April 3, 2019
Volume 9, No. 32
The Rev. Yvette Owens Appointed Archdeacon
The Venerable Yvette Owens, Archdeacon
Bishop Scott Anson Benhase has appointed the Rev. Yvette Owens as the Diocese of Georgia's Archdeacon. Owens is the first African-American woman named as Archdeacon, the second woman--and only the second Archdeacon in the Diocese. The first Archdeacon, the Rev. Dr. Saundra Turner, will retire on April 4, 2019.

Owens' journey to the diaconate began 20 years ago when Wanda Todd, a parishioner at Christ the King, Valdosta, invited her to church. Eight years after she attended that first service Owens was ordained at Christ the King. "I felt the call to serve God, but I had never heard about deacons," she said. She then spoke with the Rector, the Rev. Stan White, and found out about the role of deacons in the church and the life of servanthood.

"I realized that I had been on a journey of servanthood my whole life," she continued. "My mom was a military wife and modeled that life and when I had my children, by volunteering at school and the Scouts, I was modeling servanthood, too."

Owens said that from April 4th on, "my servanthood will be about serving my fellow deacons and equipping them to bring more deacons to the diocese." She said that the life of Saint Anna Alexander, Deaconess, has inspired her--and shown that she has a whole lot more to do.

A Department of Defense (DoD) civilian for the past 28 years at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Owens currently works at the 823d Base Defense Squadron as the Administrator Assistant. She is also a 23d Wing and 93d Air Ground Operations Wing Equal Opportunity Counselor and also an Air Force-trained Mediator.

In addition to serving at Christ the King, she will continue to visit other churches in the diocese that do not have deacons once a month. "I serve at the table, read the Gospel, sometimes preach, and socialize afterwards. I try to help people see their role in life as one of servanthood."
Owens is on Diocesan Council, the Southwestern Discernment committee, the Honey Creek Commission,  the Diocese of Georgia Disciplinary Board, and the Deacon Formation Council. She also speaks on anti-racism for the Diocese; and served as a spiritual director for New Beginnings #54 and #53.

Owens and her husband Gus Owens have been married for 28 years and have four children and nine grandchildren.
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Fourth Sunday in Lent
Go  here for the full text.
Send in Questions for Ask the Bishop 
Ask the Bishop returns this Friday, April 5th at 11 AM and we're looking for your questions!

Submit questions on theology or the teachings of Jesus or the 
mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church in Georgia to newsandevents@gaepiscopal.org  and get your answers live on Facebook on Friday. It will also be possible to post questions in the comments on the day of the livestream. 

Go here on Friday at 11 AM to participate:  https://www.facebook.com/georgiaepiscopal/

Calvary Calls the Rev. Richard Nelson
The Vestry of Calvary Americus announces that the Rev. Richard Nelson accepted a call as Priest in Charge. He will start this part-time call on August 15, 2019. Nelson retired after 30 years of ministry in 2017 having served 13 years as the Rector of St. Thomas Isle of Hope. Since then, he has worked as a supply priest and in shorter term, part-time calls, including as a priest in charge in Americus. He is currently serving at St. Elizabeth's in Richmond Hill through Easter. 

Richard, and his wife, the Rev. Geri Nelson, Deacon, (pictured above) arrived in Savannah in 2004 from the Diocese of Western North Carolina where they both served at the Church of the Holy Family in Etowah. After graduating from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 1983, he served churches in Chicago and Sarasota, Florida, before moving to North Carolina to serve at St. James in Hendersonville. He and Geri married in 1990. In the Diocese of Georgia, Richard has been active in Cursillo and in the Savannah Convocation's School of Religion. 

In announcing this call, Calvary's Senior Warden Carey Wooten said, "We thank the supply priests who have served us and will continue to serve us through July and early August.  They have been a true blessing, loving us and assuring us that we are worthy of a great priest, a true calling.  We have that, and so much more."  
Update from the Search Committee
Listening Sessions Conclude
To download a copy of the timeline, click here.

