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Rev. Ed Covert retires from Emmanuel

Rev. Ed Covert, who has led services at Emmanuel Episcopal Church for the past 13 years, recently announced that he is retiring from the position of rector. And so, Emmanuel held a special service in his honor on Sunday, December 2. The Rt. Rev. Bishop Heath Light, the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, celebrated the Holy Eucharist and gave a sermon. He was assisted by Rev. Roger Bowen and Rev. John Lane, who paid glowing tribute to Ed's career in remarks from the pulpit. Senior Warden Allan Hadfield presented a framed copy of the Emmanuel "world cloud" (see further down on this page) to Ed and Nan Covert in honor of Ed's retirement from Emmanuel. A "Litany for Retirement" was read by the Bishop and by Ed during the service. Afterward, a reception was held in Memorial Hall, featuring a wide variety of treats prepared by the parishioners. See the photo(s) below.

The following brief biography appeared in the church program:

Ed Covert was ordained in 1969 by Bishop Fraser in North Carolina. He served parishes in North Carolina, South Carolina, and was Rector of Christ Church Martinsville for 20 years.

The Coverts moved to Fort Defiance in 1999. Ed became Priest-in-Charge of Emmanuel that year. Today, the first Sunday of Advent, is his 13th anniversary with us. Nan continues as Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Bridgewater College.

Ed is truly beloved by his congregation, admired for the depth of his theological knowledge as well as for his strong commitment to Christian charity and his modest, sincere demeanor. He has been one of the leading figures in the Virginia Haiti Collaborative, which has assisted St. Marc's Primary School in Cerca-La-Source, Haiti. His preaching from the pulpit here in Staunton will be greatly missed.

In recent weeks, the vestry of Emmanuel has been undertaking the task of finding a new priest, who will be subject to the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Neff Powell.

Ed and Nan hold_world cloud

To see each of the photographs in succession, roll your mouse over the respective captions below.

shield icon Allan Hadfield presents the Emmanuel "world cloud" to Rev. Ed Covert; Bishop Light is standing on the right.

shield icon Nan and Ed Covert holding the "world cloud," as the choir applauds.

shield icon Bishop Heath Light breaks bread, assisted by Rev. Roger Bowen and Rev. John Lane.

shield icon Allan Hadfield plays the bagpipes at the end of the service.

shield icon The food table at Ed's reception was very well stocked.

shield icon The big crowd at Ed's reception; a beam of light fell upon George Sproul.

Advent: the church's New Year

The season of Advent, spanning the four Sundays prior to Christmas, marks the New Year for the church. As of Advent Sunday, December 2, the liturgical color has changed from the green of Pentecost to purple. (Blue is sometimes used instead during Advent.) Accordingly, the table on the Calendar page which depicts the various church seasons has been throughly revised, making it easier to keep track of the passage of time.

Harvest Day 2012

Emmanuel had its annual Harvest Day celebration on Sunday, November 11. The morning began with a BIG breakfast with a wide assortment of dishes prepared by congregants, and the main dining room was filled to capacity. The Holy Eucharist service, celebrated by Rev. John Lane, featured special musical performances by Emmanuel's Harvest Band, the children's Sunday School class, and the Steve and Emily Cox duo. Steve Cox also unveiled a large-size "word cloud" display containing dozens of words that church members chose to describe what makes Emmanuel Episcopal Church special. (See the small version below.) After the service, the PAX youth group packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child. The special Harvest Day observance was a big success in raising funds in support of the Rector's Discretionary Fund.

Thanks to Music Director Sarah Grove-Humphries and to Randy Hamblet for their role in arranging the music for that wonderful service.

EmMANuel barbecue:

On Saturday, October 6, the men of Emmanuel Episcopal Church put together an outdoor barbecue fund-raising supper, calling it the "EmMANuel barbecue." Several dozen parishioners and friends of Emmanuel showed up to savor the barbecue pork and various side dishes prepared by the men folk. Proceeds from the event will go to the Virginia Haiti Collaborative, which provides financial support for St. Marc's Primary School in Cerca-La-Source, Haiti.

