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What's New

Lisa Schaffner to be Guest Speaker at 2012 Faith in Action Awards

Jon Barton - Friday, March 23, 2012

We would like to invite you to this year’s annual Faith in Action  awards luncheon on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.  Each year the Virginia Council of Churches recognizes an individual and/or Church/Organization who exemplify personal faith and action on behalf of all God’s children.  This year we are presenting three awards; to The Rev. Dr. Joseph M. Vought, The Brandermill Church, and Richmond Hill.  Additionally, it is our great privilege to be presenting a Lifetime Ecumenist award to Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer. Lisa Schaffner, Public Relations and Marketing Director for UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) will be this year's guest speaker. REGISTER TODAY

United Network for Organ Sharing, a national non-profit based in Richmond that matches organs from deceased donors to those on the national waiting list.  Lisa joined UNOS in October of 2008 after a 25 year broadcast career that included stops in Athens, Ohio, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Richmond, Virginia.    In Richmond, Lisa was the main news anchor for WRIC-TV8…anchoring the ABC affiliate’s 4:30, 6:00 and 11pm newscasts.  During her 23 year tenure with TV8, Lisa covered the administrations of 7 governors, the tragic mass shooting at Virginia Tech as well as the wrath of Mother Nature including Hurricane Isabelle, tropical storm Gaston and the deadly Petersburg tornado.

Lisa continues to cover Richmond through her column, Giving Back, in Boomer Life Magazine in which she highlights various nonprofit organizations and how Richmonders can get involved and give back to the community through volunteering.  Lisa was named 2011 National Philanthropy Day Volunteer of the Year by the AFP of Central Virginia.

Lisa shows others how to give back by doing so herself.  She’s active on several Richmond area boards including: Venture Richmond, Commonwealth Parenting, Chesterfield Public Education Foundation, LifeNet Health Advisory Board, Virginia High School League Advisory, Richmond CrimeStoppers and Breath Matters.   She is also a 2010 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond.

Lisa’s proudest title, however, is that of mother.  Her daughter Danielle is 17 and a senior at James River high school.  Her son, Jesse, is 14 and is a freshman at James River High School.

Lifetime Ecumenist

Charlene Payne Kammerer was elected to the episcopacy at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (SEJ) at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, in July 1996. She was assigned to the Charlotte Area where she served the conference faithfully for eight years. At the SEJ meeting in July 2004, Bishop Kammerer was assigned to serve the Virginia Conference.

In her fourth quadrennium on the Council of Bishops, Bishop Kammerer serves as President of the General Board of Discipleship and is a member of the In Defense of Creation Task Force within the Council. She is also a member of the denominational Connectional Table.

Charlene Payne Kammerer was born on January 5, 1948, in Orlando, Florida. She spent her early years in Winter Garden, where her home church was First United Methodist. She graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, with an A.B. degree in religion and philosophy in 1970. Wesleyan is the first college in the world chartered for the granting of degrees to women. She obtained Master of Christian Education and Master of Divinity degrees from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. She was ordained deacon in 1975 and elder in 1977 in the Florida Conference. She received a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1991 from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Bishop Kammerer's service in the church has included equal years in parish ministries and connectional ministries, including service as a campus minister at Duke University and as a district superintendent of the Tallahassee District, Florida Conference. Her longtime interests in ministry include higher education, mission involvement, and the spirituality of administration. She has served as a director of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and as a director of the General Board of Global Ministries, including chairperson of the United Methodist Committee on Relief from 1992-1996. She has received the Outstanding Alumnae Award from both Wesleyan College and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and has been honored with Doctor of Divinity degrees from Bethune-Cookman College (FL), Pfeiffer University (NC) and Wesleyan College (GA).

She was married to Leigh Kammerer on August 29, 1970. Leigh was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Florida. Leigh is currently a substance abuse and addictions counselor and directs the Intake Program for HPIP, Health Professional Intervention Program, related to VCU Health Systems in Richmond.

Leigh and Charlene’s son, Chris, is completing his tour of duty with the United States Navy. Charlene and Leigh became first-time grandparents, January 28, 2002, with the birth of Christopher Martin Kammerer. On March 27, 2006 they became the proud grandparents of Noelle Joy Kammerer.

