Guide Us Waking, O Lord…

Because ministry is never 9-5

Convergence, 6/22-7/2 @ Randolph Macon College April 3, 2017

Here’s an interesting opportunity this summer for your youth I wanted to pass on. Check it out!


“Science and faith are two of the key ways we try to understand the world around us, and for many people these two ways of knowing tell very different stories. In the perception of some these stories are so different that only one or the other can be right, that science and faith must inevitably be in conflict. Evolution versus the creation stories in Genesis. Seven days of creation versus modern cosmology. But, does it have to be so? Can a person who believes in God also be a scientist? Can I go to church without “checking my brain at the door?”


If these are questions that you would like to wrestle with, I am excited to share an opportunity to do just that! Supported by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, we will be offering a residential Youth Theology Institute on Faith & Science on the campus of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland Virginia from June 22 through July 2. We are calling it “Convergence” to emphasize that the conflict is not inevitable. You will explore relationships between religion and science, discuss faith and science with your peers. We will study scripture, the environment, food and water, and the origins of life and the cosmos. You will learn from Randolph-Macon and Union Presbyterian Seminary faculty. Also planned are rafting on the James River, a visit to Shalom Farms to help with planting and growing food, star gazing and more! And the cost for the institute is just $200 – which covers everything including room and board.


Convergence is open to rising sophomore, junior, and senior high school students.


You can email questions to or visit our web site at“.


That’s all for today. Don’t forget our PYM weekends are rapidly approaching, check out the post below for more details. Have a great week everyone!


Summer mission opportunity here in VA January 12, 2017

Filed under: fun stuff!,Mission,Resources,the nation and the world — mwade91383 @ 9:49 am

A quick blurb from some of our friends in SW VA who are offering opportunities for unique summer mission work here in the state. They know what they’re doing and worth looking into if that’s something you might be interested in for your youth. Stay warm everyone!



Are you tired of the same old mission experience?

Do you feel like your group is treated like every other one?

Would you like to be able to “customize” your service experience?

REACH will custom design your experience to fit the needs and desires of your Youth Ministry.

Contact REACH’s Director, Tim Dayton, at or 540-529-9200 to get started.

REACH 2017 runs for 12 weeks from June 3 to August 25.

For more information, view our program brochure at





Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) 2017! July 10-14, 2017 December 15, 2016

Greetings Youth Leaders!


I hope everyone is having a wonderful Advent season and the holiday craziness isn’t overwhelming. I for one feel like December has flown by (Christmas is in ten days!) and I imagine the rest of the month will be more of the same.


I have great news about an upcoming opportunity in 2017 that you’ll be very excited to hear about. Episcopal Youth Event (or EYE) is happening in July of 2017 and the Diocese of Virginia is going! We are looking for 24 of your youth from all over our diocese to attend this event and 7 adult chaperones to join them. EYE is July 10-14 in Edmond, OK at the University of Central Oklahoma. EYE is the largest gathering of Episcopalians outside of General Convention and is a fantastic chance to see the great Episcopal Church in action. The event is about 5 days jam packed with formation, small group conversation, really fantastic keynote speakers, outreach projects, and it’s a ton of fun! I went to St. Paul, MN for EYE 2011 and it’s still an experience I think about all the time and remember fondly.


Our group will gather on the 9th for an overnight at a parish in northern Virginia and get on plane the next day to get to Oklahoma. Details are still being ironed out about the 9th but information, a flyer, and how to apply can all be found in this packet HERE. EYE is a huge opportunity for your youth and only happens once every 3 years. Unless you are a freshman this is the only opportunity for them to attend that they’ll ever have. This event is for youth who are currently in high school. Be sure to get the application into the hands of your youth and/or chaperones as soon as possible. The deadline for applications is in two months (February 15th) and I’ll be following up with the group attending shortly thereafter.


This is a big deal in the Episcopal Church folks and I would love nothing more than to get your youth to Oklahoma this summer. Don’t let the opportunity go to waste! If you have any questions or if there’s anything I can do to help please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks again, and happy holidays!


Diocese of Virginia & Liverpool Pilgrimages 2017 October 20, 2016

Greetings Youth Leaders!


