July 19, 2017
Volume 7, Number 47
Vicki Schuster to Retire from Diocesan Staff
The first voice on the phone and the smiling face that greets visitors to Diocesan House belong to Vicki Schuster who will retire at the end of August. "Vicki has been the heart and soul of the Diocesan office for 17 years," said Bishop Scott Benhase. "Although her job title said 'Staff Secretary and Diocesan Registrar' she has served in some many intangible ways."

"Beyond her other work, Vicki has shepherded every deacon and priest ordained during her tenure on the staff," said Canon to the Ordinary Frank Logue, "She tracks the paperwork for the ordination process and prays faithfully for those in her care. She will readily say 'I love my Holy Orders people' and that love shows."

"For years Vicki's voice on the other end of the phone--'Diocese of Georgia, this is Vicki!'--has been such a source of comfort, kindness, and counsel to me," said the Rev. Lonnie Lacy. "That was especially so back when she looked after me through the many stages of the ordination process, and it continues to be true today."

A true native of the Hostess City, Vicki is a Telfair Baby, born in the historic hospital. Baptized in the Presbyterian Church, her family moved its membership early in her life. Bishop Albert Rhett Stuart confirmed her at the age of 12 in St. Thomas Isle of Hope in Savannah. A graduate of Jenkins High School, she married Ernest Schuster in a wedding ceremony at St. Thomas with a reception at St. John's Savannah. Ernest was a lifelong Episcopalian who grew up at St. John's and attended the school at St. Michael and All Angels. The Schusters had three children-Allison, Meredith, and Ernie, and have three grandchildren Clair (10), Palmer (9), and Turner (7).

Vicki transferred her membership to St. Francis of the Islands on Savannah's Wilmington Island in 1972 as the Diocese founded that new congregation. She started working for the church in the mid 1980s and continued as parish secretary through 2000 when she started working for the Diocese as staff secretary. Vicki said, "It has been a very rewarding and enlightening experience to work for the church these 30 something years. I felt like I got to the top when I started working for the Diocese."

Bishop Benhase said, "If something needed doing, Vicki just did it and always with the most generous and unassuming spirit." Lonnie Lacy added, "Her warmth and generous spirit have been a true gift."

"The light of the Diocese will be dimmer without the radiance of Vicki's energy and presence," said Canon Katie Willoughby. "I am, and I know many others are, extremely fortunate to have worked with such an incredible and passionate Episcopalian."

Reflecting on her work for the Diocese, Vicki said, "I think of the Episcopal Church as a flock scattered in a hundred places. We take care of that flock." She paused and added, "It has been a true blessing and one that I will treasure."

A retirement celebration is in the planning stages. Look for more information in a future edition of From the Field.
In This Issue
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This Sunday's Lections
Seventh Sunday After

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for the full text.
Deaconess Anna Alexander Study Guide Available
Bishop Benhase has developed a Bible Study Guide for Individuals and Groups that reflects on Deaconess Anna Alexander's life and ministry. Utilizing the collect for her Feast Day along with the Bible readings appointed to be read on that day, the guide is designed to prepare attendees for the Faithless Fear, Boundless Faith Revival on September 17th and offer a deeper understanding of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia's first African-American Deaconess. The guide is available to download here .
Revival Update!
More than  250  people have registered for Revival: Fearless Faith, Boundless Love! Have you? Go here to find out all about it and to register:  www.EpiscopalRevivalinGeorgia2017.org  

Also, download a bulletin insert here that can help your parish to promote the Revival.
Around the Diocese
The youth have returned from EYE'17! Look for a full story and more photos in next week's From the Field.

Jim Purks, well known throughout the Albany area for his prayers and pastoral presence had a car with no air conditioning and windows that would not go up and down. The parishes of St. Paul's, St. Patrick's, St. Mark's and St. John's raised enough to purchase a 2009 Honda Accord, pay the taxes, and provide for some future upkeep.  St. Paul's Senior Warden Ted Wright presents Jim with the keys to the car as the Rev. Lee Lowery looks on.

