News from the Churches of Southern Virginia
August 6, 2013
Johns Memorial remembers 1963 effort to desegregate Farmville Churches

On July 28, Johns Memorial, Farmville, was one of four churches that took part in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the "Kneel-In" that took place in Farmville.


On Sunday, July 28, 1963, just one month before the March on Washington and Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech, over two dozen local students were arrested for attempting to desegregate downtown Farmville churches. That day, a mass meeting of nearly five hundred people was held at First Baptist Church. After the meeting, various small groups fanned out to integrate several downtown churches. A group of seven to eight were admitted inside Johns Memorial, sitting with Dr. C.G. Gordon Moss (consequently, Moss was stripped of his church officership). Another group was denied entrance to Farmville United Methodist. After being denied entrance to Farmville Baptist, the group proceeded to pray and sing hymns on the church steps and was ultimately arrested for "disturbing the public worship of God."


Dr. Michael Utzinger welcomes participants to
Johns Memorial.

Fifty years to the date, these churches -- now integrated -- came together to honor these unsung local Civil Rights heroes. Approximately 150 people took part in a walking tour between four nearby churches - First Baptist, Farmville Baptist, Farmville United Methodist and Johns Memorial. The four-church program and walking tour retraced the steps of the 1963 student activists, beginning inside First Baptist Church. Reflections, prayers and remarks were offered at each site.


A statement from the Vestry was read at Johns Memorial : "We, the members of Johns Memorial Episcopal Church, confess with profound regret and Christian sorrow that our church participated in the complex webs of racism that gripped this community fifty years ago and since ... Insofar as our brothers and sisters, especially our African American brothers and sisters, were harmed educationally, socially, and spiritually we wish to say that we are sorry and ask pardon, although we recognize that no pardon is deserved." Click here to read the entire statement.


"The 50th anniversary program not only commemorates the event," said Dr. Michael Utzinger, "but acknowledges the positive potential that persons of faith can have to promote racial reconciliation in our community." Utzinger is a member of Johns Memorial and Hampden-Sydney College religion professor.

Congregations collaborate in mission and build community on the Eastern Shore

By Ann Cronan, St. Michael's, Bon Air 

"The St. Francis prayer says 'it is in giving that we receive'. Mission trips are a transforming experience that touches me deeply and reminds me of the abundance in my life and the Grace that comes from reaching out to serve those who are less fortunate.  I see the world through a different lens and am filled with gratitude." This is one missioner's reflection on the week spent on the Eastern Shore in July. St. Michael's, Bon Air, partnered with St. James', Accomac, and St. George's, Pungoteague, to share our abundance with the communities in Accomac County.


Initially it was unclear what projects we would do on this trip. Gifts and talents were evident in the team members but also a willingness to be flexible and open to God's call. Another missioner writes: "we are often unaware of how God is using our spiritual gifts to encourage and support others. During that week in July, however, He allowed us to experience the fruits of our labors again and again. This included an evening in Accomac at St. James' Church with 23 folks who came out to meet with us as we presented a program on Recognizing Grief: Overcoming Loss and Sorrow. We shared ninety minutes of listening to their stories and watching them respond to one another as they heard our message. I was touched by their appreciation and willingness to continue the process of group support in the future."


The women of St. George's had organized a camp for the children of the community. The theme was "Faith and Ecology: God is Green". Twenty-seven children had three days of fun and fellowship which included a visit to a local garden, a trip to an Alpaca farm, blueberry picking and an excursion to the State Park where they heard a presentation on water conversation. The women and youth of St. Michael's who were "counselors" enjoyed helping with the three day camp. One of the young campers was heard to exclaim, "This is the best day of my life".


This team was blessed with a group of men who were willing to do some "light construction". With the help of some of the team women and youth, we were able to do major renovation and painting at the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence office and shelter. This agency has been in this location for 13 years without having the funds to renovate and "spruce up" their space. Money was given to them to have the carpets cleaned in the office and shelter after we left.


