March 15, 2017
Volume 7, Number 29
In This Issue
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This Sunday's Lections
Third Sunday in Lent

Deacon Speaks for Voiceless Immigrants
"Immigrants are some of the most faithful and hope-filled people I have ever met with dreams just like ours," Deacon Leeann Culbreath told participants in a panel discussion in Savannah. "No matter what we might think about the issue of immigration, there are thousands of good people suffering and treated like criminals in Georgia's hidden detention centers each year and they need our care." 

Culbreath joined the panel for The Common Root: Immigration Stories at Home in Savannah, an event sponsored by Emergent Savannah and held at the Sentient Bean Monday. Also on the panel were Krystal Sanchez of Mexico, the 2017 Deep Laureate; Jimmy Buttimer who spoke on the history of Irish and African American residents; Hossein Motlagh, a Savannah businessman who emigrated from Iran in the 1980's, and   Joe Steffen, legal counsel for Savannah State University  on the state of immigration on the university's campus.  

"Thousands of immigrants cannot share their stories here tonight because they are behind bars in immigration detention centers, which some call immigration jail," said Culbreath who went on to share those stories and talk about her work with those who are detained, particularly at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. 

Culbreath is working with a local ecumenical group to develop a visitation and support program for detainees at Irwin and their loved ones. She described widespread human rights abuses in for-profit detention centers across the country and a lack of due process for detainees. "While the issues and stories are depressing, the visits, and subsequent correspondence, fill me with hope and love," she said. "It is truly incredible to be able to connect and become friends despite all of the barriers that would keep us apart."


Ashton Williston Called to Christ Church
The Rev. Dcn. Ashton Williston will join the staff at Christ Church Frederica as a Curate. A senior seminarian at the School of Theology at Sewanee who will graduate in May, she will be a fourth generation Episcopal priest in her family.

For the eight years before she began her studies at Sewanee, Ashton served as Director of Family Ministry at St. James Episcopal Church and School in Ormond Beach, Florida. Before that she served as Director of Youth Ministry at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Melbourne, Florida. 

Williston will move to St. Simons after graduation, along with her husband, Joe, and their two daughters, Isabella (9) and Abigail (8). 


Junkanoo returns to All Saints
 
For the eighth time, All Saints Tybee Island, welcomed musicians from the Bahamas to join them in worship while they are on the island. 
Barabbas and the Tribe bring their distinctive music to Tybee's Irish Heritage Parade and stay in the area through Savannah's St. Patrick's Parade. As good Anglicans, they worship each year at All Saints, where they add energy to the Lenten worship.
 
Call for Holy Week Service Information
We will be promoting Holy Week services held throughout the Diocese on social media this year. Please send the schedule for your church to newsandevents@gaepiscopal.org by March 31st to be included! 
Register Now for Lenten Prayer Retreat at Honey Creek
The Rev. Liam Collins is teaming up again with Canon Frank and Victoria Logue to offer a Lenten Retreat at Honey Creek. The 2017 Lenten Retreat will work from the writings of John Main to explore these silences of God and the way of praying that taps into a deeper foundation for our faith. As the teaching is the practice, there will be significant amounts of time given to the practice as well as the teaching about Christian meditation. If you want to experience God more fully in prayer, this retreat will give you the tools and the experience to take that journey. The retreat will meet March 24 at 5 p.m. and conclude by 2 p.m. on the 25th. 

The rates for the conference including three meals are: Lodge 1 Single $144, Lodge 1 Double $99.50, Lodge 2 Single $133, Lodge 2 Double $94, Cottage $90, and Campers and Commuters $64. Click this link to:  register for the conference online.
The Administrator's Corner
It is tax season!
The Church Pension Group annually publishes several key resources for parishes. Below are two essential guides for administrators and clergy: 

Clergy Tax Guide
Clergy Tax Guide for 2017 is published! You can access the complete guide  here

 

Tax laws and regulations affecting clergy are complex. It is essential that clergy understand the special tax rules affecting themselves. Whether you prepare your own taxes or engage a CPA, please provide them with or review this guide documentation each year. Below are key points from the changes to 2017 due to legislation: 

  • Clergy may claim only expenses relating to their principle residence when applying the housing allowance.
  • On November 13, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the decision of a federal district court in the case of Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Lew for lack of standing. The appeals court's ruling means that the housing allowance remains valid, for now. As such, the tax benefits of the housing allowance will remain unchanged at this time and clergy should continue to designate a housing allowance, if applicable.
  • If you are a retired or disabled cleric, be advised that, every year, the Board of Trustees of The Church Pension Fund (CPF) formally designates distributions from The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan (the Clergy Pension Plan) and the Episcopal Church Retirement Savings Plan (RSVP) as a housing allowance, subject to all limits and restrictions under Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information, consult the "Housing Allowance" section of this guide, beginning on page 12, and the CPF Form B on the following page.
  • The Affordable Care Act contains tax provisions that will affect the 2016 income tax return you file this year. In particular, you will be required to demonstrate that you and your dependents have been covered by "minimum essential coverage" for each month of 2016. Note that health care coverage provided through a health plan sponsored by the Episcopal Church Medical Trust will meet the minimum essential coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, should be provided to you by either the issuer or the sponsor of your health care plan and will report health care coverage provided to you and your dependents during any month of 2016.
  • The IRS standard mileage rate for 2016 was 54 cents per mile. It is 53.5 cents per mile for 2017.
  • Please consider asking a professional tax preparer to help you with your tax returns. The tax laws will probably change in 2017. You can reduce the cost of such help by preparing your records for the tax preparer's use.
  • Please note that this guide reflects the tax laws in effect for tax year 2016, and will not be updated to reflect any changes in the laws that occur after January 1, 2017. As such, it is important that you consult your tax advisor before preparing your tax return.
  • Have clergy tax questions? Please contact CPG's clergy tax experts at:
Nancy Fritschner, CPA
Phone: (877) 305-1414

The Rev. Canon William Geisler, CPA-Retired
Phone: (877) 305-1415

Federal Reporting Requirements
To support administrators, treasurers and wardens, CPG also publishes its annual guide on Federal reporting requirements for Episcopal churches. This is a valuable resource to answer questions about payroll, required federal reports, and potential tax implications. Access the guide  here.

Katie Willoughby
Canon for Administration
Around the Diocese   

St. Patrick's Albany (at right and below) held their Annual 5K Lap a Leprechaun this past weekend. Funds raised from this event address a variety of needs in the larger community, as well as those within the parish: storm relief for victims of the storms which severely damaged Dougherty County in January; Albany ARC, a local organization which provides assistance to people with disabilities and whose clients participated in both the run and 5K walk. St. Patrick's will also refurbish the nursery and playground and provide summer camp scholarships.


St. Luke's Hawkinsville (above and right) raised more than $12,500 through participation in Peaches to Beaches this past weekend. Billed as the world's largest yard sale, the annual event runs from Peach County to Jekyll Island. Parishioners collect items all year and through a pre-sale held two weeks out and on the day of the sale, pitch in to sell toys, clothes, household goods and food. "Unlike Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000, we did run out of food--both days," said the Rev. Aaron Brewer, Rector.  To see more photos, go here:  http://bit.ly/stlukespeachestobeaches2017
 
Share your news in From the Field
Send your news, events and photos to 
so we can feature them in upcoming issues of From the Field. Deadline for submissions each week is Monday at 4:30 PM.  
Down to the River to Pray
Celebrate God's creation this spring on one of three half-day "floating retreats" offered by the Creation Care Commission! The first "Down to the River to Pray" event is on Cathead Creek near Darien this Saturday, March 18, 1-5 p.m. Cost is $35 per person and the paddle will last two to three hours, winding through woods to Buffalo Swamp Natural Area and along irrigation canals by abandoned rice fields. Along the way, we'll stop for spiritual reflection and prayer. Equipment will be provided by a local outfitter who will also guide the trip. Some prior experience with paddling is recommended. An optional Eucharist and potluck supper at St. Cyprian's will follow. Click here
for more information and to register. 

Stay tuned for two more Down to the River to Pray events this spring on the Little River (near Valdosta) in April and Ebenezer Creek (near Savannah) in May!

The Rev. William and Mary Willoughby will lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land December 4-15, 2017. They will be holding an information session tomorrow evening, Thursday, March 16 at 7 PM. For a full brochure and more information, click here.
Prayers for Weekly Liturgies
Our one-year prayer cycle combines prayers for every congregation in the Diocese of Georgia with prayers for our ecumenical partners and for our Companion Diocese of The Dominican Republic. The 52 weekly prayers are available in one document  found here. 

March 12-18 
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Cochran, Trinity and for our ecumenical partners, especially St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Cairo.  In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for  El Santo Nombre (the Church of the Holy Name) in Catalina.  

March 19-25 
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Cordele, Christ Church and for our ecumenical partners in Cordele, especially St. Theresa Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Consuelo:  La Gran Comisión (The Grand Commission) and San Gabriel (St. Gabriel). 
Saluda Cottage Available to Rent

It's known as the Clergy Cottage and although clergy in the Diocese of Georgia get first dibs, it is also available to lay people. The two-story 1920's era cottage is nestled in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina in Saluda, a lovely historic town close to Kanuga, Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Use it as your pied-à-terre for sightseeing or for simply relaxing in a rocking chair on the wrap-around porch...or both! More information is available here and a photo album of the cottage is online here. It opens May 1st, 2017. For registration and availability please contact Vicki Schuster at the Diocese. 912-236-4279 or via email vschuster@gaepiscopal.org.
Chrism Masses for the Clergy
Two Chrism Masses are scheduled for Holy Week with one in the west on Holy Monday at 11 a.m. at St Anne's Tifton with a light lunch to follow in their parish hall and one in the east on Holy Tuesday at St Paul's Savannah, again at 11 a.m. with a light lunch to follow. 

