Give at Christmas and Walk With Us in the Way of Love

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

“If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” Such simple words from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry—words he spoke at a certain wedding this past spring that most of the world watched. They are simple words he offers just about every time he preaches or is in conversation with two or three gathered together. Such simple yet powerful words that have and continue to challenge all humankind.

For Christians, following the way of love is about the Way of Jesus, following his words and actions, so that we embody and participate in God’s love in the world.

The Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, as Bishop Michael loves to refer to us, offers clear guidance on the Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life. Those practices are—Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest, Turn—and all are essential to living into our baptism as Christ’s own in the world. (I encourage you to learn more at

For almost 40 years, Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry has been one of the ways in which Episcopalians Bless and Go into our communities throughout the region. Together we are God’s blessing when we share our faith, unselfishly give, and serve our neighbors. We “Go into the world to love and serve the Lord” by joining together outside the walls of our own parishes, to cross boundaries, listen deeply, and love like Jesus.

The heart of CVEM is our Direct Service program that serves as a safety net for our neighbors in times of transition or crisis. Neighbors just like you and me—people working hard to care for their families, to enrich their lives, and to impact their communities.

Neighbors like Ms. W who was facing eviction from a home she and her twelve year-old son had lived in for more than three years. This was the only time she’d ever gotten behind on rent, a result of a gradual reduction in her full-time hours over several months at a job she’d held for almost ten years. She’d been looking for another job but had not yet succeeded. 

When Ms. W came to her appointment at CVEM in mid-June, the happy news was that she was moving into a new, full-time job with her same employer, starting training the following week. She was excited about this new career opportunity and greatly relieved that the period of a reduced income was coming to a close.

But the extended reduction in income was a near-devastating strain on Ms. W’s ability to meet the basic needs of her son and herself, and it would be two or three more weeks before she once again received a full-time paycheck. July rent would also be due by then. She was so close to getting “back on track.”

Ms. W had several hundred dollars to put toward her rent but it wasn’t enough to stop the eviction process. CVEM offered our standard assistance of $75 and happily was able to add to that the equivalent of one month’s rent available through a newly awarded grant. We reached out to two of our parishes who contributed the remaining balance. Together, we had all that was needed!

Time after time CVEM serves our community as a bridge for neighbors in crisis or circumstances like Ms. W’s. And it is because of your generous support—the shared blessings of resources, gifts, and talents—that we can continue to love and serve our neighbors. Together, we have all that we need!

Through CVEM last year, you shared $30,000 with over 1,000 neighbors in more than 400 households in eleven Valley countiesSix dedicated volunteers gave 1,000 hours to meet face-to-face with neighbors in those 400+ households. 

The result? We crossed boundaries and listened deeply; neighbors were able to secure housing, maintain transportation to work and school, continue education and job-skills training, pay for medical needs, and secure basic furnishings. 

We need your help to continue serving our neighbors throughout the Chattahoochee Valley region.

Your support of CVEM at Christmas is a way to do that.

With your donation, we invite you again to use CVEM Christmas cards to express your gratitude for the special people in your life. 

Make a gift in honor of… friends, family members, teachers, co-workers, clergy and lay ministers…

Give a gift in memory of a loved one…

You can donate and submit Christmas card requests RIGHT HERE on our website.

The amazing part of loving our neighbors and serving in our communities is that it goes both ways—when we participate in humble service with folks seeking transformation in their lives, we too find ourselves transformed. Walking in the way of Love opens us all to God’s abundant blessings.

Thank you for loving your neighbors through our shared ministry at CVEM and the many ways you proclaim the Good News of God in Christ. After all, if it’s not about love, it’s not about God.

Faithfully and With Gratitude,

Martha, Kathryn, Kristie, Norma, Diane, Vivia, Linda,

Margo, Jack, Jennifer, Courtney, and Silver

CVEM Staff and Direct Service Volunteers

Getting to Know Ms. A

This November, as part of Georgia Gives on Giving Tuesday, we at CVEM ask you for your financial support as we invite you get to know our neighbors in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Neighbors like Ms. A, a hard-working personal care assistant with a daughter excelling in college.

Ms. A had recently had surgery, and the time she took off work to recover made her just $85 short for the month’s rent. We offered to assist with the remainder, providing Ms. A with a bridge until she could get back to work. The conversation might have ended there. However, the nature of our one-on-one appointments allows us to get beyond the surface and offer a deeper relationship with neighbors like Ms. A.

