A Note from Ralph Hendrickson
Our previous church in Northern Va. was quite involved in community outreach projects. During the course of the year we would periodically have a “Minute for Mission” where a congregation member involved in one of the projects would get up and speak about our involvement in that particular program. In that spirit I would like to share news of one of my favorite programs that I am involved in here.
Habitat For Humanity is alive and well here in the Northern Neck. I believe we are on our 21st build this year. I started with the group when we moved here 3 years ago and found a great group of people. I was pleased when I looked at the end of the year budget and found that Habitat was well funded by St. Stephens as funding is always the biggest hurdle to overcome.
As most of you know, Habitat is a community outreach program that secures low interest funding and volunteers to build homes for qualified members of the community that might not be able to afford housing otherwise. The prospective homeowners are required to meet criteria such as secure employment that qualifies them for their loan and they must put a minimum of 300 hours working on the home alongside community volunteers.
This year we have a project started just south of Kilmarnock. The last couple of homes were built using modular components where the house shell is set on the foundation and volunteers did all the finishing. This year we are “stick” building the house from the ground up. Much more fun and a great way for volunteers to learn what goes into building a home. We will be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 AM till about 2:00. The beginning of house building can be a bit demanding physically but there are many opportunities for lighter work as well. If you are interested in helping or just visiting the site to see one of the outreach programs that St Stephens generously funds please give me a call. I will be glad to go over more details and answer any questions.
Getting out and “doing” has always been the best way for me to share my love and be part of our community.
A Note from Jim Bullard
Five members of our congregation currently volunteer for active duty in Smith Point Sea Rescue. This organization is the only all-volunteer, non-profit marine rescue service on the Chesapeake Bay, and one of the last such units in the U.S.
Started in 1974 after a Reedville man and his two young children barely survived spending a November night floating in the water after their boat capsized, SPSR now responds to boaters in trouble from Cole’s Point to the mouth of the Potomac River, and across the Bay from Point Lookout to the Rappahannock River.
Members agree to ongoing training and to be on duty 24 hours a day for one week a month. Most calls are from sailboaters who’ve gone aground and need to be pulled to deeper water, or from power boaters with engine failure who need to be towed home or to a nearby marina. The Coast Guard frequently asks for assistance with search and rescue missions when boaters go missing.
There is no charge to boaters. Unlike other fire and rescue services, Sea Rescue receives no funding from the county government. Funds to acquire, fuel and maintain the three rescue boats and two shallow water skiffs are provided by donations from local residents, businesses and churches, (like ours!). To see photos from current missions, go to Facebook and “like” Smith point Sea Rescue.
Current members include Dan Benjamin, Bill Armstrong, Don Shearouse, Dan Morissette, and Jim Bullard.
A Note from Laurie Morissette
After the death of George Floyd and other minority victims of police action, the Northumberland Sheriff’s Office, Interracial Conversations NNK, and the Northumberland NAACP joined together to form a Council to address citizen concerns about law enforcement activities and to build bridges of respect, trust, cooperation, and transparency between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office.
Our program should be distinguished from “Police Reform” or “Police Review” committees; it is our intent to build a communication and collaboration process that reduces community tensions and encourages a more proactive, equitable, and transparent community policing program. Because our program metric is considered “a game changer” in community and police relations, we received a duPont Foundation grant to provide a year of training in collaborative interaction,
mediation and conflict resolution, police procedures and practices, and community leadership. Representatives of the community and the Sheriff’s Office will have a collaborative trial period to learn from each other, put ideas into practice, and modify the working concept as joint experiences suggest a more successful approach. We will be conducting joint meetings to draw more citizens into the process; for instance, we will sponsor a youth leadership training and an informal program of monthly coffee hours between local clergy and the Sheriff’s Office.
St. Stephens is well represented on the initial Community Liaison and Advocacy Council. I am the Project Manager; Bennie Green and Mary Palmer Legare are Council members; and Pilar is on the Advisory Council.
Wish us luck and pray for our success!
A note from Bill Armstrong (not the Vet)
When I moved to Heathsville in 2015 and began renovating Chicacoan Cottage I found myself living behind a small Episcopal Church. My neighbors across the driveway were very quiet except on Sunday when someone would ring a bell and the church would fill. Knowing no one except the wonderful couple who encouraged me to relocate, I looked to my skills and decided that I would offer my efforts to the Westmoreland Players, the local theater group. I was welcomed with open arms and began building sets for many of the plays as well as doing work on the theater itself. A wonderful experience that continues to this day.
That summer, one day, the priest walked over to where I was working. I was in a true state of disarray with perspiration coagulated dirt all over me. Nevertheless she invited me to see the church. Being a lover of pretty much everything made of wood, I followed her over and walked through the most wonderful small church I have ever been to. She invited me to come to the service which I took into consideration. I had not attended for many a decade but eventually made the journey across the driveway and found a welcome I had not expected. Shortly thereafter I met my wonderful Marguerite. And that was just the beginning, however, I digress.
So making the connection, Pilar asked me if I would be willing to write about a couple things. This one is about the Westmoreland Players. The Players is a non-profit theater company dedicated to bringing community theater to the region. Established in 1979 in Westmoreland County, the players have been in constant production since then producing a vast array of productions. The first show I saw was a super production of The James Adams Floating Theater, many years ago. In 2000 the Players moved to our current location on Rt 360 near Callao, no longer in Westmoreland County. Since then the facility has grown and improved to the point where it is probably one of the best equipped theaters in the region. The Players is operated by an elected board who are all volunteers. New members are always welcomed and several members of St. Stephens donate their efforts and talents on a regular basis. Many of the original Players members are still active in all aspects of the theater.
The Players season normally consists of 4 Main-stage productions which may include a mix of comedies, mysteries, dramas, and musicals. In addition to the major productions there is a Director’s Showcase or Readers Theater. During the summer the Players hosts the Missoula Children’s Theater workshop for local students. The Players is an all volunteer theater company. Much of what you see when you come to the theater is prepared well in advance by builders, designers, painters, costumers, lighting and sound people, front of house volunteers who make food, sell tickets, and run the lobby activities including ushers and bar tenders. On stage there are the actors, of course, who are surrounded by an entire backstage crew and people in the tech booth. Making it happen are the producers, directors and stage managers. Most of these wonderful volunteers wear many hats doing different things in each production. Work continues when the theater is dark as well. That is when we build and repair the theater and stage elements, go through the Barn and sort through the props, costumes, properties and set pieces.
For more information visit our website, www.Westmoreland players.org. You can either purchase individual show tickets, or better yet, buy a season ticket or become a sponsor. Come and see the shows, and if you are interested join us as a volunteer and make Theater!