Diocesan eNews
November 17, 2020
Navigating the Pandemic: A Prayer for Wisdom

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give to you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O LORD my god, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people” (I Kings 3:5-9)
 
These words, known as Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom, should surely resonate with us today. We face a baffling, frightening situation, not really knowing ourselves “how to go out or come in.” The news we hear about rising cases of Covid-19 is not what we want – the number of cases increase at an alarming rate, with no end in sight. Give us an understanding mind, Lord, able to discern wisely between good and evil!
 
Solomon’s prayer was answered. God provided wisdom, and Solomon ruled wisely and justly. God is faithful and merciful and stands ready to bestow upon us a similar wisdom if we ask for it. As we navigate through this pandemic, heading into the Advent and Christmas seasons, church rectors and vestries will need to make wise decisions about liturgical, pastoral and formational opportunities. Using the guidelines offered by the Diocese in June, churches have tools for making these decisions. Given the increasing cases, the Diocese offers the following additional guidance:
 
Should we continue to gather for in-person worship? If not, when should we stop?
At the diocesan level, we continue to meet with a medical advisory panel to monitor the Covid-19 situation in Virginia. This panel, comprised of doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, epidemiologists, and one attorney, has recently expressed alarm over the rate at which Covid-19 cases are rising. They recommend watching percent positivity rates. As the percent positivity rate approaches 8%, medical personnel are nervous. At 10%, they are alarmed. Currently for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, the percent positivity rate is 7.4%; however, we also have places in our diocese where the positivity rates are between 10 and 16%.  (www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus) This is not safe!
 
Therefore, as individual parishes make decisions within their own context about whether to continue in-person worship, they are strongly advised to begin pulling back when the percent positivity rate in their area approaches 8%. In all likelihood as the percent positivity rate approaches 10% for the Commonwealth, Bishop Haynes will make a decision for the diocese to temporarily cease in-person gatherings. If your area is already at 10%, YOU SHOULD STOP IN-PERSON WORSHIP! We understand that we are heading into Christmas and Advent and that the possibility of virtual worship for such a sacred time might be heartbreaking. We pray to the Holy Spirit, that should that possibility become real, we would be empowered to experience the Nativity of Christ in new and mighty ways. WE are certain that God will be faithful!
 
What about fellowship and formation gatherings?
The governor of Virginia has limited public gatherings to 25 people. Worship activities are exempt from this limitation. However, other gatherings at the church must adhere to the 25-person limit. This means, for example, that a wedding may gather in the church in a number greater than 25 (if that number can safely be accommodated with physical distancing); however, if that same group were to gather in a parish hall for a reception, that number would have to be limited to 25. Likewise, formational and fellowship gatherings would need to be limited to 25 people.
 
Congregations and clergy in our diocese should be proud of the way that they have responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic, staying connected with one another and offering opportunities, other than in-person, to worship. We encourage you to “stay the course!” As we move into Advent and contemplate the coming of Christ into our world, let us continue to remind ourselves that He is faithful, that He walks with us, and that He will not leave us to face this alone.
Seeds of Hope Grants awarded

The Diocese of Southern Virginia awarded $14,000 in Seeds of Hope Grants this year. The grants were approved by the Executive Board at it’s November 5 meeting. Grants were awarded to:

Good Night God
Canterbury Center at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, awarded a grant to purchase audio visual equipment to offer a service of Compline twice a week on YouTube.

Backpack Surprise
Johns Memorial, Farmville, awarded a grant to provide small gifts to include in backpacks with soups and healthy snacks that are given to children whose parents are picking up food at the local food pantry.

Bridging the Gaps
Mission of the Holy Spirit, Norfolk, awarded a grant to provide facilitators, transportation, supplies and snacks for this educational program for Mission families.

Seed & Feed Program
St. Paul’s, Lawrenceville, awarded a grant to provie provide funding for programming for widows, grandparents raising grandchildren, single parents, dialysis patients, technicians, nurses and first responders in the local community.