Ms. A shared with faithful Direct Service volunteer Kristie Sholtis that her physically demanding work as a personal care assistant was causing her to experience chronic pain. In addition to offering Ms. A with the emotional support and listening ear that we all need when we’re struggling, Kristie connected her with First Step Health Agency, now located on the campus of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, so that Ms. A could begin taking steps towards building a more sustainable career in the health care field. As she left, Ms. A hugged Kristie, saying, “I never expected all this.”

The truth is, this kind of interaction is not at all uncommon at CVEM. The folks in the Chattahoochee Valley who come here are just like you and me--people working hard to care for their families, to change their lives, and to impact their communities. Direct Service exists to be a part of a safety net for our neighbors in times of transition or crisis.

Without your support, the work we do at CVEM, and stories like this, would not be possible. When you give to CVEM during the month of November every dollar will go to assisting our neighbors, just like Ms. A, just like you and me. Please give generously as you are able.

You can donate HERE on our website, on, or mail donations to


 P.O. Box 5811

Columbus GA 31906

Thank you for loving your neighbors!

Helping Mrs. M

"I came in for help with my mortgage and left with so much more!"

These were the words of Mrs. M, a woman who recently came to one of CVEM's Direct Service appointments.

Mrs. M, 42, is married, employed and has children excelling academically and athletically. She is a hard-working middle class woman whose family has just fallen temporarily behind.

We were able to assist Mrs. M with $100 toward her mortgage, an amount that was just enough when combined with her family's own hard-earned money to make their payment. But also like many of our clients, the nature of our one-on-one appointments provided an opportunity to help Mrs. M in many other areas of her life.

Kristie Sholtis, one of our long-time volunteers, spoke with Mrs. M about her career and found out she had a potential advancement opportunity at the department store in which she works; she asked Kristie to review her resume and cover letter. Kristie was able to provide feedback and help Mrs. M tweak her resume, enabling her to leave CVEM that day with the professional tools she need to go after her promotion.

Kristie was  also able to advise her on making some changes to their homeowners insurance that could save them money month to month and refer her to NeighborWorks Columbus for resources that may help in reduce their housing costs. 

"This particular experience shows what potential CVEM has to really get to know those we serve," said Kristie. "Bottom line, we are able to help our clients see beyond their current emergency and find ways to avoid (hardship) down the road. Our assistance is the safety net they needed in the moment."

The thing is, this type of experience isn't uncommon to see in CVEM Direct Service. Many of our  neighbors in the Chattahoochee Valley who come here are just like you and me--folks working hard to care for their families and for brighter futures. That's why Direct Service at CVEM exists--to be part of the safety net for our neighbors with limited or no resources of support in times of trouble. 

We help folks bridge these times by assisting with basic needs--help paying rent/mortgage, maintaining transportation to work, continuing their education and job training skills, paying for medical needs and obtaining necessary household furnishings.The structure of CVEM's Direct Service is unique in that we are able to spend time getting beyond the surface with our clients during their appointments. Like Mrs. M, they often leave with so much more.

We need you to help get the word out about CVEM Direct Service. By doing so, you will be directly affecting change for many of your neighbors in the community.

This year Georgia Gives Day, the state's day of giving to nonprofits, is combined with Giving Tuesday--November 28. It's a day where  good causes across the state are getting much-deserved attention, and we want to bring some awareness to this one, CVEM's Direct Service.

You can head right HERE to donate (you don't have to wait until Nov. 28!)

Mrs. M--and the more than 820 children & adults we've served so far this year--are counting on you. This is your chance to make a big difference for folks--just like you--working hard to make themselves and our communities better. After all, this is what good neighbors do.

How to Register for our Online Auction


CVEM's Online Auction opens Monday, Oct. 2 at Noon and goes through Friday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

We have some AMAZING deals for you, and all proceeds from your shopping go 100% toward serving and standing beside our neighbors in the Chattahoochee Valley. 

Before Monday, you may want to head over to our auction site and register. That way you can get straight to bidding next week! Here's exactly how you do that:

1. Visit

2. Click on Register to Bid (right next to the sign up option).

*When you are entering your info, click "yes" next to your phone number if you'd like to be notified via text when someone outbids you.

