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Volunteers Pack 30,000+ Meals

by Church Staff

For the eighth year in a row, dozens of volunteers filled Denny Hall at Manakin Episcopal Church to take part in a Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) meal-packing event. For nearly three hours on January 14, 2018, the room buzzed with activity, as people of all ages assembled meal packets containing soy, dried vegetables, rice and vitamin packets. Some stood shoulder-to-shoulder at funnel stations, measuring ingredients and filling meal bags. Others lined long tables, carefully weighing each bag and then sealing it shut. Runners shuttled bins and buckets back and forth, carefully moving the bags from station to station until finally delivering them to a team that counted the meals, packed them into boxes, and loaded a waiting truck.

Working together, the group of more than 120 packed 30,024 meals, bringing the total number of meals packed at Manakin’s Rise Against Hunger events to 233,742!

In the coming weeks, Rise Against Hunger will let us know where these meals are being shipped and who they will help nourish.

We want to thank all the volunteers – Manakin parishioners, family, friends and community members – who came out to support our 2018 event, as well as our past Rise Against Hunger activities. To see photos from our most recent event, visit Manakin’s Facebook page

Mark your calendars. Manakin’s 2019 meal-packaging event will take place January 19. We hope to see you there! In the meantime, if you’d like to participate in other Rise Against Hunger activities, visit

Rise Against Hunger on January 13

by Church Staff

Join Manakin on Saturday, January 13 as we come together to pack meals for Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now). During this meal-packaging event – the eighth held at Manakin – we will pack more than 30,000 meals to help with international hunger relief! This is a multi-generational activity, during which people of all ages can participate. The event begins at 9:00 a.m. in Denny Hall and will last until around noon. Participants are asked to arrive early to check in and get ready. All are welcome to take part! Bring your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and anyone who you think will enjoy participating in this fun and worthwhile activity. Organizers are trying to get an idea of how many volunteers will be present, so please take a moment to register at the event web site at or e-mail Paul Davis at .

Manakin Welcomes its New Rector: The Reverend Virginia “Gini” DiStanislao

by Church Staff

Manakin’s Vestry joyously announces news of its new Rector – the Reverend Virginia “Gini” DiStanislao. Gini’s engaging and compassionate personality, along with her passion for preaching, her love for working with youth, and her commitment to pastoral care and outreach make her a wonderful addition to our Manakin family.

Gini comes to us from The Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in Kenbridge, Virginia, where she’s served as the Priest in Charge since her ordination in 2008. Born in Chesterfield County to Ernest and Virginia Gates, Gini grew up in Central Virginia, attending St. John’s in Chester and then Christ and Grace in Petersburg. She graduated from Mary Baldwin College in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and went on to become the President of Bon Air Title Agency in Richmond, where she worked with real estate attorneys and professionals throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2005, Gini heard God’s call and decided to pursue a path to ordained ministry that took her through the School of Ministry Formation in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Gini currently serves on the Executive Board of the Diocese as the Vice-Chairperson.

Gini and her husband, Phil, are residents of Petersburg. Phil is a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge for the City of Petersburg. He grew up in the area, attending St. Christopher’s. He is a graduate of Hampden Sydney College and of the T.C. Williams School of Law of the University of Richmond. Gini and Phil have two sons, Thomas and Drew. A few years ago, their family gained a daughter when Thomas married Elizabeth, and just a few months ago, their family celebrated the arrival of a grandson, Phillip. Gini and Phil also have an eight-year-old black lab rescue dog named Millie.

Gini’s interests outside of church include walking and hiking with Phil, watching sports, and spending time in the mountains with family and friends.

When asked about joining Manakin, Gini’s face lights up, and her happiness is palpable. She talks excitedly about this next part of her faith journey and of becoming part of Manakin’s Church family.

Gini’s first Sunday at Manakin will be December 3.

Join us in welcoming Gini and Phil to our Parish!

An Evening of Music with LYRA of St. Petersburg, Russia

by Church Staff

By Holly Walker

Join us for an evening of musical beauty with LYRA, a vocal ensemble from St. Petersburg, Russia. LYRA treats listeners to a rich, musical journey that highlights the vast, musical heritage of the Russian Orthodox Church, including ancient songs and the works of famous masters from the 18th – 20th centuries. The performance also showcases the traditions of Russian folk music, featuring songs inspired by love, laughter and dance.

LYRA is an acappella group, made up of singers who perform in professional choirs and opera houses in St. Petersburg. The ensemble travels the world, sharing their talents with music lovers, history buffs, and those interested in Russia’s culture.

LYRA’s performance at Manakin will take place Thursday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to be part of this amazing, musical experience, and there’s no charge to attend.

For more information about LYRA’s performance, contact the church office at or 804-794-6401.

