June 26, 2019
Volume 9, No. 44
Guest Columnist
Racial Healing in Our Diocese: New Seeds and Growth
How can African Americans and Whites build a foundation that will allow for honest and fruitful conversation? What do White people need to consider who want to be conscious about racism and its role in the destruction of African American life in America? What do African Americans need to do now? How can faith and spiritual journeys inform the work of dismantling racism?
Living Into God's Dream: Dismantling Racism in America,
Edited by Dr. Catherine Meeks

Dr. Catherine Meeks is the gentlest and fiercest presence you are likely to meet in the work of racial healing and justice. She has much to offer about the above questions, and when she speaks, believe me, people listen. That was indisputably demonstrated when she led the spring clergy retreat at Honey Creek in April. Dr. Meeks leads The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing (AJCRH) in Atlanta, which is a collaborative ministry between The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and The Episcopal Church. The Center and her work are part of the church's flourishing ministry for racial healing and justice known as Becoming Beloved Community. AJCRH exists to provide "tools and experiences that allow faith communities to engage in dismantling racism through prayer, dialogue, pilgrimage, and spiritual formation."

Last month I was among 20 clergy who, gathered from across the Episcopal diocese of Province IV, encompassing nearly all the Southeastern states, participated the AJCRH's first Justice Pilgrimage. The event was a five day immersive experience and spiritual journey into the heart of racial healing work. Scholars and practitioners enlarged our perspective and filled us with knowledge about topics that too few Americans--Whites and African Americans--yet know. At mid-week, we traveled to Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina to visit and experience historical sites of importance in the slave-trade and slave-owning culture of our Colonial and American past. Together we ate and sang, we wept with others who already are immersed in truth telling, relationship building, and the work of racial healing.

In Savannah, we met Patt Gunn, a Gullah-Geechee descendant and owner of Underground Tours of Savannah. Her tour allowed us to envision and experience the human and inhumane realities of our past in ways that books, lectures and even film cannot. In Charleston, we toured with Alphonso Brown's Gullah Tours before visiting Grace Church Cathedral, where we learned the story of a enraged Episcopal priest from Savannah who murdered Bishop William Guerry in 1928 for the bishop's  advocacy of racial equity. "The priest who shot the bishop had written that the bishop, given his way, would root out the principle of white supremacy in the south." These were transformative experiences that changed me, perhaps all of us.

At the Justice Pilgrimage, I learned many things, a few of which I now share with you. I learned that the root of healing always is compassion and that its result wholeness. I learned that no matter how much you already perceive and know (and know that you know) about this history, about race or racism, that this issue perpetually reveals itself to be more complex and nuanced than supposed. At every turn and at every step forward, it remains yet more complex and nuanced, and this is a humbling realization. With all my heart, I know that the work of racial healing is not about eliciting shame, though it is a spontaneous response when one stands in the past made present. Racial healing requires courage on the part of both Whites and African Americans, for both are deeply affected and hurt by its pervasive continuance. I learned that the journey of racial healing begins, always, with oneself, with myself, and that it is an inward act of spiritual formation to examine the truth of my heart. To see the breadth and reality of racism becomes possible only after I see and confront my own racism--at first invisible, then manifestly visible. The way toward healing, the way to resurrection is through the shadow of death that we remember on Holy Saturday. For us, who follow Jesus, there is no shortcut to resurrection that bypasses the cross. Like Jesus, we must pass through death to find life. Ponder what this might mean in the long dark shadow of our nation's history of racial oppression.

Slavery is perhaps the defining issue of the American story, and we as a nation have yet to directly face and resolve its legacy and evolving consequences. No longer can those in the dominant group--Whites--avoid or dismiss the realities and inhuman consequences of systemic racism in our culture that adversely affect the lives of our Black brothers and sisters in Christ. The issue of race and racism once again is rising to the top of public consciousness, discourse, and activism. Lay and ordained leaders in our diocese are aware of our need to be actively and persistently engaged in racial healing and no small number of them have been at this for years. This is a time of discernment, testing, and learning how to do this work today in ways that lead not to division or distrust but to healing and wholeness.

