Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Volume 9, No. 28
A Collect for Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God,   you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness,   may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission   and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives   and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever   and ever. 
New Equipment, More Missioners, Even More Accomplished

The eleven members of the cataract surgical team sponsored by St. Peter's Savannah returned home on March 2 after removing cataracts and pterygium growths for 98 patients in the Centro Hospitalario Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican city of San Pedro de MacorĂ­s. 

This surgical team, led by Savannah ophthalmologist Bill Degenhart from the Georgia Eye Institute, saw patients identified by St. Peter's optical clinic team, which had been working in the Episcopal health center in San Pedro de MacorĂ­s the previous week. 

Degenhart, an ophthalmologist, and St. Peter's team leader David Sweeterman coordinated a fund-raising effort that raised over $100,000, allowing the purchase and delivery of state-of-the-art instruments to the Episcopal Clinica de Esperanza y Caridad in San Pedro de Macoris. The instruments -- an Alcon phaco-emulsifier (for shattering and removing then replacing the affected lens), an operating microscope (for the surgeon to watch his work) and an autoclave (for cleaning and sterilizing instruments) were installed temporarily at the city's Hospitalario Universidad, but in the future the team hopes that structural modifications in the Episcopal clinic will make it possible for them to be used for surgical procedures in that setting.

There are many happy stories from this trip, including the experience of Teodora Mercedes Agosta, 63, from one of the nearby sugar mill company towns. Teodora had cataracts that left her able to distinguish light from dark, but little more. A team member asked her how many fingers he was holding, and she couldn't tell. Thirty minutes later, after the operation, he asked again, and she replied - correctly - "two." Then another missioner escorted her son into the post-op room. She had probably not actually seen him for years. She hesitated, then recognized him, and shouted "Johnny!" More joy. More tears.

2019 marks the sixth year that this optical clinic team has been in the Dominican Republic, and the second year for the surgical team. Planning has already begin for the 2020 trip. For more information on the work of the Diocese of Georgia in the Dominican Republic, click here
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First Sunday in Lent
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

Go  here for the full text.
Episcopal Church 
Scholarship Applications Available

Applications are now being accepted for educational scholarships from The Episcopal Church for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The scholarships are derived from annual income of designated trust funds established by generous donors through bequests to The Episcopal Church. A number of these scholarships support students enrolled in theological education and training.

Other trust funds provide modest scholarships for children of missionaries, bishops and clergy, and other groups covering a wide range of eligibility. When funds are available, the maximum award is $10,000 per student.

A scholarship applicant must be an Episcopalian and must have the endorsement of his/her bishop.

Lists of trust funds and scholarships and other important information can be found hereApplicants are strongly encouraged to read each trust and identify in the application those trust funds that best fit their own profile. The application form is available in English here and in Spanish here.
Online applications are required.

Deadline for applications is April 5. Only complete applications will be considered.

Applications are reviewed by a scholarship committee composed of representatives from The Episcopal Church Executive Council, the church-at-large, the Treasurer's Office and various other ministries of The Episcopal Church.

For information, contact Ann Hercules, Associate for Grants and Scholarships, .
Have You Taken the Survey?
The Search Committee has designed a survey for the XI Bishop Search that includes the questions that are also asked at the Diocesan Listening Sessions. See the times, dates and locations of upcoming sessions in the Events section below. 

Whether or not you attend a Listening Session, please take the time to complete this brief survey. Go  here  to get started! 
More than Met the Goal
EQHR Groups Give Back to Honey Creek in a Flash
Offering visible thanks: from left, the Rev. Kelly Steele, Dade Brantley, Hanks Young, Savannah Spivey Young, the Rev. Mark Winger and the Rev. Melanie Lemburg.
It started with a challenge to give back. The EQHR Group Development retreat at Honey Creek is a program for priests and lay people to learn about emotional intelligence and group dynamics. As part of this program, they were challenged to work with their small group and do a project that helps a client. 

One group chose to make Honey Creek its "client," and sought to do something to improve our space physically and through fundraising. "They weeded and tilled the beds in our garden, which is a chore we were hoping to have done soon so we can plant for the Spring. They also managed to repair the wooden walls of one of our beds, a gift that makes the bed much more useful," said Savannah Young.

