Diocesan Newsletter
September 7, 2021
Guidance Regarding the Delta Variant Surge

We are now about 18 months into learning how to be the Church during this pandemic. As the Delta variant causes a surge in cases, many are seeking guidance regarding worship and fellowship. The Diocesan Office continues not to impose mandates at this time, but to offer the following cautionary advice and recommendations.

According to the data and map posted by the Virginia Department of Health here, every county in our Diocese of Southern Virginia is at the highest transmission rate for Covid-19. Most counties (with the exception of a handful) have percent positivity rates over 10%.

This means that church leadership, along with their health equity teams, should be continually assessing safety regarding worship. Because the situation is volatile and changes rapidly, decisions should be reassessed each week. At the very least, the Diocese recommends the following:

  • Strong advice, if not mandate, that masks be worn indoors.
  • Singing, if done indoors, should be by masked individuals only and congregations should consider limiting the number of verses of each hymn that is sung.
  • Service times should be shortened to 30-40 minutes, particularly if singing is part of the service.
  • Adequate ventilation should be attended to; and, if possible, outdoor worship is safest.
  • Physical distancing should be observed.
  • No physical passing of the peace, collection plate, etc.
  • Communion should continue to be administered in one kind only or with individually prepared containers.
  • Continued efforts to offer technological alternatives to in-person worship (live-stream, pre-recorded, Zoom, etc.)
 
A Word about the Vaccine
While there is much political debate about the vaccine, the purpose of this communication is not to engage the debate but to offer the following information regarding vaccination:
 
According to the Virginia Department of Health, people who are unvaccinated contract Covid at the rate of 13.3 times that of fully vaccinated people and 2.6 times the rate of partially vaccinated people. Among the vaccinated population, 0.2% have contracted a break-through case, 0.009% have been hospitalized and 0.0017 have died. These data might suggest that the vaccine offers protection against the virus not only in terms of protecting folks from contracting the disease, but in mitigating the effects of the disease that might cause hospitalization and/or death. Click here for more information from the Virginia Department of Health.
 
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interest of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
What’s New? 

Greetings. I am so excited to be beginning my new ministry as Canon Evangelist for the Diocese. Given all the change I’ve been experiencing lately, my answer to the question, “What’s new?” is, “Everything.” My wife, Eli, and I have gotten ourselves settled in Norfolk, and I have been getting to know folks in the Diocese. I look forward to meeting every one of you soon. 

I have another important answer to this question, though. We are working on an entirely fresh newsletter to grace your email inbox each week. We are organizing and formatting it to help you get the information you need and want as easily as possible and to leave you feeling joyous and encouraged in your own life and ministry. 

Please bear with us as we work on this, as getting it just right may take a few tries. Of course, this process means that over the next several weeks, we will all have at least one common answer to the question “What’s new?” “This fantastic newsletter, that’s what new.” 

Oh, and if you have something that might be worth sharing, please write it up and email it to newsletter@diosova.org, and we will find the best way to share each particular item we receive. 

Thanks! 

Canon James+
Giving Shelter 

We have received wonderful inquiries about how to aid in the resettlement of Afghan refugees. If your congregation is engaged in this work, we would love to hear about it and help connect you with others who wish to support it. 

St. Michael’s, Bon Air and St. Luke’s, Powhatan are collecting items requested by Fort Lee, Fort Picket, and Quantico. They will be collecting and delivering at least through the month of September, and then reassess the needs. Contact Doris Custer at custerdd@gmail.com for more information.
 
Also, St. John’s, Hampton is partnering with Commonwealth Catholic Charities to help move in families coming to this area. Contact Doug Perry at communications@stjohnshampton.org if you would like to volunteer to help.
Safe Church Training Update 
 
Safe Church training sessions are currently available via Zoom and Praesidium Academy. If you prefer a more interactive training format, two Zoom-based safe church training workshops are available: 
 
Specialized Training via Zoom - Saturday, September 18, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Sunday, September 19, 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. You must attend both half-day sessions to receive certification. 

Universal Training via Zoom - Monday, September 20, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. 
 
If you prefer to complete training online, Praesidium Academy online safe church training platform, is now up and running and is also an option. 
 
