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December 10, 2013
"We Dream of a Diocese..."
Final Committee Report

Executive Summary of Action Items for the 43rd Annual Convention The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast

The recommendations from the Committee are based on feedback received from our Diocesan Survey as well as historical study and conversation across the wider Church and can be grouped in two general categories. Category I includes recommendations requiring Canonical changes. Category II contains those recommendations that suggest changes to existing Diocesan policies. In addition to a full summary of our work and the rationale for the items themselves, the full report includes a complete red line edition of the Canons to facilitate a thorough review.

I. Diocesan Constitution and Canons
1. Establishment of five Regions in the Diocese for the purposes of mutual ministry support, fellowship, voting representation, and increased opportunities for participation in governance. Each Region will be led by a Regional Convener, appointed by the Bishop for a three-year term.
2. Establishment of a Diocesan Council to oversee ministry, program, and budgetary planning, to serve as the legislative arbiter of the will of Annual Convention when that body is not in session, and provide direction to the various agencies, departments, and commissions.
3. Define the duties of the Standing Committee in accordance with those set forth in the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and realign other Diocesan agencies, departments, and commissions accordingly.
4. Clarify the use of electronic voting (telephone, internet, etc.).
5. Clarify the eligibility of retired or disabled clergy to serve as General Convention Deputies.
6. Provide, where possible, for parishes to have one additional Annual Convention delegate, provided the delegate is 16-25 years old.

II. Diocesan Policies
1. The recognition of the existing Best Practices for business affairs as prescribed by The Episcopal Church and the application at all levels of the Diocese, including the recommendation for the development of a similar protocol for human resources.
2. A recommendation assigning priorities in the ordination process and the subsequent deployment of ordinands from this Diocese.
3. Recommendations for a mutual ministry review and compensation guidelines for the Episcopacy and subsequent recommendations for all clergy.
4. Recommendations regarding the regularization of Vocational Deacons within the Province. Recommendations pertaining to the opportunities available to all such Deacons to obtain pension and health insurance benefits.
5. A proposal to expand Annual Convention voting rights to non-canonically resident clergy serving congregations in this Diocese.
6. A request to the Finance Commission to recommend the establishment of an Annual Reserve.
7. A recommendation that the appropriate Diocesan entities construct a process to encourage all congregations to achieve parish status.
8. The recognition of the need for a formal planning and evaluation mechanism as currently described in the Five Year Plan but suggesting a Three Year model as more practical,
9. A recommendation that the Diocese review the frequency and character of the Annual Convention.

We Dream... Committee Members

Anne Staley, St. Andrew's, Panama City -

Burton Clark, St. Paul's, Mobile -

Carrie Stevenson, Christ Church, Pensacola -

Ed Garrison, St. James', Eufaula -

Emily Sommerville, St. Paul's Chapel, Magnolia Springs -

Harwell Coale, Jr., Christ Church Cathedral, Mobile -

Joel Williams, St. Mark's, Troy -

Dr. Melinda Henderson, St. Agatha's, DeFuniak Springs -

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Carter Howard, St. Mary's, Andalusia -

The Rev. Massey Gentry, Beckwith and St. Peter's, Bon Secour -

The Rev. Ed Richards, St. Thomas, Laguna Beach -

The Rev. Dr. Glenn Rohrer, Epiphany, Crestview -

The Rev. Peter Wong, Nativity, Dothan -

The Rev. Steve Pankey, St. Paul's, Foley -

My own personal Advent

by the Rev. Margaret S. Shepard

We have now reached the end of the church year, and have begun Advent once again. The prophet Malachi (4:1-2) and the gospel of Luke (21:5-19) shout out to us in effect: "I have a vision for tomorrow, a vision for the future, and here is how it looks." Jesus gives us a depiction, as well, of what will happen at the end times. It seems remote and foreign and strange. Words such as eschatology and apocalyptic which speak of the "end times" hard to get our minds around.

Each of us, however, knows something about endings, about personal end times. My understanding of Christian living has grown from my experiences of end times.