"How can faith and spiritual journeys inform the work of dismantling racism?" To all who wish to participate in ongoing racial healing work or to begin the work, I suggest that you start first with yourself. I suggest that you make your desire to participate in this work known among your church leaders so that those of like mind may set aside time and place gather to support and sustain one another. I suggest that you lay groundwork by reading Living Into God's Dream. I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the structure and exercises readily available through our church's Becoming Beloved Community initiative and resources. Lastly, daily revisit your Baptismal vows and hold them in prayer: "I will, with God's help" (BCP 304-305).

I welcome and invite inquiries and support in this work to enlarge the Beloved Community in our diocese and bring about healing and peace for our world.

In Christ and in Peace,

John+

The Rev. John W. A. Jenkins
Associate Priest, Saint Paul's Church, Augusta
IN THIS ISSUE
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This Sunday's Lections
THIRD SUNDAY
after
PENTECOST
Track 1
2 Kings 2:1-2,6-14
Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Luke 9: 51-62

Track 2
I Kings 19:15-16, 19-21
Psalm 16
Galatians 5:1,13-25
Luke 9:51-62

Go  here for the full text.

The timeline has been updated to reflect the October dates for the Walkabout. Go here for a downloadable copy. 

Please keep the Standing Committee, the Transition Committee, the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, and the Candidates in your prayers:
St. Thomas Aquinas, Baxley
Congregation Moving, Seeks Home for Furnishings
Recognizing that a congregation is more than a building, the members of St. Thomas Aquinas Episcopal Church will soon be holding services at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, 1520 City Circle Road, Baxley in anticipation of its property being sold.

The Rev. Steve Larsen will read the de-consecration liturgy at the final gathering at the building on Golden Isles West at 6 PM, Sunday, June 30th. The congregation will begin sharing space at St. Rose of Lima the following Sunday, July 7th. Services at the new location will also be at 6 PM Sunday evenings.

"We're thankful to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah for this partnership," said the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase. "A few years ago, we were able to assist them with shared space in Pooler and now they're returning the favor in Baxley. Even though we have differences, we share the same Good News of Jesus and a desire to equip our people to serve others in the name of Christ. What we share in common is more important than any differences we have."

Starting July 8th, the congregation will be divesting the sanctuary of its furnishings, including pews, artwork, etc. The deadline to remove items is July 31st.

"We really hope that they will be of service in other churches in the Diocese," said Lynn Carter, the parishioner who is coordinating the process, adding "everything is free." If interested in any of the furnishings and to see photos of what is available, please contact Carter at lscarter68@atc.cc

Founded in 1982, St. Thomas Aquinas purchased its present church property in 1989. Local members and the diocesan Vision for Mission and Ministry provided funds for the purchase, which included a church building and parish hall with kitchen on three acres on U. S. 341 (Golden Isles Parkway West). The first service was held there on November 1, 1989 with Rev. Carter Maddox presiding. Several years later on Easter Day 1992, the refurbished parish hall was dedicated in memory of Ethel Padgett Bullard, the late wife of member "Bird" Bullard. 


Membership and attendance have ebbed and flowed through the years, with the current average Sunday evening worship attendance of 13. Despite limited numbers, St. Thomas Aquinas has engaged in extensive community outreach efforts through the years--and will continue to do so. 

Teen Team Returns from the Dominican Republic
Members of the Teen Team with their chaperones.

The Dominican Republic mission team sponsored by Christ Church Valdosta returned home safely on Monday, June 24, after a week of fellowship and projects with the people of the village of El Pedregal, this team's mission field since 2001.

In addition to the team's traditional projects of light construction, sewing classes, mural painting in Episcopal classrooms, and a veterinary clinic to vaccinate dogs for several diseases, this year's activities featured something totally new: the formation of a "teen team" composed of three teenagers from Georgia and eight teenagers from El Pedregal, who worked for four days together on projects such as hands-on sewing classes, watercolor painting, making friendship bracelets, picking up trash and planting flowers and trees in the village and on the grounds of the Episcopal conference center where the team was based They also assisted with a half-day "splash party" for about 100 local children. The teens also enjoyed a day trip to Rancho Baiguate, a local ecological resort, where they had a tour of the facility focusing on environmental issues and lunch in the center's open-air dining hall plus time to play and swim in the resort's pool.