The Rev. Julia Sierra Reyes with Rudy Reyes and their daughter Julia Mae at a reception held following her last Sunday serving as Associate Rector at Christ Church, Savannah. The Reyes' will be moving to Colorado where Rudy will be pursuing a doctoral degree. 
On behalf of the Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer, Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase will ordain Ashton K. Williston to the sacred order of the priesthood at Christ Church, Frederica on Saturday, August 5th, at 10:30 AM.  Following the service, there will be a reception in the Parish Hall. All are invited. Williston is the curate at Christ Church.

Clergy: Cassock, Surplice, and Red Stole
The Honey Creek bond checks have gone out.
Those holding Honey Creek bonds will receive the checks shortly as they are in the mail now. The bonds  have a 10-year maturity and a per annum return of 5%. 
CDI Concludes for the Year
The Diocese of Georgia completed the seventh Cycle of CDI In May of this year at Honey Creek and the first Cycle in Augusta in July.  
There were two graduates in Augusta that started their CDI journey last year at Honey Creek -- Ranie Neislar and Roger Speer. Pictured at right is the Rev. Walter Hobgood with Ranie Neislar and below he is pictured with Roger Speer.
The Augusta class started in December and met on a Friday/Saturday in Jan, Mar and July.  Year 1 participants were from St. Alban's Augusta and Holy Cross Thomson as well as Deacon Sandra Turner.  The class met at Our Savior Martinez. 
One of the benefits for all participants was the opportunity to learn with and from each other in an experiential learning environment and to share their faith and their aspirations for their church communities.  Each weekend included the Daily Offices with participants getting the opportunity to lead worship.
At the end of the cycle participants shared with each other things they learned about themselves and how they impact others, how to lead teams/groups, and how organizations are impacted by the world around them.
From the end of this cycle and before the next cycle begins in December, each of the teams/individuals will complete a project, which is strategic, manageable and measurable and uses one or more of the core frameworks and tools learned over the course of cycle one.
One participant observed:  "We recognize we have waited too long to make changes and yet change takes time.  I am optimistic that we have access to tools through CDI that can help us take advantage of the opportunities to lead and make positive changes in our churches and communities -- to do what God is calling us to do."
The Loose Canon
No fail, time-tested methods

While there are many ways to grow a church numerically, there are no silver bullet approaches that will work everywhere. The same can not be said of decline. There are some no-fail, time-tested methods to make sure your church does not grow. Want to keep your church at its current size or wear it down a bit? There five steps will get you headed the right direction.

Here are my top five ways to chase new folks away as quick as they show up at your doors:

1) Share Parish News
First, be unhappy with you church and then make sure everyone knows it. Pull the excited newcomer aside and fill them in on the backbiting and infighting. Spreading rumors is another tool in the discontented church toolkit. Newcomers are looking for love, joy and hope. They will leave and tell their friends (and even the check out person at the grocery store) to never darken your door if your church tends out to be a hotbed of petty power struggles and pointless infighting. Churches grow by multiplication, not division.

2) Think of the Children
You want to have children's programs. You just don't have enough children for Sunday School or teens for a youth group. If enough children show up, you might try something again, but the new family with three kids needs to understand there are just not enough kids for you to bother with yet. If that doesn't chase them off fast enough, you could give them meaningful stares when the kids make noise in church, while offering neither nursery nor children's church as options.

3) Stay Friendly
Your church is a friendly place. You have people you know at church and you always enjoy spending the little time you have over coffee after the service with these folks. Part of why you love your church is that you are so friendly. Stay that way, talking one another. Enjoy the coffee and the donuts. It won't take but two minutes tops before the newcomers wander on.

4) Keep Members Active
All the longtime members have things they like to do, so don't shake up anything from the Altar Guild and Choir to the core of servers. Don't make room for new people to serve as readers, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, or vestry members. Take a pass on the ideas new people bring. Keep doing things as you have always done them with the folks who have always taken charge. New folks will take the hint and wander on in hopes of finding a church that welcomes the gifts they bring.

