Our History
This year, the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast is celebrating its 50th Jubilee Anniversary. Each month of 2020, we have chosen a particular focus that honors our life in Christ in very special ways and highlights our theme of Remember, Reorient, Renew. We've also created a toolkit full of resources to help you celebrate with us.

For the month of February our focus is on Our History. We hope you will find a way to learn about your own church's past or become involved in preserving its memories.

We are excited to share three videos with you in this newsletter. The first offers a glimpse into our history as a diocese. The second is a visual history of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, the oldest African American Episcopal church in the state of Alabama. This video is a great example of how static photos (which we so often view once and then store away) can be turned into a "living story." And the third shows how St. Thomas in Greenville is using our Jubilee Toolkit to engage church members!

Taking time to remember the beginnings of our diocese provides insights into the innovative work and leadership involved in bringing together two groups of churches located in two different states. Using a historical perspective enables us to identify and consider major events and social changes reciprocally impacting our churches, our diocese and The Episcopal Church across five decades.

Everything you need to know is available on our website at www.diocgc.org/jubilee-celebration.
Collect for Our Jubilee Year
Lord God of all creation, fill us with your grace as we remember your kindness and goodness towards us, through providence and through struggle; and let the trumpets proclaim the year of Jubilee, a year of the Lord’s favor, as we dedicate ourselves to reorient our mission efforts to renew your Gospel in our midst. May your Spirit inspire us, we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Remembering Our First Fifty Years
At our 49th Annual Diocesan Convention, we watched the below video* which offers a glimpse into the rich history of our diocese. We hope it inspires you to learn more about who we've been, to engage in our present life and to look forward to our future.
Remembering Our History
Do you know your church history?
From the founding of Christ Church, Mobile in 1822 to the formation of St. Dismas mission in 2009, our 62 churches have rich and varied histories. Do you know yours? Exploring your history gives important insights into how a church has evolved into the vibrant congregation it is today and where that historical perspective may take you in the future.
Preserving Historical Documents
Does your church have a library…a safe…a secure place to store photos and documents? Does your church have access to digital storage in the Cloud or hard drives? While verbal stories and reports of historical events are the most exciting way to learn about your history, it is crucial to have written accounts, documents and photos safely secured so that they are not lost to future congregations.
Share Your Stories
Is there a history buff in your congregation? Try to identify someone that would be willing to oversee the collection and storage of information. Once your church has established an archive, encourage congregants to share documents, records and photos to be kept as part of your church history. 
Embrace Your Past
Plan an event, workshop or discussion around your history and how it has molded your church identity: have a Founders Day celebration; establish an Outreach Ministry that reflects the needs of your particular community; carry on traditions unique to your church.
The History of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Mobile, Alabama, established in 1854, is Alabama's oldest African American Episcopal congregation, fostered by Trinity Episcopal Church. Learn more about Good Shepherd's history by watching the video** below.
Options for Participation
Plan an event, workshop or discussion among different generational groups around your history and how it has molded your church identity.

Organize and invite congregants to participate in a photo-scanning session. Scan the photographs they bring onto a flash drive or computer hard drive so photos can be stored electronically.

Contact the diocese for guidance on how to properly organize and store historical information and documents.

Identify a church historian and assist them in preparing a presentation on the history of your church.

Start an outreach ministry that reflects the current needs of your particular community - today's news is tomorrow's history.

Carry on traditions unique to your church.
Magoo Hamilton of St. Thomas in Greenville shares how her congregation is using the Jubilee Toolkit to engage its church members.

Feel free to share a brief video with us on how your church is using the Jubilee Toolkit. Send video or link to communications@diocgc.org.
Upcoming Events
Next Month...
The theme for March is called Our Storms. In March we want to reflect on the storms we have experienced - weather or human related. What do we learn from them, how do we recover, how do we express thanks for those who have helped us, how do we prepare for storms to come, and how have we been changed by the storms we have weathered? Most of all, where is God in these storms?

Gratitude
Our thanks to the 50th Jubilee Anniversary subcommittee on history: Lori Bates, Kris Branch, Kit Caffey, Rennie Edwards, Lynn Ferren, Magoo Hamilton, and June Linke; to *Meredith Portman of Portman Creative; and *Robbie Runderson of Church of the Good Shepherd, Mobile.
Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast | www.diocgc.org/jubilee-celebration