Wednesday, September 15, 2021

From Heart to Table

A thank you from our mission partner, Shalom Farms:

"Thank you for volunteering your time with Shalom Farms! Volunteers are essential to our farm operation, and we are so grateful for your support as we work toward increasing access to healthy food in the Richmond community. All of the work that you helped us with gave us a head-start on harvesting, which will soon enough be on the tables of folks in our community who really need, deserve and appreciate all the healthy, affordable food for their families"

 
Prayerfully consider serving at Shalom Farms. Christ Church is committed to helping on one Tuesday and one Saturday each month. You'll spend a few hours in God's creation, using your body to share Christ's love with others. Plus, it's a great way to get to know your church family. There is always lots of chatting in the rows!

Shalom Farms is also a great place for children and youth to serve! To volunteer, please contact Keith Tan at k.tan@ccerva.org. Keith will put you in touch with our lay leader, Kevin, who organizes this ministry.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

An update on the medical supplies and treatment for Haiti you've graciously sponsored

As soon as the news of Haiti's August earthquake made it's way to Glen Allen, Christ Church began praying and mobilizing. How could we help a country with which we have such a long and beautiful relationship? We asked you keep Haiti in your prayers and to consider giving to one of two of our partner organizations: Episcopal Relief & Development and Light from Light. Thank you for your support of these two organizations who have robust presences in Haiti, serving those in need.

We've heard from Light from Light, an organization dedicated to long-lasting change in Haiti, that the Christ Church community has donated almost $3,000 to their relief efforts and the donations are still coming in.

"We are so very grateful for your advocacy of our work, within your networks, and even more thankful for the ways it will be used to assist in Haiti as they recover from the earthquake," says Meredith, who works with Light from Light. Meredith sent along photos of the area of Grand’Anse where your generous donations are helping deliver medical supplies and enabling the treatment of patients of all ages.



Thank you for all you've done for our brothers and sisters in Haiti and please continue lifting them up in prayer as recovery efforts continue. Our missions and outreach ministry team will update you as we know more about how we can continue to help.

 

 

 >GIVE TO EPISCOPAL RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT<

>GIVE TO LIGHT FROM LIGHT<

Monday, August 30, 2021

Going into Henry L. Marsh Elementary School

Christ Church, your generosity goes into schools, and into hearts! Today, our partner and friend Armoni Johnson, Communities In Schools of Richmond coordinator, took your donated school supplies into (the new!) Henry Marsh Elementary School. These supplies will be given to students so they can start the school year off strong.


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Sharing Love with Elementary Students

Thank you, Christ Church! We asked for donations for our dear partner school, Henry Marsh Elementary School, and you generously gave:

  • 218 glue sticks
  • 30 supply pouches/boxes
  • 45 10-pack markers
  • 109 2-pocket folders
  • 44 12-pack colored pencils
  • as well as $125 in monetary donations and a bag of supplies for teachers

The monetary donations will be used to purchase any remaining high-need items.

On the first day of school, these students will not only carry with them a backpack full of new supplies, but they'll also carry a little bit of love with them, given by YOU.

Join us as we once again lift our prayers:

God, we pray for the children, parents, caregivers, teachers, staff, and community of Henry Marsh Elementary School. Please keep them safe and well as they embark on a new school year. Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to support this community and hope that our work will bring your goodness to light and your love to everyone's heart. We ask these blessings through Christ our Lord. Amen



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

"Lespwa" -- Hope for Haiti

Christ Church has a long-standing partnership with Haiti. Over the years, we've learned a word from our Haitian friends: lespwa, which means "hope."

After the devastating earthquake in 2011, we were called to help and so began a long and beautiful relationship the people of Haiti, specifically with St. Marc's Episcopal Church in Lilevoix and St. Simeon Church in Croix-des-Bouquets -- and the school and clinic there.  

We've sent mission teams, provided financial support, offered them up in continuous prayer, sponsored village-wide VBS, and even hosted their leaders here in Glen Allen.  