3. You'll be sent a confirmation e-mail. Make sure you check your e-mail and click the link they send you.

4. Start browsing and plan what items you want to take home!

Please e-mail us back here or give Holli a call at 706.327.0400 if you have ANY problems with registering for our site.

All proceeds benefit the Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry in loving and serving our neighbors in need.

P.S. We have a Facebook event HERE where you can connect as well. 

Volunteer Opportunities: Path to Shine, Boxwood soccer & Brewer Elementary

Boxwood soccer, Path to Shine mentoring and Brewer Elementary resume this month, and they need volunteers! These are great opportunities based out of St. Thomas but anyone is encouraged to help!

Soccer and Path to Shine will now take place on Mondays at Boxwood Rec Center (1608 Enoch Dr). Soccer practice is at 4 and Path to Shine from 4:45-6:30, beginning August 13. St. Thomas will sponsor just one team this fall but are planning on providing soccer scholarships for players and families who wish to play on other teams. 
For more information on soccer or Path to Shine contact Lisa or Greg Herring at
St. Thomas members and friends are invited to serve as one-on-one readers with third graders at Brewer Elementary. Times for reading will be between 8:15-9:15 Wednesday mornings. You can choose one or two half-hour sessions.
To serve as a reading tutor at Brewer Elementary, or for more information about our partnership with Brewer Elementary, contact Margo Easterbrook at

TAP in the News

We are finally settling down after an AMAZING week of TAP 2017: Transforming Me to We! 

We wanted to make sure you saw an amazing article about our TAP Director Debbie Anderson. Wow, she's incredible! 

There are also some great videos of teen mentors talking about TAP & Debbie and the beautiful butterfly dance! 

Check them all out here:

"She wore KKK robe to show & tell, now directs diversity program"

"Mentors talk about Thompson-Pound Art Program and its director"

"Transforming the "me to we" through the butterfly dance"

Parish Partnership Survey Results

As many of you have probably heard by now, we are in the process of Strategic Planning. We've spent the last several months conducting a listening campaign. That entailed sending out surveys to all parishes CVEM has partnered with for the last 37 years and conducting several community meetings with various social service agencies and local residents. We also conducted interviews with some of our current and past Direct Service clients.

On May 7, we held a Parish Partnership Dialogue to reveal the results of our listening campaign thus far. Those are displayed below.

My $75 Story

What is $75 worth to you?
When I moved to Columbus in August 2014, my third move in less than 20 months, I ended up renting a large storage unit for all the stuff that would not comfortably fit into my 1,600 sq. ft. apartment!! I got what I think is a really good deal on rental of the unit at $75/month. I am embarrassed to admit, I have been paying that $75/month ever since.
And then…there’s Betsy, my beloved 2001 Honda CR-V with more than 220,000 miles on her. She’s been talking to me awhile about retirement (hers) and I’ve had to get real, preparing for the inevitable car payment I’ve thoroughly enjoyed living without for almost a decade. Where the last two years of St. Thomas’ Annual Rummage Sale has not motivated me to get rid of my stuff (and the storage unit), the need for new wheels now does. An “extra” $75 a month will help a lot with a new personal expense.
It is not lost on me the disparity in value between paying $75/month for 34 months to store stuff and the $75 payments CVEM makes almost every day on behalf of so many neighbors who live in poverty and struggle to make ends meet. $75 spent “here” is not necessarily worth the same as $75 spent “there”.
You know about the kinds of assistance CVEM offers for our neighbors in need—rent, mortgage, basic household items such as beds or table and chairs, transportation expenses so folks can continue to get to work, maintenance prescriptions for diabetes or high blood pressure or help paying an insurance deductible in order to have a necessary procedure, professional clothing to get started at a new job, help with textbooks and tuition fees when Pell grants and student loans are maxed out. But did you know the standard amount we give to help meet these needs is $75?
I’ll say that again: Our standard amount of financial assistance to help with rent or other basic needs is $75.
Now, we certainly know that $75 does not begin to pay a full month’s rent for the vast majority of people living in the Chattahoochee Valley!  And, our policies do allow us to offer greater assistance when vital and we have the funds. But that is the standard and I think you would be amazed to know the impact that $75 can make, especially when you add some time, compassion, and grit.
Our dedicated Direct Service volunteers and program coordinator spend, at minimum, a half-hour with each person who comes in for an appointment. We sit together and listen to that person’s story, talk about the circumstances around the financial need and what resources they themselves have; advocate with their landlord or mortgage company; and/or seek out other possible resources.
Of the 349 households we helped in 2016, 60% received $75 in financial assistance from CVEM. Another 20% received less that amount. For many folks, CVEM was the safety net that helped them weather a crisis and we knew, when that mom who was starting a new job the next week or the couple who now had a plan worked out with the landlord to get caught back up on their rent, they were going to be okay. We will joyfully buy those summer bus passes for the grandmother and her four grandchildren she is raising to get the kids to a safe and fun summer day camp every time. It is a good thing—the right thing—to do. It is a gift God gives us…to love one another.
So I am asking you, will you donate $75 today, or whatever amount you are able, to help CVEM continue to care for our neighbors in the Chattahoochee Valley—neighbors who are working hard to provide for themselves and their families; for our neighbors who have limited resources and no other safety net than the goodwill of their neighbors? You can click the Donate Now button below and contribute securely online or send us check (address below). Thank you!
I promise you will get your money’s worth.       –Martha