Bishop Kammerer enjoys walking, reading for fun, pottery and fine art, theater and movies, and the nurturing of friendships.

Faith in Action - The Rev. Dr. Joseph M. Vought

A native of Pennsylvania, The Rev. Dr. Joseph M. Vought received a Masters of Divinity degree from The Lutheran Theological Seminary and Washington Theological Consortium in 1983 after graduating from Gettysburg College in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy.

Ordained in 1983, Pastor Joe served Second English Lutheran Church in Baltimore, MD as Associate Pastor, with an emphasis in Youth and Christian Education. In 1987 he was called to serve as Pastor-Developer of Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, Richmond, VA. He was responsible, along with lay leaders, for building the membership, program ministries and buildings of the congregation. During his pastorate at Our Saviour, he supervised four interns. He served as pastor/counselor to Petersburg Work Camp, a "Habitat for Humanity-like" summer camp for Senior high youth. For six years he served as a volunteer chaplain on Virginia's "Death Row" at Mecklenburg Correctional Center and provided pastoral care to seven men before and during their executions. He has spoken publicly on the Death Penalty and has published several articles on his death row experiences.

From 1997 to 2008 Pastor Joe served as Senior Pastor of Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg, VA. During his eleven years the congregation’s membership grew, program staff was added and new ministries began to serve the community, such as an After-School Program for latchkey kids, an Ecumenical Lectionary Study with Pastors and an Ecumenical Campus Ministry serving James Madison University. Congregational Mission work began in West Virginia and New Orleans as well as a Missionary relationship with Rwanda School Project in Rwanda. Several capital campaigns and building projects were also undertaken. An advocate for ecumenical and interfaith affairs, Pr. Joe served as President of the Harrisonburg Interfaith Association and represented the Virginia Synod for over 20 years to encourage denominational cooperation in service, dialogue and full communion partnerships.

Pastor Joe received a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Wesley Seminary in the area of Ecumenism and Reconciliation in 2005. He served as a Board Member of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, and was a volunteer Hospice chaplain.

Pastor Joe is married to Debra Swenson, who is a Hospital Administrator at Northern VA Training Center in Fairfax. They have two children, Kristin, 26, a graduate of Susquehanna University and Jonathan 23, a Graduate of West Virginia University. Pastor Joe and Debra enjoy physical exercise and have always been members of a health club. They also enjoy movies, reading and traveling.

Pastor Joe started his ministry at Community Lutheran Church in Sterling, Virginia on October 20, 2008.

Faith in Action - Brandermill Church


D. Clyde Bartges

November 30, 1994

Recently 20 charter members from The Brandermill Church met on a Sunday afternoon to reminisce about the formation of their church. It was quite obvious that this group had enjoyed being a part of those early times and that their participation had enriched their own lives. It is certainly true that few Christians have had the privileged experience of working with others to organize a church, to watch it grow and develop into spiritual benefit for the community. These first members remain enthusiastic as they recalled the joy they had as they helped to make this church possible.

The vision of an ecumenical church for the new community called Brandermill originated in the Virginia Council of Churches. It was proposed that such a church be established by many denominations pooling their resources together. And although other denominations did participate in the initial conversations, only two agreed to cooperate in this unique venture. These continue to be the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church. The two executives from these denominations who took the leadership in founding the church were The Reverend Samuel D. McCammon, Jr. of Hanover Presbytery (now Presbytery of The James) and The Reverend Harry B. Eaton of the Methodist Richmond District. It was agreed by them to ask The Reverend D. Clyde Bartges to be the organizing minister.

The first meeting of those who would later form the church was held at the home of Bill and Sue Akin in Poplar Grove on January 16, 1977. About 25 people attended that Sunday night meeting and some of these are still active members today.

Meetings for Bible study and discussion were then held on Sunday evenings as we gathered around the fireplace of the real estate Reception Center in Sunday Park. Within two months morning worship services and Sunday school were started. The first Communion Service was observed on Palm Sunday where both grape juice and wine were served in respect for those from different denominations. In this church it is a practice that has become a tradition. On April 10th the first Easter service was held outdoors on the peninsula by the large pavilion overlooking the lake. 150 people attended and each was given a fresh daisy as they left the service.