And we've never stopped hoping for the people of Haiti.

Christ Church missioners visiting Haiti in 2018.

Please join Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Bishops of Virginia and the faithful around the world in prayer for the people of Haiti following the assassination this morning of President Jovenel Moïse. It is reported that martial law has been imposed and that Haiti’s borders and airport have been closed by the acting Prime Minister who has declared a “state of siege” in the country.

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is the largest in The Episcopal Church, and we have many siblings in the faith there. Please lift them to God’s grace in this time of significant disruption, anxiety and uncertainty.  

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry offers pastoral word to the people and Diocese of Haiti
at this time of hardship and difficulty
  
My brothers and sisters, I greet you in the ancient apostolic words: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” As followers of Jesus, we stand fast and believe firmly in the power of prayer to help and to heal—to console and to strengthen—in this time of uncertainty.
 
As it says in the Epistle of James, “The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective.” My brothers and sisters, we are praying for you. We are mindful of those simply trying to live their lives in peace and wholeness and to raise their children in safety. We are mindful of the needs of all the people in Haiti. My brothers and sisters, we are praying for you.
 
To all the people of The Episcopal Church, I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to continue to lift up the Haitian people in your prayers, both now and in the days to come.
 
I leave you with the words of the Psalmist:
 
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
Though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.”
 
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
 
Keep the faith,
 
The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Monday, June 21, 2021

Changing lives, one outfit at a time

Whether you're walking into a job interview or simply going to school, everyone deserves to feel confident. With that mission in mind, the Caring Clothes Closet provides consignment-quality clothing to people who need a hand up. The pre-loved garments donated to the Caring Clothes Closet get a second life with people who are also starting over — families emerging from a crisis or struggling to rebuild their lives.

Our Wednesday Women's Bible Study recently gathered to tour and celebrate the new location of the Caring Clothes Closet. Not only does this group have a heart for Jesus and a mind for mission, they also have a special connection to the Caring Clothes Closet -- it's founder, Sara Fender, has been a part of the Wednesday Women's Bible Study for years.  "It is completely her gifting and passion," says group leader Becky Hansell, "and she is amazing at it!"

The group has loved and prayed Sara through the journey and they were thrilled to celebrate this milestone with her.

You never know what doors open to you through CCE small groups! Click here to learn about current ongoing groups and stay tuned for information coming soon about new and refreshed groups.

Please keep Sara and the CCC in your prayers. If you feel called to give, visit here for more information.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Healing Ceremony for "Circle of Care"

Our pastoral care ministries hosted a healing ceremony to acknowledge and process all we've lost during the pandemic. The Community of Hope and Circle of Care members gathered to pray, sing, reflect, and share what has been lost during this time of illness, distancing, fear, and sadness.

Lee Bowles sharing the gift of music

Space was also created to share the things gained during the pandemic. Participants named before God the blessings that have come during this time. After each petition, the reader spoke, “Holy God, bringer of blessings,” and the group responded with “We thank and praise you."

Consider today, where do you need healing? Give these concerns to God by saying, “Holy God, source of health, hear and have mercy.”

What blessings have you seen in the past year and a half? Give thanks and praise, saying,

Jesus, eternal Son of the Father,
Jesus, healer of our infirmities,
Jesus, redeemer and safe-guarder,
We praise you and thank you.

If you are interested in hosting a healing ceremony for your small group or family, please contact us and we're happy to share a simple liturgy for you to use.

 




Sunday, June 13, 2021

Full circle: the first CCE Preschool class graduates high school this year

Christ Church has reached a special milestone! Today we celebrated "Senior Sunday" at worship, a time-honored tradition that recognizes students that are graduating high school. The past year was certainly exceptional, as this group of students had the strangest junior and senior years in recent history (thank you, pandemic, but you can leave now), showing tremendous resilience and strength. But another sweet spot is that these students represented the first graduating class of the Christ Church Preschool, founded 15 years ago. That's love, full circle!

