July 17, 2019
Volume 9, No. 47
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This Sunday's Lections
Track 1
Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10: 38-42

Track 2
Genesis 18:1-10a
Psalm 15
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10:38-42

Go  here for the full text.
Update from the Search Committee

The Search Committee met this past Saturday at Christ Church, Dublin to select candidates to invite to our Discernment Retreat at Honey Creek, August 11-15. During that retreat the committee will divide into pairs to meet several times with each candidate throughout the week. Each pair of interviewers will focus on a particular area of episcopal ministry, such as Clergy Recruitment and Formation, Rule of Life, Theology of Stewardship, etc. In addition to these small group interviews, each candidate will be asked to meet with the whole committee for teaching presentations. Bishop Benhase, Canon for Administration Katie Easterlin, and Chancellor Jim Elliot will be present towards the end of the week to meet with the candidates as well. 

We have begun the required process of background checks on each candidate, a lengthy process but one we should be able to complete before the retreat begins. After the retreat and once we have received the final report from the background checks, the Search Committee will present a slate of potential nominees to the Standing Committee for approval. We still expect to publish that slate on September 1.

In our work so far, we have always known ourselves to be supported by your prayers. Thank you, and please keep at it.

The Search Committee
The Loose Canon
Looking outside the church bubble
I am back at work after an opportunity afforded few 
people--a 12-week sabbatical that offered me a balanced time of rest and renewal. An unexpected benefit of the time away from my day-to-day work was that I came to see how I have been in the church bubble since I started seminary 22 years ago. While that is to be expected of a priest, the skewed perspective of life in the church matches neither the lives of most of the people one serves nor the folks with whom we want to share the Good News of Jesus.
In these few months away, I have spent more time in conversation with people who just don't give the church a thought. This is not to say I talked with people who are not ethical or even spiritual, but people who find themselves in church only from time to time for a wedding or funeral or to appease a grandmother's wishes when family get together. During this time, I was also reading on evangelism (as well as books that had nothing to do with the church) and could see the stark disconnect between the lives of the people with no religious affiliation and the church's ways of reaching them.
Victoria and I making patacones (below) under the supervision of Helen, our teacher.

While my wife, Victoria, and I did worship, well, religiously, while away from my work here, we could also hear how others find meaning and even spiritual connection. This can be through nature, of course, but also in family and friends, especially through shared meals. While I wish I could report that I have descended from the heights of sabbatical with The Answer, the opposite is true. I have said before that there is no Silver Bullet that will save the church, now I just see more clearly why that is true. Mostly, I found that the people outside the church are as spiritual and in many ways religious, even if they don't think so (praying routinely for example) as those in our pew
What those on the outside looking in do not see in the church is people whose lives are better. That doesn't surprise me, but it does leave those not in church wondering why we bother. It's not that those with no religious affiliation don't know Christian churches. They do. They are just not that into us.
None of what I have written will surprise most readers of this Loose Canon as you no doubt spend less of your days in the church bubble than I do. But I return happy to be back at fulfilling work and ready to assist our congregations in being healthy, effective means of grace. For while I rediscovered how the other half lives, I am no less convinced that the forgiveness, mercy, and love found in our churches is what those on the outside need no less than us within the church. And I have some glimpses at how it is we can and do connect to some folks and am interested in working more at sharing those best practices as we seek to be the Body of Christ in a lost and hurting world.

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue
Returned Wanderer
The Bishop Knocks on the Door
Grace Sandersville
Grace Episcopal Church was founded in Sandersville, Washington County in 1885. The following year, the Rev. Stewart Martin began raising funds to build a church building. This first building was consecrated May 13, 1900, by Bishop Cleland Nelson. On March 29, 1992, the present church building on Second Street West, was dedicated, under the leadership of the Revs. Robert Carter and Dawson Teague.

In 1963, as the Civil Rights Movement was growing, members of a nearby African Methodist Episcopal Church began attending Grace. That church family continues to
this day. Grace participates in numerous community activities such as the Bread of Life Food Bank, Farmers Market sales for Camp Honey Creek, as well as support for the local animal shelter through the parish's Pennies-For-Paws collections. Annual contributions also provide support for Jubilee School in Haiti, and the Boys and Girls Club.