Ms. F was helped by our nonprofit; now she's running her own

“Hi. I just saw a post on Facebook about your CHAIRity event coming up and I want to refurbish a chair to donate for the event. CVEM helped me pay for school a few years ago. You just can’t know how much your help meant to me and I want to do something for CVEM in return.”
That was my introduction to Ms. F who began to tell me what she’d been doing in the three years since she’d come to CVEM for assistance…and it’s A LOT!
Ms. F graduated from CVCC at the end of the semester when we helped out…and she’s earned two more degrees since...and started her own nonprofit organization mentoring at-risk teens… in Russell County because that’s where she’s needed…and just bought 8 acres of land for her gardening and equine therapy programs. With every sentence Ms. F spoke, I realized that she is an amazing woman with big dreams that she is turning into reality, and I wanted to know more. So I invited her to come to CVEM the following week.
Our Direct Services Coordinator Diane Hinnant remembered Ms. F immediately when I told her about the call and upcoming visit. When Ms. F came through the door, she and Diane immediately hugged, both with tear-filled eyes. Not tears of joy exactly; something more.
For the next two hours, the three of us sat together, with Ms. F telling us about her life and dreams and work. A disabled veteran and divorced mother of a young teenage daughter, a woman who has faced astounding challenges throughout her life, she is indomitable. At CherAmi Farms, Ms. F is investing all her resources into mentoring at-risk teenagers in Russell County--teaching organic gardening from seed and the care of horses (she currently has three); connecting the teens with as many opportunities as possible to volunteer in the community.
Currently, about 15 teen girls are actively engaged at CherAmi Farms. They learn and engage in the hard work of nurturing life—caring for growing seeds that stay hidden and do not instantly gratify the gardener; doing the hard, dirty work of caring for horses; volunteering at community events most weekends. But their hard work is bearing fruit—literally fruits and vegetables they sell, and take home, and give to feed homeless veterans. Their hard work bears the fruit of kinship with majestic horses and engagement with neighbors in community.
Ms. F’s dedicated work is bearing fruit in the lives of these girls who are learning a multitude of skills, both practical for their immediate future and applicable for their adult life. And in the process the young women are finding, some for the first time ever, a group in which they truly belong…just as they are.
Do you know this saying? “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Ms. F is living into whom God has made her and calls her to be. It is her deep gladness that nurtures a handful of hungering teenage girls in Seale, AL. The result is nothing less than transformation of lives—hearts and minds and bodies and spirits—transformed by love to hope-filled lives.
Oh, those tears when Ms. F and Diane saw one another again? I believe they are the sign of the kinship we share when we look for where God is at work and join in—when we love like Jesus. A sign of nothing less than transformation.
Want to learn more about CherAmi Farms community outreach? Check out their Facebook page HERE. Want to know the story of how CherAmi Farms got its name? Here’s a link to the story of a WWI carrier pigeon Cher Ami who, though wounded herself, saved a “Lost Battalion” of American soldiers. I suspect you can figure out the connection between this WWI story and the unfolding story in Russell County at CherAmi Farms.
Please join us in this work of sharing God’s transformative love in caring for our neighbors in the Chattahoochee Valley! We invite you to volunteer and join in the work; we ask for your continued prayers for the ministry and your financial support at whatever amount you are able.
May we each daily live into our deep gladness as we go forth into a hungry world; and in so doing, be transformed into God’s dream for us and for the world.     – Martha

Please consider making a donation to support the work of CVEM—
a one-time gift or a recurring one. 