We've passed a major milestone in the search process--we have completed all the Listening Sessions around the diocese. Thank you to everyone who took part in one (or more session); your input is absolutely invaluable to the committee as we develop our profile. Thank you also to all those who completed the online survey. The response was excellent - we received 229 completed surveys. All this data we have gathered will be used not only to create our Diocesan profile now but will also be available for our next bishop to use going forward.

The next step is to draft our Diocesan profile, which will tell potential nominees (and the rest of the church) who we are, how we got here, and where we believe God is calling us next. Small groups within the Search Committee have been assigned to work on drafts of different sections on the profile. This Saturday, the Search Committee meets in Douglas to put those individual sections into a very rough first draft. We still plan to present the final draft of the profile to the Standing Committee for their approval before the end of this month. The target date to publish the profile is May 1, at which time nominations will open. The Standing Committee meets next week to approve the nomination and petition processes, and we will share the details once we have their approval.

Thank you for the trust you have placed in the Search Committee. We are working hard to be good stewards of that trust and to be as transparent as possible in our decisions and actions. If you have questions we haven't yet answered, you may email the committee at bishopsearch@gaepiscopal.org. Thank you also for your ongoing prayers for us; we appreciate them most of all!

The Search Committee
David Ronn Writes: 
A Reflection on the Clergy Spouse Retreat
The author shows off his finished craft project.
This past weekend about 24 clergy spouses traveled to Honey Creek for the Ninth Annual Clergy Spouse Retreat. The Rev. Helen White served as our chaplain, assisted by Canon Frank Logue. We renewed long time friendships as well as began building relationships with those we were meeting for the first time or did not know very well. Throughout the weekend we listened to and discussed subjects presented by author and speaker Brené Brown. We talked about what it means to be a wholehearted people, people who have a strong sense of love and belonging. We discussed vulnerability and shame and the fact that we are good enough. Yes, we are worthy. Each of us shared stories from our lives related to these topics.

During our worship time, the speakers gave inspired messages and the music team with two guitars, recorder, and piano led us in meaningful songs and hymns. Of special note, we learned a new song, "Come All You People". We sang, clapped, lifted our hands, swayed, and some even danced to this lively tune. God felt so close to us as we worshiped together.

Our trip to The Wharf restaurant was especially memorable. We sat outside at four tables right next to the water's edge on a beautiful Saturday evening. The food and service were awesome. A live country and western band played many of our favorites and several of us ventured out on the dance floor to everyone's delight. On the bus ride back to H. C. we all reflected on how blessed we were to have shared such a joyful experience.

Our flowerpot painting activity was so much fun. Everyone expressed their artistic talents in unique and wonderful ways. There were flowers, birds, landscapes, and colorful designs of all shapes and sizes. How talented we are.

Overall, this may have been the BEST clergy spouse retreat ever. I want to encourage and invite every one of you clergy spouses who have not yet attended or have missed some of these retreats to come to our next one. We have so much fun as we worship, play, and eat together. Establishing and building new connections. Getting to know each other. Supporting and encouraging one another. A few of us have been blessed to participate in all nine of our retreats.
Won't you come and join us. As the song says, "Come All You People."

David Ronn : )

The Rev. Helen White, clergy spouse chaplain, preaches at the Eucharist. Clergy Spouses enjoyed playing with a "photo booth" throughout the weekend. Pictured above, Canon Frank Logue, left, Jim Drazdowski, center, and Russell Byrd, right.
The Retreat included a dinner at the Wharf on Jekyll Island. To see more photos from the Retreat, go  here.
ECW Annual Retreat/Daughters of the King Spring Assembly

The ECW Annual Retreat and The Order of the Daughters of the King's Spring Assembly with the Rev. Becca Stevens is just a few weeks away--April 26-27. Register online or by mail for this exciting event. To register by mail please go to www.ecw.georgiaepiscopal.org . Under the Events tab find the registration form and the schedule of events. Both can be copied, pasted, printed, filled out and then mailed. Or follow the link on the homepage to register online. 