I once took a trip that turned out to be a watershed moment in my life. Our daughter had just graduated from high school and was now ready to enter college. She applied to a number of schools. After many trips to the mailbox, she learned she had been accepted to the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, both in Rochester, New York. The longest she had ever been away from home was for a month each summer at camp in the hills of Tennessee.

The day finally arrived when I was to drive her to Rochester. In my mind, it was precisely what we ought to be doing, but when it came time for me to return home, it suddenly dawned on me that our family was experiencing a rite of passage from which there would be no return. I realized we were saying good-bye to the way it had been---and the way it would never be again. It evoked deep feelings in my heart. As I looked at my daughter before I departed the campus, she seemed so vulnerable, with only a stack of music to defend her. Flying home, I began to reflect on beginnings and endings, what it means to care for another person but to recognize that one is moving beyond the power to protect. It led me to reflect on what it means to love another person.

I thought of something Frederick Buechner had penned when he took his own daughters to school: "If love is a matter of holding fast to, of identifying with and suffering for the ones we love, it is also a matter of standing back from, of leaving space for, of letting go...I think of Jesus, who in a profound way bled for people, but was not a bleeding heart. He wept for Jerusalem, but let Jerusalem choose her own way."

God gives us the example of limits in the person of Jesus. God knew that only in letting Jesus walk in his own experience would ultimate good happen. God did not set limits on Jesus, but enabled Jesus to move on to what would be---the Resurrection.

In setting Jesus free, God sets the world free. Each of us has some Nazareth and some Jerusalem in our experience against which we sit down and weep. God models for us exactly what I learned that day in Rochester, and what Buechner learned as well, that if love is a matter of "holding fast to, of identifying with, of suffering for other people, it is also a matter of standing back from, of leaving space for, of letting go. We are to love one another as God loves us, and this enables us to have courage. But to try to love someone more than God loves is a way of making ourselves miserable and everybody else crazy. We are to love where love is possible.

God freed Jesus to set us free, and thus Jesus was ultimately filled with the courage of conscience and conviction. Jesus could have died in his bed, or he could have taken off for the mountains and taught his disciples under a Bow tree. But Jesus never ran away from life. Jesus came to grips with evil, and to the disciples' dismay, smoked it out, and made it smite him. There he hangs, taught against the wood, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Though Jesus predicts end times, he also holds out the promise of the coming reign of God's kingdom. This promise enables us to proclaim with joyful confidence: "Christ has died, Christ is risen...Christ will come again."

Margaret S. Shepard is rector of St. Andrew's, Panama City. 


Supper at Grace enters 15th year feeding the homeless and needy of Panama City Beach
The big red, white and blue sign outside of Grace Church, Panama City Beach, says that Sunday morning services are at 8:00 and 10:30. But it also announces another kind of service to the community: Supper at Grace, Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.

Supper at Grace is a weekly dinner offered free of charge to the hungry, the poor, the lonely, and the unemployed and underemployed in the area. Supper at Grace started fifteen years ago because of the number of homeless people in Panama City Beach. "We were all talking, talking, talking about helping people," said Grace Church member Phyllis Demo, "so I finally said to our priest, 'Let's just do it.'"

At the first supper a small crew of Grace Church volunteers made soup for the one guest who appeared-but nobody came the next time (the suppers were monthly at first). So parishioners put up fliers in the streets and in laundromats, supermarkets, public libraries, police stations, and some of the old "mom and pop" motels.

The advertising paid off. People started coming for dinner, and within six months the monthly meal became a weekly event. At first, Grace Church parishioners did most of the work themselves, including the shopping, cooking, serving, cleaning up-and the funding-but now duties are shared by rotating teams on a weekly basis from a number of local faith communities: Grace, Holy Nativity, and Saint Thomas Episcopal Churches, the Roman Catholic Saint Dominic's Church and Fellowship of St. Jude, and also the Bay Point Women's Club.

