The Larger Church Associate
Old Donation Church is a parish in The Diocese of Southern Virginia of the Episcopal Church, which is the branch of the Anglican Communion that covers the United States and other areas beyond.
The Diocese of Southern Virginia
Old Donation is a member of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, with the diocesan office in Newport News, led by The Rt. Rev. Herman “Holly” Hollerith, who is our bishop.
The Diocese of Southern Virginia is comprised of 115 parishes and more than 170 clergy. The Diocese was formed in 1892 as a spin off from the Diocese of Virginia, which dates back four centuries to 1607, when colonists sent from England paused on their way into the Chesapeake Bay for fresh water and a view of their new land. The Reverend Robert Hunt, spiritual advisor to the settlers, planted a cross into a sand dune near Cape Henry, proclaiming England’s unique brand of Christianity as the official faith of the new colony. The Church of England (Episcopal Church) would remain the established church of Virginia for the next 172 years. Today, the Diocese stretches more than 200 miles from the Atlantic Ocean westward to Appomattox, and from the south side of the James River at Richmond to the North Carolina border. It includes the large metropolitan areas of Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond.
The present size and shape of the diocese dates from 1892, when it was carved out of the Diocese of Virginia, and from 1919 when the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia was formed from its western counties. Today the diocese stretches from the Atlantic Ocean more than two hundred miles westward to Appomattox, and from the south side of the James River at Richmond to the North Carolina border.It includes the large metropolitan areas of Tidewater and Greater Richmond with congregations in excess of fifteen hundred members, to vast rural areas with dozens of churches of less than one hundred parishioners.
As members of the Episcopal Church, Old Donation is connected spiritually to over 7,000 congregations in this nation and beyond. The Episcopal Church is grounded in 2,000 years of history and practice and so you will find the best of the most ancient prayers and practices of the Christian Church. At the same time, God calls us to be seeking the best of the new as well and so you will find a fresh breath of air from the Holy Spirit. At our best, being part of the Episcopal Church, and especially Old Donation Episcopal Church is life-giving in the way Jesus promised: full and abundant.
What to Expect When You Visit Worship in the Episcopal Church
Sunday is traditionally when Episcopalians gather for worship. The principal weeklyworship service is the Holy Eucharist, also known as: the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass. In most Episcopal churches, worship is accompanied by the singing of hymns, and in some churches, much of the service is sung.
Worship Styles Episcopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from very formal, ancient, and multi-sensory rites with lots of singing, music, fancy clothes (called vestments), and incense, to informal services with contemporary music. Yet all worship in the Episcopal Church is based in the Book of Common Prayer, which gives worship a familiar feel, no matter where you go.
Liturgy and Ritual Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be “liturgical,” meaning that the congregation follows service forms and prays from texts that don’t change greatly from week to week during a season of the year. This sameness from week to week gives worship a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers.
For the first-time visitor, liturgy may be exhilarating… or confusing. Services may involve standing, sitting,kneeling, sung or spoken responses, and other participatory elements that may provide a challenge for the first-time visitor. However, liturgical worship can be compared with a dance: once you learn the steps, you come to appreciate the rhythm, and it becomes satisfying to dance, again and again, as the music changes.
The Episcopal Church is a member of “The Anglican Communion” which consists of over 75 million Christians, who are found on every continent of the world. Almost anywhere you go you can walk into an Anglican Church and you will be welcomed as a brother or sister in Christ. The worship may be in a different language, but you will still be comfortable as you will know what’s happening because of our tradition of “Common Prayer” that is a standard in every Anglican church.