Thanks to Matthew Poteat, who prepared the roast pig in the traditional barbecue style of North Carolina, with the assistance of Colin Hester.

EmMANuel barbecue

Dusk descends as the EmMANuel barbecue comes to a close.

Matthew Poteat, Byron , Colin Hester

Mandolinist/barbecue chef Matthew Poteat, with guitarist Byron Humphries and bassist Colin Hester.

Crop Walk 2012

June and Ralph Steger represented Emmanuel in this year's Crop Walk, a fund-raising event aimed at putting an end to hunger, held in downtown Staunton on Sunday, October 14. See for more on this event.

Bishop Powell confirms ten youths from Emmanuel

The Right Rev. Bishop Neff Powell paid his annual visit to Emmanuel on Sunday, September 17, and confirmed ten young members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. SaraBeth Johnson has been leading the church education program for the past year. We are all very proud of our newest confirmed parishioners. The visit by Bishop Powell was especially poignant, because he previously announced his plans to retire next year, so this will probably be the last time he visits us in his capacity as Bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia.

We were also very delighted to have our rector, the Rev. Ed Covert, be with us to welcome Bishop Powell that Sunday. Ed expects to return on a regular basis some time soon, while he gradually recovers. Get well soon, Ed!

Bishop Powell, 2012 confirmands

Bishop Neff Powell and the ten confirmands of 2012. From left to right (back row): Wren Elizabeth Freuh, Bonnie BeccaMarie Gaines, Bishop Powell, Spencer Charles White, Garrett Jacob Venn; (front row): Hanna Bay Kivlighan, Sophie Francesca Kozlowski, Katherine Haden Johnson, Sophie Annette Thelk, Lilianna Helen Charlier, Abigail Therese Kincheloe.

Bishop Powell, children

After the service, Bishop Powell talked to the children about church history.

Bishop Powell, reception

A short while later, members of Emmanuel gave a reception in honor of Bishop Powell, in Memorial Hall.

Bountiful harvest from our garden

Once again this past summer, members of Emmanuel have been working hard on the parish vegetable garden, on fertile farm land graciously provided by Dave Rapp. As in past years, Meneta Deaton has been coordinating the volunteer planting, weeding, and picking chores. Tomatoes and green peppers have been harvested for several weeks, along with Swiss chard, sweet corn, and green beans. During the autumn months we will begin harvesting pumpkins and butternut squash. If you're looking for some tasty, fresh veggies, come and pay a visit to one of our Sunday morning services. Proceeds from the free will offering for the vegetables, and the surplus produce itself, go to the local food pantry in Verona.

Dave Rapp, garden

Dave Rapp inspects the sweet corn and green pepper crops.

Tomatoes in garden

Tomato plants (foreground) are thriving in the garden.

Garden vegetables

Montage of garden vegetables.

Easter Day: The Lord Is Risen Indeed!

The Feast of the Resurrection was celebrated at Emmanuel at 10:30 this morning.

On Maundy Thursday, Emmanuel members commemorated the Last Supper by sharing a potluck meal in Memorial Hall. At the conclusion of the dinner, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated at our the dinner tables after which members proceeded to the Sanctuary to prepare the altar for Good Friday.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday services began with the customary ecumenical procession through the streets of downtown Staunton, in which several downtown congregations have participated for the past several years.

Altar, Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday procession on West Frederick Street, with Emmanuel Episcopal Church in the background.

Altar, Palm Sunday

Church members going inside at the end of the procession.

Altar, Palm Sunday

The altar was draped in red colors for Palm Sunday.

Altar, Palm Sunday

Emmanuel Episcopal Church, from the southeast side.

Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday

Once again this year, members of the PAX youth group prepared the annual pancake supper for Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a. "Mardi Gras"), on February 28. A variety of delicious pancakes -- plain, blueberry, and chocolate chip -- was served, as well as baked apples, sausage, and even gluten-free waffles.