Thanksgiving Day always makes for a special Supper at Grace. Bill Buskell of Pineapple Willy's famous beachfront restaurant donates turkeys: he gave twenty-four this year, all cooked, carved, and delivered. Other parishioners donate hams for the dinner and foods for a nutritious gift bag given to each guest, or the funds to obtain anything needed.

"All the trimmings" and delicious desserts are made and served by the men and women of Grace Church who are helped by a number of volunteers who live or worship elsewhere. Adding to the festivities is the music of Michael Rorah, pianist at the Saltwater Grill of Panama City Beach, who entertains guests with holiday music, show tunes, and requests. Finally, when all the guests have been served, the helpers sit down to feast on leftovers and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with one another.

Whether it's Thanksgiving or any Thursday throughout the year, the people who host Supper at Grace always make it nice for their guests. In 2013, Supper at Grace has served around 125 meals each week. And as Father Joseph Hagberg of Grace Church has said: "If it is a ministry of Grace Church, it is a ministry of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast."


View news video here 
Groups observe World AIDS day

By Amanda Banks

Panama City - Tiny flames glowed by the bay Sunday night in remembrance of all those lost to HIV/AIDS. 

BASIC NWFL Inc. and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church hosted a candlelight vigil in recognition of World AIDS Day, held every year on the first Sunday in December.

"Here tonight, we just want to bring awareness, as always, and hopefully dispel some of the stigma to do with HIV/AIDS...We want people to know that this is something that could be preventable and we want to make the community aware that it's still a big deal, that it's not something you should sweep under the rug," said Pamela Williams, project manager at BASIC NWFL Inc. 

The night began with a candle lighting ceremony and words from Steve Bornhoff, BASIC board chair, and the Rev. Dr. Margaret Shepard, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church; Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki gave a proclamation. After, participants walked across Beach Drive, where the church is located, and stood on the beach for prayer led by Shepard. 

"This is part of our community outreach, to join with BASIC and in order to support those people who are living with HIV/AIDS, families who have loved ones who have died of HIV/AIDS and for the research that is going on. We would like for zero cases of HIV/AIDS - that's what we're striving for," said Shepard. 

Justin Omorinola, a prevention specialist with BASIC, teaches blacks aged 18-24 about HIV/AIDS and ways to avoid contracting it. 

"HIV/AIDS is really important to me because the people in that age group are my friends, my comrades, so I feel like not only is it my job, but I feel like I'm really responsible to help educate people that I know, that I go to school with," he said. 

Others had a less personal connection to the disease, but felt no less strongly about the night's message. 

"I'm here to help observe World AIDS Day and it's important to me because it's a very serious disease that destroys people's lives and families and because I want to support finding a cure for AIDS and offer remembrance to those people who have died of AIDS," said Nancy Young. 

BASIC NWFL Inc. is a local nonprofit agency that provides service and educational materials to those living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones in Bay, Calhoun, Washington, Holmes and Jackson counties. 

"We try to get them any medical care that they need, we try to get them dental care, we make sure that they can pay their insurance, we help them with their medication and even their basic, day-to-day needs," said Williams. 

"We in Panama City ought to be very, very proud that we have a group here like BASIC that does this sort of thing and I'm very proud that my parishioners recognize what they do," said Shepard.

Article reprinted with permission from the Panama City News Herald.

Every Woman a Daughter; 
Every Person a Child of God 
Join The Rev. Cindy Howard and her daughter Liz Kirby for the first diocesan Mother/Daughter Retreat at Beckwith, February 7 - 9, 2014.

The retreat leader is The Reverend Amy Dafler Meaux. The Rev. Amy Dafler Meaux will guide us as we explore together as women Baptism, the Baptismal Covenant and practical applications in our everyday lives. She received her Masters of Divinity from The Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. She has served three Episcopal Churches: Trinity Episcopal Church, New Orleans, Louisiana; Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Dallas, Texas; and now, Trinity Episcopal Church, Danville, KY.
As the Associate for Children, Youth, and Families at Saint Michael and All Angels, Amy worked with over 600 families as they walked their journeys of faith together.