CVEM is funded solely by the donations of generous individuals, the Episcopal parishes of the Chattahoochee Valley, and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. 
For secure online giving, click below
Or mail your check to CVEM P. O. Box 5811 Columbus GA 31906

An invitation from our director

“Look for where God is at work and join in.” A friend shared this quote earlier this year as we began preparations for strategic planning at CVEM. In its stark simplicity this statement serves as a guidepost for our future and it surely reflects the work over 37 years of ministry together in the Chattahoochee Valley—the work of thousands of folks committed to loving our neighbors.
At CVEM, we join in God’s work each day by offering ourselves and our resources to our neighbors living in poverty; to our brothers and sisters who are most vulnerable and least valued, if at all, by the world’s standards. And we join in God’s work by holding up to the light questions of social and economic injustice, asking how we can right this wrong and together create a new way that affirms the dignity of us all.
As a regional outreach ministry, CVEM is uniquely poised to serve as a "connector"—connecting people with resources, connecting one another to where God is at work throughout the region. For a couple of years, CVEM’s website has featured a regional calendar Around the CV that includes opportunities to learn and serve through the Episcopal parishes and in our communities. Take a look and feel free to submit additional opportunities; the more we each know about one another and the places where God is at work, the more opportunity we each have to respond to God’s call to join in!
In our strategic planning, CVEM’s board of directors, staff, and volunteers are listening to our stakeholders—in parishes, with program participants, community agencies and friends, and our neighbors we are called to serve. In this holy listening we seek to discern the particular work God is leading us into in the coming years.  We will update you on our progress in the coming weeks—on our website; at a report-back session to the parishes on May 7th; and, by mid-summer, with a completed three-year strategic plan.

Of course, what is most important to share about CVEM is the stories of transformation that occur, not just for those to whom we minister but, for us all. Theologian Henri Nouwen tells us, “Ministry is, first of all, receiving God’s blessing from those to whom we minister. What is this blessing? It is a glimpse of the face of God.”
I glimpsed the face of God in Mr. G when serving at Trinity’s Sunday Community Breakfast recently. He asked with tears in his eyes if CVEM could help pay the funeral costs of his wife who had died the day before.
I recently learned about some of God's transformative work in Carver Heights in Columbus when I met Mr. Ronzell Buckner who formed Turn Around Columbus in 1992 and has mentored neighborhood teenagers into adulthood through education and hand-on experience learning to run a business.
More often than not, folks who come for assistance through Direct Service will tell us that our willingness to listen compassionately to their stories is just as important, or even more so at times, than the financial assistance we can provide. One gentleman even said at the end of his appointment, “Don’t bother to send a check to my landlord. Someone else needs it more than me and the time you've taken to listen to me is the blessing I needed today."

Over the next several weeks, during the 50 days of Easter, we will continue to share these stories with you. The reasons are two-fold: to express our gratitude and to extend an invitation. Be certain that the work of CVEM would not be possible--not in the last 37 years and not in the future--without you. Thank you! Your generous giving of your time, prayers and financial support touch the lives of the folks at the other end of these stories. And now, we invite you to join in our season of listening. Listen to the stories of people helped by you through CVEM and be open to how you can join in. Perhaps God is inviting you through this ministry to help our neighbors in need...join us!

In this season of joy and renewed life, go forth into the world to believe in yourself as God's chosen one and to help your sisters and brothers know that they also are beloved daughters and sons of God who belong together.-- Martha


Please consider making a donation to support the work of CVEM—a one-time gift or a recurring one. 
CVEM is funded solely by the donations of generous individuals, the Episcopal parishes of the Chattahoochee Valley, and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. 
For secure online giving, click BELOW
Or mail your check to CVEM P. O. Box 5811 Columbus GA 31906

Holy Week Around the CV

Holy Week is a wonderful time in the Episcopal Church, and the 8 churches in the Chattahoochee Valley Convocation have no shortage of ways to help us go deeper in our walk with God. We wanted to compile all the services (that we know about!) into one post here. *If you see any missing from your parish, please let us know! We'll update this post if we find out about other services, so check back. 