Bring along any gently bras or new bras to donate to Free the Girls (more info on website).
Thistle Farms will be bringing many of their products, skin care, oils, bath products, and books for sale too. Don't miss this fun and nurturing weekend!
The Bishop Knocks on the Door
St. Augustine of Canterbury
When St. Augustine of Canterbury, Augusta was founded in 1960, the paved section of Wheeler
Road ended at Aumond Road. Further to the west were cotton fields, dairy farms and pine trees. A dirt road meandered through the countryside in front of the property, as the first phase of the new building (now the Parish Hall) was under construction. In those days St. Augustine's parishioners were truly "Missionaries to the West"!

Times changed, people moved, and Augusta has now become the second-largest city in the state of Georgia. St. Augustine's is no longer on the edge of town, for "town" now extends into Columbia and Lincoln counties. Members come from throughout the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), bringing a diversity of gifts, talents, and personalities to the life of the parish.

Two outreach ministries at St. Augustine's work together with Christ Episcopal Church to serve the Harrisburg community in Augusta, by feeding the mind, body, and soul of nearly 150 guests. Twice a month members of St. Augustine's purchase, prepare, and serve meals to guests who come to be fed.
A circle of prayer before the Community Meal.
At the Community Meal at Christ Church Pat Burau partners with Amanda Peacock and her ministry, StoryBox, to provide educational opportunities to the children who attend and the Youth Group of St. Augustine's reads to, plays game with, and mentors the children. These children can also take home a book-- which is often the first book they have ever owned. Both ministries are in the second year of operation and are flourishing.

"We are a diverse community of faith," said the Rev. Jim Said, Rector, "we come from a wide variety of backgrounds, hold diverse political views and enjoy different cultural activities.What unites us is our identity as Christians, and our desire to live authentic lives of faith.

"We are a loving, welcoming community seeking to be faithful disciples of Jesus in a rapidly changing, sometimes confusing, and always fascinating world."

Confirmands included Desiree Keiyana Burau, Kay Frances Adams Floyd, Cole Fitzgerald Maddox, Peter Richard Martin, Shelley Christina Martin, Connor James McAlister Melcher, Keenan Lewis Vaughn, James Harris Vaughn; Receptions included Marie O'Toole Gaynor, Donna Gail Mascaro, and Reaffirmations were Hyacinth DaCosta and Cecilia Marlana Maddox.

Bishop Benhase with the confirmands and clergy following the service at St. Augustine of Canterbury.
Youth Ministry
Toil 'N Sweat: Caring for Honey Creek
May 3-5, 2019
Grades 6-12
Cost: $115 ($125 after April 14)

Image may contain: 1 person As any young person who has ever been to a youth event at Honey Creek knows, Honey Creek is a special place. And like all such places, it needs us to help take care of it from time to time! In one month, youth from across the Diocese are invited to come and give back to Honey Creek. During this weekend event, youth will work on projects to help care for Honey Creek, while still taking time to play, pray, and eat together. During last year's Toil 'N Sweat, participants painted the outside of Lodge One, helped clean the Chapel, and cared for plants outside, accomplishing in a weekend activities that the full time staff at Honey Creek don't normally have time to do.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people sitting, night, shoes, child and outdoor This weekend, in addition to allowing participants to care for Honey Creek, will have more free time than some of our more scheduled programs are able to offer. Come and spend a weekend hanging out and making a difference at this place that is so important to so many.

The Canon for Administration
In the News:

Canon Katie Willoughby is now Canon Katie Easterlin
Canon Easterlin is still receiving emails from her former email address kwilloughby@gaepiscopal.org. However, moving forward please send emails to

Housing allowance upheld by the court 
On March 15, 2019, in Gaylor v. Mnuchin the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the clergy housing allowance set forth in section 107(2) of the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code"). That section allows certain religious leaders to exempt church approved housing allowances from their taxable income.
The decision by the three-judge panel was unanimous, thus putting at ease for the moment the concerns of thousands of clergy. For more information please read the document here.

Express Scripts
Express Scripts is now part of Cigna. Express Scripts will continue providing the same pharmacy benefits that you count on today. Nothing will change for our members, whether you are enrolled in a Cigna plan, an Anthem BCBS plan, or a Medical Trust Medicare Supplement plan.

