From the Field
News & Events of the Church in Georgia
January 29, 2013Volume 3, Number 23
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Convention Lock-In Registration
Convention Updates
DR Youth Trip
Diocesan Ultreya
Lenten Retreat
The Loose Canon
St. Margaret's Moultrie
DR Mission Trip
Web Links
 
 
 
February 3 Readings
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Burns Called as Youth Missioner

Bishop Benhase has called Elizabeth Burns to be the new diocesan Missioner for Youth. This new staff position, when combined with the work Rudy Reyes is doing with young Adults through Vocare, Columba House, and other programs, takes the place of the previous position of Canon for Youth and Young Adults.

  

Bishop Benhase notes that while diocesan budget constraints necessitated sharing duties from the canon's position among the staff, it does not mean that the Diocese of Georgia is shrinking back from our commitment to youth and young adults. He said, "In Elizabeth, we have a person of proven ability with a passion for this ministry who will continue to grow our mission to youth in the Diocese. I am confident that our already excellent programs will thrive and expand with her leadership. And in Rudy, we have a gifted young adult leader who is leading our mission to young adults in establishing Columba House." 

 
Burns was graduated from Georgia Southern University Magna Cum Laude with concentrations in Special Education and Reading and a minor in Recreation and Tourism Management. While at GSU, she was involved with the Episcopal Campus Ministries and assisted with Trinity Statesboro's EYC.

 
Since December 2011, she has served as the Summer Camp Director for Honey Creek.  She brought new and creative ideas to Camp Honey Creek while embracing old traditions. In the camp off season, she felt called to serve in The Episcopal Service Corp  through The Abraham Project.  The Abraham Project is a 10 month commitment to live in an intentional community.  Burns serves at a non-profit called The Children's Center, which works with children with disabilities ages birth to 11 years old.  She is also active in the church community life at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem. 

 
She has previously served as an instructor for Kanuga's Mountain Trail Outdoor School, and as the Outdoor Adventure Director and Camp Counselor at Camp Weed and as the Aquatics Director for Smile Camp-a week long day camp for elementary school-aged children with disabilities in Jacksonville, FL.
    
Burns further brings more than 200 Hours of Classroom Teaching and Observation working with students with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, autism, and emotion behavior disorder in both inclusion and resource settings. She is also a certified lifeguard, CPR and First Aid for the Professional Rescuer, and Wilderness First Responder. Elizabeth will begin work as Youth Missioner on June 1, after completing the Abraham Project commitment. In the meantime, she will be with us at diocesan convention next week in Tifton.

Diocesan Office Update 

This Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Thomas, Savannah.    

 

The diocesan staff is working this wee on the many detail of the 192nd Convention of the Diocese from the convention booklet, to the name badges.

 

6-12th Grade Register for Convention Lock-In

Convention Lock-in will be held at St. Anne's, Tifton on Friday, February 8th, beginning at 8p and ending Saturday, February 9th at 12p. This event is open to 6th - 12th graders and costs just $15. Follow this link to register online. For more questions, please email The Rev. David Rose at asstrector@stannestifton.com. Registration deadline is Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

Register Online Here

Convention 2013

Nominations for Diocesan Offices Posted

The nominations for diocesan offices will be posted tomorrow, January 30, at the convention website elections page.

 

Two Resolutions for Convention

In addition to the proposed canonical changes already announced in From the Field and posted at the convention website, two resolutions will come before out 192nd convention, which meets next week in Tifton. These resolutions call to move the normative date of our annual meetings to the second week of November and to request the Restructuring Task Force of The Episcopal Church propose the tithe as the standard of giving to the 78th General Convention. This second resolution would have the effect of changing the amount each Diocese is asked to contribute to churchwide budget. The resolutions and proposed canonical changes are posted online at the convention resolutions page.

Diocesan Youth Missionaries Invite You to Take Part

You're invited! Nineteen people, 15 youth and 4 adults will be traveling to the Dominican Republic June 24-July 1, 2013 as part of the Diocesan Youth Trip to the Dominican Republic. They will be providing a Vacation Bible School program and doing some construction work at a church in Mao, a small town north of Santiago, and you can be part of the trip. Our VBS will have at least 100 children, and we need craft supplies, listed below! Donations can be brought to Diocesan Convention next week at given to the Rev. Joshua Varner or the Rev. Loren Lasch, who are leading the trip. Financial support is also very welcome, as it allows the group to purchase exactly what is needed.

 

Take part in this Diocesan trip by supporting youth in Georgia and children in the Dominican Republic! If you have questions, please contact the Rev. Joshua Varner at jvarner75@gmail.com.

 

Supplies needed:

  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Construction Paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Craft sticks
  • And much more!

Cursillo to Hold Diocesan Ultreya

Cursillo transparent background The Diocese Commission of Cursillo is holding a Diocesan Ultreya for all  of our Curristas , March 15-16, at Honey Creek. There will be workshops, information on the upcoming November 2013 Cursillo, special guests as well as other activities.