7:30 a.m.-Morning Prayer at St. Mark's
11 a.m.-Morning Prayer at St. Thomas
Noon-Holy Eucharist at Trinity

7:30 a.m-Morning Prayer at St. Mark's
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.-Guided Prayer in Labyrinth at St. Thomas
Noon-Holy Eucharist at Trinity

7:30 a.m.-Morning Prayer at St. Mark's
Noon-Holy Eucharist at Trinity
5:30 p.m.-Stations of the Cross led by SNICK (St. Nicholas Kids) at St. Nicholas
5:30 p.m.-Eucharist at St. Thomas
5:30 p.m.-Celtic Eucharist at St. Mark's

Maundy Thursday:
7:30 a.m.-Morning Prayer at St. Mark's
Noon-Holy Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar at Trinity
5:45 p.m.-St. Thomas service begins with simple soup meal in All Saints Hall; Special Lenten Activities for kids at 6:15; Footwashing/Stripping of the Altar at 6:30 (Kids join families for this)
6:30 p.m.-Holy Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar at Trinity
6:30 p.m.-Evening Prayer and Tenenbrae Service at St. John's
6:30 p.m.-Holy Eucharist with Footwashing and Stripping of the Altar at St. Nicholas
7 p.m.-Holy Eucharist, Footwashing & Stripping of the Altar at St. Mark's
8 p.m.-7 a.m.-Good Friday Vigil at St. Thomas
9 p.m.-9 a.m.-Prayer Vigil at St. Mark's

Good Friday:
7 a.m.-Stations of the Cross at St. Thomas
Noon-3 p.m.-Three Hour Devotion led by Frs. Tim & Luke at Trinity
Noon-Stations of the Cross at St. John's
Noon-Good Friday service at St. Thomas
6 p.m.-Stations of the Cross at St. Thomas (nursery available; special Lenten activities for kids)
6:30 p.m.-Good Friday Liturgy at St. Thomas
6:30 p.m.-Eucharist from Reserved Sacrament at St. Nicholas
7 p.m.-Good Friday Liturgy with Communion from Reserved Sacrament at St. Mark's

Holy Saturday:
9 a.m.-Holy Saturday Prayers at St. Mark's
10 a.m.-Holy Saturday Liturgy at Trinity
5 p.m.-Easter Vigil at St. Thomas
6:30 p.m.-Evening Prayer at St. John's
8 p.m.-Easter Vigil in Linwood Cemetery (Trinity)

Easter Sunday:
6 a.m.-Easter Vigil St. Nicholas
7 a.m.-The Great Vigil of Easter followed by Breakfast at St. Mark's
8 a.m.-Trinity
8 a.m.-St. Thomas followed by Easter Breakfast
9:30-Egg hunt at St. Thomas
9:45 a.m.-Egg hunt at St. Mark's
10 a.m.-St. John's
10:30 a.m.-Feast of Ressurection at St. Mark's
10:30 a.m.-St. Thomas
10:30 a.m.-Trinity (egg hunt follows service)
11 a.m.-St. Nicholas (egg hunt at 9:45 a.m.)
11 a.m.-St. Matthew's In-the-Pines

Volunteers Needed: Trinity Clothes Closet

Infusion participants serving in the Clothes Closet as part of CVEM's Community Prayer Breakfast team. 

Infusion participants serving in the Clothes Closet as part of CVEM's Community Prayer Breakfast team. 

Every Sunday, Trinity Episcopal Church opens the doors to its Clothes Closet--well, as long as they have the volunteers to do so.

The Clothes Closet is an outreach program of the church that provides clothing to anyone who needs it. It's open on Sunday mornings, while Trinity is also hosting a Community Prayer Breakfast. 

The closet needs volunteers for January 15 and 22 in order to be able to open. Volunteers arrive at 7:30 a.m. and leave as soon as 9 a.m. This is a great way to earn service hours for middle or high school students who need them, but more importantly, it's a great way to give back in our community.

There is no need to show up in your Sunday best--in fact, just come in comfy clothes and shoes. We know 7:30 is an early time to be somewhere on a Sunday!

CVEM has a team that serves in the closet and at prayer breakfast quarterly and will be doing so again on Feb. 19. We'd LOVE for you to join us then! 

In addition to your time, the Clothing Closet could also use donations. They specifically need men's short sleeve shirts, jeans and shoes of all sizes. As long as they are wearable, they are not picky about some tattering or even some stains. They also need donations of ladies plus size clothing 2X and above. Donations are accepted in Trinity's office during normal business hours: M-Th 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and F 8:30 a.m. to Noon.

