Infusion Kicks Off

The fall kick-off of Infusion, CVEM’s youth servant leadership program, will take place Sept. 9 with an opening retreat.The retreat takes place at CVEM Sept. 9-10. The students will also attend the Memory & Hope celebration together Sunday, Sept. 11 (See below). 
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. 
There is still space available. If you know anyone interested in applying, e-mail Malinda at or call 706.761.5716.
Members of the TAP community will also lead Salutations at the event. 
CVEM Director Martha Robert & Tiara Lawson, a Direct Service client with an amazing story.
By: Diane Hinnant
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. 

For the period April through July, we’ve assisted 101 individuals and families in the amount of $8,273 for rent, mortgages, transportation, household items, scholarships and medical expenses. 
Ron teaching Salutations at TAP, June 2015.

Like so many others in the Chattahoochee Valley and beyond, our hearts are heavy with the passing of Ron Anderson.We give joyful thanks for Ron and his life he so freely shared with us all; and we continue to offer prayers and love for our beloved Debbie his wife and Max his son.

“Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life, and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing better things than we can desire or pray for through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen+”

Memorial gifts can be sent to St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the Springer Opera House, and to the Thompson-Pound Art Program (TAP).
Rev. Nick Hull, who has spent the last two years as Curate at Trinity Episcopal Church, has played a vital role in CVEM. He has served on the Board of Directors and as Spiritual Director for Infusion, our youth servant leadership program. 
Rev. Nick and his wife Leandra are moving to Martinsville, VA, where he will serve as rector at Christ Church. 
“Nick’s faith directly translates into action; that is, seeking interactions and building relationships with neighbors, regardless of creed, race, status, or any other label we use to separate ourselves from one another. In so doing, Nick brought energy and possibility to his work on the CVEM board and truly served as a spiritual director for our Infusion teens,” said CVEM Interim Director Martha Robert.
Malinda Shamburger, CVEM Board President and Infusion Advisor, echoed Martha’s sentiments. 
“Rev. Nick had the ability to meet each of the members where they were in their spiritual lives with dignity and respect. I know that is probably a tough job for one whose job is to preach the Gospel to the world, but he did it every time, every meeting.”
We are thankful for the time Rev. Nick had with us and wish him and his family the best in their new home!
Unfortunately, human trafficking is an issue that touches even the Chattahoochee Valley. And it’s big. 
That’s why the Diocese has formed a Commission on the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST), formerly the Commission on Human Trafficking. The commission made the decision to narrow its focus since this is such a large issue. Lisa Veneble, a member of St. Thomas, is the representative for the Chattahoochee Valley Convocation.  Currently, the commission is focusing on setting up training sessions in each area of the Diocese.
Trainings will teach about DMST, how to spot it and leave participants prepared to take action. A free training for the Southeast Atlanta and Chattahoochee Valley Convocations will be held Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to Noon at St. Mark’s in LaGrange. Register HERE.
There is some additional action you can take to help the cause. Come November, voters will have the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that will fund the 2015 Safe Harbor/Rachel’s Law Act, which provides services for children in Georgia under 18 who are rescued from human traffickers. The amendment would set up a trust funded from adult entertainment establishments.  The services provide physical and emotional restoration.

CVEM will say “see you later” to BJ Landen, our fabulous Bookkeeper/House and Grounds Manager for the last two years. 
BJ, who has held many careers in his life, will “retire” for the third time. 
“I am leaving because I think I have reached a point in my life that it is time to stop working and start enjoying the freedom of retirement,” he said. “I intend to simply enjoy spending time doing projects at my house, enjoy time with my family (Larry and the dogs) and be free to travel and try to complete as many items on my bucket list as possible.”
BJ has played an integral role in the ministry of CVEM, and we are grateful for the work he has done here. 
“I will miss working with BJ. He’s a dedicated employee with an incredibly compassionate heart; the perfect combination for a CVEM employee, don’t you think?” said CVEM Interim Director Martha Robert. 
BJ said his time at CVEM and all of you has been equally significant, so we don’t expect him to go too far.
“I have gained a better understanding of social inequality and injustice and how I, as an individual, can be a part of bringing about change in my daily life. My time here has deepened my faith and made me a more determined person to end racism, bigotry and hate, as well as how important it is to care about all of our brothers and sisters--to accept and love them--not just tolerate them.”

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. 
Lobsterfest, St. Nicholas’ Annual Fundraiser, will take place at Sweet Home Plantation in Pine Mountain from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 23. This is always a fun event for the community. Tickets are available at

Featuring fun, food & a silent 
auction, St. Thomas will hold a 
fundraiser Oct. 29. Tickets are $40 each. There will be dinner and dancing to music by THE CHEMISTRY PROJECT.  

CVEM is one of several teams that take turns serving breakfast at Trinity’s Community Breakfast on Sunday mornings. Our next time to serve will be Nov. 6 at 7:30 a.m. Come! Also open during breakfast is the Clothes Closet, where folks can come get much needed clothing items. Donations of clothing and toiletries are needed. Monetary donations are also useful for buying essentials like underwear and socks. Donations can be dropped off at Trinity during normal business hours Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m-5 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m.-Noon. 

There is a GoFundMe Account set up for restoring Zion Chapel in Tallbotton. This historic church has served the community for over 160 years. Regular Sunday services no longer are held but there are still quarterly services. The next one will be Sunday, Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. Please visit for information on the Zion Restoration Project and the church’s deep history. 
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