Employee Roster
Does your church know about the Employee Roster (ER) at CPG? Are you tired of submitting paper forms for new employees and wish to submit enrollment and benefit information online?
The Employee Roster is a portal that allows for administrators to submit data for new employee and updates for existing staff. For example, you can submit a change in compensation online vs. the paper form submission. Importantly, submission of information into the Employee Roster is now mandatory to enroll an individual for health insurance. Therefore, the Diocese is encouraging congregations not already using the ER to begin use. The Canon for Administration has the ability to add users and submit information on behalf of the congregation, however, we find local monitoring of HR data is critical to ensure records are up to date.

For more information please reach out to me, Canon Easterlin ( keasterlin@gaepiscopal.org), for details on how a staff person can be enrolled.

Katie Easterlin
Canon for Administration
Around the Diocese
The Youth at St. Luke's, Rincon gather for a photo before they start putting together backpacks for Effingham Schools Back Pack Buddies.

The "shine" part of Shine and Dine at St. Mark's, Brunswick

Students from Valdosta University line up to eat at Grace Cafe, an outreach ministry of Christ Church, Valdosta.
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 31-April 6
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Darien, St. Andrew's and St. Cyprian's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Darien, especially Nativity of Our Lady Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Anthony of Padua ( San Antonio de Padua) in El Carreton. 

April 7-13
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Douglas, St. Andrew's and for our ecumenical partners in Douglas, especially St. Paul's Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for The Ascension ( La Ascensión) in El Seibo.

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 .
Diocesan Office Update and News
Bishop Scott Anson Benhase will make his annual visitation to Epiphany, Savannah at 10 AM Sunday, April 7.  The Bishop's full schedule is available here.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary, will serve at Trinity, Statesboro from this Sunday through Easter Day.

The Rev. Joshua Varner, Canon for Children and Youth, will be leading a retreat at Honey Creek for participants in this summer's Youth Mission Trip.

Canon Katie Easterlin will be out of the office from Monday, April 7 through Thursday, April 11

The Rev. Charles Todd, Vicar and Administrator at the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah will officiate and preach at the 12 noon service Thursday at Diocesan House.
Learning About Life Cycles
Students at St. Mark's Episcopal Day School in Brunswick meet some chicks. To read a story in The Brunswick News about how the students are learning about life cycles, go 
(Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News photo)
Weekend Retreat for Youth Summer Mission Trip
April 5-7
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Search for XI Bishop Committee Meeting
10 AM, Saturday, April 6
St. Andrew's, Douglas
Parish Hall Dedication
St. Cyprian's and St. Andrew's, Darien
5 PM, Saturday, April 13
Holy Week Chrism Mass
11 AM Monday, April 15
Christ Church, Valdosta
Holy Week Chrism Mass
11 AM Tuesday, April 16
Trinity, Statesboro
Diocese of Georgia Episcopal Church Women Annual Retreat
Daughters of the King Spring Assembly
April 26-27
St. Augustine's and the Church of Our Savior, Augusta
To register, click here.
Spring Clergy Conference
April 29 at 5:30 PM to May 1 at 1 PM
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Register here.
Dedication of Saint Anna Alexander Chapel
11 AM, Friday, May 3
Diocesan House
18 E. 34th Street, Savannah
Toil 'N Sweat
May 3-5
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Register by going here: http://bit.ly/ToilNSweat2019 
Diocesan Council
Saturday, May 18
St. Paul's, Augusta
Ordination to the Priesthood for the Rev. DeWayne Cope, Deacon
St. Matthew's Savannah
6:30 PM, Wednesday, May 22
Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate for Bradley Varnell, Brad Bates and Kyle Carswell
Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah
10:30 AM, Saturday, May 25

Nominations for XI Bishop Close
Friday, May 31
Diocesan Youth Mission Trip
July 13-20
To register:
Happening #102
Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4; staff arrives August 1
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Ordination to the Priesthood of Samantha McKean
Christ Church, Savannah
10:30 AM, Saturday, August 17th

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

Diocesan Council
September 13-14
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