As a priest, Amy is passionate about the ways the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms our daily lives giving us strength and courage to become the people God calls us to be. She is married with three children, an avid knitter and reader, and is slowly learning to quilt.
The weekend will include workshops, worship, music and small group activities. There will be time for fun on the challenge course, opportunity for yoga, and creative arts. We will sing by the campfire and save some time for reflection on "the porch."

Don't miss this opportunity to share time with wonderful women from across the Central Gulf Coast. You do not have to bring your mother or daughter to attend. Girls should be 12 and older.

The cost for the retreat is $160 per adult for the weekend double occupancy in motel rooms - 21 years and under $110 sharing double occupancy.
The rate for dorms is $82 per person (bring your own linens and towels).

For more information or to volunteer to serve on the music team call Eleanor at 251-928-7844 or email

 St. Augustine's Advent and Christmas schedule

The month of December will be filled with fun and activity at St. Augustine's, Navarre, but don't forget to tend to your inner resources as well!

"I want folks from the community to feel welcomed and a part of St. Augustine's," said Fr. Anthony MacWhinnie, rector of the parish. "Christmas really is a special time, both inside and outside the church, but inside the church you really get the meaning of the season. I want everyone to experience it and to feel welcomed and embraced, and to share that feeling with all they meet."

In the middle of all your baking and decorating and shopping and rehearsals and planning in December, add a moment of respite to your Advent. Monday, December 16, at noon will be a mini-retreat at the church, and all are welcome. "Time Out for Christ" will be the theme. The noon hour will be spent with Father Anthony in the church for reflection, discussion, and worship. This will be followed by lunch and fellowship in the parish hall. All are welcome to come and add this special time to your Christmas plans.

The parish will have a Lessons and Carols service Sunday, December 22, at the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist. In this service, the congregation and choir retell the story of "God with us" through passages of scripture paired with carols and anthems. It is a special and enjoyable experience.
The parish will have two services on Christmas Eve. The early one at 6:00 pm will be a family service with children's choir. The later service will be a traditional Midnight Mass with all the candles, incense, and music associated the Nativity of Our Lord. Christmas Day at 11:00 a.m. will be a Holy Eucharist as well.

St. Augustine's Episcopal Church is located at 7810 Navarre Parkway in Navarre, next to the Lewis Funeral Home. The parish has been part of the Navarre community since 1984. For more information, contact the church office at 850-939-2261, Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm.  


 Christ Episcopal Church, Covington, LA is offering a 
Godly Play Core Training


March 27 - 29, 2014
CORE Training
Hosted at Christ Episcopal Church in Covington, LA

Caryl Menkhus Creswell + Gayle Croxton, Godlyas possible.
Play Foundation Trainers

Registration Brochure

What is Godly Play?

 Godly Play teaches children the art of using Christian language - parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action - helping them become more fully aware of the mystery of God's presence in their lives.

When Christian language is learned by the Godly Play approach, it is learned as a means to know God and to make meaning of our lives. This approach is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them. It's about understanding how each of the stories of God's people connects with the child's own experience and relationship with God. Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God. 

Questions - Call Martha Smart: 


Seek to double UTO Ingathering 
this fall
It's not too late to hold your United Thank Offering Fall Ingathering. Simply set the date, advertise it in your parish newsletter, have people bring in their little blue boxes, and receive the UTO collection on that day. You might also want to have UTO envelopes on hand for one-time donations. After your ingathering, count the money and send one check to the diocesan office (not the national UTO office). We are trying to double our efforts for 2013 so that many more UTO grants may be funded, thus giving others reasons for which to Seek to double UTO Ingathering this fall

It's not too late to hold your United Thank Offering Fall Ingathering. Simply set the date, advertise it in your parish newsletter, have people bring in their little blue boxes, and receive the UTO collection on that day. You might also want to have UTO envelopes on hand for one-time donations. After your ingathering, count the money and send one check to the diocesan office (not the national UTO office). We are trying to double our efforts for 2013 so that many more UTO grants may be funded, thus giving others reasons for which to be thankful. Remember, "UTO is the change that changes lives." Supplies may be ordered at
You're Invited
You're Invited 