In addition to working outdoors, the group asked about trying to raise a little money to help us with one of Honey Creek's housekeeping goals: pillow covers for 50 donated pillows. "We realized that Honey Creek only needed $250 to make the donated pillows usable and we knew we could raise that amount," said the Rev. Melanie Lemburg. The Rev. Kelly Steele agreed and suggested using Facebook as the fundraising platform since they don't charge fees for nonprofit fundraisers and allow a barometer and sharing features. Within the first few hours, their online #flashfundraiser on Facebook had already almost doubled the goal. "We wanted to keep momentum going while encouraging more participation and awareness" said Steele, "so we adjusted the title and raised the goal amount to include monies for shower curtains and made a quick graphic on to match the new title. "Beds, Baths & Beyond," the flash fundraiser, collected $1240 in 50 hours. "We think it worked because we asked for small ticket
Another team from the Honey Creek-focused EQHR weekend: from left: the Rev. Kevin Morris, Diocese of Long Island; the Rev. Jim Said, the Rev. Hunt Priest, Honey Creek Kitchen Administrator Linda Young, the Rev. Tar Drazdowski, and the Rev. Ashton Williston.
items, a discreet amount, and for a cause that resonates with our parishes and people. We think the platform (Facebook), wording (#flashfundraiser), barometer, time-table, videos and graphics encouraged giving. Thanking our donors was a huge priority, too. We 'liked' and sent messages to each and posted a 'thank you' photo to the page."

Honey Creek has a running list of things it needs to keep it hospitable, clean, and functional for guests. "Daily operations and housekeeping can be taken for granted, but the small touches like a fresh mat for wiping mud off your feet or replacing worn out pillows and shower curtains makes such a big difference at the individual guest level," said Young. "There is a never ending list, just like the ones we have at our homes, but it's on a much larger scale. Fundraising for these items makes it possible for us to actually replace and repair our campus in such a way people notice," she continued.

"Honey Creek would like to thank everyone who donated," said Dade Brantley, Executive Director of Honey Creek, "and we encourage more grass-roots level organizing for any future groups who can contribute their time or energy." He added, "This is how we change the world."
Administrator's Corner
2019 Clergy Tax Guide
Clergy, you should have received a communication from CPG about its annual See the communication below. I recommend reading the supporting  supplemental guide
to gain a quick overview and download the guide to drill into specific questions. Please provide a copy of this guide to your CPA if you use one. Given the complex nature of clergy taxes, the Diocese strongly recommends you review this document every year and use the resources provided through CPG: 

For the 2018 tax year, the Church Pension Group (CPG) is providing the 2019 Clergy Tax Return Preparation Guide for 2018 Returns (the Guide) as a reference to help clergy prepare their federal tax returns. The Guide is written by Richard R. Hammar, Senior Editor of Church Law & Tax Report and is available on CPG's website at

As a complement to the Guide, a supplement, presented in a question-and- answer format, highlights key taxation issues and provides further information on the reporting requirements cited in the Guide, clarifying their specific application to clergy of the Episcopal Church.

Note: Should you have questions about clergy federal income taxes that are not covered here, please call CPG's Tax Hotline:

Nancy Fritschner, CPA (877) 305-1414
The Rev. Canon William Geisler, CPA-Retired (877) 305-1415
Dolly Rios*, CPA (833) 363-5751 *Fluent in English and Spanish

**Please note that the service these individuals will provide is of an informational nature. It should not be viewed as tax, legal, financial, or other advice. You must contact your tax advisor for assistance in preparing your tax returns or for other tax advice.**

Federal Reporting Requirements
To support Administrators, Treasurers, and Wardens, CPG also publishes its annual guide on Federal reporting requirements for Episcopal churches. This is a valuable resource to answer questions about payroll, required reporting, and potential tax implications. You can access the guide  here.

Katie Easterlin
Canon for Administration

"Just Mercy" Study Guide Now Available!
The Diocese of Georgia encourages individuals and congregations to read the book  Just Mercy  by Bryan Stevenson during Lent. A study guide to go along with the book is available to download here .  

In this coming of age memoir, Stevenson recounts his early career and the cases that led him to found the Equal Justice Initiative. He worked through the United States Supreme Court to prohibit sentencing children under 18 to death or to life imprisonment without parole. 

Stevenson has assisted in cases that have saved dozens of prisoners from the death penalty, advocated for poor people, and developed community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice.  

The book is available in paperback and as an audio-book read by the author. 
Shrove Tuesday in the Diocese of Georgia

Trinity Statesboro

Last year's palms were burned and children's activities were offered at St. Thomas Isle of Hope

The youth at St. Peter's Savannah at their Fat Tuesday pancake supper.

Christ Church Savannah's Mardi Gras
Flipping 'cakes at St. Paul's Augusta.

The pancake kings at St. Paul's Albany (above); enjoying the fruits of their labor, at left.

The festivities at St. Mark's Brunswick. 
Shrove Tuesday pancake makers at St. George's Savannah, left, and St. Luke's Rincon, above.

Holy Comforter Martinez offered a shrimp boil in addition to pancakes.
Christ Church Valdosta: a fundraiser for youth by the youth, supported by the parish.
Around the Diocese

The Diocese of Georgia mourns the death of Blake Ellis, AIA who designed the Chapel of Our Savior at Honey Creek. His funeral was held Sunday March 3 at Christ Church Valdosta. A faithful parishioner of Christ Church since he moved to town in 1956, Ellis designed four campuses for technical colleges as well as two new colleges for the Georgia Board of Regents. His 1967 design for St. Paul's by the Sea Episcopal Church in Jacksonville was recognized by Florida's American Institute of Architects as one of 100 places of note in 100 years of Florida Architecture. Blake was also a longtime member of the Diocese's Honey Creek Commission. Above, Ellis is with the altar he created for the outdoor chapel at honey creek in memory of his wife.

