The Diocese of Southern Virginia is home to vital, innovative, and meaningful ministries. Some of these efforts have been fixtures of diocesan life for many years, while others are newer initiatives designed to meet new challenges and opportunities in the Church and in our communities. They provide a “never ending knowledge” of how many ways one can serve Jesus. These ministries have given us a variety of ways to step outside of our comfort zone and to share Jesus’ love with others.

“A never-ending knowledge of how many ways I can serve Jesus, These ministries have given me the ability to step out of my comfort zone and to share his love.”

Episcopal Church Women

The Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Southern Virginia welcomes and encourages all women in all parishes to become involved in the life of ECW through participation in its many activities. They provide scholarships and grants to high school graduates and seminarians throughout the diocese. They also support Jackson Feild Homes, Boys Home in Covington, Little Roses of Honduras, Holy Cross School in Belize, nursing students in Malawi, seminarians in the Republic of the Congo, and other events throughout the year to support mission and ministry outreach efforts. Learn more

“Our ECW provides Thanksgiving baskets and conducts Operation Santa Claus for the needy. We also send money to the Episcopal Relief and Development and the United Thank Offering.  We also support Kairos Prison Ministry by baking cookies for the prisoners.”

Chanco on the James

Chanco on the James Camp and Retreat Center is a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Founded in 1968 as an Episcopal summer camp, Camp Chanco has run continuously as an ACA accredited summer camp for 50 years. In 1989, Chanco raised $1.2 million to purchase the current property, 125 acres along the James River. Campers, retreat guests, clergy, parishes, camp alumni, board members, families, college students, the Episcopal Youth Community, Happeners, and Cursillistas are just some of those served by Chanco on the James.

Chanco has embarked upon “The Campaign for Chanco.” This campaign is a reflection of the commitment to ensure the ministry of Chanco will continue to be shared with future generations. We achieved our base goal of $2.5 million earlier this year and are currently working beyond towards our inspirational goal of $3 million. Learn more

Chanco has changed my life. And the lives of any child that goes there. It is by far the most effective Ministry to reach young people. I want my children’s children to be a part of Chanco when they reach adolescence”

Latino Ministry

The Latino ministry strives to provide the Diocese with an effective model for multi-lingual and multi-ethnic ministry that brings the Hispanic/Latino voice to the church. It provides for community support, and raises awareness to the present crisis of migration today. Learn more

“Invest in Latino Ministry, in innovative partnerships, in new avenues of mission. Focus on the ways in which we connect, share resources, and support our common mission.”

Prison Ministry

The Prison Ministry is motivated by the Gospel of Matthew 25:36: “I was in prison and you visited me.”  When volunteers visit the incarcerated, their children and families, they experience Christ. This ministry advocates for restorative justice, interfaith programs, and personal healing for prisoners and their families, and communities. Learn more

“I was involved in the prison Ministry through Kairos while a member of our church in Richmond. Opened my eyes and made me see just how much I had made unjustified assumptions.”

Repairing the Breach

The Repairers of the Breach Task Force, which includes both laity and clergy, have prepared a study guide and video to engage the diocese in the ongoing challenges of race and race relations. They will assist parishes by providing facilitators for sessions if desired. Learn more

“I am grateful for Bishop Hollerith’s spiritual leadership reflected in the Repairing the Breach efforts (including formal apology on behalf of the diocese) and public witness with the other Bishops of the Commonwealth to the Virginia Assembly asking them to reject legislation that alienates, dehumanizes, devalues, or endangers human beings”.

Education for Ministry (EfM)

Every baptized person is called to ministry. The Education for Ministry (EfM) program provides people with the education to carry out that ministry. During the Service of Confirmation, we ask God to “Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at Baptism. Send them forth in the power of the Spirit to perform the service you set before them.” EfM offers an opportunity to discover how to respond to the call to Christian service. Learn more

“EfM has enhanced my theological literacy and Cursillo has exposed me to heart work”

United Thank Offering (UTO)

United Thank Offering (UTO) is a ministry of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. Through United Thank Offering, men, women, and children nurture the habit of giving daily thanks to God. These prayers of thanksgiving start when we recognize and name our many daily blessings. Those who participate in UTO discover that thankfulness leads to generosity. United Thank Offering is entrusted to promote thank offerings, to receive the offerings, and to distribute the UTO monies to support mission and ministry throughout The Episcopal Church and in invited Provinces of the Anglican Communion in the developing world. Learn more

“I have served on the national board of the United Thank Offering….Being involved in evangelism and service has made my life fuller and more meaningful.”

