by the Rev. Charlie Dupree

I’m going to be spending a lot of time at Shrine Mont this week. What is Shrine Mont?

Shrine Mont is the camp and conference center for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. It is located in Orkney Springs, VA. Most dioceses have camps and conference centers. They’re typically places at which individuals and congregations gather for conferences, meetings, and/or individual and congregational retreats. Over the years of my ministry, I’ve attended conference centers on the coast of eastern North Carolina, along lakes in Mississippi, among the urban streets of New York City, in grassy meadows in the Midwest, and now, in the cool mountains of western Virginia. Each conference center has its own personality, but the mission is always the same: to be a place for people to come together and grow in fellowship with each other and with God.

Monday – Wednesday: Clergy Retreat for the clergy of the Diocese of Virginia | We’ll gather with our new bishop(s) to know them better and hear from renowned spiritual writer and thinker, Father Martin Smith.

Friday – Sunday: St. Paul’s Parish Retreat | Many from St. Paul’s will journey to Shrine Mont to hang out, eat, laugh, pray, and hear an introduction to iconography and chant, led by the Rev. Bill Roberts.

Retreats are called “retreats” for a reason. They’re opportunities to escape – get away – retreat – from the normal patterns of life so that a space might be created in which to hear God’s voice and be reminded of God’s presence. I hope retreat-ing is a part of your life. If you’d like to know more about retreats and retreat possibilities, please reach out to one of your clergy. To learn more about Shrine Mont, click HERE.

See you in church, (guest preacher, the Rev. Brent Melton)

Charlie+ (he/him)

P.S. , speaking of retreats . . .

After seven years in which he has taken our worship and music program to new and creative heights, our Director of Music, Dr. Christopher Reynolds, will take a well-deserved sabbatical from June 5th through September 5th.

What is a sabbatical? It is a periodic leave granted by an institution to an employee, so they have time for rest, study, or travel. In most cases, sabbatical leave is included in a clergy and/or staff’s contract for employment. It is fairly common practice that both churches and universities offer sabbaticals so that leaders can take a step back from the community to find fresh inspiration that will help them grow in their leadership.

During Chris’ sabbatical, St. Paul’s Associate Music Director, Crystal Jonkman, will take over the reins of music-making, with assistance from members of the St. Paul’s choir.

A special reception to congratulate Chris and to send him off will take place after the Evensong service, June 4th at 4 PM.