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CVEM gears up for Golfing for Good tourney

CVEM is seeking players and sponsors for our 3rd Annual Golfing for Good Tournament to be held Friday, April 25.
The tournament, held at the Maple Ridge Golf Tournament, benefits CVEM’s programs: Direct aid to the poor; the Thompson-Pound Art Program (TAP); Infusion; Shedding Our Secrets.
So far, we have 19 sponsors and 6 teams signed up for the event. 
Below, find information on the tournament and sponsorship opportunities:

Tournament Details
  • Date: April 25
  • Location: Maple Ridge Golf Course, 4700 Maple Ridge Trail, Columbus
  • Cost: $100 per player includes greens fees, cart, lunch, drinks and a gift bag
  • Tournament Schedule:
    • 11am Registration (Driving Range and Putting Green Available) 
    • 12pm Lunch 
    • 1pm Shotgun Start (Scramble Format) 
    • 5pm Team Awards and Raffle Drawing
    • •Platinum $2,500 
    • Gold $1,000 
    • Silver $ 500 
    • Bronze $ 250 
For more information or a registration form, please contact Twila Kirkland at 706.570.4770 or visit

Georgia’s Episcopal Bishops, CVEM oppose gun bill

The Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and Georgia have signed a joint statement in opposition of a new bill that allows churches to vote on allowing guns in their houses of worship. 
CVEM is a gun-free zone, and we have gun-free zone signs available to anyone wishing to join in this opposition.
The following is an exerpt from a news release issued by the Diocese of Atlanta:
The bill solves nothing and it only creates the potential for more gun violence, not less, to say nothing of increasing political polarization in Georgia. Our State’s current gun laws are already quite fair to gun owners, adequately protecting their rights. All the citizens of Georgia have rights as well. We have a right to keep guns out of our houses of worship and schools. Please join us in praying for our elected representatives. 

Talbot food insecurities prompt action

By: Barbara Brandenburgh
Two years ago, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation identified Talbot County as the unhealthiest county in Georgia.  This unwelcomed status prompted Judge Frank Jordan to assemble a group of community leaders together to address this issue.  
Judge Jordan asked for Vicky Partin’s assistance.  (In the 1980’s, CVEM was instrumental in establishing a 501C3 food pantry in Talbotton.)  Vicky and I have been engaged with the community leaders since October 2012.    
There are many reasons for this unhealthy situation.  Some alarming Talbot County statistics include:  
•Food Insecurity rate 23.2%
•Number represents: 1,510 individuals
•% Children Food Insecure: 25.5%
•Seniors in poverty: 360 
•No grocery store in the county
Since the formation of this coalition, there is some progress to report.  Food deliveries for qualified recipients have increased approximately 30 percent.  However, this is just the tip of the iceberg--there are others not yet reached.  Our Talbotton group has also been asked to address other needs in the community.    
A point of interest: the Episcopal Church has had a presence in Talbotton since the 1830s when Zion Episcopal Church was built.  
The church does not have an active congregation; however, Rev. Jeff Jackson leads four services a year at Zion.  Even with such a small foothold, Episcopalians are serving when called upon.    
Joining the team is St. Nicholas member Liz Dixon, whose family lived in Talbotton. 

CVEM Shorttakes

•In November and December 2013, CVEM’s Direct  Service provided $828.71 in assistance to five Alabama families.

CVEM sends accolades  to:
•To Linda Prince for a gift of golf clubs for a teenager
•To Carol Hall for delivering our Styrofoam to Aflac for recycling
•To Jean Miller for the secret gift to a lady’s dental needs.
•To Kristie Sholtis for encouraging a friend to donate dishes to a needy family
•St. Thomas for Ash Wednesday offerings of $600!

•CVEM’s 2013 Annual Report is available.  Visit to view our good news!

•Feeding the Valley Food Bank opens in LaGrange. Its service area will include Troup, Harris, Meriwether and Talbot Counties. CVEM was a co-founder of the Food Bank in the early 80s and even then we worked hard to include the communities around our Episcopal Churches. The Interfaith Food Closet in LaGrange and the West Point and Chambers County Food Pantry in Lanett are both products of our CVEM collaborative. We hope this move will facilitate better service in Talbot County where CVEM is actively assisting in food security ventures.