Celebrate with us...

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Love Gathers: new partnership with Autism Society Central Virginia helps celebrate God's diversity

Christ Church is thrilled to forge a new partnership with the Autism Society of Central Virginia (ASCV). Our mission of being a beacon of hope to all people -- and our faith in Jesus Christ, who served and love all -- compel us to welcome and celebrate the autism community.

As the prevalence rate of autism continues to rise, community services like the ASCV are as vital as ever.  The Autism Society Central Virginia (ASCV) serves as one of the region’s premier sources of education, advocacy, services, and support for individuals with autism, their families and friends, and professionals.

The Grand Finale of the ASCV's AuSome 54-Day Challenge concluded Saturday on our campus as we welcomed participants at Christ Church to receive their rewards, t-shirts, and more. 
 
 
This summer, Christ Church is proud to host the ASCV summer camp. These two weeks of in-person summer camps offer engaging and interactive opportunities for children of all ages. We can't wait to share stories of this camp with you!
 
At Christ Church, neurodiversity is a reality for many of us, our family, and our friends. We want the autism community to feel at home on our campus and beyond. Join us in saying out-loud and proud: different is good and every brain is beautiful. Together, we offer prayer and praise for this budding relationship with special community partners.

Monday, May 31, 2021

"Feature Friday" initiative highlights CCE staff on social media

Christ Church is blessed with dedicated and talented staff who provide specialized ministry to our beloved community. Your gifts, engagement, and support enable these ministries that change lives here in Short Pump and beyond. Thank you.

On our social media platforms, we've been highlighting our staff as part of a #FeatureFriday series. See below these features and if you don't already, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Your engagement with our social media is an easy and important way to share your witness and support the ministries of Christ Church.

 





 


 

 


 





Monday, May 17, 2021

Berry Blessings to Neighbors in Need

The mission of Shalom Farms is to work with communities to ensure access to healthy food and the support to live healthy lives. Through sustainable food production and hands-on experiences at the farm and in the city, Shalom Farms provides thousands in Richmond with access to healthy food…and healthy lives.

Kevin Van Natta, right, says this is a small way he can give back to the community.

On a sunny day last week, a team of CCE volunteers worked on the farm as part of our ongoing missions and outreach ministries. Volunteers picked strawberries, praying over the fruit with the sweet understanding that it would go on to bless others.

"I’ve been blessed in life and now that the children are grown and I am working less it feels like the time to give back," says missioner Kevin Van Natta (on right in photo above).  "Shalom Farms is one small way to do this."

Youth and children are welcome to serve. What a great mission opportunity for families!
 
Christ Church is committed to serve at the farm once a month. The next serve date is Tuesday, June 8, 9am-12pm. Click here to serve and contact Keith Tan with any questions you may have.

It will feel good to use your hands, socialize with others, and know your work will share God's love with those in need!

PHOTO SLIDESHOW 

Food for the Hungry

Saturday, May 1, 2021

"Serving as the heart and hands of Jesus" -- our Build Day volunteers share their witnesses

A dedicated team of CCE volunteers worked with our amazing community partners, Richmond Metro Habitat for Humanity, for a special Build Day. We were blessed to work on a home for future homeowners Genesis, Matt, and their two young daughters.

READ BELOW FOR WITNESSES FROM 3 TEAM MISSIONERS

"The morning was sunny, cool, and beautiful. Our group showed up prepared to paint the indoor walls. Our leader, Fabian, informed us that the drywall wasn't finished. Instead, we would be finishing the siding on an outdoor shed. In addition we dug some post holes for the back deck. Many hands made the work really light." - Jane Emrick

"Over the years I have been blessed by participating in Christ Church Episcopal Habitat for Humanity Build Day. The joy I receive, putting my gifts and talents in service to others is part of what feeds my faiths journey.

'Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.' (1 Peter 4:10)

I am thankful that CCE and its church community have instilled in me to be a good steward of my gifts and talents. I pray and give thanks for all the gifts Christ has given us. We know that all we have received is from his loving hands.