Chaperones for this trip included Phyllis Hiers, a veteran missioner from Valdosta; and Mary Jeannette Pringle de Quezada, the wife of the Rt. Rev. Moisés Quezada, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Jeannette was a fellow missioner and sewing instructor on both the 2018 and this 2019 team, and Bishop Quezada came from Santo Domingo to spend two days with the team, staying in the dormitory with the other missioners and participating in a question-and-answer session about the DR diocesan ministries in additional to other casual conversations. He also took part in local excursions with the team to a waterfall and flower festival, and walked through the village to see the results of years of annual construction and other projects completed by the Valdosta missioners in close collaboration with local Episcopal clergy and village leaders.

For more information on the Diocese of Georgia's ministry with its companion Diocese of the Dominican Republic, please go here.    
Bishop Quezada, fifth from left, meeting with the team to discuss diocesan ministries and the work of mission teams. From left: Fred Richter, Statesboro; Emily Taylor, Valdosta; Meg Hiers, Marietta; William Whatley, Statesboro; Bishop Quezada; Mary Jeannette Pringle de Quezada; Julius Ariail, Valdosta; Phyllis Hiers, Valdosta.

Don't miss out on camp at Honey Creek this summer, sign up by going to the Honey Creek website and go to the SUMMER CAMP tab to book a spot. Grab a friend and come to The Creek this summer!
July 15th Deadline for First Paver Installation!
The first installation of bricks and pavers at Honey Creek, marking the path from the Chapel to Stewart Hall, will be completed in August, 2019!

Pavers are an excellent way to mark graduations, anniversaries, births, retirements, any of life's important milestones and to celebrate a person--particularly a camper or counselor!

To be included in this inaugural setting of stone, forms must be filled out and mailed along with payment by July 15th. Go  here to get started.

Be a part of the first wave of bricks and pavers to be added to the path at Honey Creek! Go here to get started!
Around the Diocese
Members of St. Thomas' Thomasville joined members of neighboring First Missionary Baptist Church on a pilgrimage to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery to learn more about our national story.
























Ben Gessner, new Director of Music at St. Patrick's and Our Saviour, Albany, right.
Vacation Bible School at St. Thomas Isle of Hope.

The Rev. Amy Bradley chats with one of the participants in St. Augustine of Canterbury's Vacation Bible School--for Adults!

A thank you poster made for the Search Committee for the next Rector at King of Peace, Kingsland, left, and volunteers from Holy Comforter, Martinez making beds for the needy, right.
Know Your Delegate Count for 198th Convention
From the Standing Committee  Regarding Delegates to the Diocesan Convention  and Election of the XI Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia:

T his is a reminder that the new Article III, Sec. 2 of the Canons of the Diocese of Georgia will be in effect at the upcoming Convention and Bishop Election of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia on November 14-16, 2019. This Article states that the calculation of each congregation's READ MORE
Diocesan Office Update and News
The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase,  10th Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia, will make his annual visitation to St. John's Bainbridge at 10:30 AM, Sunday, June 30. The Bishop's full schedule can be found  here.  

The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary, is on sabbatical through July 15.

The Rev. Joshua Varner, is preparing for the upcoming Diocesan Mission Trip and supporting summer camp at Honey Creek.

The Rev. David Lemburg, Priest-in-Charge at St. George's Church, Savannah, will officiate at the Thursday, noon service at Saint Anna Alexander Chapel, Diocesan House.

Diocesan House will be closed Thursday, July 4th in observance of the national holiday.
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. 

June 23-June 29

In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Quitman, St. James. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially St. Jude Catholic Church in Glennville. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the St. Peter the Apostle (San Pedro Apostól) in Los Conucos.

June 30-July 6
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Pooler, St. Patrick's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Garden City and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Port Wentworth. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Mary, Full of Grace ( Santa María Llena de Gracia) in Mao.

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 .
Minute to Win It

An all-time favorite activity at Honey Creek Camp is competing in the Minute to Win It game. 
Events  
Ordination to the Priesthood for the Rev. Arthur Jones, Deacon
St. Thomas' Thomasville
10:30 AM Saturday, June 29

Candidate for XI Bishop Interviews Conclude
Search Committee Meets
Saturday, July 13

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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