 

To register and to make reservations please contact Carolyn Middleton, Office Manager at Honey Creek. Her e-mail is cmailto:carolyn@honeycreek.org, or call 912-265-9218. This will be a time of renewal, fellowship and education. Please make every effort to come and enjoy this experience.

 

-Al Jackson, Diocese of Georgia Cursillo Commission

Take Time for Retreat at Honey Creek in Lent

Deep Springs is a Lenten Retreat being offered at Honey Creek for those who long for time and space set apart to be with God during this season of preparation for Easter. The Rev. Frank and Victoria Logue are the retreat leaders, but the real guides for this retreat will be the Mother and Fathers of the Egyptian desert of the Fourth Century. These early Christian hermits, such as St. Antony, left their distilled wisdom in sayings copied by down by others. These will be shared in the general sessions of the retreat and used to guide time for retreatants to be on their own.


First and foremost, the brief overnight retreat offers quiet from the noise of day to day life to listen to God. There is no conference aspect to the retreat in that there is no time whose primary task is teaching, but rather times to give those making their retreat something new to contemplate and some real work of self examination opened up by centuries old wisdom about living the Christian life. Full information is online here: http://gaepiscopal.org/docs/lentenretreatbrochure.pdf

 

The all-inclusive cost for this retreat is $96.99 per person (based on double room occupancy) and $68.99 for commuters. Single rooms are available for $136.99. This includes the retreat, lodging, and all meals.


All fees go directly to the camp and conference center. To register, contact Honey Creek at (912) 265-9218 or carolyn@honeycreek.org

 "No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket,
but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:15-16
 
The Loose Canon
How to Use the Power of the Press for Your Church
A positive article about your church in the local newspaper will do more good for the congregation than any advertisement in the paper. Getting in the paper from time to time is easier than you may think if you use a bit of creativity. A perfect example of this is a recent article in the Moultrie Observer on St. Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church.
 
 The article, Church service involves children every Sunday, highlighted the role of acolytes in the liturgy. While the role of children in our worship is not uncommon in liturgical churches, it is very different from how kids worship in other churches. Most importantly, this was a positive article shared with the community. Even if a reader has a church home and so would not ever see this article and be interested in attending, the net effect remains that the visibility of the church has been raised and some bit of understanding for our worship has been conveyed.
  
The Rev. Walter Hobgood, Vicar of St. Margaret's says, "The article was written by Marty Steiner, a member of St. Margaret's, and sent to a contact of his at the newspaper." He add that it sat there for several weeks before it ran. As for results, it may take time to appreciate what impact the article has.
  
Hobgood does say, "While conducting the Thursday morning Eucharist at Christ Church Valdosta the week after the article ran in Moultrie we had a guest attending from Moultrie (she is Baptist).  After church she asked me if I was the priest from Moultrie to which I said yes.  She said she had seen the article and was impressed with what the kids had to say about the service and their excitement."
  
How to get noticed
A bit of serendipity is always involved in what newspapers run and how they play it. St. Patrick's Pooler sent a note to the Savannah Morning News letting the paper know about their Trunk or Treat at Halloween one year and ended up with a front page, above the fold photo with the name of the church clearly in the caption. Anyone in Pooler, would pay special attention as the smaller town is rarely on the paper's front page for anything but bad news.
  
My wife, Victoria, and I worked for two different newspapers in the years right out of college and she later worked as a section editor at the Brunswick News. Through this work I saw how the newspaper has a seemingly insatiable need for stories about the community. I also saw how press releases get filtered based on 1) what else the newspaper already has on hand, 2) how newsworthy the information is, 3) how recently similar news ran.
  
Two Examples
Knowing this, you have a chance to get in your local paper a few times a year at most, so unless you haven't been featured in some time, you will want to pick noteworthy events to highlight or give an interesting slant on a common event. For example, newspapers will be looking for stories around Holy Week and Easter. Our Easter Vigil services connect to a very ancient liturgy which is not well known and do so in ways that are very news photo friendly. A press release about the vigil, sent weeks in advance to the department or reporter you have seen featuring similar stories is likely to attract interest even in a larger market like Augusta or Savannah.
  
Similarly, a press release on a congregation member with an interesting ministry can get attention. Who do you have in your church that is doing good in the community? How might you share that with the newspaper. One example would be a press release on an upcoming free health clinic or a mission trip that emphasizes not the clinic or the trip, but a community members longtime commitment to a project. The news angle would be the local dentist who has faithfully volunteered time overseas or the school nurse who cares for the poor for free for many years.
  
The bottom line
Remember that the newspaper needs news. Create a press release that gives a human interest or news angle to something going on in your church. Send these in a from time to time, making sure not to flood the paper with releases and so making any given release easier to ignore. Be sure to mention the appropriate phone numbers and email addresses to contact for further information and provide photos or let them know when photos could be taken. The easier you make all of this on a newspaper editor, the more likely the release will succeed.
              