On Sunday at the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah, Alleluias were buried and last year's Palm Sunday fronds were burned to make ashes for today, Ash Wednesday. 

St. Patrick's Albany hosted the Albany Chorale with members of the Albany Symphony Orchestra for the premier concert of their season. They performed Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. 

Parishioners at King of Peace Kingsland spruced up the property last weekend.

Fun during the Vestry Retreat for St. Luke's Rincon
Rachel Cochran, a member of Calvary, Americus was named Homecoming Queen at Georgia Southwestern University.

The Rev. Terri Degenhardt Priest-in-Charge, St. Mary Magdalene Louisville,  reads to the Wrens PreK class on Dr. Seuss Day. She notes:  "and I taught them all how to say 'Episcopalian'!"
Members of St. Peter's Savannah gathered last weekend for a parish retreat.

The Rev. Aaron Brewer, Rector of St. Luke's Hawkinsville (left) and the Rev. Hallock Martin from St. Matthew's, Fitzgerald (Rector of St. Luke's in the late 80's and early 90's) will both be president of their respective Rotary organizations. At a training session for new incoming Rotary Presidents held in Atlanta, they jointly led Sunday morning worship,  
Deadline Approaches for Early New Beginnings Registration
Cost: $115 until March 8th
For Youth in Grades 7-9
There are only two days left to register at a reduced rate for New Beginnings #54, a weekend retreat for youth in grades 7-9! The weekend takes place March 22-24 at Honey Creek. Young people from across the Diocese will gather at Honey Creek for a time of worship, reflection, joy, and laughter. New Beginnings is primarily led by high school youth whose experiences at New Beginnings, at Happening, and at other youth events have led them to want to offer their experiences of unconditional love to younger teenagers.

The Lead Teen for New Beginnings #54 is Sera Davidson, (at left in blue) and the Shadow, who will be the Lead Teen for New Beginnings #55 in the fall, is Waverly Brown (at left in red). Early Registration is open through March 8. After that, the cost of the weekend goes up, so register early! Online registration is available at
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 3-9
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Brunswick, Good Shepherd, St. Athanasius', and St. Mark's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Brunswick, especially St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and St. James Lutheran Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for Church of the Holy Name (El Santo Nombre) in Catalina.

March 10-16
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Cochran, Trinity and for our ecumenical partners, especially St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Cairo.  In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Gabriel ( San Gabriel) in Consuelo.

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
Next week, Bishop Scott Anson Benhase and the Rev. Canon Frank Logue  will attend the Commission on Ministry/Standing Committee meeting this weekend at Diocesan House.

The Bishop will travel to Kanuga for the Spring House of Bishops' Meeting Tuesday through Friday. The Bishop's full schedule is available here. 

The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner will lead the New Beginnings Staff Retreat this weekend.

The Rev.  David Lemburg, Priest-in-Charge at St. George's, will serve at the noon, Thursday Eucharist at Diocesan House this week.
Canon for Hospitality
The Rev. Kevin Kelly officiated at last Thursday's Noon Eucharist at the Diocesan House. Among the faithful attendees is Jameson Willoughby Easterlin, Canon for Hospitality.
Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee Weekend
March 8-9
Diocesan House, Savannah

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Southeast Convocation
2:30 PM, Sunday March 10
St. Mark's, Brunswick

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Augusta Convocation
2:30 PM Sunday, March 10
Good Shepherd, Augusta

Search Committee Meeting
10 AM, March 16
Trinity Statesboro

New Beginnings #54
For Youth in Grades 7-9 
March 22-24
Honey Creek
To register, go here. 

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Youth
Time TBA, Saturday, March 23
Honey Creek Conference Center

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Albany Convocation
3 PM, Sunday, March 24
St. Patrick's Albany

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Clergy
10 AM Tuesday, March 26
St. Anne's Tifton 

Clergy Spouses Retreat
March 29-31
Honey Creek
here .
A Listening Session for XI Bishop Search led by the Search Committee for clergy spouses will be scheduled during the retreat.

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Savannah Convocation
3 PM, Sunday, March 31
St. Paul's Savannah

Weekend Retreat for Youth Summer Mission Trip
April 5-7
Honey Creek Retreat Center
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

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
Register by going here:

Diocesan Council
May 17-18

Nominations for XI Bishop Close
Friday, May 31

Diocesan Youth Mission Trip
July 13-20
To register: 
Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4; staff arrives August 1
Honey Creek Retreat Center

Diocesan Council
September 13-14
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