Gracious and loving God, you call us to participate in the life of our communities. Help us to always use your gifts wisely and teach us to share them generously. Send the Holy Spirit to work through us, bringing your message of love to those we serve. May we bear witness to the love of Jesus Christ in our lives each and every day. We pray with grateful hearts, in Jesus’ name. Amen." - Dan Spitzer

"What a great day it was: a little chilly early on, but it warmed up nicely and we had a clear blue sky!  As things turned out we were able to work outside putting siding on the new shed.  Participating in projects like this provides personal rewards in several different ways for me.  We’re working as a team by helping in a small way to build a new home for a deserving couple, but we’re also building strong bonds with those on our CCE team. Truly we’re serving as the heart and hands of Jesus!" - Jim Heck

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: 

 Build Day 2021

We are called to serve others in Christ's name. Join us on our next mission adventure! More here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

You are invited to share your nativity scene with others

All are welcome to gather online on Sunday, December 13 for a time of sharing our favorite Nativity Scenes! Children and families are encouraged to share at 9 AM and adults and teens can gather at 1 PM. (But also feel free to pick a time that suits your needs.) The Zoom links can be found in Realm or contact us and we will send you the link.

Show off your favorite scene with others and share a word or two about what makes it so special. For some of you, it may be difficult to pick just one! And for others, perhaps you don't have a nativity set among your holiday decorations or have yet to unpack it this year -- that is ok. Join in anyway to bear witness to what others share.

You are also invited to send in a photo of your Nativity and we will share it with others. See below for a special time of sharing from Mark and Becky Hansell and a slideshow of photos we have received so far.

The Hansell family has grown to love this beloved, hodgepodge set.

"Becky inherited this from her parents who inherited it for Becky’s mother’s parents.  It is an old beat up set that has been pieced together over the years.  Th shepherds, wise men and Mary and Joseph are from Germany and the angels seem to have been added later from Italy.  The crèche looks to have been made by Becky’s grandfather.  And the “hay” seems to be old, actual lead, tinsel. All the people seem to be a combination paper mache and plaster that is hand painted.  And then there is the cast iron camel and the “Christmas dog”, which don’t seem to fit in.

We begrudgingly set this up our first years of our marriage because it was all we had.  We did then and still today make fun of the hodgepodge, but there is something to the history and knowing Becky’s grandparents put real effort into collecting and creating this set makes it part of our holiday preparation.

Becky’s grandparents fled Nazi Germany with next to no possessions, so having a small piece of them with us in the holiday is a great way of demonstrating the importance of family to our family. I would not miss helping to set it up each year."

 

MORE PHOTOS

Nativity Share
Enjoy this slideshow of entries from our CCE family. Send us your photos and we will include them!

 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

3 Wonderful Ways to Give

This Giving Tuesday, we invite you to support Christ Church and our mission partners. Thank you for considering making a gift this season!

  1. Give to Christ Church so we can carry the Gospel torch into a new year, growing deeper in our faith, serving neighbors, and connected to others. Also, if you have not yet done so, pledging your support helps us plan vibrant ministries for 2021. >GIVE<  >PLEDGE<
  2. Support The Giving Tree, a ministry of Christ Church Episcopal to support Hope for Humanity and their special school in South Sudan. Make a gift, reach a child, and watch The Giving Tree become illuminated in worship each week. For every gift made, we will add a votive candle to our new “tree” and you will receive a beautiful handmade ornament. Your gifts help raise a new generation of leaders in a country that needs them! >DONATE< or text CCE Hope to 73256.
  3. Purchase a unique gift from the Tap Tap Collective and help the ministries in Haiti that CCE has supported for many years. This online shop is committed to connecting artisans with patrons who will love and appreciate meaningful crafts handmade in Haiti. The items are beautiful! Proceeds go directly to support families in Haiti with healthcare and nutrition services. >SHOP<

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Unstoppable Church--Coronavirus Times: A Pastoral Update from Rev. Shirley

Friends, living with coronavirus conditions raises lots of questions. So, I’m hoping this information will answer some of them. Please email or call me if you don’t find the answers you’re looking for. Or if you just want to talk, that’s good too. My contact info is in Realm and on our website.