During the warm days of summer, services were conducted on the deck outside the Reception Center. People could walk or ride their bikes to this enchanting place where birds and squirrels put on their own performance. In the fall we moved into the Windward Watch Restaurant where the attendance continued to grow. Everyone expressed a strong desire for this informal setting to be duplicated in the future building of the church. Actually this atmosphere was accomplished by the architecture of the exposed beams and seating in the round where worshipers could see some faces and not just backs of heads.

Activities continued to expand. Sunday school was headed by Ed Pittman with a staff of competent teachers. Boy and Girl Scouts were begun by Curt Branyon and Linda Dusenbury. A music program was organized by Mary Tyndall who was later joined by Cassandra Lacey.

The two denominational representatives with the help of leaders from the worshipping congregation formed a Covenant for a union church. One of the provisions of the Covenant stated that in order to maintain balance between denominations, “ministerial leadership will alternate between the sponsoring denominations.”  The pastor would not ordinarily serve for more than six years. A Judicatory Steering Committee was constituted with three representatives each from the denominations and the church. This was to help in communications and in maintaining common goals. The committee met monthly.

The Brandermill Church was officially organized in the restaurant by the two denominations on November 6, 1977. There were 127 charter members representing 58 families. The congregation approved the Covenant and elected an Administrative Board. These first board members were:  Sue Akin, Jerry Blalock, Shirley Butterworth, Clem Carlisle, Marcia Corbin, Clarence Lupton, George McNeal, John Weeks and John Williams. One month later an impressive Christmas candlelight service was held outside on a starry night with over 200 in attendance. On January 22, 1978, I was installed as the first Presbyterian pastor.

It soon became apparent that the use of trailers and office complexes in Sunday Park was not an adequate arrangement for the needs of the church. Children had also to be transported to various homes for Sunday School. We decided to move all the Sunday morning activities to the Clover Hill High School.

A brochure describing the purpose of the church was distributed that year to all the residents of this area. It gave the following invitation:  “The Brandermill Church is designed to play an integral role in Brandermill by meeting the diverse interests and needs of the community and by offering opportunities for enrichment, both spiritually and socially. We hope you and your family will consider The Brandermill Church as your place of worship and community fellowship. We invite you to further develop a strong community church in Brandermill. Although our church is sponsored by two denominations, we draw from the heritage of many, for our membership represents a background of practically all major denominations.”

The church continued to meet in the school but we had to take a creative approach to adjust to its facilities. The Vacation Church School had to meet outside at the Sunday Park peninsula. A church building became a necessity. Property was purchased in Sunday Park for $97,500.00 with the sponsoring denominations sharing equally in the cost. The architectural firm of Moseley-Hening was employed to draw plans for the sanctuary with a small wing for Sunday school. A kitchen operated out of a closet in the finished building. Financing was “touch and go” for this fledgling congregation which had no history to present to banks for a mortgage loan. It was decided to sell bonds to the church members. The response was excellent. Hal Raddin and Jim Keeton headed this endeavor;  Clem Carlisle was made chairman of the building committee. It is impossible to mention the names of all those who gave so generously of their time and resources in the early days of this church development. One of the most successful ventures was a Christmas Bazaar under the leadership of Nancy Schofield and Fran Ranson. This first bazaar was held at the Watkins Elementary School. There were 21 booths with homemade crafts and baked goods. The bazaars were continued later for some years with Eleanor Hill organizing the work.

Ground breaking ceremony was August 5, 1979. The first worship service was on October 19, 1980 even though the building was not yet completed. Dedication of the new sanctuary was conducted some weeks later. Many decisions had to be made regarding furniture and landscaping. It seemed best to have a grand piano rather than an electronic organ. An appropriate hymnal was chosen that was not from either denomination.

From the beginning, the building was used for many community events. The Brandermill Chamber Series featuring nationally recognized musical artists gave the first concert one month after the church was opened. The Brandermill Community Association and the Brandermill Retired Men’s Club still use the church for their meetings.

Both denominations have supported the church and have benefited from its growth. By the time of my retirement in 1982, 500 members had been received into our membership-250 for each denomination.