Click here for information about registering for either Zoom-based or Praesidium Academy online safe church training. 
 
We have received requests to host in-person Specialized training workshops. Unfortunately, due to the increasing number of Covid cases and the length of time required to complete a Specialized Training workshop we are not offering Specialized in-person training at this time. However, we will continue to offer Zoom-based Specialized Training sessions which are live and interactive. Universal Training workshops, which are 90 minutes long, can be done safely in person or by Zoom. If a church would like to host an in-person Universal Training workshop, or schedule a Universal Training Zoom workshop, please contact Susan Allen at the diocesan office, 757-423-8287.
Grant Applications Now Being Accepted

Seeds of Hope Grants
Seeds of Hope grants are available to support the development or expansion of Social Justice ministries sponsored by diocesan congregations and organizations. We are now accepting 2021 grant applications. Applications must be postmarked no later than September 30, 2021. We will announce and distribute grants no later than December 10, 2021. Click here for application information and form.

Clergy Continuing Education Grants
Diocesan Continuing Education Grant Applications are currently being accepted for clergy programs that are principally theological in nature. Applications for programs delivering training in specialized ministries or skills which would enhance the effectiveness of a clergy person in his or her ministry are also considered. With the exception of clergy within the first year of their ordination, all clergy serving in the Diocese of Southern Virginia are eligible to apply. Applications for programs taking place from November 2021 through April 2022 are now being accepted and are due not later than October 1, 2021Click here for more information and the application form.
Fall Happening 2021 Cancelled
 
Our Happening Committee has prayerfully considered Fall Happening 2021 with respect to health and safety concerns for the participants and staff. We have made the difficult decision to cancel Fall Happening. We are certainly disappointed but are hopeful that we can all come together for a Spring Happening. The Happening Committee is also exploring hosting a reunion event in December and will release information as it becomes available. If you have any questions, please reach out to Megan Dern, Youth and Young Adult Missioner at mdern@diosova.org.
Chanco on the James

Thank you for a successful summer
Thank you to all our camp staff, our campers, and their families who helped make Camp Chanco 2021 a successful year. We are pleased to share that camp was practically full this summer, though with lesser capacity due to best safety practices. Despite some necessary changes to camp programming, our campers had a fantastic time of faith, fun, and fellowship in God’s great outdoors. Missed camp this summer? Never fear – Camp Chanco 2022 dates are set! And if you register by December 31, 2021, you will lock into this year’s pricing! Click here for a flyer with all the details for next year’s camp season, and we look forward to welcoming old and meeting new friends at Camp Chanco next summer.
 
Nourish your mind, body, & spirit – Food for the Soul retreat upcoming
Geared for adults aged 21 and older, join us September 11-12, 2021 for a fantastic retreat focusing on nourishing your mind, body, and soul with delectable food, a cooking lesson with Chef Rafael, fantastic fellowship, and more. Click here for a flyer with more information. Click here to visit our webpage with details and registration. Questions? Contact us at hospitality@chanco.org.
 
Save the date! Lunch and consecration of our Spirit Center
Open to our entire diocesan community, please join us for a welcome lunch at 12:30 p.m. on October 23, 2021 followed by the consecration of our Spirit Center officiated by Bishop Haynes. More details and registration to follow. Stay tuned to our Chanco Chatter eNewsletter for details on this event and all things Chanco. Not receiving our Chatter? Subscribe here and never miss any Chanco news!
Job Postings
More detailed information on these and other jobs is found on the Employment Opportunities page of our website.

Sexton 
St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in Hampton has opened a search for a Sexton. This is a part-time position (15 hours per/week). Interested persons should contact The Very Rev. Dr. Ronald Ramsey at st.cyprianshamptonva@gmail.com
 
Technical Video Operations Team 
Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Norfolk is seeking to fill a part-time position with the technical video operations team for live streaming services and events. Contact: Mary Whitehouse at mary.whitehouse@goodshepherdnorfolk.org.  
 
Director of Music – Organist  
Old Donation Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach seeks a Director of Music - Organist (part-time 20 hours). Start date in December 2021. Submit a cover letter and resume to olddonation@gmail.com.