If you would like to volunteer or find out more information, call or e-mail Sarah Riddick at 706.580.0769 or SRiddick(at) 


CVEM Christmas Cards are Changing Lives

We are really excited to show off this year's Christmas card, designed by 8-year-old Finn Eiland from St. Mark's in LaGrange (way to go, Finn!)

CVEM Christmas Cards are an annual appeal for us--it's a chance for you to get unique cards to either send yourself OR have us send on your behalf, as an honorarium or memorial. 100 % of the proceeds benefit our neighbors in need in our Direct Service program. 

Please visit the Christmas cards page on our site to learn more about this fundraiser and the folks it benefits. You can do that right---> HERE. 

Advent Reflections

Looking for some great reflections for Advent? These Reflections on Social Justice for the Season of Advent just may be for you!

This is the work of the Episcopal Networks Collaborative, comprised of the Episcopal Network of Economic Justice, Union of Black Episcopalians, and the Episcopal Ecological Network. 

Here's a little about the series: "The Advent readings provide rich material for reflecting on social justice topics. Advent is a time of preparation for celebrating the coming of the Messiah, the coming of God’s kingdom. The readings bring together the prophetic and Gospel traditions calling for a new social order based on peace and justice. Advent is a time to remember John the Baptist, the new Elijah who has come to challenge the rule of the men in soft robes who oppressed the poor. John the Baptist was preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah – the one that would bring justice to the world, to all creation. It is a time for us to reflect on what “living in the light of the Lord” (Is. 2:5) obliges us to do in caring for each other and our planet."

Click HERE to download the meditations. 

Give 10. Are you in?

Allow us to speak to you directly: We are asking you to give $10 to a program that perhaps isn't the most well-known in the Chattahoochee Valley. In some ways, it's one of those "best kept secrets."

The thing is Direct Service, a program of the Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, is too important to keep quiet about and that's why we are reaching out to you. First, let us give you the run-down on just what Direct Service is (and a little about what it's not):

Three mornings a week, faithful volunteers meet with people in various walks of life in one-on-one appointments. In these 30 minute slots, we listen as folks tell us their stories and assess how we can help.

Sometimes those stories are like Jane's (we've changed her name), who had been participating in Circles in Columbus, a program designed to help community members work their way out of poverty. She was well on her way with a new job at Aflac, but the problem was she didn't have any professional clothes to wear. That's where Direct Service came in and was able to help her find a wardrobe to get her started.

These are things no one else in our area is helping with.

But there are also other stories that are perhaps more common to our area. Stories of single mothers needing help paying their rent; of hard-working folks needing help paying for a car repair so they can keep on getting to their jobs; families whose homes suffered water damage and need new furniture.

These are things others in our area help with, but Direct Service does it in a different way.

The thing is we don't offer tons of money to each person that walks through our door--and frankly we don't want to. What we offer is something more valuable than a dollar--relationship.

Yes, we give a hand-up to people in their times of crisis, but our hope is always to keep the relationship going--to be advocates to their journey out of poverty. Sometimes that means helping them find other resources who can do more. Sometimes that is helping them find a way to further their education.

We want to be a hand-up when folks are in trouble, but we want to also change lives.

That's where you come in.

Will you give $10 to support Direct Service on Nov. 17? That day is Georgia Gives Day, the state's day of giving to nonprofits, and while good causes across the state are getting much-deserved attention, we want to bring some awareness to this one.

You can find out more about our program & make a donation on our Georgia Gives Day site HERE. 

Thank you for your support!

5 Questions with Vicky Partin

CVEM Co-Founder Vicky Partin recently was interviewed for her work in ministry. She currently serves as Diocesan Jubilee Officer for the Diocese of Atlanta and Vice President of the Episcopal Network of Economic Justice. 

We love and are ever-inspired by Vicky! Here's the article:

1) How long have you been affiliated with Jubilee Ministries, and in what capacity?

As Lay Missioner of the Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, I learned about Jubilee in the mid-1980's, and the Ministry was designated a Center in l989.  I first had the opportunity of serving on the Advisory Council for Jubilee with Ntsiki Langford and later with Carmen Guerrero, Chris Johnson, and Mark Stevenson, and often visited hopeful Centers for designation and evaluations.  Over time I attended many Jubilee conferences around the country, networking with directors and conducting workshops.  I currently serve on Jubilee's Advisory team and have been trained in ABCD (Asset Based Community Development).

