristics of a successful region”. The categories will be used to assemble Best Practices to increase collaboration and leverage success among regions. We will continue our discussions within a framework of those characteristics as we develop our recommendations.
The Task Force will continue to seek inputs from varied sources as we move toward developing recommendations for structure, governance and operations. Our goal is to conclude our work in 2016 and provide a final report to Annual Council in 2017. We are honored to serve the Diocese as members of the Task Force and would be delighted to address any questions or comments!
We are pleased to report that 2015 was another busy year for Roslyn. The retreat center accommodated nearly 300 groups, served more than 26,000 meals and hosted two complimentary clergy retreats. It also served Easter Brunch to another record breaking crowd and increased the number of participants and spiritual directors in its Pathways: Spiritual Direction at Roslyn program.
Two new programs were also offered this past year: Art Day with Bishop Susan and Brunch with Santa. Both were very well received. We look forward to expanding these and our other program offerings as Roslyn heads into the New Year.
During 2015, two of the Hall Lodges were spruced up with the installation of new carpet and painting of the guest rooms. Supplemental heat was added to the Goodwin, Pullman and Palmer lodges. Capital improvements such as these will continue this year as we plan to repair and recoat Roslyn’s driveway and parking lots. Plans are also underway to paint the exterior of the chapel and to continue renovations to the Ross and Hall lodges.
Throughout 2015, the Roslyn boards worked closely with Mrs. Katherine Whitney, of the management consultant firm of Warren Whitney, to draft a business development plan that will have Roslyn reach a financial breakeven point in the next 18-30 months. The plan will also advance Bishop Johnston’s vision of Roslyn serving as a center for spiritual direction and discernment for clergy and laity. To move this plan forward, Roslyn has added a part-time business development position to its staff. Mrs. Tammy Shackelford, who is also on staff at All Saints Episcopal Church - Richmond, has been hired to fulfill this role.
As part of the business development plan’s short-term goals, Roslyn will increase awareness of its facilities within the Diocese of Virginia by revamping its website and utilizing social media and email newsletters to ensure that everyone is aware of what a wonderful resource they have in Roslyn. Long-term, Roslyn plans to build its capacity to provide individual spiritual direction for clergy, vestry and lay members of diocesan parishes. It will also begin hosting new and innovative programs that are relevant to the parishes in the diocese.
With all that was accomplished this past year, the board and staff at Roslyn look forward to continued growth in 2016. We also look forward to sharing with you more about the center and all that it has to offer. We are thankful to all of our groups, organizations and donors as they have made Roslyn what it is today.
Shrine Mont hosted over 13,000 guests, 750+ campers and over 100 staff during the 2015 season.
Some highlights from 2015:
- Bishop Goff joined us in celebrating the 90th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration on August 6.
- 80 parishes from the Diocese held parish retreats, youth retreats, 20’s and 30’s retreats, men’s retreats, women’s retreats, and confirmation retreats. (Due to extreme rainfall, the weekend of October 2-4, 2015 was cancelled. Church of the Good Shepherd Burke youth , St. Alban’s Annandale, St. Barnabas, St. Luke’s Wellington, St. Thomas Richmond and St. Mary’s Arlington moms were not able to attend their annual retreat at Shrine Mont.)
- Over 500 Diocese of Virginia middle and high school students participated in Parish Youth Ministry weekends.
- Bishop Shannon hosted the Annual Spring Conference for Clergy, Lay Professionals and their Spouses. The Annual Fall Clergy Retreat was held in October, however, Bishop Shannon was on sabbatical.
- 125 volunteers attended our Annual Work Weekend providing Shrine Mont an invaluable service in preparing to open for the season.
- 19 parishes from outside the diocese held retreats at Shrine Mont.
- Shrine Mont hosted the following programs: Women’s Retreat, Writing Retreat, Painting Creation Workshop, Boomer Camp (summer camp for adults), Arranging for the Joy of It, Walking the Labyrinth Retreat, and two Digital Photography Workshops. A new program was added this season-Hike & Bike that included two tracts, one for bikers riding over country roads and another tract for hiking the local trails.