I hope this message finds you well and you’re having a great week. I wanted to pass on this information about a really exciting opportunity for youth to go abroad and visit our friends in the Diocese in Liverpool, England. Here’s the information straight from the leadership, Rock Higgins, and a link to fill out a form to learn more. Check it out and be sure to pass it on. See you at Sr. High in a few weeks!

Dear rising 8th-11th graders and Families,
The Diocese of Virginia is seeking a team of pilgrims and chaperones to go to visit our partner Diocese in Liverpool, England next summer, and a few weeks later they will visit us. We are looking at the two trips happening between late July and mid-August of 2017. We will go there first, then host here. We hope to have a representative team from several parishes in Greater Richmond, with a chaperone from each represented parish if at all possible.

The purpose of the pilgrimage is to explore the history of the historic slave triangle and look to a future in hope and reconciliation. Richmond, Liverpool, and the Republic of Benin all share an identical statue, the Slavery Reconciliation Statue. We will visit 2 of these. This will only be one part of the many stories and aspects we will explore in our mutual pilgrimages.

We invite families who are interested to apply. The cost of the 2 parts of the trip per person is estimated to be between $3500 and 4000. We will be doing fundraisers and defraying the cost as much as we can, but need to be realistic of expectations from the outset. Once accepted as a Pilgrim, a deposit and a contract for the remaining cost will be due.

We will have informational meetings as soon as our team is formed, answering as many questions as we can. If you have need of information sooner, please contact the Reverend Rock Higgins at or 804-306-2112.

So, if intrigued or interested, talk with your youth leader at your parish, pray, and consider applying. We hope to have our team formed as soon as possible. We will have a rolling application process, so if you really want to be a pilgrim please apply quickly.


The Reverend Rock Higgins,
for the Dioceses of Virginia & Liverpool Youth Pilgrimage 2017


2016 mission trip sign up deadline extended & Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) 2017 May 5, 2016

Greetings Youth Leaders!


I hope this message finds you well and you’re having a productive week.  I have two quick announcements about diocesan summer trips coming up. We are extending our deadline for our summer mission trip to Philadelphia until after  PYM 8th Grade Weekend. The new deadline is Wednesday, May 18. We have limited space left but we’d like to fill those spots if possible. Just a brief reminder, the trip is open to youth currently in high school and is from July 17-23. Our starting (and drop off) point for the trip will be Immanuel Church on the Hill, Alexandria. For more information, reach out to me directly. You can also access the information/registration packet here.


The other piece is that we’re excited to announce some details about Episcopal Youth Event (or EYE) 2017. EYE is a the triennial national youth event that attracts over a thousand youth and chaperones to come together for 5 days of really powerful formation and fellowship. Our Diocese has been sending a group to this event since the 80’s and 2017 will be no different. EYE will be July 10-14 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, OK. Youth who will be high school next school year are eligible to attend (current 8-11 graders).


We’ll be talking more and more about EYE in the coming months and the later part of 2016, but I just wanted to put it out on your radar if you wanted to begin talking about it with your youth. There will be an application process to select the group and we’ll roll out more details in the fall.


That’s all for now, I hope to see many of you NEXT WEEKEND at Shrine Mont for PYM 8th Grade Weekend. It’s going to be fantastic! Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything I can do to be supportive.


“A Faith-Based Response to Gender Violence” January 29, 2015

Hi folks,

We are reaching out to the youth leaders of the Diocese to tell you about an awesome event sponsored by the Faith & Females group that we have slated for Saturday, Feb. 28, at Trinity, Charlottesville!

“A Faith-Based Response to Gender Violence” will be a chance for men and women (ages high school and older) to come together for conversation around a difficult issue, and to explore how we as Christians can equip ourselves to respond to issues of gender violence.


Here’s what the day will look  like:

10 a.m.                 Prayer and Guided Bible Study with Bishop Goff
10:30 a.m.           How to Identify & Respond to Gender Violence
12 p.m.                 Lunch and Presentation from the Shelter for Help in  Emergency (SHE)
1 p.m.                   Outreach Project for SHE
2 p.m.                   Close in Prayer


Participants will spend time in discussion to learn how to identify and respond to victims of trauma, with group leaders Margaret Edwards and Emily Rutledge. Margaret is a trauma counselor at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at the University of Virginia. A member of Our Saviour, Charlottesville, her work focuses on helping clients who have experienced interpersonal violence, sexual assault and stalking. Emily worked as an advocate for victims of sexual assault prior to teaching and then becoming a youth minister at Our Saviour.