Called to Transformation is an asset-based approach to engaging Church and community, centered on the belief that individuals, groups, and communities possess unique gifts to cultivate positive change. For more information on this collaborative project of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development, click HERE.

2) What is/are your role(s) in your diocese? In your parish? In a ministry or ministries?

In the Diocese of Atlanta, I am the Diocesan Jubilee Officer where we currently have twelve Centers.  At St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Columbus, I chair the Outreach Council and participate in all the outreach programs.  In addition, I coordinate the maintenance and programs for the outdoor labyrinth on the grounds, giving me the opportunity to engage people in a more contemplative way.

In the community I volunteer with Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, BRIDGE for high school dropouts, Columbus State University's Diversity Committee, Circles of Columbus, Mayor's Committee for Diversity, Unity and Prosperity and assist with ABCD workshops in neighborhoods. I also serve as Vice-President of the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice.


Infusion kicks off!

Check out our fabulous new group of Infusion students! 

The year officially kicked off Sept. 10 at the opening retreat, a yearly tradition. 

Since 2006, CVEM has engaged high school students in a 9-month program developing servant leaders through in-depth study of relevant social justice issues, community engagement and spiritual reflection. The program recruits students from different high schools and faith traditions. 
Every year Infusion chooses a central theme to focus on (last year’s theme was homelessness) and students will choose this year’s theme together. 
Most of what guides Infusion’s schedule for the year centers on the theme, but there are some activities that are mainstays. Infusion will continue working with Path to Shine, a tutorial program in the Boxwood community, where they also host a Christmas party. In addition, the youth will continue serving at Trinity’s community breakfast.  
Malinda Shamburger, who is leading Infusion during the search for a permanent program director, has been part of Infusion since its beginning. 
“My daughter was part of the first class in 2006. I believe in Infusion’s mission, and I have seen with my own eyes what Infusion produces. Our graduates are out in the world changing lives and making a difference,” she said. 

Update on Tiara Lawson

In our May newsletter, we shared the inspiring story of one of our clients, Tiara Lawson, and asked for contributions to help Tiara achieve her current career goal of obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Thanks to you, Tiara received $1,600 to help her reach this goal. This was greatly appreciated by Tiara, who worked overtime at her job to make up the other $1,800 needed.  We are very happy to report Tiara is right on track and will graduate with her degree in December!  This puts her one step closer to her ultimate goal of a master’s degree and certification as a Nurse Practitioner.  We thank you. Tiara thanks you.
In our previous article, we quoted Tiara as saying, “As my adulthood passed, I knew I needed to give my kids a stronger foundation to call home.”  Today she is well on her way to doing exactly that as she awaits a closing date on the purchase of a home for her family!  You can hear the excitement and pride in her voice as she speaks of getting things ready for their new home.
This is Tiara’s story … single mother of three (12 year-old twins and a 15 year-old), student, full-time employee as an R.N. at Jack Hughston Hospital (their 2015 Outstanding Nurse of the Year) and now new home owner.  Congratulations, Tiara, as you continue to take leaps and bounds into the future.  And, again, we say “thank you” to those who have helped make Tiara and her family’s dreams come true. 

Meet Cherie: CVEM's new bookkeeper

CVEM is excited to welcome Cherie Chagoy to our team as our new Bookkeeper/Office Manager. 
Cherie comes with over 10 years accounting experience and a heart for nonprofit work. 
“Cherie comes highly recommended as a smart and skilled bookkeeper and already seems to have figured us out! She’s worked with other vulnerable populations and has a heart for service,” said CVEM Interim Director Martha Robert. 
In addition to her work at CVEM, Cherie works as an accounting assistant at Stewart Community Home. 
Originally from Texas, Cherie and her husband Chip moved to Smiths Station when he was stationed at Ft. Benning. He is now out of the military and working as an electrical engineer but they have no plans of leaving the area. “This is home,” Cherie said. 
Cherie and Chip have three children: Alec, 8; Ashton, 6; and Ava, 3. Cherie has been a stay at home mom and decided to rejoin the workforce this year in  hopes of serving the Lord in a different way. 
 “I’ve been praying for the Lord to utilize my talents for the Kingdom,” she said.