"This gathering is more than just a chance to refill our oils and grab lunch," said Bishop Benhase. "It is a time for us to renew our ordination vows together and to reflect deeply on our shared vocations and commitments."
Project Resource
Register for April 8th at St. Peter's, Savannah

Canon Katie Willoughby teaches at St. Patrick's, Albany this past weekend.

Registration is still open for the April 8th Project Resource Training from 9 AM to noon at St. Peter's Savannah. Canons Katie Willoughby and Frank Logue co-lead the training created by the College for Bishops. Project Resource gathers the best wisdom in our church on annual stewardship, major gifts, and planned giving campaigns. There is no cost for this training.  Register online for Project Resource at St. Peter's, Savannah
From Honey Creek: Register for Camp!

Summer camp is right around the corner, and spots at Honey Creek are filling up more quickly than ever before! Whether you are in high school, middle school, elementary or are interested in one of our parent/child sessions, you'll get to experience our new High and Low challenge course, our revamped and innovative Christian Ecology program, along with both traditional and brand new summer camp programming that has earned Honey Creek Summer Camp a spot in thousands of hearts. But you must register while we still have available spots! Follow this link to register your camper.

The Communicators' Roundtable at St. Patrick's, Albany was a hit this past Sunday. Look for these trainings to come close to your congregation.

Church Admin 101 and Communicators' Roundtable 
The first session of the Church Admin 101 and Communicators' Roundtable was a success as leaders from churches in the area gathered at St. Patrick's, Albany. One group learned about the role of vestry and the basics of church administration while a second group gathered to share best practices for church communications. Register today for an informative and fun training with diocesan staff. Workshops run concurrently on the same day/date. 

St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah

Grace Church, Waycross

Our Savior, Martinez
Diocesan Office Update and News  
This Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to King of Peace, Kingsland at 10 AM and to St. Mark's, Woodbine at 4 PM. The Bishop's full schedule is available here.

Canon Logue preaches this Sunday at St. John's, Savannah. On Monday through Wednesday of next week, he will be on a retreat.

Canon Logue will preside and preach at the noonday Eucharist this Thursday in St. George's Chapel at Diocesan House. 

As Diocesan House is engulfed by revelers each St. Patrick's Day, the office will once again be closed on March 17.
Register Now for New Beginnings #50
Registration closes on Monday, March 20, so don't delay! Youth who are currently in grades 7-9 are encouraged to come to Honey Creek for an amazing retreat weekend led by youth for youth. Throughout the weekend participants will reflect together on their lives, friends, family, and faith. Most of all, participants will have a chance to experience and reflect on the Love that God has for each of us, how we see that love in Jesus and in the world around us, and how we respond to that love in our daily lives. We will play games, sing songs, and worship together throughout the whole weekend! Parents and friends are invited to the closing Eucharist on Sunday afternoon.

The Lead Teen for New Beginnings #50 is Graham Hummel, from Christ Church, Frederica. The New Beginnings Coordinator is Maggie Bloodworth, from Hawkinsville.

Participants arrive after supper on Friday evening and depart on Sunday afternoon. The total cost of the event is $115. Financial Aid is available. To request financial aid, please contact the Rev. Joshua Varner at  jvarner@gaepiscopal.org.

To register for New Beginnings, please click here.

Preparations for EYE#17 Underway

Participants who will head to Oklahoma this July for the Episcopal Youth Event gathered this past weekend at Honey Creek to begin to prepare for their trip.
Events
Church Development Institute (CDI) March 17-18
Honey Creek
Go  here for more information.

Church Development Institute (CDI) Augusta  March 17-18
Our Savior, Martinez
Go  here for more information.

Lenten Prayer Retreat, March 24-25
Led by the Revs. Liam Collins and Frank Logue with Victoria Logue, TSSF
Honey Creek
Go here for more information

Trainings for Vestries, Administrators and Communicators, 
March 26
2-5 PM
St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah
Register
New Beginnings #50
, March 24-26
Honey Creek
Go here for more information.

Project Resource Stewardship Training, April 8
St. Peter's Savannah 
Go here for more information. 

Episcopal Church Women/Daughters of the King Annual Retreat, April 20-22
St. John's Bainbridge
For more information go here.

Missional Voices National Gathering
, April 21-22
Virginia Seminary
Leading thinkers from around The Episcopal Church will discuss innovative ministries, missional communities, and how to participate in the mission of God in our neighborhoods. 
More details are available at Trainings for Vestries, Administrators and Communicators, April 23
2-5 PM
Grace Church, Waycross
Register  here  

Trainings for Vestries, Administrators and Communicators,  May 14
2-5 PM
Our Savior, Martinez
Register 
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