Community outreach is also done by hosting community groups as well as the Grace Yoga Group. Each fall, there's a Community Blessing of the Animals, Congregational Meals four times a year, and outreach to The Christian Life Center, a local group that provides a food pantry every Tuesday and has a clothing and household items at a second location. 
Above: the Rev. Carlton Shuford, left, Bishop Benhase and Kathy Shuford during the Bishop's Visitation. Below left and center: raising funds for Honey Creek by selling baked goods at Market on the Square. At right, blessing of the animals in the community.
St. Philip's Hinesville Welcomes New Priest in Charge
The Rev. José  Vilar, a third generation Episcopal priest, has accepted a call to St. Philip's Hinesville as Priest in Charge.

Vilar's grandfather, José  Maria, and two uncles, José  and Miguel are Episcopal priests. Vilar was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and received his bachelor's degree in business administration with a focus on accounting at Universidad Ana G. Mendez and his master's degree in Divinity from St. Peter and St. Paul Seminary.

His most recent call was to the Diocese of Colorado as Hispanic Missioner. Vilar has also served parishes in Puerto Rico, including St. Gabriel Archangel; St. Bernabe; St. Timothy's, La Resurrection and St. Maria Magdalene. He also worked with the seafarers at Port Elizabeth, New York.

He has been married for 35 years to Wanda and they have three children: Juan, José,  and Gladys, and six grandchildren.

The Revs. Melanie Lemburg and Lonnie Lacy are Spiritual Directors this last week of camp at Honey Creek for St. Mary and Joseph Camp II - The Greatest Camp on Earth. It's been a great summer in this beloved spot. To see more photos from the Creek, check out their Facebook page here. 
Photo turned into a painting by FSL
Around the Diocese

Most of the Episcopalians from the Diocese of Georgia who attended the Wild Goose Festival gather for a photo, above. The one who's missing from the photo, the Rev. Canon Frank Logue, shown in the photo below preaching at a Eucharist held in the Episcopal tent. The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia helps sponsor the tent.

Liz Reed Bonner-Schroeder listens intently to the baptismal promises her parents and godparents are making on her behalf before she's baptized at Calvary Americus by the Rev. Canon Frank Logue.

Todd McKissick and sons Andy and Alex shred the meat for St. George's BBQ dinner. Over 100 dinners prepared help raise money for the good works that the Men's Club do on the southside of Savannah. 

The congregations of St. Thomas Isle of Hope and St. George's Savannah went to a Savannah Bananas game.

Not an official "Visitation" the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase presided and preached at the Sunday, 6:30 PM Eucharist at the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle. He'll be back this Sunday, too! 
The 198th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia will be held at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, from 2 PM Thursday, November 14 through 11 AM Saturday, November 16th. This convention will serve as an electing convention for the 11th Bishop of Georgia, while also conducting the usual business of the annual meeting including approving budgets and electing persons to diocesan offices.

Registration opened earlier than usual this year to encourage those who require hotel accommodations to make their reservations as soon as possible, as several other events are being held on the college's campus, including a home football game. 

Attendees are also encouraged to car pool to GSU from hotels or area churches.

The Diocese has reserved a block of rooms at two hotels. Make reservations by calling Comfort Inn & Suites, 912-681-2400 or  GM.GA380@choicehotels.com; or the Hampton Inn Statesboro, by calling 912-489-8989. 

Cost for registration is $75 now through August 15; $85 regular registration until October 31 after which registration is $95. The registration fee covers the cost of audio-visual and print production; excellent coffee along with breakfast on Friday and Saturday morning; a catered lunch on Friday, and more.  Go here to register:   http://bit.ly/Registerfor198thConvention

Apply for Next Round of Episcopal Evangelism Grants
Episcopal institutions can now apply for the next round of the Episcopal Evangelism Grants Program, designed to fund local and regional evangelism efforts in the Episcopal Church. The application deadline is October 1.