Youth Empowerment Project and Senior Pals
St. Thomas, Freeman, awarded two grants to provide virtual programming and workshops for youth as well as a Bible study and boxed lunches for senior citizens.
CE-Net: Intergenerational Faith Formation

Join CE-Net (the Diocesan Christian Education Network) on Thursday, November 19 at 6:30 p.m. as we have a conversation about intergenerational faith formation with Betsy Dishman, GenOn Ministries Training Coordinator, and Liz Perraud, GenOn Ministries’ Executive Director. GenOn Ministries believes nurturing people of all generations into an abundant life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most important thing the church does. Their mission is to partner with churches to nurture, grow, and deepen intergenerational Christ-centered community. Their vision is a world filled with thriving Christian communities. Visit genonministries.org to learn more about GenOn Ministries. Betsy Dishman and Liz Perraud each has more than 30 years of experience in the Christian faith form field and share a passion for intergenerational formation. CE-Net invites you to be part of the important conversation about intergenerational faith formation. Click here to register.
Youth Gathering: Learn to Breathe in COVID
November 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Join us for a special virtual gathering where we will be discussing self-care with an expert and talking through how to support loved ones during this emotionally exhausting time in our lives. High school is tough, especially during a pandemic. Our hope is to provide a safe place for students to come and discuss the challenges that they are facing and walk about with some insight on concrete ways to handle those situations. Sign up here.

EYC Game Night
Don’t forget that we are doing youth Zoom game nights on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 5 p.m. This Thursday, November 19, we will be playing Among Us. Join us this Thursday to figure out who is the most sus Among Us! All youth are invited! Click here to join us.

Happening Reunion
Join us at 5 p.m. on December 6 for a special prayer service where we will join in community and prayer for this season that we are in. While we miss seeing all of you in person during this time, we are excited about seeing you in this virtual space to catch up and pray for the upcoming year. Sign up here. We are also putting together a short video to the song “Give Yourself to Love” that we would love to feature you in. Please send us clips of you singing to this classic Happening song, or acting out how yourself to love, or even photos from your Happening experience. You can send all your videos and photos to mdern@diosova.org
Province III hosts book discussion of How to Be an Antiracist, including conversation with author

Beginning on November 17, Province III is hosting 10 Zoom sessions on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. for a discussion of the book, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. The final session will be with the author, Dr. Kendi. Click here for more information, reading assignments and registration. Sponsored by the Province III Social Justice & Anti-Racism Committee.
American Experience: The Myth of Thanksgiving
A virtual event November 18 at 4 p.m.

Inspired by the 2015 film The Pilgrims, American Experience presents a special discussion sharing Native American perspectives on the arrival of European settlers in New England, 400 years ago. The conversation will examine the experiences of Native populations at the time of the settlers' arrival, what is actually known about the first Thanksgiving, and how native tribes see themselves in today's construction of the United States. Click here for more information and registration.
Nominations for Elections at Council

Please note that self nominations are welcome. Nominations must be received no later than December 29, 2020. Positions to be elected at Council are: Standing Committee (1 laity, 1 clergy); Disciplinary Board (2 laity, 1 clergy); General Convention 2021 (4 clergy alternates and 4 lay alternates. Note: deputies were elected at Council 2020). Click here for information about these positions. Click here for the nomination form.
Communion wafers available for donation

St. Andrew's, Newport News, has 6000 1 1/8 inch white wheat wafers they would like to donate to any church that could use them. Please contact BoBo Smith for more information, scotchy51@verizon.net.
Employment opportunities

Bookkeeper
Good Shepherd, Norfolk, is accepting applications for a part-time bookkeeper. Click here for a position description. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to Taylor Short, Treasurer at hr@goodshepherdnorfolk.org or Church of the Good Shepherd, 7400 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, VA 23505. Please click here for job description

Data Entry
The Diocese of Southern Virginia is accepting applications for a part-time Data Entry position. Click here for a position description. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to Lynn Farlin, Canon for Formation, at lfarlin@diosova.org or 11827 Canon Blvd., Suite 101, Newport News, VA 23606.
You can make a child’s Christmas wishes come true at Jackson-Feild
 
The Christmas season is especially hard for most of the children at Jackson-Feild. What is supposed to be a time of unity and joy brings back memories of past Christmases filled with sadness and heartache.

Jackson-Feild’s staff makes every effort to ensure that the children will have Christmas memories that they will cherish for lifetime. We are seeking your help with our Adopt-a-Child program. Interested persons can adopt all or part of a child’s Christmas list. Due to COVID-19, only cash contributions will be accepted. Gifts will be ordered online by Jackson-Feild staff.

