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July 7, 2013

More photos from mission to Haiti

Michele Edwards, one of the key figures in the Virginia Haiti Collaborative, was kind enough to share more of the photos that she took during the recent mission trip to Haiti. The images give one a much more vivid sense of the struggle of the Haitian people to make a better life for themselves and for each other.

Land behind St. Marc's school

Land behind St. Marc's school waiting for expansion.


Members of St. John's (Waynesboro) listening to a young Haitian boy singing in English.

Haiti graduating class

The 2013 St. Marc's graduating class; Michele Edwards and Rev. Pere Walin DeCamps are in the first row.

Haiti mass at St. Marc's

Mass at St. Marc's.

Haiti Girls dancing

Girls dancing during the service at St. Marc's.

Haiti graduates in uniforms.jpg

The St. Marc's graduates in their Tech Center uniforms. Photos are courtesy of Michele Edwards.

June 16, 2013

Missionaries return from Haiti

Michele Edwards and four other participants in the Virginia Haiti Collaborative mission have returned, "exhausted but happy," from several weeks working at St. Marc's School in Cerca-la-Source, Haiti. Michele reports, "The four St. John's folks seemed to have a terrific time and everything went smoothly. Thanks to Fr. Walin and Kenite for their warm and loving hospitality. Thank you all for your support of this mission trip."

We expect a full trip report in the next week or so.

Haiti kids blowing bubbles

Haitian children happily blowing bubbles, donated by a member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

June 16, 2013

Annual parish picnic

On Saturday, June 1, Emmanuel held its annual parish picnic at the home of Robin Boylan and Charlotte Story, in Swoope. The weather was almost perfect, and at least forty parishioners and friends joined in the fellowship, savoring tasty barbecue chicken and a variety of dishes brought by church members. As the evening progressed, some of the church's musicians filled the air with pleasant sounds. Many thanks to the members of the Outreach Committee who arranged this very successful fund-raising event, and to the hard-working barbecue grill crew: Matthew Poteat, Colin Hester, and Randy Hamblett. Proceeds from this event will go to our outreach fund, taking care of those in our community who are most in need.

Picnickers 1


Picnickers 2


Picnickers 3


Bible study group

[UPDATED] Rev. Shelby Owen is continuing the Bible study which she began in Lent. The discussions initially focused on the book of Exodus, and then (during Easter season) shifted to the Gospel chapters dealing with the Resurrection. During the first four weeks of the Pentecost season, the group studied Paul's letter to the Colossians. Bible study is held every Wednesday at 11:00.

Bible study group

The Bible study group, led by Rev. Shelby Owen.

May 26, 2013

Pentecost Sunday, 2013

Emmanuel celebrated the Day of the Pentecost (Whitsunday) this year with a rousing service filled with vibrant red colors and a variety of musical styles. Red symbolizes the fiery tongues that descended upon the apostles of Jesus as they were filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time. From the second scripture reading for that day:

Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2: 3-4)

As a prelude to the service, the Harvest Band performed "Brethren We Have Met to Worship" and "Holy Ghost Excitement in My Soul." Then the service began with a banner-filled procession around the perimeter of the pew area. Later, the younger children led the congregation in the spiritual hymn "I'm Gonna Sing." PAX youth group members Abbey Kincheloe and Wren Freuh gave a special sermon to the children, followed by Rev. Shelby Owen's regular sermon. After the service, a reception was held in Memorial Hall, with hors d'oeurves and a cake congratulating the four church members who are graduating this month: Allison White (Lee High School), Evan Clough (Buffalo Gap High School), Kate Cianciolo (B.A., University of Pittsburgh), and Joel Brewer Brown (DPT, Medical College of Virginia).

Pentecost - Harvest Band

The Harvest Band performed the prelude music.

Pentecost - procession

The Pentecost procession included children of Emmanuel, the choir, priest, and acolytes.

Pentecost - children

The children began the hymn "I'm Gonna Sing." Photos courtesy of Amanda Glover.