Ordination to the Sacred Order of Deacons 

Walter Bradford Kindergan
Mary Alice Mathison

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Christ Church Parish
18 West Wright Street at Palafox
Pensacola, FL 

View Invitation Here

Eighth season for Christopher's concerts

Thursday evenings beginning April 24 through June 5, 2014

6:00 pm


St. Christopher's, Pensacola, announces its eighth season concert dates on Thursday evenings beginning April 24 through June 12, 2014. The concerts are on the Church Lawn, 3200 N. 12th Avenue, Pensacola. The public is cordially invited and the concerts are free.


The Rev. Eric Long, rector of St. Christopher's said, "Because Easter is late this year, it was decided to start our eight-week Christopher's Concert season beginning Thursday after Easter-April 24.


"This is part of our church's outreach activity which we are pleased to share with the community. The series features popular musical artists from our surrounding area. We have had good response both from our own congregation as well as the general public. Bring lawn chairs and snacks, if desired. There is a concession stand for your convenience and there is ample parking on three sides of the building."


The bands and schedule are as follows:

April 24: Reunion Band (classic rock)

May 1: Clark and Company (pop, rock, variety)

May 8: Not Quite Fab (Beatles group)

May 15: 13th Hourglass (country rock)

May 22: Al Martin piano group (jazz and pop)

May 29: The Modern Eldorados (country rock)

June 5: The Dizzy Juke Band (blues)

June 12: Mr. Big (pop, jazz, variety)


Festival of Nativities at 
St. Paul's, Daphne
December 13 - 15

St. Paul's, Daphne, will host its fifth annual Festival of Nativities to usher in the Christmas season, December 13-15. This exhibit will feature cr�che scenes in a variety of mediums, representing religions and traditions from around the world. 


"It is an honor for St. Paul's to host this celebration for our community," said Debbie Quinn, planning committee member. "We hope that people of all faiths and beliefs will visit and enjoy the craftsmanship and the collections that people have created," she said.


The exhibit will be held in the church's Life Center, located at 28788 North Main Street in Daphne. It will be open to the community from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on each of the three days.


No admission will be charged and refreshments will be available. The exhibit will be child-friendly, with a cr�che play area, puzzles, and books provided, all designed for students aged four years and up. For more information or to schedule group/school tours, call the church office at (251) 626-2421, email, or visit


 About the Festival of Nativities


The Festival of Nativities exhibit has featured over 400 Nativity scenes in the past four years. They have been designed and constructed in mediums such as clay, glass, hay, paper, porcelain, and wood, as well as more exotic materials like abalone shells, alabaster, balsa wood, and bamboo. Many exhibits have been hand-crafted masterpieces. Additionally, works of area artists will be available for purchase, with a wide range of perspectives on the story of the birth of Jesus, stemming from different time periods, international faiths, and cultural origins.


To date, contributing local artists include Lucy Hunnicutt, Provie Muso, Lee Holmes, Shelly Smith, Americ'a Jones, Amber Ivey, Debbie Rawls Holobaugh, Ack Moore, Sr., Molly Reyenga, Bill Yearty, Laura Cane Armstrong, Candace Pryor of Tom Jones Pottery, and Abby Leach. Also contributing very special Nativity scenes are the St. Paul's Preschool and the Exceptional Foundation of the Gulf Coast.


This is a rare opportunity to see a vast array of international history and traditions on display locally.


By Artist Lucy Hunnicutt


History of Nativity Scenes


Defined as a "model or tableau representing the scene of Jesus Christ's birth," the custom of cr�che showcasing began in the year of 1223. St. Francis of Assisi is recognized as the catalyst for this tradition and is said to have been inspired by the sight of shepherds in the fields of the Italian village of Grecio while traveling one moonlit night. He encouraged those in his community to reenact the Nativity, and the tradition then spread to France, Germany, and other continents.