- The annual Bishop’s Jubilee and Bluegrass Festival was held the weekend of July 3-5.
- The Gourmet Dinner and Wine Tasting sold out and was a success at raising funds for Shrine Mont.
- 60+ golfers joined Bishop Jones for the Tee with the Bishop Golf Tournament, which raised in excess of $17,000 for Shrine Mont.
- St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes cross country team came to Shrine Mont for pre-season training. St. Stephens & St. Agnes also brought their senior class for its annual retreat.
- The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival held its 53rd season with nearly 6,400 attendees.
- More than twenty arts groups met for workshops and retreats.
- The marching bands from Oakton and Thomas Jefferson High Schools returned for their annual band camps in August as did the Fall Church High School Band Alumni.
- Community partnerships included hosting the West Shenandoah Ruritan Club, the Bryce Mountain Lions Club, and the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Department Leadership Camp.
- Shrine Mont hosted football team camps from Broadway High School and Fort Defiance High School.
- Shrine Mont is always looking for ways in be family friendly. In an effort to increase family usage at Shrine Mont, the 2015 rates were realigned reducing the children’s rate for 8-12 year olds to $25, the same rate as 4-8 year olds. In 2015 the number of children 4-12 years old coming to Shrine Mont increased by 15%.
Shrine Mont added new parish retreats and events to our calendar including:
- St. James Warrenton, Ware Church, St. Paul’s Bailey Cross Roads and Westover Parish came to Shrine Mont for the first time. A number of new families came to Shrine Mont for reunions in 2014.
- Numerous women’s, creative art, and personal retreats.
- The Cathedral Shrine hosted four weddings, six baptismal services, and one confirmation.
Giving to Shrine Mont continues to grow both in annual donations to support our operations and for major projects. In 2015 annual giving surpassed 5% of Shrine Mont’s operating budget and as a result Shrine Mont rates have been held steady for double occupancy and only slightly increased in other areas. Shrine Mont has also received very generous gifts to support a complete renovation of Meade Cottage and an endowment for Meade’s continued care, and an additional gathering space where the old pool was located below Crenshaw Lodge.
In August 2015 the Shout It from the Mountain Capital Campaign for the Shrine Mont Camps reached its $2 million goal and as of this writing the campaign is well on its way toward reaching the stretch goal of $2.5 million. Camp facility renovations and additions are well underway and scheduled for completion by the end of May 2016. Progress can be seen on Shrine Mont’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/shrinemont). The camp scholarship endowment will begin helping with scholarships this summer and Paris Ball is developing a comprehensive plan to reach out to parish’s and communities underrepresented in the Shrine Mont Camp program.
In addition to the work on the camp facilities, this off season we will undertake the following projects in addition to the normal repairs and upkeep of the property and its 85 buildings:
- Meade Cottage roof repair
- Securing Hillside Cottage foundation
- New outdoor stone fireplace to be constructed at the old Shrine Mont pool site
- Researching a new fire suppression system for the VA House.
Along with these physical improvements, Shrine Mont is renovating its website with a new look to be completed in early 2016.
In 2015 Anne Wilkins of St. Stephens, Richmond and Frank Burke of Grace Church, Kilmarnock joined Shrine Monts Board of Directors. We are lucky to have two such talented people join the board,
At the end of 2015 Dick Edge of St. Johns, McLean stepped down from Shrine Mont’s Board of Directors having fulfilled two terms and serving as Vice President for two years. We are deeply appreciative of Dick’s hard work and leadership
Shrine Mont would like to thank the Shrine Mont Board of Directors, the diocesan staff, our Shrine Mont Staff and all of our guests and donors for their hard work and efforts to continue to make Shrine Mont ”A place apart.”
We are looking forward to another great season in 2016 and hope that every member of the diocese will spend some time with us.