April 14, 2013

Work day: Emmanuel members "git 'r done"

This year's first work day on Saturday April 13 was blessed with fine weather, encouraging a big turnout of parishioners to take care of various maintenance tasks inside and outside the church building. Weeds were pulled, the columbarium was tidied up, and a new cherry tree was planted in the corner after the stump of the old tree was removed. Periwinkle was planted on the dirt slope on the east side of the church, and retainers were put in to minimize erosion. Finally, broken and unneeded items such as spare slate tile were removed from closets and storage spaces.

WorkDay-Shelby, Steve, Alexis, Randy

Steve Owen, Alexis Wagner, Randy Hamblett, and Rev. Shelby Owen.

WorkDay-Dave Rapp, Allan Hadfield

Dave Rapp (retired Marine colonel) tells Allan Hadfield, "Dig faster!"

WorkDay-Katherine, Randy, Matthew

Katherine Turner, Randy Hamblett, and Matthew Poteat.

PAX annual soup competition

After the 11:00 service on Sunday April 14, Emmanuel's PAX youth group held its annual soup competition in Memorial Hall. Church members voted for their favorite soup among the four entrants. After a tie vote forced a recount by show of hands, this year's PAX Golden Ladle award went to Mary Evans Lott for her delicious Curry Chickpea Cauliflower soup.

PAX Golden Ladel - Mary Evans Lott

Mary Evans Lott accepts the coveted Golden Ladle award from the PAX youth group. Photo courtesy of Amanda Glover.

April 7, 2013

Easter Sunday 2013

On March 31, Emmanuel Episcopal Church celebrated the first Easter Sunday with our new priest, Rev. Shelby Owen. Spirits were high as the traditional Easter hymns were sung, and the scent of fresh Easter lilies filled the church. The observance of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ marked the new season of renewal, hope, and redemption.


During the offertory, Emmanuel's choir sang a special rendition of "Easter Anthem," by William Billings.


Rev. Shelby Owen celebrating the Holy Eucharist.

Easter procession

The Easter service concluded with "Welcome Happy Morning," as the choir exited in the procession.


This year's Easter egg hunt for the children was held in the dining room downstairs, because of the cold, wet conditions outside.

Mar. 24, 2013

Mark Bourlakas is chosen as new bishop

At the Special Electing Council in Roanoke on March 9, the Very Reverend Mark Bourlakas was chosen as new bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. He will begin his duties at the consecration ceremonies in Christ Episcopal Church, Roanoke on Friday, July 19. For more details, see the Roanoke Times and


The Very Rev. Mark Bourlakas spoke to church members at the walkabout in Stuarts Hall on March 2.

Mar. 4, 2013

Bishop candidates visit Staunton

On Saturday, March 2, five candidates for the clerical office of Bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia visited Staunton. They appeared at a special gathering known as a "walkabout," hosted by Stuart Hall School, which is located across the street from Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Attendees (approximately 100 in number) came from congregations throughout the Augusta Convocation, which also includes parishes in Rockbridge, Alleghany, Bath, and Highland Counties, and from other areas in the Diocese. During the same weekend, walkabouts were also held in Abingdon, Lynchburg, and Salem. For more information, see the diocesan Web site, which includes a link to a video of the walkabout in Lynchburg. Here are some basic biographical facts taken from the Nominee Profiles report, available from the diocesan Web site:

Headmaster Mark Eastham of Stuart Hall School welcomed the participants who assembled in the auditorium, and thanked the five nominees for coming. He also introduced the Stuart Hall students who had volunteered to help his wife Kathy Eastham facilitate the event. Rev. John Lane led in prayers, asking for Divine help in the task of discerning which of the candidates is best suited to assume the responsibilities of being our next bishop.

After the nominees introduced themselves and their spouses to the assembly, Emmanuel's new Priest In Charge Rev. Shelby Owen invited the walkabout participants to our church across the street for a post-walkabout discussion. The big group then broke up into five subgroups meeting in separate rooms, and the five nominees spoke to each subgroup in succession, answering questions that had been submitted in advance. It was a fine opportunity to get know the nominees on a more personal basis.