On Wednesday morning the men began work on the home of Phillip Sharp, locally known as the "Can Man". This gentleman, who has a hearing and speech impediment, has collected cans along the roads of the area for years and donated most of the income from this to Habitat for Humanity. When the men visited him, they found the kitchen floor was "like a trampoline". In three days, they removed the kitchen floor, placed jacks under the joists, set new block supports and beams to support a new floor. By Friday evening, Mr. Sharp had a new kitchen floor complete with linoleum donated by a local business, and a new kitchen cabinet.


This was a lot to accomplish in five days! Our team was made up of 27 youth and adults, some members of St. Michael's Church, some students and parents from St. Michael's Middle School, and a few friends of these missioners. The team had a Spaghetti Dinner and Auction in June to raise funds for the trip with the goal of bringing in $1,500. Over $4,000 was raised! And as our partners at St. George's and St. James' and the community of Accomac County heard and saw what our team was doing, they began to share the mission with us. At Mr. Sharp's home, a kitchen cabinet and a new pump were purchased and a plumber hired to install it; and new siding will be put up to weatherproof the kitchen, all with money donated by the community.  


The hard work and dedication of the Rev. Jeunee Godsey and the Rev. Cameron Randle made this trip possible. They were ever present with us in our work and in our worship. We look forward to a continued relationship and partnership between our churches.

The Rev. Grant Stokes to be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests

The Rev. Grant Anthony Stokes will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests on Saturday, September 14 at 11 a.m. at Christ and St. Luke's, Norfolk. The Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor, Bishop of Western North Carolina will preside. The Rev. Dr. William Brosend, Professor of Homiletics, University of the South at Sewanee, will preach. It will be a sung liturgy with music by the Choir of Christ and St. Luke's with brass and timpani. A picnic on the church grounds will follow the service. All are welcome! Clergy - red stoles.  

"Monastery of the Heart" book study groups are forming

If you are searching for the more of life, if you desire that God becomes the rhythm of your day or if you believe there is wisdom in ancient tradition... Welcome to "Monastery of the Heart." There will be an organizational meeting for this book study group on Tuesday, September 10 at 11 a.m. at Galilee, Virginia Beach. "The Monastery of the Heart" by Joan Chittister is an invitation to a meaningful life in Christ. Call the church office to reserve a space, 757-428-3573.

Galilee, Virginia Beach, seeking full-time receptionist
Galilee, Virginia Beach, has an opening for a full-time church receptionist. For more information on this and other positions available in Southern Virginia, go to the Employment Opportunities page of our website.
Remedy Drive in concert!
All youth are invited to come hear Remedy Drive in concert on September 8 at Galilee, Virginia Beach. This event is co-sponsored by Galilee and Old Donation, Virginia Beach. Contact them to purchase tickets. FYI - Tim Buell, drummer for Remedy Drive is a member of St. John's, Portsmouth!
Upcoming Events

Semi-Annual Yard Sale - Aug. 10, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Good Shepherd, Richmond. The women of Good Shepherd will hold their semi-annual yard sale, featuring a variety of household items, furniture, children's clothing, toys and many other items. The church is located at the corner of Forest Hill Ave & 43rd Street. Contact for more information.  


All Saints' Annual Church Fair, Yard Sale & Silent Auction - Aug. 17, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., All Saints', Virginia Beach. 1969 Woodside Lane, Virginia Beach. Please join us for this annual event! Events include church rummage sale, silent auction, raffle, yard sale by private vendors, food and more.  We have had some great things donated this year. Highlights include furniture, rugs, antiques jewelry, housewares, children's items, books, records and electronics. Take a chance on a $500 Best Buy gift card. This is a good opportunity to find things for those going off to college or a treasure for yourself!  Limited outdoor space (weather permitting) is available for $10 per space. Please call 757-615-8759 to reserve a space. Proceeds benefit All Saints' outreach ministries.   


Annual Rummage Sale - Aug. 24, 8 a.m., St. Paul & St. Andrew, Kenbridge. Household items, clothing and jewelry will be included. Donations are welcomed! Someone always leaves with a deal! Proceeds benefit the Episcopal Church Women's ministries and outreach.