"At its best, evangelism is a response to the deepest needs of our neighbors and communities," said the Rev. Devon Anderson, chair of Executive Council's Episcopal Evangelism Grants Committee. "We aim to catalyze initiatives and experiments that can teach us more about how to spread the gospel in all of The Episcopal Church's diverse contexts."

The grant program, which began in 2017 as a result of the 2015 General Convention's increased investment in evangelism galvanized by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, awards up to $2,000 for an individual congregation and up to $8,000 for multi-church, diocesan and regional collaborations.

The grants committee, said Anderson, is seeking proposals that will:
  • Create and spread resources that equip Episcopalians and churches to become evangelists and to share and receive faith stories in daily life.
  • Create opportunities for people who are not part of a faith community to build their own loving, liberating, life-giving relationships with God in Christ.
  • Aim for lasting, broad impact.
  • Employ innovation and creativity.
  • Promote church wide learning, understanding and practical application.

"Recently, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry challenged the staff of The Episcopal Church and the members of Executive Council when he exhorted us to remember that our job is to 'equip the Church to be the Jesus Movement in the world.' That equipping is what this program aims to do," said Jerusalem Greer, staff officer for evangelism for The Episcopal Church, who serves on the
Congregations, dioceses, provinces, schools, monastic communities, and other Episcopal organizations are eligible to apply. Regional collaborative partnerships with non-Episcopal entities are welcome as long as an Episcopal entity is the project leader, active manager, and reporting agent. Groups receiving grants are expected to make significant financial contributions toward their projects, and to report what they have learned to the wider church. Projects associated with seminaries and formation programs are encouraged to explore funding through the Episcopal Evangelism Society.

The Episcopal Evangelism Grants program is coordinated by the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Mission Within The Episcopal Church in collaboration with the staff team. The Grants Committee will make its recommendations to Executive Council in December, and funds will be distributed in early 2020.

The grant application, criteria, and additional information is available on The Episcopal Church website. The application deadline is October 1, 2019 at 11 PM Eastern.

Diocesan Office Update and News
Visitations by the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia, will resume on August 18th. Weekly delivery of eCrozier will resume that week also. The Bishop's full schedule can be found  here.
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue will preside and preach this Sunday at St. Matthew's Savannah.

The Rev. Joshua Varner, on the Diocesan Youth Mission Trip July 13-20 this week.

Canon Logue will also officiate at the Thursday, noon service at Saint Anna Alexander Chapel, Diocesan House.
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. 

July 14-20
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Rincon, St. Luke's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially the Lutheran churches in Rincon--Jerusalem and St. John's. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for Divina Gracia ( Divine Grace) in Mozovi.

July 21-27
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in St. Marys, Christ Church. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in St. Marys, especially Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for San Timoteo (St. Timothy) in Nizao

Additional Prayer Cycles
We also offer 30-day prayer cycles for those who wish to pray daily for the clergy and clergy spouses:  Diocesan Prayer Cycle and  Clergy Spouses Prayer Cycle .
Out in the Field

Diocesan Youth on their mission trip this week. Look for a story and photo in next week's From the Field.
Diocesan Office Closed
At noon Fridays during the summer.

Diocesan Youth Mission Trip to Tennessee with Appalachia Service Project
July 13-20
Happening #102
Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4; staff arrives August 1
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Ordination to the Priesthood of the Rev. Samantha McKean, Deacon
Christ Church, Savannah
10:30 AM, Saturday, August 17th

Bishop Search Transition Committee Meeting
St. Anne's Tifton
Wednesday, August 21

Acolyte Festival
Saturday, August 24 (morning) to Sunday, Augusta 25 (after worship)
Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta
Grades three to 12.  

New Beginnings #55
September 6-8
Honey Creek Retreat Center

Diocesan Council
September 13-14
St. Peter's, Savannah

Search for the XI Bishop Walkabout
October 22, 23 and 24

Cursillo #126
October 17-20
Honey Creek
Go  here for more information.

198th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia
November 14-16
Georgia Southern University
To register, go here.
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