Direct Service News

We received some beautiful thank you notes from Direct Service recipients this month. Since it is truly you, our supporters, who make this work possible, we wanted to share them with you!

“Your kindness to me was so appreciated during my time of need. Norma, you went above the call of duty in helping me. I shall never forget. Diane, considering me during the follow-up call warmed my heart. Your ministry contributes good to the world and is a clear display of God’s love working through you all”.

“Please except this thank you card to let you know just how much I appreciate your benevalent attidudes. Your kindness will never ever be forgotten. It’s people like you who make this world a better place!”

Direct Service Report, January
Individual Gifts, $579.89
Memorial Gifts, $355.00
Poor Boxes, $613.00
Christmas Donations, $50
Total: $1,597.89

Client Services:
Housing, $1,088.50
Household, $484.00
Scholarship, $493.96
Transportation, $200.00
Total: $2,266.46

Direct Service Report, February

Individual Gifts:, $606
Memorial Gifts, $125
Poor Boxes, $958.32
Total: $1,689.32

Agency, $200
Housing, $800
Medical, $33.15
Miscellaneous, $243
Scholarship, $248.95
Transportation, $126
Total: $1,651.10
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In Focus: Becca Nicolson resigns from CVEM

Becca Nicolson, CVEM’s bookkeeper/house and grounds manager, has announced her resignation, but that doesn't mean she’s going far.
 Becca has been involved with CVEM for more than 20 years. She started as a volunteer and has served on the Board of Directors as president and treasurer. She has also worked with the Thompson-Pound Art Program (TAP) from the very beginning and helped develop the Christmas card campaign with children in partnering parishes, just to name a few. She joined the CVEM staff in 2009.
In April, Becca will leave her position to allow more time for family, but she will remain active with CVEM as a member of the Internal Affairs Committee.
“Becca Nicolson is an exemplary bookkeeper whose integrity and compassion have guided CVEM’s financial security for many years, first as Treasurer of the Board and recently as financial manager on staff,” said Lay Missioner Vicky Partin. “I’m grateful that she will continue to serve as our financial adviser. She will be missed in our daily life at CVEM. And, I’m thrilled that Becca will continue to design our annual Christmas card created by children.”
Becca said she first got involved with CVEM through St. Thomas, where she has attended church for the last 25 years. She has also been active with Trinity Episcopal Church.
“I like working with people I love and seeing what can be accomplished in a day’s work,” she said. “What is done here in one day can affect so many – it’s exponential!”


Shirley Traugh recognized for Poor Box keep

By: Vicky Partin
On Sunday February 8, CVEM and St. Thomas honored Shirley and husband Dick for their decades of lay ministry to the parish.  
Shirley was praised for about 30 years of holding our Poor Box on the second Sunday at the 8 AM service.  Literally thousands of dollars were dropped in that Box to serve the poor.  A new inscription was added to the Box naming it in her honor.
Shirley not only held the Box all those years, she was generous with her own gifts, and she helped with monthly newsletter mailings and big mailings at Christmas and Easter.  
She helped with many special fundraisers at St. Thomas including the famous Olde English Tea and various musical productions.
On a personal note, Dick and Shirley are dear friends and mentors to us Partins.  They were steadfastly here at St. Thomas when we arrived in l974.  They welcomed us and showed us how to be Episcopalians.  They showed us how to have fun at church, and we are forever grateful for their faithfulness, charm, commitment, and passion.
We at CVEM wish them well in Florida where they are sure to be spoiled by daughter Mollie and her family.
Diane Hinnant, CVEM Direct  Service Coordinator, and Vicky Partin were invited to speak to Trinity’s Daughters of the King group this month. They presented volunteer opportunities with the ministry.

A Climate of Haves and Have Nots

Dr. Denny Clark, the Rev Grace Burton-Edwards and Vicky Partin congratulate Dr. Florence at the Diversity Conference on March 20 at CSU. Florence was presented the 2014 Diversity Award for her efforts in collaboration around racism and classism in the community.

