Building connections between Boys Home and the Church
Vol. 5, Issue 7 — July 2019
A Note from Chaplain Anne Grizzle:
Chaplain Intern Serving from Virginia Theological Seminary
Boys Home is delighted to welcome Pete Nunnally for his field education internship from Virginia Thelogical Seminary at Boys Home this summer. Pete brings a unique history to his service, as his father Mike Nunnally, was a student at Boys Home and is currently the basketball coach. He also brings a wealth of experience as a teacher, mission director, and youth minister prior to going to seminary.
Pete brought his guitar along to a recent campfire, offering singing and story telling along with s'mores. For the chapel sessions over the past school year, he led the students in singing "Wade in the Water" and told the story of his own faith journey. More recently, he engaged the students in making and praying with Anglican prayer beads. During the summer, many evenings, he will be offering a sunset compline service. Pete brings a keen listening heart, eager engagement, and deep faith to his service at Boys Home. What a joy to have him!
Chaplain Anne Grizzle
A Biography from Pete Nunnally
I was born and raised in Sterling, Virginia, and grew up hearing stories of Boys Home from my father, Mike, who lived at Boys Home from 1956-1963. After graduating from Bridgewater College in 2001, I taught middle school physical education for six years before moving to New Orleans in 2008 to rebuild houses with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. While in New Orleans, I became the volunteer coordinator for the Rebuild Program and later, Program Director for Living With Purpose, an Episcopal Service Corps program. Upon returning to Virginia in 2014, I became Director of Spiritual Formation and Youth Ministries for St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond until enrolling at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2017. I am passionate about God's dream for our lives, good music, people, reconciliation, social justice, and building true community that shimmers with the hope of the Kingdom of God. My experience at St. George's Camp at Shrine Mont taught me that all God's children are part of the Body of Christ and worthy of dignity and love, while my time in New Orleans instilled in me a passion for racial reconciliation and systematic change. I am a cradle Episcopalian and am deeply thankful for the richness of our tradition and its commitment to a sacramental corporate prayer life and a textured individual spiritual journey in which we search daily for the sacred in places expected and unexpected.
Chaplain intern Pete Nunnally
A Blog Post from Pete Nunnally
I remember wishing as a kid that I could grow up at Boys Home. The stories Dad told about Boys Home and its residents and staff were so alive and electric, as though somehow life here was just...more. I have been at Boys Home as a chaplain for two and a half weeks. I have also been at Boys Home since 1958, when, after becoming a ward of the state and a brief stint in foster care, my father was brought here. These two realities are slowly weaving into one narrative about dislocation, struggle, hope, and redemption.
On the evening of my first day here, after prayer time with Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Sarratt, and Mrs. Gordon, chapel time with the boys, and discipleship groups with each cottage, we had dinner. Eating dinner in the dining hall I couldn't escape the feeling that I was sharing the space with my 14-year-old father, a skinny kid with a bright smile and big dreams. I remembered the story he told about when they used to turn out the lights to sing happy birthday during meals. When the lights came back on someone's head had spaghetti dripping all over it. Today this would garner a whole bunch of demerits.
Dusk spread over my first evening and I sat under the trees by the field and watched boys run and play. Laughter and shouts drifted across the field and through time. Thousands of boys have romped in this field as evenings fell, pale skies slowly darkening to deep mountain blue, like a friend that doesn't want to go home. Star after star began to twinkle their nighttime hello, the same stars that have shined over so many lives and so many boys. This wasn't just a beautiful summer mountain night. It was something...more.
In the days since my first evening I've spent time with all the boys and met most of the staff. Things have changed since the 50s and 60s, and even since the 90s and 2000s, and they are also the same. The boys that are here have lived lives of disruption. The individual levels of disruption may vary, but this much is clear: Boys Home is, and always will be, a place where boys find stability, consistency, and love. A place where former Boys Home boys come back to work, and where the staff pour out themselves, their love, and comfort like the Spirit spreading over the watery chaos of creation. Indeed, something new is being created here. Boys Home seems to me at this early stage in my time here as a wellspring of hope for boys who may not have any. A place of healing for those carrying deep wounds. And a place where God's presence twinkles over the mountains, ripples through the bends of Dunlap Creek, and sparkles across the field in muffled shouts as evening descends, waiting for the new day God has promised.
Mike Nunnally, basketball coach and Alumnus, and son Pete Nunnally, chaplain intern, pose for a picture together
Starting Summer with a Blast at Boys Home
Boys Home students began their summer with a fun-filled week, thanks to a mission group from Virginia Beach. From Monday, June 17, through Friday, June 21, Galilee Episcopal Church hosted a full week of sports and fun on and off campus. The group, led by Marty O'Rourke, Duff McDuffie, and Nichole Farbod, included twelve members of the Galilee youth group, several of whom had participated in pervous years' mission trips to Boys Home.
"I'm here because I was here two years ago, and I love sports, and I love helping people, and I heard this was a really good way to get involved with all that," said Isabelle Weiss, a member of the group.
Mornings during the week were devoted to sports. The group started with a variety of skill-building drills, and later everyone would participate in a game. Students learned the basics of rugby, lacrosse, and soccer; for some, this was their first introduction to one or more of the sports!
As the temperatures warmed up in the afternoons, the boys and the mission group got to have some adventures in and around the area. Everyone had a great time kayaking on the Jackson River, staying cool at ACE Adventure Park in Beckley, West Virginia, and going down a huge slip 'n slide set up on the hill by the Wheatley Center.
The week ended with an awards ceremony on Friday evening. Marty and the mission group recognized the students for their participation with a variety of awards, such as the "Heart of Gold" award. Some students were presented with a soccer ball.
Boys Home boys really enjoyed their time with the mission group from Galilee. One resident described the week as "awesome and amazing" and another already asked if they can stay for two weeks next year!
The group at ACE Adventure Park in Beckley, West Virginia
Save the Date!
On Saturday, November 2, 2019, all are invited to participate in our fall fundraiser, the Boys Home Harvest Hustle! The Harvest Hustle will take place at the Intervale Trailhead of the Jackson River Scenic Trail, in Covington, and this year we're expanding to host a fun run, 5K, 10K, and half-marathon. All events start and end at the trailhead, following a mostly flat, crushed-gravel surface along the scenic Jackson River. Participants will receive an event T-shirt and commemorative medal. Register early! Prices increase after September 30. Children under 10 are invited to run the 5K or 10K for free. For some information or to register, visit www.runforboyshome.com
or call Colleen at (540) 965-7703.
Boys Home of Virginia Wants to Visit Your Church!
Boys Home would love to visit your church to share the Boys Home story. Executive Director Mr. Donnie Wheatley and a few students enjoy traveling to different congregations each Sunday to share the mission of Boys Home with others.
If your church is interested in a visit, please contact Lauren at (540) 965-7714 or email at LHanna@boyshomeofva.org
Students Tyler and Jordan on their way to the chapel service