There is a $15 cost, which includes lunch and outreach project materials. The student rate (high school and college) is $10. Limited scholarship assistance is available.


We need your help to get the word out! Here’s how:

  1. Register to attend! Click on this link, and bring payment (cash or check payable to the Diocese of Virginia) with you.
  2. Help us spread the word! Forward this information to your church, and encourage them to include the announcement in your newsletter or bulletins.
  3. We’re hoping this will be an intergenerational and diverse group of men and women (high-school and older) to ensure a broad and productive conversation.

We’re extremely excited about this event – and we hope you are too! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today.




Emily Cherry, Communications Director

Kendall Martin, Communications Assistant



Teen Suicide October 20, 2010

Filed under: Support,the nation and the world — Paris @ 5:15 pm

It’s a troubling phenomenon, and a scary reality.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock I’m certain we’ve all heard at least SOMETHING about the teenagers – from all over the US – who decided that it would be easier to end their lives than continue to live in a world filled with bullying.  In the past month alone, there have been more than five highly-publicized stories of college and high-school aged people who have committed suicide after attacks from bullies.   These young people were harassed because of their sexuality –  but bullying does not restrict itself to the LGBTQ world.

Young people are showing us, more and more, that they are desperate for community – for advocates and love and support – that they are desperate for someone to show them that they are worth way, way too much to end their life now.  As the adults who work with and care for these young people – I believe that it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and be attuned to the world in which they live.  If one of the youth that you work with discloses that s/he is being harassed – you should already have resources and responses ready to go.  We make commitments, through our Baptismal Promises, to support – nurture – and care for the young people that come into our lives through the church…. and sometimes we CAN be a lifeline for a young person who is hurting and alone, if we are prepared.

It is in that spirit that I offer up some preliminary resources.  I’m sure there are many, many more things to check out – and I encourage you all to add your thoughts to the comments section of this post.  I imagine this will not be the last time we post on this subject, it is just that important. I hope this is a conversation that will unfold over time, as we work together to strengthen and support each other – even as we are strengthening and supporting those  young people entrusted to our care for such a short time.  I pray for all Youth Leaders – for wisdom, patience, and peace as they negotiate the difficult, sometimes joyful and sometimes painful adolescent and teenage years.  We can help to prevent these tragedies – and remind the young people that we love that there IS hope even in struggle.

God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Resources For Conversation, Support, and Response to Bullying in General:

  • BULLYBUST is a program designed by the National School Climate Center to help adults and children/youth become bullying “upstanders:” people who will stand up to bullying and be a part of the solution.  This is an EXCELLENT resource – and includes information about “cyber-bullying” which is on the rise with young people, and is a very important piece of this conversation.  There is interactive stuff here – and even stuff that children will respond well to!
  • CNN spent a week collecting stories and responses to bullying across the United States.  You can check out the entire project here.
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center has produced a documentary called “Bullied” – while admittedly about bullying around sexuality – it includes a study and leader guide and provides a message of hope to those who are fighting harassment today.  You can learn more about the documentary here.
  • Burst: Bullies and Mean Girls is a short-term study from Abingdon Press (United Methodist Church affiliation) for youth. Its website also offers a variety of links including resource documents, movies, books and other websites.

Resources for those responding to bullying about sexuality issues:

  • There are a few articles talking about theology and anti-gay bullying.  If you are interested, you can check them out here or in the Episcopal Cafe article here.
  • While not a completely religious-dominated resource, there is a very interesting website that was created as a direct response to the sexuality-related suicides of the recent weeks and months. It Gets Better is a site where adults can post videos where they share their own high school (and college) horror stories, and finish with a note of hope and encouragement for young LGBTQ people to watch.  Most of the videos end with a plea for young people to take care of themselves and stay alive – because life will get better.  This site was founded in September of 2010 and there are over 150 videos – over 300,000 views – already.  Even if they all aren’t professionally-produced, these short videos do speak some hope and inspiration to young people who may feel isolated.
  • The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 with the mission “to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.”  This is an EXCELLENT resource for anyone wanting to learn more about suicide prevention (no matter the reason for suicide-watch).


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