First, Christ Church follows both the Governor’s Amended Executive Orders as well as the requirements given by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Early on in the pandemic, we watched churches and funerals become super-spreader events, and the diocese set the goal of limiting virus spread while asking the clergy and volunteers of the churches to do all possible to keep the ministries of the church vibrant and relevant.

Where we are now:

    In-person Outdoor Worship with Online Option — CCE was approved by the Diocese of Virginia for in-person outdoor worship, and we’ve been doing this for a few months. (Please thank our music and audio-visual teams for all their technical re-work and weekly heavy-lifting that has made this possible: Keith and Caedmon Tan, Lee Bowles, Gordon Macgill, Rich Hull, and Nick Parker and others.)

    Online Worship — Given the colder temperatures, 11/22 will be our final fall in-person outdoor worship. Starting 11/29, please join us for worship online. Worship will be live-streamed (YouTube) at 10 AM (and accessible afterward), and we will provide a drive-up add-on from 11AM - 12 noon for those who would like to pick up their holy communion wafer.

    Coming Up — CCE has been pre-approved by the Diocese of Virginia for in-person indoor worship once the level of virus in Henrico County declines to low-yellow (under 5) or green, so long as Rev. Shirley and the Vestry feel it’s responsible to do so, given that we’re also keeping an eye on Hanover and Goochland because of proximity. We use the global epidemics site. The diocese provides a weekly update by county. Our plan for in-person indoor worship can be found here. A group of lay leaders has been tasked by the vestry with preparing the procedures we’ve been using for outdoor worship and for indoor worship planning. Please thank them for their diligent and hope-filled work: Jen Wasik, Lee and Tracy Muckey, Roge Smith, Michael Compton, Bonnie Shelhorse, Kay Holmes, Scott Arnold, Kathy Theado.

And look with hopefulness toward Advent and Christmas!

  • Advent Worship (online), Sundays November 29-December 20
  • The Light of the World: A Drive-Through Christmas Experience (in-person), Sunday December 20, 1-4 PM and Thursday, December 24, 1-4 PM.
  • Candlelight & Communion on Christmas Eve (in-person), Thursday, December 24, 5:30 PM

Monday, November 16, 2020

Thank you for your generosity!

Way to go, church! You displayed incredible generosity in donating coats, hats, and gloves for the men at CARITAS' Men's Healing Place. CARITAS now has all of the items they need! We give thanks for those  following the command from John the Baptist in Luke's gospel, chapter 3, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise."


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Worship Update from Rev. Shirley

A WORD ABOUT WORSHIP
From Rev. Shirley 

Friends, we've loved seeing you in person for outdoor worship and hearing that many more of you are tuning in to online worship using You Tube. What a resilient congregation! God has made us tough.

I have applied for and received approval from Bishop Goff to start conducting worship inside the church when the health indicators go to low-yellow or green. The color system is based on Harvard's global epidemics data. Please everyone wear your masks and use social distancing so we can keep the virus spread down.

When we do announce in-person indoor worship is available, we will use the weekly eNews and Realm to communicate details about how to sign up. If you choose to remain at home, we will continue to livestream worship using You Tube. 

Until health indicators go favorable and I announce that we are offering indoor worship again, we will continue to offer in-person worship outside every Sunday at 10 a.m. so long as it's not raining and so long as the temperature is over 45 degrees. We will continue to offer holy communion (wafers only). Please know that, if you are staying at home to guard your health but would like a pastoral visit, Rev. Shirley and Rev. Richard are both happy to make house calls if you have an outside place to meet, or if you'd like to meet at the church on a weekday outside. The weather has been wonderful for this. If you have any questions or comments you'd like to share, please email Rev. Shirley, s.smithgraham@ccerva.org.