Submitted by: Kevin Moomaw, Executive Director
As the 2015 President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia, it gives me great pleasure and pride in our Diocese to report to you regarding the business of the Standing Committee and the ministry that has collectively connected us together for the past year.
We believe that the Standing Committee serves as a metaphor for being “Connected in the Kingdom.” First and foremost, the Standing Committee is connected to the Holy Spirit as an intentional spiritual community connected through prayer as we begin and close each meeting, as we gather for meals, and as we pray for the many diverse ministries, and opportunities of our diocese.
With the Bishop’s skillful guidance and leadership we have been connected to the past, to the present, and to the future of the Church. Serving as a Counsel of Advice to our Bishops firmly connects the Standing Committee to the present, yet in our ministry with Bishop Shannon, we have also been connected with the wider church, to Prayer, to Call, to Mission, to Community, and to Christ through the present needs and concerns of our Diocese, the larger Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the world.
We were connected to the present every time we met with Canon Pat Wingo, the Rev. Lynn Orville, Dean of the Deacon School, and Mr. Ed Keithly, Deputy Director for Transition Ministry, to confer over issues regarding the process for formation of a priest or a vocational deacon from discernment through ordination, and the Standing Committee's role in that process.
The Standing Committee has been connected to the future and to Call and to Christ in our deliberations and in our time spent with postulants seeking candidacy and ordination to the priesthood and in our representation at the ordinations of the Church’s sacramental future.
We were connected to the Church of the past by looking at the first and ancient Order of Deacons and by participating in the re-visioning of that order for the future of our diocese. We were truly blessed to experience the amazing dedication and professionalism of The Rev. Lynn Orville, Dean of the Deacon School. The training, education, and preparation of the dedicated men and women who come to our interviews for candidacy and ordination to the historic vocational diaconate has been a true gift of the Holy Spirit and further connected us to the Mission of the Church in the world.
One of the interesting ways your Standing Committee stays connected to both the present and the future resides in our canonical work as a liaison to churches requesting to encumber church property and/or to incur large debt. When a church requests to incur debt, a member of the Standing Committee serves as their liaison and makes at least one visit to see the project for which the debt is to be incurred. When the necessary documents of supporting vestry actions, financial statements, and debt repayment plans are in order, the liaison schedules a presentation to the Standing Committee to explain how their proposed project will cause them to incur debt and how they intend to pay the debt, while keeping the church financially stable. In 2015, the Standing Committee entertained a request from Aquia Church to expand their previously approved plan and granted their request to expand their debt further to accommodate a greatly expanded facility.
Through our work with parishes seeking consent to incur debt in order to improve, expand, and re-vision their facilities, we were not only connected to the Church of the future, but also connected to Community and to Mission. We see churches creating fulsome visions of how to expand their ministries and their facilities to meet the needs of the twenty-first century, needs like affordable workforce housing in overpriced or underdeveloped environments. The Church of the Resurrection, Arlington, has already presented a Concept for Approval Request for just such a venture and there are several other churches currently considering similar proposals, something we have called: “The Resurrection Effect.”
Your Standing Committee is connected to the wider church when asked to consider requests for its consent for the election of Bishops in other Dioceses. In 2015 we consented to: the election of Bishop Coadjutor Peter Eaton by the Diocese of Southeast Florida; the election of Bishop Diocesan James Russell Kendrick by the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; the election of Bishop Diocesan Audrey Cady Scanlan by the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania; and the election of Bishop Coadjutor Moises Quzada-Mota by the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.
Some of the Standing Committee's most rewarding work, that of being a part of a postulate's journey of formation in preparation for the priesthood, begins with our reading many documents by and about the postulants of our diocese, then meeting with and getting to know these exciting, talented, and extremely dedicated persons as they proceed along the path to ordination as vocational deacons or as priests. In 2015 we interviewed and approved 14 such postulants as Candidates for ordination to the Vocational Diaconate or Priesthood.