Organ Music of Herbert Howells - Sept. 8, 4 p.m., St. Andrew's, Newport News. St. Andrew's organist Brad Norris, and Thom Robertson, recently retired organist from Grace Church, Alexandria, will present a concert of organ music by Herbert Howells, a quintessentially Anglican composer. A reception follows. Call 757-595-0371, ext. 16, for more information. St. Andrew's is located at 45 Main St., Hilton Village.   


"Monastery of the Heart" Book Study organizational meeting - Sep. 10, 11 a.m., Galilee, Virginia Beach. If you are searching for the more of life, if you desire that God becomes the rhythm of your day or if you believe there is wisdom in ancient tradition... Welcome to "Monastery of the Heart" by Joan Chittister, an invitation to a meaningful life in Christ. Call the church office to reserve a space, 757-428-3573. 


Retreat on Forgiveness - Sep. 13-14, Holy Apostles', Virginia Beach. Fr. William Meninger will lead a retreat on forgiveness Friday, September 13, 7 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, September 13, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $30 and includes lunch. Reservations required by by August 31. Registration forms available at . Find out more about Fr. Meninger - monk, priest, author, teacher, ecumenist - at Church of the Holy Apostles is located at 1593 Lynnhaven Parkway, Virginia Beach, 757-427-0963. 


Author Virginia Pye visits Book Club - Sep. 17, 5 p.m., Manakin, Midlothian. Manakin's Book Club will discuss "River of Dust," the debut novel by Richmond author Virginia Pye, whose short stories have been widely published. Ms. Pye will join the group to discuss her book, the story of an American missionary couple in rural China in 1910 whose toddler son is kidnapped by Mongol nomads. Pye's inspiration for the novel arose from reading the journals of her grandfather, who was a missionary to China. For a trailer and other information, go to Refreshments will be served at the meeting.  


Second Annual All Saints' Charity Benefit Golf Tournament - Sept. 24, Heron Ridge Golf Club, 2973 Heron Ridge Drive, Virginia Beach. Hosted by All Saints', Virginia Beach. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. with shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. Cost is $125 per player or $500 per team four-man Florida Best Ball. Hole sponsorships are available starting at $200. The registration fee includes green fees and cart, barbeque cookout, awards ceremony, and raffle. Registration forms are available online at For more information call Lou Paulson at 757-481-6600 (w) or 757-481-2002 or Steve Keck at 610-960-6856 (cell). 


Episcopal Church Women Fall Retreat - Sept. 27-28, Redeemer, Midlothian. This retreat is open to all women in the Richmond area and beyond. The retreat begins with dinner on Friday, September 27, at 6:00 p.m. Renee Cobb, our retreat leader, travels the world giving humorous, motivational talks at conferences and women's retreats. Renee is honored to be Fifty Plus Richmond Magazine's 2012 Person of the Year and "a true leader with a vision." Renee is President and Founder of Women of Value of Every Nation (WOVEN), a mother, grandmother, author of books for adults and children, speaker and trainer. "A Belly Laugh a Day Keeps the Psychiatrist Away" is just the right topic to begin the retreat. On Saturday, September 28, from 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m., Renee will help us discover ways to fulfill our destiny of greatness through loving God and serving the people of our world. Both days of the retreat will cost $30; either Friday or Saturday, $20. Checks can be made out to Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and sent to Mary Alligood, 2841 River Oaks Drive, Midlothian, VA 23113. For more information contact Mary Alligood, or 804-794-6932.  


7th Annual St. Thomas Charity Golf Tournament  - Oct. 14, hosted by St. Thomas', Chesapeake at Greenbrier Country Club. Florida Best Ball Shotgun start 9:00 a.m. Tournament entry fee $95 per player, $380 per team. Early entry rate if paid by Sept. 15 - $85 per player, $340 per team. Includes: practice range; greens fees with cart; awards; golf goody bag; lunch after tournament. Proceeds from the tournament will richly bless the ministries of St. Thomas. Please contact the church office for registration information, 757-547-4662.    


St. Paul & St. Andrew World Famous Stew Sale - Nov. 8, St. Paul & St. Andrew, Kenbridge. The price per quart is $7.00. Place your orders early because it always sells out! Please call 434-676-3448 to place your order.

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