On the following day, the pews for the noontime Ash Wednesday service were packed full of Stuart Hall students and Emmanuel members, observing the beginning of the Lenten season. Palm Sunday will be on April 1 this year, beginning the Holy Week observances, and Easter Sunday will be on April 8.

Diocese Annual Council 2012

During the final weekend of January, a large contingent of Emmanuel members went down to Roanoke on for the Annual Council of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. The keynote speaker on Saturday morning was Rev. Angela Ifill, from Trinidad and Tobago, who spoke on the theme of the meeting, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You." Rev. Paul Nancarrow from our neighboring congregation at Trinity Episcopal Church, then presented a summary of the Sustainability Report, and how the diocese can meet the challenge of sustaining its operations and mission in an era of limited means. The Rev. John Runkle, a former member of our congregation who is both a priest and an architect, talked about the rebuilding efforts at the Anglican Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, showing some pictures. Those in attendance went to a variety of workshop sessions later in the morning, and in the afternoon.

This year's Annual Council was especially noteworthy because Bishop Neff Powell recently announced that he plans to retire, making it necessary to select a replacement for him. At a meeting of delegates from the Augusta Convocation, our own rector, Rev. Ed Covert, was elected to serve on the Nominating Committee, which will carry out the search process.

Stained glass window restored

Work on the main stained glass window was completed on schedule last week, and it now looks as good as new. This marks the second major project involving the restoration of stained glass windows at Emmanuel, after the "Emmanuel" stained behind the altar and the Angel baptistry stained glass window at the right front side of the church were restored in the summer of 2008.

Stained glass window

The restored stained glass window from the inside. (Photo courtesy of Allan Hadfield.)

Emmanuel exterior east side

The scaffolding has been removed from the east side of Emmanuel, where the stained glass windows let in the morning sun. (Photo courtesy of Allan Hadfield.)

Talent Show fund-raiser

On Saturday, February 4th, Emmanuel held a special fund-raising event: "We Raised the Roof, Now Let's Insulate It Talent Show!!!" The freewill donation went towards insulating the roof, which will go a long way toward completing the roof repair work that was begun three years ago. The event was a big success, both in terms of the quality of entertainment, as well as the proceeds that were raised. Many thanks to Elizabeth Cianciolo and Eileen Freuh for organizing this event, and to Talent Scout / Production Manager / Virtuoso Banjoist Randy Hamblet.

The Band, girls

Emmanuel's own version of 'The Band' was reinforced by two excellent performers from Stuart Hall School. (Photo courtesy of Meneta Deaton.)


Memorial Hall was packed with an enthusiastic overflow audience. (Photo courtesy of Meneta Deaton.)

Emily & Steve Cox

Emily & Steve Cox, performing a family duet. (Photo courtesy of Meneta Deaton.)

Ruth Chowdrow & Sarah Splaunn

Ruth Chowdrow & Sarah Splaunn, who play the recorder (a wind instrument with a fipple) during our services, on occasion. (Photo courtesy of Meneta Deaton.)

Tidge & Doug Roller

In between the musical acts, Tidge & Doug Roller kept the show rolling with their hilariously droll standup comedy one-liners. (Photo courtesy of Meneta Deaton.)


Storyteller. (Photo courtesy of Meneta Deaton.)

Epiphany 2012

On January 8, the children of Emmanuel performed a special Epiphany Pageant, under the direction of Mary Evans Lott. After the service, members gathered for Second Sunday Soup.

2nd Sunday Soup Feb 2012

Second Sunday Soup, on the Day of the Epiphany, January 8.

Members of the congregation who would like to submit digital photos for possible inclusion on this page may contact the Webmaster via e-mail: Please send photos in JPG format, preferably reduced to no more than 600 x 400 (or 600 x 450) pixels. Please indicate whether you would like to be credited as the photographer.