Farther along in the formation process we reviewed certificates of preparedness and the meeting of canonical requirements necessary for ordination to the transitional diaconate. In 2015, we conducted such reviews and recommended 11 candidates to the Bishop for ordination as transitional deacons, eight of whom have since been ordained to the priesthood.
Five times in this past year, we have been directly connected to Christ and to Call as one or more Standing Committee members participated as presenters in the sacramental rite of ordination throughout the Diocese. The name of each accepted candidate for ordination and each ordained deacon or priest is listed in the Official Acts of the Standing Committee, which will be included in the Journal of this 221st Council.
Our Diocesan staff could not have been more helpful in assisting the Standing Committee with its numerous canonical responsibilities. We have truly felt connected to each member of our Diocesan staff and have been exceedingly grateful for their assistance, particularly during the sabbatical absence of our Diocesan Bishop.
Again let me say how fortunate and thankful each member of the Standing Committee has been to work with and to be in counsel with Bishop Shannon and Bishop Susan in such a harmonious year in the Diocese. We have felt abundantly connected to one another, our diocese, the Anglican Communion, and to the great work of God’s Church in the world, past, present, and future.
We thank the members leaving the Standing Committee at the end of this Council, the Rev. Kim Coleman, Ms. Allyson Getlein, and Mr. Steve VanVorhees, for their tireless effort and invaluable contributions to this ministry.
Submitted by: The Rev. Dr. Linda V. Hutton, President
The Stewardship Committee of the Diocese of Virginia held four meetings this year, 3 at Aquia Church in Stafford, and one “e-meeting”. Topics of discussion included the workshops we were responsible for presenting, the stewardship mentoring program, developing our own annual giving program to offer as a template for parishes in the diocese, and the budget for the office of Congregational Development and Stewardship.
We offered the workshops in the following areas of giving in various regions of the Diocese:
Planned Giving – 1 workshop, serving 8 individuals
Capital Campaigns – 1 workshop, serving 13 individuals
Generational Giving – 1 workshop, serving 15 individuals
Annual Giving – 8 workshops, serving 117 individuals
Over 65 churches attended a workshop or requested a stewardship consultation.
We are in the process of working on an Annual Giving template to offer to our parishes, in addition to the templates provided by The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS). Both will be available to our parishes, and our workshops for 2016 will encourage use of either, or both, as folks see fit. Both will be able to be tailored to the specific needs of each parish. This is an enormous undertaking for our committee and the office of Congregational Development and Stewardship, and we are excited to be involved in this work. We are planning our workshops for 2016, so be on the lookout for a workshop in your area, which will include this new Diocesan information, as well as the TENS information as it is presented.
We are offering a workshop at Diocesan Council in January 2016, which will discuss Proportional Giving. We hope that you will take advantage of this time to learn how to share with your parish about giving back to God what has been given to them. Various members of the committee, and members of the Diocesan Staff, have published articles in the Virginia Episcopalian regarding our lives of Stewardship in our parishes and for our Diocese. We hope that you have taken the time to read them, and have learned from them. We look forward to sharing more with our Diocese of our experience in the area of Stewardship, both on the webpage, and in the Episcopalian publication.
We have had two churches participate in the Stewardship Mentoring Program in the past year, and we are revamping the program to be more “up to date” in the 21st century. If you are interested in this program, or in having someone from the committee speak to a group at your church (Vestry, Stewardship Committee, Finance Committee), please contact Julie Simonton in Richmond.
The committee is looking to expand, so if anyone has an interest in Stewardship, please contact Julie Simonton, or Stephanie Higgins at 1-800-DIOCESE (346-2919). These two women are the energy that drives the Diocesan Stewardship train in Virginia, and we are MORE than blessed to have their ideas and gifts to support the programs of Congregational Development and Stewardship in Virginia. I am blessed to serve with them, and the other members of this amazing group of talented people.
