Labor Day Weekend: A Diocesan Gathering, and a Gift to Your Devoted Clergy
On Sunday, September 6 (Labor Day Weekend), we will gather online, as the Diocese of Virginia, for a worship service led by your bishops. Bishop Goff will preach and Bishops Brooke-Davidson and Taylor will be there, too.

We want to gather with you – and we want to give your devoted priests and pastors a break. As you know so well, your clergy have been working heroically since early March with online and outdoor worship, pastoral care, and formation, all in a strange new world of electronic connection. We honor their commitment and we hope that you will be as eager as we are to create a tiny sliver of real Sabbath time for them. 

Details will be coming shortly on the technical questions – we expect to offer this service in multiple modalities that will be accessible to as many folks as possible. Please mark your calendars for this worship service with the 60,000+ members of the Diocese of Virginia, and many friends, families, saints, and seekers. Can’t wait to see you there!
Update on Regathering in Our Churches
As we see more establishments re-opening their doors, it makes us all the more eager to regather for worship in our churches. Still, indoor churches services are not like most other public indoor activities. In terms of the size of crowds and closeness of seating, they are really more comparable to movie theaters or indoor concerts.

The Bishops and the Task Force on Regathering (clergy and lay folk) are continuing to refine the guidelines that will allow our churches to regather for worship indoors safely. We have a process whereby congregations can apply to the Bishop’s office to regather for outdoor and/or indoor worship. Many have taken advantage of the opportunity:
 
  • Seventy-six parishes have received permission for outdoor worship, following the guidelines set forth by Bishop Goff.
  • Eighty-three have received permission to record or livestream in their sanctuaries, which was not permitted in the early days of the pandemic.
  • Seven have applied for and received conditional approval to begin regathering for indoor worship pending reaching public health markers, and another seven petitions are currently under review.
 
What are the criteria for regathering for worship?
The Bishop will grant approval of applications to regather for indoor worship when: the required 14-day rolling average of decline in number of new cases and in number of deaths in the congregation’s health district have been met. When those public health markers have been met, congregations whose petitions outlining their plans for safe regathering have been approved may begin implementing their plans for regathering. For more information on diocesan phased regathering plans, c lick here .
 
What have we accomplished in the meantime?
The pandemic has brought about tremendous creativity as we continue to worship in all sorts of ways. Most all of our congregations are offering online or some kind of stay-at-home/pray-together worship. We are excited by the promise that online worship will continue even after we have resumed in-person worship and will become a lasting tool for evangelism and outreach. 
Register Now for the First-Ever LGBTQ+ Diocesan Retreat
Saturday, August 22 | 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. via zoom

Join us for a virtual retreat and deepen your walk with Christ in a spiritual space designed by our community, for our community, sponsored by the Diocese of Virginia. Yes, we are having a virtual retreat following the need to care for the most vulnerable among us. Our keynote speaker will be the Rev. Elizabeth Edman , Episcopal priest and author of Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity. Edma n will focus on an introduction to Queer Theology. Our program of prayer, conversation and reflection will be from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., with a chance for virtual lunch and sharing until about 2:00 p.m. Come and share your whole self with God and the Church without pretenses, start new friendships with people across our Diocese, deepen existing relationships, be at peace in the presence of God and your fellow siblings.

Click here to register. Don’t wait – registration ends on Thursday, August 20, as we will need your email information for the virtual invitation. Questions? Contact lgbtqministrydiova@gmail.com .
Racial Justice and Healing Resources
The events of the past couple of months have brought conversations about racism to the forefront. Confronting and healing from the sin of racism should be a part of every Christian’s faith formation and spiritual journey. To assist and support you, we have curated a list of resources for your use. Questions? Contact Aisha Huertas .
Get Away to Shrine Mont – A Place Six Feet Apart
Are you looking to get away and still feel safe? Plan a visit to Shrine Mont - A Place Six Feet Apart. One recent guest wrote, “It was the most relaxing vacation ever! Nothing to do but read, walk, hike, visit wineries, and listen to the whippoorwills sing in the night. All while enjoying temperatures consistently 10 degrees cooler than Richmond! The Coronavirus safeguards they have implemented made us feel safe and confident.” 
 
Visit the Shrine Mont website to request your reservation now.
Help the Episcopal Church in Navajoland
The Navajo Nation has been one of the areas hit hardest by COVID-19. With more reported cases per capita than any other state, ICU space is limited in their three major hospitals. Many residents have to travel 20 miles or more for food and doctors visits. Many homes don’t have running water needed for frequent cleaning. Cleaning supplies and PPE are also needed. Please help our siblings in Navajo Nation by making an online donation to Bishop Bailey’s discretionary fund to be used for COVID-19 relief.  
Upcoming from Virginia Theological Seminary