Winter Woods 2013 
Three mini winter camp sessions
Winter Woods 2013

Join us for one of three mini winter camp sessions at Beckwith to imagine, listen and envision the future of youth and young adult ministry.

We will explore faith and friendship and engage in fireside stories, field games, challenge course activities, arts and crafts, praise and worship and much more!

Junior High: 6-8th grades | Dec. 27-28th
Senior High: 9-12th grades | Dec. 29-30th
Young Adults*: 18-30 yrs. | Dec. 31st -Jan.1st
*Overnight is optional for Young Adults. Must be a high school graduate.

There is no cost for this event! 
Each session begins at 11:00am and ends at 3:00pm the following day. Space is limited! 

Go to to register online.

For questions or additional information please contact James Lawrence, Diocesan Youth Coordinator and Summer Camp Director at or (251) 616-2162 with any questions.

Area Gatherings for Youth and Young Adult Ministry

Regional gatherings provide a place to share ideas, listen, and envision the broader picture of how this ministry takes shape around the diocese. Clergy, lay staff, youth, young adults, and adults that work with youth or young adults are encouraged to participate in a regional gathering.

December 8th at 4:00 pm - St. Simon's, Fort Walton Beach

December 10th at 3:30 pm - St. Paul's, Foley
December 11th at 6:00 pm - Church of the Nativity, Dothan
December 12th at 12:00 pm - Holy Nativity, Panama City 

* Dates for gatherings in Andalusia, Pensacola and Mobile coming soon!

If your church would like to host one of these gatherings, please contact James Lawrence, Diocesan Youth Coordinator and Summer Camp Director at or (251) 616-2162. Additional dates and locations will be coming soon!
Quick Links

Coastline Submissions: 

All articles and announcements for the Coastline should be sent 
to by noon on the Thursday preceding the next 

Coastline publication. Coastlines are published 

every other Tuesday.  

Check out the new Resources page on the Diocesan website at for formation, worship, personal devotion, and congregational development resources! 

Cathedral offers Advent Music at Noon


Christ Church Cathedral, Mobile, will host the annual Advent Music at Noon Series on Wednesday, December 11. The Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 11:30 in the chapel, with the musical program beginning at noon. Immediately after the program, at 12:30 p.m., luncheon will be served in the chapter house. A $5.00 donation is requested for lunch. Everyone is welcome.


The University of Mobile String Orchestra will perform on December 11. 

 Christ Church Pensacola

  Lessons and Carols
5 p.m. 
Sunday Dec. 15


DeFuniak Springs "Christmas Reflections" light display


The lake yard in historic DeFuniak Springs is offering the beauty and wonder of Christmas with a lights and scenery display called "Christmas Reflections." The display features millions of lights and will be shown between 5:00 and 9:00 each evening until New Year's Eve.

Tickets are available for $3.00 per person at the main entrance. Children under six years of age are free and season passes are $35.00. Walkers are encouraged and a donation from them to defray the costs of the display would be appreciated. Carriage rides are available starting at the Methodist Church. Join us to experience the Christmas Spirit!


Tampa parish seeks youth and children's minister

St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Tampa, Fla., is seeking a youth and children's minister to work with rector Eric Kahl. The position description is posted on and as well as the Diocese of Southwest Florida website.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Panama City, Lessons and Carols 


The choir at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Panama City, will present Lessons and Carols, Sunday, Dec. 15, at 4:30.  The format of the service includes nine Bible readings interspersed with hymns and carols. The church is located at 1608 Baker Court. A reception will follow in Byrne Hall. Everyone is invited to attend. For more info, call



Happening #52
March 14-16th, 2014 
An enjoyable opportunity for spiritual growth for teens in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades
presented by other teens.

March 14-16th, 2014
Holy Cross, Pensacola
For more information and forms, please Contact, The Happening Steering Committee at


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The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast
201 North Baylen Street
Pensacola, FL 32502