December 13th, 2017
Volume 8, Number 15
New Beginnings #51 Hosts 70 at Honey Creek

This past weekend more than 70 middle and high school youth and a few adults gathered at Honey Creek for New Beginnings #51. Throughout the weekend youth who were on staff offered their thoughts on subjects including Identity (Who am I?), Friends, Family, Peer Pressure, Who is Jesus?, and God is Love. Worship included an Evening Service of Light, a Service of Repentance and Healing (often called the "sin-burning" service), Morning Prayer each morning, and a closing Eucharist. Throughout the weekend there were activities, games, times of quiet and prayer, and times of loud and joyful chaos!
From left, JD Greneker of Christ Church, Valdosta, Camile Cook and Abbey Shoemake of St. Paul's Savannah, and Mac Graham making music.

Participants and staff described the weekend in these terms: "An amazing weekend!" Emilee Menard, St. Elizabeth's, Richmond Hill, "one of the best weekend youth events I've ever been to," JD Greneker, Christ Church, Valdosta. 

Lead Teen Madi Cook, from St. Thomas', Thomasville, summed up the weekend this way, "New Beginnings #51 was so, so magical. I loved being surrounded and supported. Thank you staff for all that you did in helping to shine God's light. Participants, remember your journey starts here, walk in God's light and share His unending love." 
The next New Beginnings will take place March 9-11, 2018, and will be led by Garrett Shoemake, from St. Paul's, Savannah. The New Beginnings Coordinator for the Diocese is Maggie Bloodworth, from Hawkinsville.

At left:  Madi Cook with New Beginnings Coordinator Maggie Bloodworth (left) and Adult Leader Teresea Martin.
In This Issue
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This Sunday's Lections
Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
Psalm 126
Canticle 15 (or 3)

Go  here 
for the full text.
In Savannah Magazine
Profile of the Rev. Jamie Maury
An article in this month's Savannah magazine profiles the Rev. Jamie Maury and highlights his ministry to the Community of St. Joseph in Savannah. The article was written by Beverly Willett, a member of Christ Church, Savannah. To read the article, go here. All photos: Savannah Magazine.

For "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,
and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow,
he does not know how"-Jesus, (Mark 4:26-27)

Loose Canon

Scattering Seeds of Invitation to Christmas Worship
Christmas will be upon us sooner than I care to imagine. With it, as with Easter, comes one of the two best opportunities to invite friends, family and co-workers to join you for worship. Survey after survey shows that most southerners who do not have a church home will react favorably to an invitation to church at these times of year. Even in this post-Christendom age many are culturally conditioned toward Christmas and Easter worship.
First: The Basics
Albany State singers at St. Paul's Albany
Have you updated your answering machine to include the Christmas schedule? Is your website up to date with the Christmas services clearly listed on the home page to be seen by any first time visitors at your site? How about the Facebook page with a post pinned to the top giving Christmas service times? You can use one of two Christmas videos I created with some friends for a free eye-catching post with worship times. 
Click here for the videosAre there photos there to give them a feel for Christmas at your church? Have you used every free and low cost means to get out your service times for Christmas, such as a targeted Facebook ad, a notice on community bulletin boards, and a notice in nearby community association newsletters? A small (real estate size) sign or larger banner visible to cars passing by can also let those who drive by your church know what time your services will be.
Then: The Secret to Getting More Visitors
The single best way to get newcomers to church is a personal invitation from a trusted friend ( See the 1-minute video at right). The secret is, of course, no secret. We know this. So support one another with some tools. This is a great time of year to make sure that you have flyers about your Christmas liturgies and any other special events, such as Lessons and Carols. Encourage everyone in your congregation to give them to friends, family and co-workers with an invitation to join your church family for Christmas. The one caveat is this: even if the person reacts favorably, and even says they will come, they might well not darken the church doors this Feast of the Nativity. Most of us then decide that the seed has been scattered on soil not yet disposed toward growth and then never make another invitation. This is where we can easily fail in scattering seed.
Low Key Persistence
It may well take a Christmas invitation, followed by an Easter invitation, followed by yet another Christmas invitation before your friends actually show up for church. Never underestimate the inertia that must be overcome to make the move from not attending church to worshiping faithfully. Keep the invitations persistent and low key, always making sure folks know they are welcome, without ever making someone feel bad for not showing up. That is how such seeds are consistently scattered.
Then the Preacher Brings the Gospel Home
Christmas altar at St. Michael's and All Angels' Savannah
Clergy know that these occasions bring newcomers and will be working hard on their homilies to give real meat on which a non-churchgoer can chew (Right? We are doing that aren't we?). Evangelism is not just a matter of getting folks through the doors for the liturgy, but certainly that is a key part and one in which any Episcopalian can help with a no pressure invitation, "Why don't you join us for Christmas Eve? The candlelight service is always breathtaking." How hard could that be? It's easier than you might think.
-The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary
PS: It is a great time to use the high level assessment from Invite Welcome Connect
Around the Diocese

