Showing posts from July, 2019

Pondering a new vision

There is an all-too-popular belief about one of the qualifications for a leader coming into a new position.   Even though the new leader is entering a new position about which the leader knows very little, and may know even less about the context and demands of the new social/cultural setting, the new leader is expected to be able to project a detailed vision for the future.   While I wouldn’t go so far as to define that commonly held belief as heretical, I would venture to say this belief is a short-sighted approach to the mission of the Christian community.   This past Saturday we had a day of missional visioning that both stimulated and challenged us.   About 70 to 80 of us gathered in the parish hall of St. Andrew’s, Newport News to be taken through a Fresh Expressions (FEx) visioning process that was entitled “Deep Roots, Wild Branches.”   Though most of us were members of our Episcopal Church “tribe,” also with us were Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists.   Our leaders w

A hard week for the congregations of the Diocese of Southern Virginia

Last Friday (7/19/2019) we had 102 congregations in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.  By next the time next Friday rolls around we will have only 100 congregations in this diocese.  Last Saturday morning I was at St. Paul’s, Newport News, a congregation with 139 years of remarkable history with a dedication to community outreach and involvement.  At St. Paul’s we celebrated the final service of Holy Eucharist and then I proceeded to deconsecrate the church.  It was an incredibly sad event for the over 100 people who were in attendance.  Also, it was a momentously difficult decision for us to make with the rector and vestry of St. Paul’s.  Yet we had to face the stark reality that no longer could we maintain the congregation in the manner of the last 139 years.  Next Thursday evening at St. Mark’s Church in Hampton we will have a similar final Holy Eucharist and a deconsecration of their church.  Their leaders also are aware that they cannot maintain St. Mark’s in the manner of t

Camp Chanco is alive with the good news of Jesus' love

The summer camping sessions are in full swing at Camp Chanco.  As some of you may know, I have made Chanco my residence this summer.  This decision has given me the opportunity to greet, meet, and make friends with the permanent staff, the seasonal staff, the volunteer counselors and with all of the children who attend the camp sessions.  When I was about 10 years old and attended my first summer camp session at Kanuga Conferences in Western North Carolina, I had my initial introduction to the positive effects of our Episcopal Church camping programs.  Though I did not know it at the time, I was being given an in-depth immersion to my formation as a baptized follower of Jesus.  This summer I have been thinking a great deal about the opportunities we have at Chanco to form girls and boys as followers of Jesus.  The pervasive theme we are using this year with each session of campers is “The Way of Love.”  Though our theme was inspired by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, I believe