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue
Canon to the Ordinary
  
The Loose Canon columns are archived online at loosecanon.georgiaepiscopal.org

St. Margaret of Scotland, Moultrie

CDI Project Leads to Changes in Church

In 2011, the Rev. Walter Hobgood was taking part in the Church Development Institute of the Diocese of Georgia (CDI). As a part of the work for the course, he worked with the members of the church to develop a new Vision, Mission, Core Values and Strategic Priorities. Coming out of this was a commitment to establish and grow our ministry for children. At the time we had only one family with two small children attending church on a regular basis.

 

 Hobgood says, "For various reasons, we decided to start a service for children." He added that taking this step was similar to an experience he and his wife, Gail, had when they lived in Australia and attended a church with a children's service.

 

Hobgood searched the internet for children's liturgies, only to find one developed by the Rev. June Johnson at St. John's, Bainbridge. He says that at St. Margaret's, they have modified this several times, expanding the roles that children do in the service and to their delight, the idea caught on. The church started Godly Play in the fall of 2012 and we have nearly run out of space in the church annex across the street from the church.

 

In the fall of 2012, St. Margaret's faced a change in their local ministry context as they tried to discern what impact the exodus of St. John's will have on the Episcopal Church. A parish-wide meeting was held at St. John's. Nursery was provided so all the parents could take part. Hobgood says, "When the older generation saw the number of children they were amazed."

 

The dilemma was that the younger generation wanted to go to St. John's because there is space available. The older generation wanted to stay at St. Margaret's because the maintenance cost will be less. In the end the members compromised and said the best thing for the Episcopal church would be to lease or even sell St. John's and use the money to build a newer/better space for our children's ministry. A task force was assigned to develop a proposal.

 

In the task force, they acknowledged the success with the children's service and recognized the need to create a greater awareness of what we are doing in the community so we can reach more families. From this we agreed that getting an article in the newspaper would be a great first step. The results of this are seen in the Loose Canon column above.

 

Next steps are being taken as the congregation moves forward to live into the vision first formed as part of a CDI project.

SE Convocation Dominican Republic Trip

On January 14-21, 2013, a team of 9 people from 3 churches in the Southeastern Convocation (St. Andrews/St. Cyprians Darien, Christ Church St. Marys, Our Savior at Honeycreek) participated in a second mission trip to the village of El Carreton to assist the parish of San Antonio de Padua continue work that began last year on the parish school. In January 2012, the team traveled to El Carreton to complete work on a community high school that had been started several years prior by other churches and left unfinished. The January 2013 trip was a continuation of the work started in 2012.

  

 The importance of a school for the village of El Carreton is paramount. Public school in the Dominican Republic only goes through the 8th grade, and the village of El Carreton has no local options for education beyond 8th grade. Without the parish school from the Episcopal Church, only those residents whose parents can afford tuition and transportation to another town would be able to have an education above middle school. This disparity of education almost assures the continuance of poverty and social injustice.

  

 The school in El Carreton opened for the 2012/2013 year with 39 students of various ages including 1 high school class. The mission trip for 2013 was to complete a minor construction project and make a solid plan for the ongoing work that would continue over the next 5 years. The adventurous crew completed both preparations for the installation of a kitchen and a large mural for an inside hallway in the school. The mural depicted scenes typical of the rural areas of the Dominican Republic with mountains, flowers, palm trees and brightly colored housing, and scenes typical of coastal Georgia with a large oak tree, and owl, marsh, sea turtles and wading birds. Connecting the two "islands" of land was a vast deep ocean complete with whales on both sides meeting in the middle.

  

The most significant accomplishment of the trip was likely the continuance of the deepening relationship and commitment that the community feels from the consistent support provided by a returning group of missionaries. In this visit in addition to sharing meals together and we learning Spanish from them, and they English from us, we made plans for a bigger, more long term relationship. Our work plan for next year was selected and plans are already underway for the construction of a library and computer lab for 2014. Missionaries interviewed children who are on a scholarship list and in need of financial support to continue their studies at the school so that the mission team can assist is getting scholarships funded for the children who need financial support. Plans were discussed to bring a physician to the village on the next trip in 2014 because the group was saddened to find upon arrival two of the children from the previous year's visit were no longer there, having died likely due to lack of appropriate medical care and resources.

  

The ongoing relationship with the village of El Carreton is one that enriches the lives and spirits of all who attend from the United States and those that receive us in the Dominican Republic. We began as strangers unable to speak the same language, and we are now friends whose limited common words do not at all hinder the shared communication we feel when together through united common goals and hearts united in Christ.

The Church is the People

The Rev. Loren Lasch shared this photo of the chapel at Honey Creek made up of images of people on her Fecbook page from Happening 90, which was held this past weekend at our camp and conference center.

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Sincerely,                                      
            

Diocesan Staff                                
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia