Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bidding Welcome & Farewel

y The Rev. Cameron Randle, Rector

“Show me your ways, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.”
 --- Psalm 25:3
After an unprecedented time apart, members of Eastern Shore Chapel will regather this Sunday morning to reclaim aspects of corporate worship sorely missing from our lives as a parish, interrupted. Physical proximity will be re-established, albeit subject to safety directives. Sacred music will be shared, but absent the invitation to (literally) sing God’s praises. The sacraments of Holy Communion will be received into our hearts and bodies, but via an avenue unfamiliar to most Episcopalians. We will worship God in the arresting beauty of the out-of-doors, although comfort may take a back seat to compliance. Still, we will be together after a prolonged absence. That, in itself, is cause for rejoicing.
During the Liturgy of the Word, we will hear Scripture read aloud. We will offer prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. But when the homily is shared, we will be reminded of the role played in our lives by change and transition. The Rev. Julia Messer-Croteau will preach for the final time at ESC before assuming her new position as Rector of St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church here in Virginia Beach. Even as we welcome one another, we are called upon to wish well one who has served this parish for five years as Associate Rector. Rev. Julia is called to a new chapter in ordained ministry. Her unique talents and perspective will serve her, and her new parishioners, faithfully during their time together. We are excited at the prospect of supporting her new ministry in prayer and in creative partnering. At the same time, we look with anticipation toward the future of this dynamic parish.
As we regather under the umbrella of God’s generous grace, we would do well to solicit insight and sensitivity to the Divine’s plans for our renewed spiritual growth and service to others in need. We are well advised to study the ways and identify the paths of the Holy One. Reaching across the divide between mortal and immortal is no small task. It requires us to circulate beyond our comfort zone. It necessitates our allegiance to entities and ideas beyond our comprehension. It makes faith mandatory. Yet, doing so makes life worth living. Even when we are compelled to say goodbye in between every hello. 
Preview: Outdoor Worship Service this Sunday, September 27

We are looking forward to re-gathering for our first worship service since the unwelcome arrival of COVID-19. Thanks to all who have responded to our survey, and for those who have RSVP’d to attend this Sunday. The following issues are relevant to our outdoor re-gathering:
  • SAFETY: In order to keep everyone as safe as possible during our worship service(s), we will adhere to all recommendations for COVID-19 mitigation as recommended by the CDC, Virginia Department of Health and our Diocesan Office. Following are a few friendly reminders:
  • LOCATION: Everyone will be seated in the lawn area adjacent to the Francis Garden.
  • TIME: 10:30 a.m.
  • SEATING: Please bring your own lawn chairs. The seating spots for lawn chairs will be clearly marked on the lawn. Ushers will escort you to a seating area. We will be adhering to the mandated social distancing guidelines; chairs will be placed six feet apart. Couples and family groups sitting together will be placed with six feet between them and next person or family. Assistance will be available for anyone needing help with carrying their chair.
  • BULLETINS: We will provide a service bulletin that will cover the order of the service; prayer books and hymnals will not be used. PLEASE DO NOT BRING PRAYER BOOKS OR HYMNALS.
  • MUSIC: Dr. Martin Sunderland and music guests will provide music without choral or congregational singing.
  • COMMUNION: Individual Communion kits will be available to all in attendance who wish to receive the Holy Sacraments. 
  • MASKS: Masks are required. If you don’t have one, one will be provided to you. 
Because you will be asked the following health screening questions as you arrive, please review these before you leave home. IF YOU ANSWER YES TO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS, PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND!
1. Have you traveled internationally or knowingly been exposed to anyone with COVID-19
    in the past two weeks?
2. Do you have any flu-like symptoms such as ____ (see below)?
  • Fever (100.4 or above)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Recent loss of smell or taste
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea    
Thanks to all for helping us stay as safe as possible during these challenging times.
Dan McCready, M.D. co-chair
Fiona Hawley, R.N. co-chair
All members of the ESC Health Equity Team   

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Outdoor Worship @ ESC Begins on September 27, 2020

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy Name.
After more than six months without the comfort and inspiration of  in-person worship at Eastern Shore Chapel, we have been greenlighted to worship together again, albeit with a myriad of precautions and restrictions.  Our premiere outdoor service will afford us the opportunity to return to community worship in the safest possible context. While certain parishioners will feel comfortable in regathering at the end of this month, we are respectful and supportive of those who prefer to wait.
My heartfelt thanks goes to our vestry, especially its Health Equity Committee and Creative Community Committee, for the thoughtful, deliberative and cautious path taken to regathering. If you plan to worship with us on Sunday, September 27, please read carefully the following information.
Looking forward, always.
The Rev. Cameron Randle, Rector
After many months, we are finally able to have our first worship service outdoors at ESC on Sunday, September 27th at 10:30 AM. We will be worshiping outdoors throughout the fall as long as weather permits.
Thanks to your responses to our recent survey, we know that there are a number of parishioners who plan to attend our first outdoor service and many others who will probably attend as time goes on. It will be so good to be able to see each other and worship again in person!
The planning for our re-gathering has purposely been done very cautiously as we learn more about Covid-19 in general, and specifically, how it is affecting our community of Virginia Beach.
The Clergy and Vestry unanimously have supported and approved our specific plans for re-gathering. In doing so, we are following Bishop Haynes’ requirements and the recommendations of the CDC and the Virginia Dept. of Health. We are happy to say that Bishop Haynes has reviewed and approved our plans!
While worshiping together is wonderful, we want to assure you that your safety during this time of Covid-19 is paramount!
  1. DATE:  Sunday, September 27th at 10:30 AM
  2. LOCATION: Lawn adjacent to the Francis Garden (large flat, grassy area between the West end of the sanctuary and the Parish Day School and playground.)
  3. PHYSICAL (SOCIAL) DISTANCING of 6 feet will be observed
  4. MASKS: wearing of masks will be required at all times, including while approaching, exiting and during the worship service.
  5. ACCESS: one entrance only (from parking lot) then via the brick walkway leading to the breezeway, then down steps (or ramp) into the Francis Garden area.
  6. SEATING: please bring your own lawn chairs; areas for chairs will be clearly marked. If you are unable to bring a lawn chair or have difficulty carrying chairs, we will have some lawn chairs available.
  7. MUSIC: no choral or congregational singing; other music per our Director of Music,  Dr. Martin Sunderland
  8. COMMUNION: will be offered using individual communion kits
  1. SCREENING: during your approach, medical personnel will ask a very brief series of health screening questions; temperature will be taken on all attendees; several standing hand sanitizers will be available at the entrance
  2. BULLETINS: will be individually handed to you by a gloved usher
  3. OFFERING: tables with baskets will be available to simply drop in your offering (non-touch)
  4. USHERS: will guide you to the marked seating area
  5. SANITATION: all surfaces will have been sanitized prior to worship service
  6. RESTROOMS: available via entrance from breezeway.
  7. DISMISSAL/EXIT: at end of service, ushers will guide parishioners out while maintaining appropriate physical distancing; exit will be the reverse of how you came in.
RSVP- Will you be attending the service on 9/27? If so, how many will be in your party? Will you need a lawn chair(s)? Please advise us at 757-428-6763 or
God bless! We look forward to worshipping with you soon!
Dan McCready, MD
Fiona Hawley, RN
Vestry Health Equity Committee Co-Chairs

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Invitation: Reception of Novice to the Community of the Gospel

By Lee Davis

At our weekly ESC online Eucharist service for Sunday, September 6 (to be recorded at 2 P.M. Friday, September 4) I will be received as a novice in the Community of the Gospel. I invite you, as my Christian family, to join me via YouTube or on the Eastern Shore Chapel Facebook page when those links are made available. This is another revelation that God does work in mysterious ways. After joining the community in April, 2019, I have prayed and studied hard to reach this next step in my walk with Christ. My sincere and humble thanks to each of you who have shared in my journey through the years at Eastern Shore Chapel, to Father Cameron and Rev. Julia for their support and offering to make this service possible, and finally of course to dear Heidi who has been most patient and understanding and who has held my hand the whole way.

The Community of the Gospel is a non-residential monastic community in the United States and the Bahamas. We do not live in convents or monasteries but in the world. Our members try to help each other build a closer relationship with Christ, thereby allowing our true selves to emerge. For us, monasticism is one form of living the Christian life, which we base on our baptismal vows and live out through daily prayer, reflective study, and service to others. The monastic life is not to be considered an ancillary activity, but a foundation for everything we do in life. Our charge is to awaken to the presence of God within, so that we can know, love, and serve God.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Rev. Julia Messer-Croteau accepts a new call

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that I have received a call from St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach to be their new Rector. While this will be an exciting opportunity to grow in my ministry and to serve God's people, it will also be difficult to leave the loving community that is Eastern Shore Chapel.
We have been through so much together and I love you all dearly. My priesthood will always be shaped by your love for God, your love for one another, and your love for neighbors near and far. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives and trusting me with your stories of faith. Thank you for helping me become the priest I am now.
Please know that I will continue to take pride in your exciting future and cheer you on. You are all a blessing and you are especially fortunate to have a great spiritual leader in your Rector. Father Cameron has been a wonderful mentor to me and he is someone I am blessed to call a friend. 
My last Sunday at Eastern Shore Chapel will be Sunday, September 27. I am truly humbled to have known and served with you, and will remain, yours in Christ.
In thanks, faith, and love,
Rev. Julia Messer-Croteau

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

"Peace for Pets" project to improve Pet Memorial Garden in ESC Cemetery

Hello Eastern Shore Chapel! My name is Delaney Brown and I am a rising Senior at Cox High School who happens to be a Girl Scout currently working on earning my Gold Award. This is the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouts and is the highest honor you can earn in Girl Scouts! Since Eastern Shore Chapel has always been an extremely big part of my life I really wanted to find a way to contribute to the church and give back to my community.

My Gold Award Project is called “Peace for Pets” where I am creating an improved space for the Pet Memorial Garden in the Eastern Shore Chapel Cemetery. Above is a picture of what the Garden looks like at present but my project will greatly improve its look. This will become a sacred and peaceful place that members of Eastern Shore Chapel and patrons of the cemetery may have their beloved pet cremains placed. The garden will have a bench as well as a display board with names of the deceased pets. Once the garden is complete I will be placing brochures around the church with information on the project and the process of how to get your pet cremated and placed in the garden.

We are happy to accept any donations which may include anything from money to small pet statues to place in the garden. All the money we receive will go towards the plants and mulch purchased for the garden, as well as its upkeep. Please contact Rev. Julia, Mike Brown (Cemetery Manager), or myself if you would like to donate. I am more than willing to take on a few volunteers that would like to help with the planting process as well! I am so thankful that I get to do this for the church and I can’t wait to send out another update!

Yours in Peace,
Delaney Brown

Contact for donations or volunteering:

Delaney Brown:

Rev. Julia Messer-Croteau:

Mike Brown (cemetery manager):

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Worship During COVID-19: A Survey for Eastern Shore Chapel

Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church has received guidance from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia to plan for phases regarding re-gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic. By phases, we are referring to our plan for a gradual re-opening in which we adjust to our new normal. We are asking you a few short questions in order to support your spiritual well-being as best we can while making plans to transition. We do not yet know when this will happen. The survey may be completed anonymously, but we would love for you to share your name, current phone, and email address so that we may update our database. Please submit your completed survey no later than August 26, 2020. 
Please contact our Parish Administrator if you have any questions or need assistance. Thank you!

Senior Warden's message

By Sally Cox

In his sermon this week, Father Cameron charged us to ask ourselves: “What does God call us to do to discover who we are truly meant to be in relationship to the other?” This is something that we as a church have been wrangling with for the past couple of years. Our Vestry has held retreats and dedicated meetings to discerning the answer to this question. As a congregation, we held multiple discernment meetings and took part in delving discussions of who we are and where we want to be going. As I listened, and re-listened, to Father Cameron’s words I heard the voices of our parishioners yearning to do what is right and good. Honestly, I heard echoes of our Mission and Vision statements.
At Eastern Shore Chapel, our Mission is to love all as Christ loves us and to share the light of God through worship, service, and ministry.
Our Vision, Recognizing brokenness in ourselves and the world around us, we seek to be conduits of God’s love and restoration, is similar in its desire to reach out and to lift up.
This reaching out and lifting up is what I see every day in the work our Vestry, Clergy, staff, and volunteers are doing to discern the safest way for us to once again work and worship together on our grounds and in our Sanctuary.
Everything that we have done since the closure of our buildings to the daily routines of pre-COVID has been a step taken toward our Vision.
Our online worship services have reached across the country and around the world. Not everyone who tunes in is a current or a former parishioner. In fact, I have spoken with two different participants in our weekly services who are from different denominations, but who come to our service because they appreciate the formality and ritual that is lacking in other online services.
Our Chapel Pantry is serving daily in the receipt of donations and preparing of food bundles that are given out by volunteer workers who place the bundles into the trunks of cars. It is a wonder to watch the volunteers on Saturdays who direct the flow of traffic so that every person who comes, receives.
Our Parish Day School Administrators, staff, and Board of Directors did an amazing job completing the last school year and are working closely with Clergy and Vestry as they have developed a plan to begin in person Day School on September 8th.
Thanks to the concerns and request of several Vestry members, small group gatherings have begun on Zoom and in person. (See the announcement for further information). A study of our Episcopal catechism reaches those who have been feeling disenfranchised both from our own congregation and from other churches in our area.
I was excited to hear that Hampton Roads is seeing a reduction in the number of new COVD-19 cases even though the rest of Virginia is not quite there yet. And I know that because of the dedicated volunteers on our Regathering Committee, we will be prepared and will welcome with open arms all who enter our grounds as we reopen.
As your Senior Warden, I thank each of you for your patience, your assistance and your love as we navigate each new day. I hope that you too see the love and restoration flowing through this Parish during these times of transition. These are the Ordinary Days. These are the days of change and progress. These are the days of love and restoration.
Yours In Christ,