At the ordination to the priesthood of the Rev. Leslie Dellenberger (standing next to Bishop Benhase): from left, front row: the Very Rev. Stan White, Deacon Scott Mithen, the Rev. Judy Jones, Deacon Ri Lamb, the Rev. Dwayne Varas, Deacon Yvette Owens, and the Rev. Rick Buechner. Second Row: Bishop Scott Benhase and the Rev. Leslie Dellenbarger.
Evensong at St. Patrick's Albany. At right, Casey Perkins, Gabriel Lawrence, Carolyn Brunson, Deacon Joy Davis, and the Rev. Nick Roosevelt.

The choirs of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta presented their 36th annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols on Sunday night, December 10. The service is based on the traditional service which originated at King's College, Cambridge, England.

The ECW at St. Patrick's Pooler held a meeting with cookie exchange last week.

Members of St. John's Savannah decorated the Green-Meldrim house for the holidays.

Chemo caps and blankets lovingly made by members of St. George's are packed up for distribution following a blessing by the Rev. James Parker.
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. 

December 10-16
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Woodbine, St. Mark's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially the Catholic congregations of Holy Family in Metter and St. Bernadette in Millen. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo, especially Santísma Trinidad ( Holy Trinity).

December 17-23
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for Diocesan Youth Programs, Columba House Savannah, and our Episcopal Campus Ministries at Valdosta State and Georgia Southern Universities. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially those in Springfield-St. Paul's Lutheran Church and St. Boniface Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for Jesús Maestro (Jesus the Master) in Tamboril.
Diocesan Office Update and News  
Bishop Benhase and Kelly are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary on a vacation to Italy. They return Wednesday, December 20th. The Bishop's full schedule is available  here.

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue is at Good Shepherd Pennick today in preparation for the Revival. This weekend, he will be in Atlanta for a meeting with the Presiding Bishop and a group working on evangelism initiatives in the Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner  is on retreat this week at Sewanee.

The Rev.  Kevin Kelly, Rector of St. Michael's and All Angels, Savannah, will officiate at the noon service in St. George's Chapel at Diocesan House tomorrow.
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.  
Revival: Boundless Love Fearless Faith
January 20
For more information, go here:

Stewardship Training with Bishop Benhase
January 27, 9:30 AM to noon
St. George's Savannah
Diocesan Council
February 2
St. Barnabas' Valdosta

Stewardship Training with Bishop Benhase
February 3, 9:30 AM to noon
St. James' Quitman
Register here.

Clergy Spouse Retreat
February 9-11
Honey Creek 
Register here. 

Stewardship Training with Bishop Benhase
February 17, 9:30 AM to noon
St. Mark's, Brunswick 
Register  here .

February 23-25
Honey Creek Retreat Center
The Return

The Ascension window at Christ Church Savannah has been removed for restoration and will be re-installed in time for Carols for a Cause, the yearly fundraiser for Emmaus House which will be held December 17th at 7 PM. More information here.
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