5) Stay Focused
Concentrate on anything but the Gospel. You want folks to catch a the weakest possible strain of the Christian virus to inoculate them against something life-threatening, so don't challenge them in any way to be transformed. Avoid offering ways someone can deepen and live into their faith. Teaching people to read their Bibles and take on other spiritual disciplines is right out. Folks who get grounded in the Gospel through a local church community will never leave, so don't let those roots take hold or these new people who have found meaning and purpose through faith in Jesus Christ will invite their friends who aren't church-broke yet either. This sounds harsh, but if you want to keep you church's small, family atmosphere, you better stick with religion, or better yet "being Episcopal". Talk about the church, and steer clear of anything that smacks of being the church.

I might not know any silver-bullet, one-sized fits all approach to growing your church, but I sure know how to help you whittle away at folks until it's a size you can control.


The Rev. Canon Frank Logue
Canon to the Ordinary
Parish Positions Open 
Youth Minister
St. Elizabeth's, Richmond Hill
We are looking for an individual who has a heart for Jesus and a desire to make Him known to high school and middle school students. We are looking for an individual with a desire and ability to disciple students; to teach God's word and lead Bible studies; to organize and plan mission trips and events; and to organize and co-ordinate schedules and volunteers.  The package will include salary and is subject to negotiation based on experience.  Please contact The Rev. C. Clark Hubbard -  hubcc@aol.com
Parish Administrator/Office Manager
St. Peter's, Skidaway Island
We seek a Parish Administrator who will enjoy working with us as we engage God's mission in our community and beyond. 30-32 hours per week with a half day on Friday. Competitive salary and benefits package. Job posting and details may be found on their website: stpeterssavannah.org
The deadline for resumes is July 18.

Christian Education Director
St. John's, Savannah
We seek a Christian Education Director to work 25 hours per week. The position will fit well a baptized and practicing Christian grounded in historic and biblical faith who wants a part-time position which will include pension benefits and some flexibility about working off-site. St. John's seeks a self-reliant self-starter with great organizational and people skills, who understands and loves children and their educational needs. Contact the Rev. Gavin Dunbar (Rector) gdunbar@stjohnssav.org or Mrs. Janice Woods (Business Manager) 
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.  
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 16 - 22
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 San Bernabé (St. Barnabas's Church) in Pizarette.

July 23 - 29
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 the congregations in Puerto Plata - Jesús Mesías (Jesus the Messiah) and San Francisco de Asís (St. Francis of  Assisi).
Diocesan Office Update and News  
Bishop Benhase's full schedule is available  here. 

Canon Logue has returned from the walkabouts for the East Tennessee bishop search which will conclude with an election on July 28th. He will preside and preach this Sunday at St. Thomas Isle of Hope in Savannah.

Canon Logue will also officiate at the 12 noon Thursday service in the Chapel of St. George at Diocesan House.
Cooling Off at Summer Camp

The second session of Camp St. Joseph and Mary is underway at Honey Creek where the pool is a welcome part of the camp day.
Finance Committee Meeting
Wednesday, July 28,
10 AM
Diocesan House

Stewardship Training with Bishop Benhase

August 26, 9:30 AM to noon
Annunciation, Vidalia

Stewardship Training with Bishop Benhase
September 9, 9:30 AM to noon
St. George's, Savannah
Register  here.
Revival: Boundless Love Fearless Faith
September 17
10 AM Service at Good Shepherd Pennick
3 PM Revival at Honey Creek with Fellowship beginning at 2 PM
For more information, go here: www.EpiscopalRevivalinGeorgia2017.org
Fall Clergy Conference
September 17-19
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Cursillo #123
October 12-15
Honey Creek Retreat Center
For more information, go here.

Stewardship Training with Bishop Benhase

October 21, 9:30 AM to noon
Holy Comforter Martinez
Register  here.

Stewardship Training with Bishop Benhase
October 28, 9:30 AM to noon
St. Paul's, Albany
Register  here.

Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee Meeting
1:30 PM Friday, November 3 until noon Saturday, November 4
Trinity Church, Statesboro

Diocesan Convention
November 8-10
Christ the King Church, Valdosta
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