A Special Electing Council will choose the new bishop on Saturday, March 9 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Roanoke. Consecration ceremonies will take place at noon on Friday, July 19, 2013, in Christ Church, Roanoke. Our own former rector, Rev. Edward Covert, was chosen last year to serve on the Search and Nominating Committee, as the first step in the selection process. All of the clergy and lay persons who served on the Search and Nominating Committee deserve great thanks for all their hard work over the past year.

The following photographs are in order of their appearance at the beginning of the walkabout:

Five bishop candidates

To see photographs of each of the five bishop candidates and their respective spouses, roll your mouse over the captions below.

shield icon Rev. Jeanne Finan, and her husband, Tom Eshelman.

shield icon Rev. Dr. David Cox, and his wife, Melissa Cox.

shield icon Very Rev. Mark Bourlakas, and his wife, Martha Bourlakas.

shield icon Rt. Rev. David Rice, and his wife, Tracy Rice.

shield icon Rev. Gail Greenwell, and her husband, Jim Greenwell.

Walkabout auditorium

Headmaster Mark Eastham, flanked by students, greeted clerical and lay walkabout participants, in the Stuart Hall auditorium.

Rev. Shelby Owen at walkabout

Rev. Shelby Owen invited walkabout participants to join in a discussion at Emmanuel Episcopal Church afterwards.

Feb. 4, 2013

Emmanuel welcomes Rev. Shelby Owen

On Sunday, February 3, Emmanuel held a special service to welcome our new priest in charge, the Rev. Shelby Ochs Owen. The service began with the Harvest Band playing "Turn, Turn, Turn" and a "special" version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." After Senior Warden Allan Hadfield and Rev. Owen solemnized the new ministry with a special liturgy in the middle of the Holy Eucharist service, the children's choir sang "Open Our Eyes, Lord."

After the service, a reception for Shelby was held in Memorial Hall, capping off a happy day of warm fellowship. Church members brought a wide variety of fried foods, hors d'ouerves, and other treats. Many thanks to Elizabeth Cianciolo and Eileen Freuh for their work in coordinating this big event.

Children's choir

The children's choir; Music Director Sarah Grove-Humphries and Rev. Owen are in the background.

Shelby cuts cake

Rev. Shelby Owen cuts the official "Welcome" cake at the reception.

Shelby Owen reception

Memorial Hall was packed for the reception in honor of Rev. Shelby Owen.

Welcome Shelby poster

The children of Emmanuel made an artistic poster to welcome Shelby.

Feb 2, 2013

Transition comes to an end

Last Sunday, January 27, marked the end of the challenging period during which our church services were led by "replacements" -- in this case Allan Hadfield, Senior Warden. This coming Sunday, February 3, will mark the beginning of a joyous new era, as services will be officiated by our new priest in charge, the Rev. Shelby Owen. There will be special musical performances at the 10:30 service, and a reception in her honor afterwards.

Our congregation has been blessed over the past several months by a large number of clergymen and women who were kind enough to lead our services. In some cases, they traveled a great distance to come to Staunton, and we are deeply grateful for their devoted efforts:

In addition, five lay members of our own flock have led Morning Prayer services during the transition period: James Lott, Susan Peyton, Preston Manning, Emily Cox, and Allan Hadfield.

Diocesan Annual Council

Several members of Emmanuel went down to Roanoke last week (January 24-27) for the Annual Council of the Diocese of Southwest Virginia. This will be the final Council during which the Rt. Rev. Neff Powell serves as Bishop. The process for selecting a new bishop is well underway, and will be completed in March. The keynote address was given by Bishop Daniel of East Carolina.

Epiphany pageant

On January 6, the children of Emmanuel marked Epiphany Sunday with a pageant, "Old Befana," based on an old Italian legend. Many thanks to Mary Evans Lott, Dana Cormier, Symmonie and Don Preston for their work in putting together this production.

Missionary appointment

One of the visiting members of the clergy who have led our services in recent months, the Rev. Lauren R. Stanley, has been appointed as Priest-in-Charge of the Rosebud West Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. We wish her the very best as she begins her new work in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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.