Call for Vestry Nominations

by Church Staff

The Nominating Committee requests your assistance in the Vestry nominating process. Three persons will be elected at the Annual Meeting for the 2018-2021 term. In making your recommendations be governed by these considerations:

* Vestry persons should be faithful, dedicated and possess good judgment. Their manner of life should reflect the Christian Gospel, both within the Church and in the world.

* Church leaders are extremely important. The nominating process is not a popularity contest. Serving on Vestry is a commitment with responsibilities involving various leadership duties, requiring time, energy and talents.

* The Nominating Committee asks that you present names to be considered, including your own if you wish, for election to the Vestry for the three-year term beginning in 2018.

* According to Church Canons, only confirmed members of Manakin Church, in good standing, may serve on Vestry.

* Candidates for nomination must have consented, to their presenter, for their names to be put forward for nomination.

Names should be submitted by Friday, September 29, 2017. Nomination forms can be found in the September Manakin Messenger. Please sign the form and return it to the Church Office, Attention: Michael Walker, Chair of the Nominating Committee. Thank you for your prayers and for your participation in this process.

Nominations may be made from the floor of the Annual Meeting. In order for a nomination to be presented from the floor the presenter must have obtained consent from the prospective nominee and also determined, from the interim rector, that the prospective nominee is in good standing in accordance with the Canons.

If you have any questions, please contact the Nominating Committee Chair, Michael Walker at If you need additional forms, contact the church office at

The Countdown is on to the Reach for the Stars Gala

by Church Staff

By Holly Walker

Excitement is building as Manakin’s signature fundraising event for Outreach – the Reach for the Stars Gala and Auction – draws near. 2018 marks the tenth year for the Gala, an evening packed with laughter and fellowship; delicious food and beverages; amazing auction items; and of course, spirited bidding!

In addition to live and silent auctions, which feature amazing trips, fun outings, mouth-watering food, beautiful jewelry, inspiring art, and a wide array of other must-have items, this year’s Gala includes the smooth vocals of Joe LaLuna, who will sing American music standards made famous by icons such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

The Reach for the Stars Gala and Auction takes place Saturday, September 30, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Salisbury Country Club.

All proceeds will be used to support Manakin’s Outreach program, which helps organizations and people throughout the area.

There’s still time to join in the fun!

Tickets are $50 each and include food and three adult beverages. To purchase your tickets, call the Church Office at 804-794-6401.

Christian Formation for Children and Youth

by Church Staff

By Julia Eliades, Interim Christian Formation Director 

We invite all children and youth to join Manakin’s vibrant Christian Formation program, which includes activities, learning opportunities and care for all ages.

The new program year begins Sunday, September 17, and families are asked to arrive at 9:15 a.m. that day to register for church school, explore new classroom spaces, enjoy good food and fellowship, and learn about our four focus areas as we Shine4God.

This fall, Manakin offers children and youth:

Children: Infant – 2-Years Old
Childcare is provided in our nursery space in Denny Hall. Megan Weast, our nursery worker, cares for our youngest children every Sunday morning from 9:30 a.m. – 11: 30 a.m. Parents/guardians are asked to sign-in at drop off, label all personal items, and leave a cell phone number to receive a text message when needed.

Children: 3-Years Old – 5th Grade
This year at 9:55 a.m., children from 3-years old through fifth grade will gather in our newly transformed classroom! The room is designed to be a place for experiential learning, where children will participate in worship and singing; explore prayer practices; and engage bible stories through story-telling and dramatic play. The class will break into two groups to further explore the bible story with age appropriate lessons, ages 3 through 2nd grade, and children in grades 3rd – 5th. This year, we are introducing the new Shine curriculum that will be our guide as we ignite, beam, sparkle and glow in our four focus areas of worship, outreach, spiritual practices, and formation. We ask that parent/guardians drop children off at the door of the classroom in Denny Hall. Children will join their families in the Sanctuary for the Eucharist (Communion).

Middle School Youth: 6th – 8th Grades
On the first and third Sundays of the month (and the occasional fifth Sunday), middle school youth will explore the history and significance of Episcopal worship practices, learn how to talk about faith challenges and try out some spiritual practices that will help them welcome God’s direction in their lives. They will also participate in outreach projects and activities. On the second and fourth Sundays of the month, they will participate in the worship service with their families.

High School Teens
All high school age teens are invited to a Rise and Shine breakfast on September 24 at 10:00 a.m. with Julia Eliades. We will talk about current events in our world, and discuss ways our beliefs influence our actions. Please let Julia know if you plan to attend.

Seven young people at Manakin have made the commitment to participate in a year-long confirmation class starting on September 10 at 10:00 a.m. The youth will be meeting on the second Sunday of the month at 10:00 a.m. until the spring of 2018. We will be using the Confirm not Conform confirmation curriculum. Much of the coursework will be done though online communication with Julia Eliades. We ask all Manakin parishioners to please keep these youth in your prayers as they begin an exciting journey in faith.