Jackson-Feild also organizes a special meal and activity every day during the twelve days of Christmas. The children are unable to go home or receive any visitors due to COVID-19 which will be especially trying for them.

If you would like to help, please send your check to Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services, 546 Walnut Grove, Jarratt, VA 23867, go online to www.jacksonfeild.org or contact Tod Balsbaugh 804869-3505.
Please share the spirit of Christmas by helping Jackson-Feild bring joy and happiness to the children.

When you sit down with your loved ones on Christmas day, please know that you created a lifetime memory for a child who needs your help.
Help for Honduras
By the Rev. Anne Dale, Advent, Norfolk

After nearly 10 years of providing security services in Honduras, my husband Roland and I founded Friends of Honduras USA with the goal of offering a path out of poverty and corruption for the children of Honduras. Our first projects were kindergartens for the young children so that they could begin their education in a safe and comfortable environment in their local communities. Since 2009, our foundation has constructed eight schools, two medical clinics, and sixty-five houses in addition to installing water filtration systems, providing medical supplies, and delivering thousands of pounds of food to families in remote areas. Our most recent project is the rehabilitation of an abandoned sewing factory into a medical facility that will provide a wide variety of medical services in the remote department of Santa Barbara.
 
Each year in Honduras tens of thousands of children die before the age of five (the biggest percentage younger than two years) due to non-potable water, malnutrition, unsanitary living conditions, and limited health care. As you can imagine, the pandemic has ravaged an already vulnerable population. And, now, Eta has washed away innumerable lives and immeasurably compounded the suffering. The corn, bean, rice, and banana crops and the livestock of the fertile Sula Valley are a total loss. 
 
Due to the pandemic, we have not been able to travel to Honduras since January 2020. Throughout the year, Friends of Honduras USA has worked through one paid employee to coordinate volunteers to assess the most critical needs and purchase and distribute food and medical supplies. All funds collected are currently being devoted to this ministry.  
 
The odds for improving the well-being of the people of Honduras seem insurmountable at present. With God’s help, your prayers and financial contributions will save lives and restore hope for improvement of the most basic living conditions that we take for granted every day. You have our pledge that each dollar donated will put food and medicine into the hands of some of God’s most desperate children. Please see our website, www.friendsofhondurasusa.org, to donate through PayPal or call me at 919-210-6809 for more information.
News from Chanco on the James
Last chance to register for Friendsgiving

This is it! Last chance to register for our first ever Friendsgiving Weekend retreat! The weather this weekend is going to be glorious – don’t miss bonfires, hayrides, archery and more outdoor fun together! Rather be inside? Football on the big screen will also be an option! The Rev. Charlie Bauer of Bruton Parish, Williamsburg will be leading some of our programming and the weekend promises to be full of faith, fellowship and fun together in God’s great outdoors. Click here for a flyer with more information. (Weekend will cap below the Governor’s mandated limit of 25 people and all CDC safety protocol is being followed). Visit www.chanco.org to register today! Questions? Contact us at 888-7CHANCO or hospitality@chanco.org.
News from The Episcopal Church
Special 2020 Parochial Report Form

Following the October 9-12, 2020 meeting of Executive Council, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of the General Convention, has announced that the form for the 2020 Parochial Report is now viewable on the General Convention website in English, Spanish, and French. Read more here.
Preparing to Become the Beloved Community curriculum revised for Advent 2020

New and updated Advent and Christmas resources for congregations, dioceses, and communities of faith are available, with additional resources coming soon. Available now: Preparing to Become the Beloved Community Advent curriculum; Way of Love Digital Invitation Kit; updated Journeying the Way of Love Advent calendar and curriculum; AdventWord 2020; Episcopal Migration Ministries Refugee Prayer Vigil. And be sure to sign up for daily Advent and Christmas emails. Find Advent and Christmas resources from The Episcopal Church here. Read more here.
Upcoming events
Re-Gathering guidelines and resources
Click here for re-gathering guidelines and information, messages from Bishop Haynes, and many resources for congregations as Southern Virginia responds to coronavirus/COVID-19 in our communities.

Safe Church Training 
Currently no in-person Safe Church Training workshops are planned for the remainder of 2020. Zoom based and online Safe Church Training are available. Get more info and register for Safe Church training.