Submitted by: Helen Spence, Chair, Stewardship Committee
2015 Efforts and Accomplishments
As in past years, planning during 2015 for the SoCC annual fall conference was a significant focus for Committee efforts. In contrast to past years, the conference did not specifically focus on environmental issues, but rather on food as God’s gift. The featured speaker was Rachel Marie Stone, author of Eat With Joy, who spoke and then joined a panel discussion with a farmer and a chef. The program generated a lively discussion focused on eating disorders and healthy dietary choices. Following a “Wholy Meal”, afternoon workshops focused on gardening, Diocesan overseas mission and local food ministries.
In promoting the conference, the SoCC set up for the first time an eVite account to enable registration for the conference online, obtained technical support from a Richmond advertising executive, and posted items to the SoCC website specifically promoting and setting context for the 2015 conference.
Publicity through eBlasts during 2015 also brought to attention an opportunity for churches to obtain no‑cost support for energy efficiency, as well as other topics relating to particular issues. As reported by MailChimp, our server, the average open rate for SoCC eBlasts has been consistently higher than the average for church email blasts.
Several Committee members coordinated with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to design and construct a rain garden at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Richmond, a site highly visible for passing traffic. This initiative and the result were publicized in an eBlast.
Members of the Committee in Richmond also coordinated with RVA Clean Sweep to do a neighborhood cleanup and storm drain marking project with Saint Andrew’s in Richmond. This initiative and its significance were also publicized in an eBlast.
Members of the Committee were also involved in planning and presentation of an Interfaith program, Living Waters: An Interfaith Summit, sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at its Brock Center in Virginia Beach.
2016: A Time for Refocusing and New Initiatives
Since formation of the Committee in 1992, it has endeavored to help parishes identify and implement means to become better stewards of God’s creation. The Committee aims to serve: (a) as a resource for access to theological and liturgical resources regarding faith and environmental stewardship, (b) as a portal for access to technical information on conservation of energy, water, and other measures important for stewardship of creation, and (c) as a venue for dialogue on issues of faith and environmental concern.
During promotion of the 2015 annual conference, it was again brought home that the limitations of our website content manager significantly constrain ability to feature content specifically posted to promote the annual conference, as well as other mission objectives. In addition, while there is considerable content specifically relevant to inquiries that the SoCC receives by mail through the website email address, email@example.com, inquirers seem unable to locate that content without help. Moving existing content to a more flexible platform has accordingly become a priority. With the support of our Diocesan liaison we are beginning to explore a website relaunch using WordPress as the content manager.
Based on the small number of advance reservations for the 2015 annual conference, the Committee will also be exploring alternatives to the format of recent conferences, i.e., a featured speaker. We may explore options for shorter programs and means for making those programs more visible over time. A pilot project with a workshop focus is one possibility that will be considered during 2016.
From analysis of our eBlasts, it appears that information about what other churches are doing is of particular interest. The Committee also has opportunities for outreach in parts of the Diocese that have to date not been participants in its programs. A focus should be
There are also opportunities to do more to support Interfaith collaborations, particularly with Interfaith Power & Light. The organization has a significant presence in the Washington Metro Area and may undertake reorganizing a Virginia chapter. If that effort gains traction, the Committee will look for means to furnish support.
Persons interested in following the work of the Committee may ”like” the Committee on Facebook, follow the Committee on Twitter, @SoCCVirginia, and subscribe to the Committee’s email list on the Committee’s website, http://caringforgodscreations.com.
Submitted by: Tal Day, Chair
The Trustees of the Funds is to be commended for their strong leadership throughout a tumultuous 2015. They are an experienced board with dedication to a solid investment policy statement and a strong understanding that the long view is more appropriate for endowment management rather than short-term reactions to world-wide economic flux. That being said, I think everyone would agree that it is best to see 2015 in the rear-view mirror, even with the caveat that “objects are closer than they appear.”