By: Vicky Partin
The compelling issues around racism and classism were brought home to Columbus on March 20 at the 3rd Annual Diversity Conference at Columbus State University. The talks and table discussions made me squirm. The truths being told were not national averages; there were about our poor children, the low wages, the jail populations, the anger and violence here in Columbus. We in leadership positions should squirm, for as event co-planner Berrien Zettler exclaimed, “We are responsible for the 42 percent poverty rate among children!”
I was encouraged by leaders who came and stayed the day. They needed a platform as much as we needed their messages. Superintendent David Lewis said, “It’s the right thing to do.” We must level the playing field and give the same education to all children knowing it takes more time and money to nurture economically poor children. He spoke of focusing on the preschooler whose language may include only 50 words when middle class children may know 2,000 words. He spoke of a third grade academy, community enhancements, tutoring, summer learning, master teachers, family learning. David Lewis cannot do it alone. He needs the entire community to come out and serve. He welcomes our input and help. 
Michael Forte, principal of Rothschild Middle School, grew up poor. He knows the challenge to focus on the future, not on being poor. He knows that the school system is run by middle class people for middle class students, leaving out the different dynamics of low wealth children and their families. He does home visits; he sees how children are left behind. School is not for them. Forte knows this needs to change. He opens his doors for help. 
Perhaps the least was known about the topic “Arrest and Adjudication of the Poor,” but attorney Barry Debrow enlightened us with the burning 53 percent of jail inmates have incomes less than $10,000 and 86 percent less than $25,000. These people arrested for non-violent crimes are called “indigents;” they have no money for bonds. They sit and wait in jail, sometimes for two to three years! They are worse off when they re-enter society. We see the picture. Policies need to change; rehabilitation needs to happen to protect our community and their families. In 2012 this country spends $54 billion on incarceration. Why not give some funds to local non-profits to reconcile the offender in society? Georgia NAACP President Francys Johnson minced no words either. He’s an attorney and minister with years of experience fighting to dismantle racism and discrimination of black people. He knows that blacks work more for $20,000 less than whites. That 30-40 percent of the black people will lose their right to vote. He sees how banks, hospitals and businesses discriminate. We are one race—humans all. 
No wonder we squirmed, but there was good news around the tables of community leaders…Goodwill Industry, Enrichment Services and CVEM promoting job readiness, more spaces for preschoolers and CVEM’s partnership with Beallwood and Path to Shine in Boxwood.
Just maybe we can all grow and become brave enough to say the words and break down the barriers between the haves and have nots. 
The JustFaith group from St. Anne’s Catholic  Church visited with  representatives from BAND and Infusion.  Vicky Partin introduces the groups. She is pictured with JustFaith member and BAND member Berrien Zettler. 

Infusion teens join Path to Shine

The Infusion class is joining efforts with Path to Shine to offer tutoring to children in the Boxwood community. Pictured, teens attend a training at St. Thomas. 

By: Vicky Partin
The Infusion class of 2013-14 is embarking on a new venture with children, this time in the Boxwood community in East Wynnton Columbus.
Spearheaded by Greg Herring and Lisa Venable and sponsored by St. Thomas, the venture began months ago with Soccer in the Streets, where by now three teams have registered with the Columbus Youth Soccer Association.
Once soccer caught on, the children will be offered tutoring in the Boxwood Recreation Center.  Enter Path to Shine, a comprehensive support program created by Deacon Lesley-Ann Drake of St. Benedict’s in Smyrna.  The program is designed to “inspire under-served children to achieve hope-filled dreams”, beginning with one-on-one tutoring after school.
The teens will join others to focus on the younger set, and tutors for middle and high school students are needed, too.  Volunteers are also needed for providing healthy snacks and life enhancement excursions during the year.
This new launching of Path to Shine will be the eighth Diocesan venue, which includes Smyrna, Canton, Macon, Marietta, Norcross, Morrow, and Tucker.
Safeguarding God's Children training held at Trinity

Thirty-three attended Safeguarding God’s Children at Trinity on March 15. The Rev Dr. Deborah Silver led the training for youth workers, Infusion’s Teen Mentors, vestry members, Day school teachers and Path to Shine’s new volunteers.
Copyright © 2014 Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, All rights reserved.

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