  • Safe Church Universal Training - Dec. 2, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Register here

Upcoming Events

CE-Net: Intergenerational Faith Formation - Join CE-Net (the Diocesan Christian Education Network) on Thursday, November 19 at 6:30 p.m. as we have a conversation about intergenerational faith formation with Betsy Dishman, GenOn Ministries Training Coordinator, and Liz Perraud, GenOn Ministries’ Executive Director. GenOn Ministries believes nurturing people of all generations into an abundant life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most important thing the church does. Their mission is to partner with churches to nurture, grow, and deepen intergenerational Christ-centered community. Their vision is a world filled with thriving Christian communities. Visit genonministries.org to learn more about GenOn Ministries. Betsy Dishman and Liz Perraud each has more than 30 years of experience in the Christian faith form field and share a passion for intergenerational formation. CE-Net invites you to be part of the important conversation about intergenerational faith formation. Click here to register.

“Learn to Breathe in COVID” Youth Gathering - November 21 at 2:00 p.m. Join us for a special virtual gathering where we will be discussing self-care with an expert and talking through how to support loved ones during this emotionally exhausting time in our lives. High school is tough, especially during a pandemic. Our hope is to provide a safe place for students to come and discuss the challenges that they are facing and walk about with some insight on concrete ways to handle those situations. Sign up here.

Resurrection in Advent: The Church as Post-Election Listener and Healer - Join in a dynamic conversation on December 3 at 3 p.m. on being Christian in the public square in the wake of an historically divisive election. How do we set up spaces to listen to the convictions and concerns of those with whom he disagree? What is the role of prayer in preparing for, participating in and walking (in love) away from hard conversations? How can we practice evangelism in a country with such defined and defended tribes and segregated communities? This is event will be held via Zoom and is free. Click here for more information and registration.

Happening Reunion - Dec 6 at 5 p.m. Join us for a special prayer service where will join in community and prayer for this season that we are in. While we miss seeing all of you in person during this time, we are excited about seeing you in this virtual space to catch up and pray for the upcoming year. Sign up here. We are also putting together a short video to the song “Give Yourself to Love” that we would love to feature you in. Please send us clips of you singing to this classic Happening song, or acting out how yourself to love, or even photos from your Happening experience. You can send all your videos and photos to mdern@diosova.org or upload them here.

TryTank Presents: Leadership Skills for the Next Ten Years - Dec. 9, 3 p.m. via Zoom. For almost 20 years, beginning just after 9/11, futurist Bob Johansen has been wrestling with the question of leadership profiles that will be required to thrive in the VUCA World (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous). He wrote a trilogy of books that share the profile he's convinced will work to help us get ready for the next future shock. Join us for an impactful webinar with Dr. Johansen as he covers his leadership trilogy, with a special emphasis on the skills required to thrive in the coming decade. Register here.

While it is Still Dark: An Advent Quiet Morning - On December 11, Virginia Theological Seminary Center Lifelong Learning invites you to join them for While it is Still Dark: An Advent Quiet Morning. This year in particular, the Advent themes of exile and longing invite us to dwell more deeply in our experiences of brokenness and loss, darkness and “not yet,” always in the context of Christian hope. Spiritual Companion and poet Kathy Staudt will guide us – through poetry, journaling and guided prayer – to reclaim ways to live in hope and respond to this season’s holy invitations. The gathering is December 11, 9 a.m. to 12 noon via Zoom and is free. Register here.

FORMA Conference - Jan. 26-28, 2021. Each year FORMA hosts a conference for individuals that are engaged in Christian formation efforts for children, youth, and adults. This year’s conference, FORMA 2021 Embodying Spiritual Practices, will occur on January 26-28The Diocese of Southern Virginia has purchased a Host registration package for the upcoming conference. Conference participants will experience community and learning through curated worship, wisdom, and workshop offerings via an on-line conference platform. One of the benefits of serving as a Host institution is that the diocese has a number of pre-paid conference registrations that are available to formation leaders in the diocese. Please contact Lynn Farlin at lfarlin@diosova.org if you are interested in attending the conference and wish to take advantage of one of the free conference registration slots. www.forma.church/forma-2021 

129th Annual Council - February 27 VIRTUALLY. Click here for information.
The Diocesan eNews is distributed weekly by the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.
Contact Ann Turner, aturner@diosova.org or 757-213-3388

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