2015 business activities included TOTF’s first step in transitioning to a 20-quarter model for the annual distribution. The 2015 distribution of $5.13 million included over $2 million being sent out for the many missionary objectives of the participants in TOTF. In other operation-related items, 2015 saw TOTF initiate new banking abilities that will allow us to better serve participants. In spite of the mediocre investment markets, 2015 saw the core portfolio welcome more than two dozen new funds, nearing 670 underlying funds and closing the year near $130 million in market value. The STAMP portfolio had another positive year in 2015, maintaining an average annual return since inception of well over 100 basis points. The Trustees of the Funds worked on several items with the diocesan staff, including fulfilling their Canon 15 duties as related to decisions made on diocesan-owned property.
As an outcome of the 2015 General Convention, and specifically Resolution C045, TOTF has been working with our investment consultant on possible socially responsible investing considerations and the long-term impact on investment strategy and returns of such measures. This work is being done using Monte Carlo simulations incorporating historical and expected returns and risk of various “SRI” concepts. While not required to adhere to the resolution, TOTF does want to be good stewards of resources while the Trustees are mindful of their role as fiduciaries for the assets entrusted to their care.
2016 will welcome the first fund placed from a church in one of the other two dioceses in Virginia, and TOTF will continue to work with other Episcopal entities in those dioceses to help serve the long-term needs of the Church. 2016 will also see ongoing work on the design of a Gift Annuity Fund, as a third option for TOTF and which may best help participants with planned giving goals. Initial interest seems to be very positive and the Trustees are always willing to support new initiatives to better serve all participants in the portfolios.
Submitted by: Michael J. Kerr, CEO, The Trustees of the Funds
Virginia Diocesan Homes, Inc. (VDH) has been designated by the Annual Council as the Diocesan agency through which institutional care of the aging is maintained. VDH’s mission includes encouraging the development of new residential care communities for aging people in the Diocese and maintaining liaison with the five existing CCRC’s with six locations and the HUD subsidized facility as follows:
Goodwin House in Alexandria and Baileys Crossroads 842 units
Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury Irvington 232 units
Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury Winchester 312 units
Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge Charlottesville 374 units
Westminster-Canterbury Richmond 843 units
Lockwood-Elmwood House Arlington (HUD) 150 units
The VDH board meets quarterly and rotates its meetings between the seven locations throughout the Diocese giving board members a chance to observe the facility and hear from the administrator as to the condition and operation of the facility. Each of the CCRS’s maintains a Foundation which can offer financial aid to residents who have out lived their assets and in some cases, entrance assistance.
Lockwood-Elmwood, because of the HUD subsidy, runs a constant waiting list for entry. Several of the CCRC’s are restructuring their unit mix to offer more of the larger in demand units vs. the smaller studio’s that were original constructed. This will keep them current with market trends in the industry and keep occupancies up.
At a special meeting in December, VDH reexamined its mission and structure. From that meeting, VDH will revise the way it works with the CCRC’s, produce a standard template to help new churches examine their options on building senior housing on their land and establish a group to keep in touch with other diocesan groups that could be helpful in furthering our mission.
VDH is actively working with Iglesia de Santa Maria Church in Fairfax County on Rt. 50 and St. Paul’s on the Hill in Winchester. Both churches have established a committee and are actively looking at zoning and demographics to determine what and how much can be built on their sites and the impact on the Church. VDH is assisting in an advisory capacity, working with the CCRC in the area and providing financial assistance as needed.
VDH is actively seeking interested Churches to sponsor a moderate income housing project in their area, either on their land or Diocesan land that might be available. Management capability already exists with either the CCRC’s that are close by or the management company that handles Lockwood-Elmwood House. These will most likely be not for profit structures with no financial liability to the Church or Diocese. VDH will assist with that structure and has funds for initial studies
If your Church has an interest in any of the VDH areas, pleas contact us directly through Mayo House or by contacting Mary Holly Bigelow at 7613 Hollins Road, Richmond, Va. 23229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by: Mr. Richard Juergens, President