Special Activities and Learning and Worship Opportunities during Fall 2017

Soil and Animals, Abundant Life Garden Project
During September and October, children and youth will participate in the soil and animal interactive, scripture-based program developed by the Abundant Life Garden Project, Episcopal Relief and Development. Dr. Charles Boern will talk about the benefits of soil and teach students how to care for plant clippings from his garden. We will watch the clippings grow into plants and paint pots for the plants during our Rise and Shine celebration.

Blessing of the Animals Service
On October 1, everyone will participate in the Blessing of the Animals worship service. Children will continue to learn about the important role animals play in our world.

During September and October, the children and youth will be collecting and offering funds to buy a goat for an impoverished family through Episcopal Relief and Development. The cost of one goat is $80.

In October, children will make Bears4Prayers that will be given out as a way to offer comfort to those in need of prayer.

Remember: Faith experienced at an early age is the foundation for all other growth. The good news we share with our children has the power to transform lives and revitalize communities. So let’s prepare the ground for a new tomorrow, and teach our children to shine in the world.

Christian Formation for Adults in September and October

by Church Staff

By Julia Eliades, Interim Christian Formation Director 

During the upcoming program year, the Christian Formation committee is planning a series of adult forums that will meet one Sunday a month at 9:00 a.m. between Manakin’s two worship services. In September and October, Rev. Dr. Karen-Marie Yust will lead Manakin’s adult forums (see below for information about Rev. Dr. Yust).

Join us as we explore the complexities of living faithfully in an ever-changing world.

September 24
9:00 – 9:50 a.m.
Faithfully Tracking the Course of Change
We live in a time of accelerating social and technological change, both locally and globally. These changes can feel like a threat to our faith and well-being. The adult forum on September 24 will explore various social and biblical perspectives on change and explore how we can respond to change in life-affirming ways.

October 22
9:00 – 9:50 a.m.
Following God into the Future
Science fiction often sets the tone for our visions of the future, either by depicting how technological advances will improve human life or threaten human survival. The adult forum on October 22 will explore our anxieties about the future and how we can embrace a biblical vision of hope that affirms the future without losing touch with the past.

Other Opportunities for Adults

October 23
6:30 p.m.
Practical Ways of Living Your Faith
Transforming the World, Living Well: Christian Practices for Everyday Life
During September and October, we will explore a variety of practical ways to live out our faith. In Denny Hall, there will be copies of the Living Well chapter on Transforming the World, published by Lifelong Faith Associates. Pick one up, and take the material home to read on your own or with your family. Try out the activities. Reflect on the content and questions raised in the chapter. Pray about it. On Monday, October 23, join other adults to talk about the chapter and your experiences. Share your thoughts and ideas for serving the poor and vulnerable; acting for justice and peace; and caring for God’s creation. Let’s turn out thoughts into actions, transforming the world we live in!


About The Rev. Dr. Karen-Marie Yust:

Rev. Dr. Yust is a professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary. She holds a Th.D. in systematic and historical theology from Harvard University, a M.Div. from Brite Divinity School, and a B.A. from Trinity University. She has published extensively. Her books include Real Kids, Real Faith: A Practice of Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Lives (Jossey-Bass, 2004) and Attentive to God: Spirituality in the Church Committee (Chalice Press, 2001). A focus in her work includes exploring the changing dynamics of congregational life and asking how these changes offer opportunities to develop new approaches to faith formation and new foci for educational ministries. She is an experienced pastor with dual ordination in the United Church of Christ and Disciples traditions.



Parish Forum and Service Time Change on June 18

by Church Staff

On Sunday, June 18, Manakin Episcopal Church will hold a State of the Parish Forum. On that day, there will be one worship service. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be an abbreviated Morning Prayer. Following the service, the Parish Forum will be held in Denny Hall (light refreshments will be served). During the Forum, updates on Manakin’s search for a rector, the work of several committees, and the church’s finance will be given, followed by a question and answer period. The Forum will end by noon so that attendees may enjoy their Father’s Day celebrations. The Forum is open to all parishioners, guests and visitors.

Schedule of Manakin’s Holy Week Services

by Church Staff

Below is the schedule for all of Manakin Church’s Holy Week services.  The general public and parishioners are welcome to attend any and all services!


Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017

     8:00 a.m. & 10:00 a.m. – The Liturgy of the Palms & Holy Eucharist


Maundy Thursday, April 13, 2017

     10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I (no music)

       7:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II & Stripping of the Altar


Good Friday, April 14, 2017

      Noon – The Way of the Cross

      7:00 p.m. – Good Friday Liturgy


Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

      8:00 a.m. & 10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist   (Additional parking available at the Huguenot Library next door.)


Please note:   Manakin will not have a Saturday Vigil service on April 15, 2017.  You are invited to join Dr. Bauer in attending the Easter Vigil services at Church of the Redeemer (2341 Winterfield Road, Midlothian, VA 23113)  at 5:00 p.m.

If you have any questions concerning services, please call the church office at 794-6401 or contact us via our Facebook page at