College Ministries

College Ministries Commission helps guide ministry initiatives for college-age persons in Southern Virginia, manages the Bishop Vaché Scholarship Fund and provides peer support for the campus chaplains and Canterbury Club programs of the diocese. There are currently three campus ministries that are financially supported by the diocese. William & Mary has a full time Episcopal chaplain who is also on staff at Bruton Parish Church. Hampden Sydney College and Longwood University share a campus ministry as well as a part-time chaplain.  They are hosted by Johns Memorial Church. Old Dominion University is led by a chaplain and a board. They are the only campus ministry with a building on campus. Grace Episcopal Church in Norfolk currently supports students at Norfolk State University. St. Stephen’s in Petersburg has a relationship with Virginia State University. The hope is that we will be able to provide Canterbury Club programs at more of our colleges and universities.
ODU, William & Mary, Hampden Sydney and Longwood

“College ministries kept me in touch with my faith while I was in college”

The Mission of the Holy Spirit

The Mission of the Holy Spirit is a joint effort supported by individuals, churches and other organizations in the Hampton Roads area and the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Its primary goal is to inspire inner city youth to function successfully in society, to make positive accomplishments and to have the opportunity to develop and maintain a personal relationship with God.

Mission programs and activities are age appropriate and feed spirits, bodies and minds of the participants. Sunday worship services are uniquely formatted to impact young lives using Bible stories that fit life situations affecting people daily. To meet the needs of young people, the Mission offers enriching weeknight programs for participants, and every service and program includes a meal. Special activities and outings are scheduled as resources permit. Additionally, with the help of individuals, businesses and churches, the Mission provides food, clothing, school supplies, and other necessities to those in need. Learn more   

“There is active participation with the Mission of the Holy Spirit…. our deacon serves on their board.”


What is Cursillo?

  • An opportunity to experience Jesus’ teachings through study and prayer.  
  • An opportunity to explore and grow your spirituality and faith.
  • An experience of living and sharing in a Christian community that exists all over the Diocese.

Cursillo is a way to spiritually connect with Christ, a new way to walk with Christ. During the Cursillo weekend you start to learn what part you play in being Christ’s hands and feet. You will learn how you can bring others to Christ by your experience. It starts with a weekend and lasts a lifetime. Diocesan Cursillo, National Cursillo

“Cursillo has been the catalyst for all my other actions in my parish: choir, vestry, search committee, Chanco fundraising.”

Episcopal Schools

This diocese is home to a variety of Episcopal schools spread across six of our nine convocations. Many are pre-schools, but there are also two high schools, Chatham Hall a boarding school for girls and Trinity Episcopal a co-ed day school. St. Michael’s and Epiphany are both Lower and Middle schools. Learn more

other ministries

Along with the above ministries there are a host of ministries that parishes are engaged in on an ongoing basis within their communities. Over 70 different ministries were referenced in the questionnaire responses with respect to parish outreach into their communities:  The Episcopal Relief and Development Fund, Mission trips, Habitat for Humanity, Boys’ Home, Jackson Feild Home, Food and Clothing Pantries, Winter shelter for the homeless and Addiction Recovery programs to name a few. Parish Activities, Diocesan Connection

The quotes below are a representative selection of responses from our questionnaire, on the impact of outreach.

“Our congregation, and the community are both much better off spiritually because of our involvement in outreach programs”

“To be the hands and feet of God as modeled by Jesus. My experiences at Cursillo and through EFM opened me to the possibility. Together with the nurturing of my parish and parish family, they have made me hunger for the kinds of formation experiences and opportunities to see the Christ in all I encounter, wherever they may be encountered.”

“The various ministries are the ties that keep us together as a parish and the ways in which we make our community better for all.”

“Has given many of our members ways to give back to the larger community in ways they would not normally have been able to.”

“The twin heartbeats of Jesus (evangelism and outreach) keeps us alive “

“We all benefit from giving, seeing others receive, learning about other lives, cultures, hardships. It lifts and improves us all”

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