The beauty of God’s changing seasons are appreciated by the congregation as they worship in this open sanctuary overlooking the lake. The greens of spring and summer, the fall leaf colors and the snows of winter declare his glory. Scripture states that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself and entrusting to us this message of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:19)  The Brandermill Church was established to share this ministry of God’s love and grace.

Faith in Action - Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill is an ecumenical Christian community with a vocation of hospitality, healing, prayer, and racial reconciliation for the city of metropolitan Richmond.

 Richmond Hill was founded by members and leaders of 14 denominations, to seek to establish a continuity of prayer in the historic Monastery of the Sisters of the Visitation of Monte Maria in the center of the city of Richmond.  The sisters were moving to a new monastery in Rockville, west of Short Pump. Richmond Hill will celebrate its 25th anniversary on December 4, 2012.

 The residential Community of Richmond Hill lives by a modified Benedictine Rule.  The community maintains a 45-bed retreat center, offering individual and group retreats, the RUAH School of Spiritual Guidance, a school of Pastoral Care and Counseling, the SOZO School of Christian Healing Prayer, and classes in centering prayer, Christian Social Transformation, and the Unhealed History of Richmond.
 Richmond Hill also staffs the Micah Inititative, which involves 125 faith communities in support of 25 highly impacted elementary schools in Richmond, and the Armstrong Leadership Program, supporting 36 students at metropolitan Richmond’s most stressed high school.  The Community sponsors Metro Richmond at Prayer, a prayer calendar engaging as many as 400 churches in a weekly calendar of prayer for metropolitan Richmond and its people.  More than 100 churches use Richmond Hill annually for retreat, in addition to other community organizations, non-profits, and parachurch ministries.

 The residential Community of Richmond Hill consists of persons who have passed through a period of discernment and have been called to serve in the community.  The Community members live on a simple, and equal, stipend.  Internships are also offered for students or persons who wish to explore residency in the Community.  The ministry is supported by individual contributions and grants, by donations for retreats, and by the contributions of many volunteer members.

 Richmond Hill is organized as a non-profit and is governed by a Board of Directors which includes five members of the residential Community and 15 public members.

Directions To:

 The Brandermill Church

4500 Millridge Parkway, Midlothian, VA  23112

(804) 744-3661

Note:  Directions below are a guide, please use or  to  get   specific   directions   from   your   location.

From points East

1.    Take I-64 West

2.    Continue on I-64 West / I-95 North

3.    Take exit 79, for I-64 W / I-195 South / Powhite Parkway

4.    Take the Powhite Expressway exit

5.    Follow the Powhite and its extension to the intersection of route 288 (two miles    

        beyond the 75 cent toll booth).  Take exit towards Amelia

6.    Stay on Highway 288 to the first exit (Highway 360 / Hull Street Road) towards 


7.    Follow Highway 360 West toward the first stop light (about 300 yards) and turn 

        right onto Old Hundred Road.  You don’t actually go to the stoplight, but exit to the 

        right on the ramp as you approach the stop light

8.    Turn left onto Millridge Parkway which will be the first turn to the left

9.    Proceed on Millridge Parkway for .7 of a mile.  The church will be on your left.  

        Enter the road where you see the Sunday Park sign.  Follow drive to the bottom of 

        the hill and the entrance to the church parking lot will be on your left

 From points West

1.    Take I-64 East to exit # 186—Laburnum Ave. / I-195 S / Powhite Parkway

2.    Merge onto I-95 South

3.    Take the Powhite Expressway exit

Follow steps # 5 through # 9 above (From points East)

From points North

1.   Follow I-95 S and take exit # 79, for I-195 South / I-64 West / Powhite Parkway

2.   Merge onto I-195 South

3.   Take the Powhite Expressway exit

4.   Follow steps # 5 through # 9 above (From points East)

From points South

1.   Follow I-95 N to Highway 288 (toward Amelia)

2.   Exit off of Highway 288 onto Route 360 / Hull Street Road (toward Amelia)

3.   Follow steps # 7 through # 9 above (From points East)

From Downtown Richmond

1.    Take the Powhite Expressway west of town

 Follow steps # 5 through # 9 above (From points East)

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