A WORD ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Since we know that hosting 1,800 people for Christmas Eve is not possible this year due to COVID, we have committed with our Gospel partners at Shady Grove Methodist Church to offer a drive-thru Christmas story. Through six outdoor stations that tell the story of the Messiah, from prophecy to Nativity to Jesus' charge to his disciples to love one another, costumed volunteers will tell the story that changed the world through song and spoken word. This is an opportunity for people inside and outside our churches to be touched by the Spirit of Christmas. Aching to do something fun for the holidays? Contact Rev. Shirley or Keith Tan if you'd like to be part of this wonderful event. And to round off Christmas Eve, once daylight falls, each church will offer its own small Christmas service. Inside if we can, outside if we must. Stay tuned for times and details.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Bear Witness to God's Fruitfulness! The Good Soil Video Series

 Watch all 6 videos in our special storytelling project!


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Thank you for helping turn Hunger into Hope

1 in 8 people in our beloved metro Richmond region is food insecure -- meaning that too many of our neighbors are not receiving the necessary nutrition.These are our neighbors who are working one or more jobs and are barely scraping enough together to get by each month. These are our neighbors who are living paycheck to paycheck when an unexpected medical expense or car trouble takes them down, depleting what little savings they have. These are our neighbors who are forced to make tough choices each month between basic necessities – pay the electricity bill or buy healthy groceries for well-balanced meals for themselves and their families. Add to these challenges the stress of living in a pandemic and it can feel overwhelming.

FeedMore offers hope and help to our neighbors through their many services. Check out the amazing work they're doing. At Christ Church, we partner with FeedMore so we can live into our mission of being the heart and hands of Jesus.

Thank you for giving to our most recent Food Drive, where we gathered 23 grocery bags of non-perishable food to donate to FeedMore. Your support makes a real difference in the lives of others.

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Pastoral message from Shirley, Richard, and Darren.

Learn, Pray, Act

Beloved friends of Christ, as your clergy we want to say two things today: (1) we love you, and, (2) by pulling together, we can live into what God has promised to make us: one in Christ Jesus.

When Jesus’ disciples were first learning to be followers, he told them that people who receive the word and accept it bear fruit, not just a little fruit but thirty and sixty and a hundredfold. (Mark 4:20)

This is just the moment to pull together and remember that God gives us the word — Holy Scriptures and the teachings we get from them — so that we will not just survive but bear fruit that blesses people far beyond us. God’s power will do this even though we may be exhausted from Coronavirus, job losses, and the collective realization we cannot avoid: George Floyd’s death reminds us of the sin we all are vulnerable to falling into, failing to fully respect the dignity of a child of God, based on their skin color. In short, racism. We are a nation grieving in many ways. We are also a band of disciples, driven by the mission of the Episcopal Church: to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ (BCP p.855.) God reminds us that, if we diligently receive the word, God will bless us to be a blessing: thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. God is giving us the opportunity to pull together and learn, pray and act together.

We want to start by inviting you into opportunities to learn together. We will continue to offer ways to pray together, as we have been doing, and there will be other opportunities too. And as we receive the word and think together about what may be stopping us from fully living into the love and flourishing of all God’s children, we will find ways to act to be healers and reconcilers. These practices of Learn, Pray, and Act are intended to guide us into the healing work of racial reconciliation. Stay tuned for upcoming information about learning groups.

We are particularly interested in learning more about the struggles of people of color.  Our intention is to educate ourselves by listening to the voices of our Black and Brown members and neighbors, and tending to our relationships, as siblings in Christ.  Presiding Bishop Curry’s sermon for Pentecost is a great place to start, along with the links provided by the national Episcopal Church.  Click here for the sermon & resources.   We also hope to work with those of you who are interested in leading in your own ways.

God loves us with a never-failing love. So let us love one another and bear abundant fruit that lasts.

In Christ -
Reverends Shirley, Richard, and Darren