The Spirit of Saint Nicholas!
The E-Newsletter from Saint Nicholas Episcopal 
 Hamilton, GA

August 26th - September 1st, 2015

Episcopal 101
Episcopal 101  is going on hiatus...don't worry, it will be back in another format in the future! For now, the monthly series will end. 

A Diocesan Youth Day Retreat is planned Saturday, Aug. 29, at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Atlanta. The retreat's theme is "Filled to be Emptied," and the focus will be on hunger and what it means to be called to serve those in need.
The day runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include worship, fellowship, service, programming for youth in grades 6 to 12, young adults and special programming for adults who work with youth. The cost is $5 to pay for lunch.
To register, write 

Diocesan Youth Day Retreat
Date:  Saturday, Aug. 29th
Time:  10 a.m. to 5 p.m
Location:   All Saints', Atlanta

From Father Jeff:
We have tremendous wisdom in this congregation. 
Every once in a while, I will receive feedback or further reflection on a sermon or article I have written. This month, Charles Norris gave me permission to offer his reflection on one piece of my blog post entitled "Last Week of Sabbatical" where I recounted 10 things I learned on sabbatical. There is good stuff here to continue to ponder. If you have further thoughts, feel free to share them!

9. To follow Christ is to suffer (and that's OK).  I have spent my entire Christian life thinking that if I just tried to do everything right, then God would grant me a suffering-free life. Even when I saw others go through tragedies and knew that my life would not be free from such, I still kept up this lie that to be Christian is to attain some rose-colored perfection. The problem with this is that it simply can't happen. We cannot avoid suffering. To think otherwise only creates guilt-ridden Christianity because we will fail daily. Instead, this trip (actually the whole last year) has showed me that to really be a Christian, suffering is integral. Christ more than anyone understood suffering and that's what makes the Cross the most fascinating paradox. With suffering comes grace, so instead of resisting suffering, or manipulating life in order not to suffer (which is a form of suffering), I feel more called than ever to lean into it and learn from it. Again, this is another truth on which I'll be meditating forever.

It has come to my attention from observation during my life that I can foresee suffering when it is coming to, or happening for myself and others.
I also know that I can find many ways to avoid or bypass the difficulties suffering brings with it. On many occasions I have avoided difficult situations that cause suffering and I have also helped others who I care about to get out of difficulties which they faced. Especially in the case of my children, I have saved them from certain hardships that they should have faced and solved themselves.  (That is like not allowing your children to ever be sick.  Then they grow up with no immune system.)

The most interesting thing I have learned about this is that each hardship is there to teach you a lesson. If you do not face the difficulty or if you do not learn your lesson then it will come back later and you will be forced to deal with it again. Each lesson you fail to learn causes your difficulty level to go up the next time it returns until you finally have no choice but to solve the problem and learn your lesson. The corollary is you can not go on to the next lesson in the series if you fail to learn this one.

The end results are:  
Difficulties and suffering are not just something to endure; they serve a purpose in your life.
Do not try to avoid them; they will be easier the first time.  Face them and learn your lesson.
If you find yourself in a really terrible situation (at least from your point of view) then you have probably been avoiding something for way too long.
Do not protect yourself or your "children" too much (short of keeping them from severe accident or death)  
We all need to take advantage of the opportunities we are given.

Movie on the Green
During the fall, we'd like to have a monthly "Movie on the Green" for us and the local community.  We'd show a movie on the front lawn of the church.  Everyone would bring their own blanket or camp chair.  Once it gets cold, we could move inside.  

To do this we'd need wholesome popular videos either donated or loaned by the congregation; a volunteer each month to set up and take down the equipment (computer, projector and screen); volunteers to bag popcorn; and volunteers to help post advertisements around the area.  

If you are interested in helping to organize this family fun or would like to do some of the specific duties listed above, please let Sheri Cody know.  
If you miss her at church you can reach her @ Sheri Cody   or 

Clavinova Fund

We are grateful to the original donors, John & Rose Brent, of the Clavinova that Melissa has been using until recently.  The years have taken their toll on this instrument and we now find ourselves in need of a replacement.  Melissa arranged for a loaner instrument (that is new) and has been playing it for six weeks or so.  I believe everyone is aware of the need for a new Clavinova and the cost is $4,000.  The Vestry is unable to fund this need from an Operating Budget that is already stretched thin. 

Sooooooooooo, we have received contributions/pledges in the amount of $2,150 to date leaving a balance needed of $1,850.  Please prayerfully consider a donation to this worthwhile project and make your contribution as soon as possible.  We have only a few days to make this happen.

You can easily accomplish this electronically by going to our "Online Giving" tab on the website  St. Nicholas and making a one time gift to the "Clavinova Fund".  If you prefer to contribute by check, please note "Clavinova Fund" on your check.

Thank you,


Free Webinar
"Developing Financial Resources to Sustain Mission" 
Save the date for a free Diocese of Atlanta webinar on "Developing Financial Resources to Sustain Mission" from   7 to 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 16 . 

Outreach leaders from Emmaus House -- Executive Director Joseph Mole and Director of Development Greg Cole -- will lead the program from the Mission Room at the Cathedral of St. Philip. The program is designed for parish leaders, outreach chairs, and those serving with or directing ministries that require ongoing funding. 

Registration information will be posted on the diocesan website soon and in the next Connecting. For more information, contact Chuck Dale,

"Developing Financial Resources to Sustain Mission" 

Date:  Wednesday, Sept. 16th
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm


It's time to volunteer!  If you didn't have time to sign up at the picnic, please look for the sign-up sheets in the narthex.  We need your help to make this the best Lobsterfest ever!

Friday, September 25, 2015 
at Sweet Home Plantation Pine Mountain

  Tickets are Now On Sale!!!
Click on the link above

"Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, for all the people you can, in every place you can, as long as you can".  
Enjoy the blessings of good stewardship!


We're setting a place for you...

Mark your calendars!  Sunday, October 18th is the date for this year's Consecration Sunday. 

Please plan to attend two important events:  Sunday morning worship at 10:00 a.m. and the Celebration Luncheon immediately following worship that same day -- a meal from a very special caterer in Harris County.

We hope that you will attend worship on Consecration Sunday and consider your financial commitment in the church sanctuary as an act of worship.
In  Christ,
St. Nicholas Stewardship Committee


St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Hamilton, Georgia seeks positive and motivated individual to serve as director for a small Wednesday night program SNICK (St. Nicholas Kids). .Responsibilities include planning activities in advance, executing activities on Wednesday nights, recruiting volunteer teen leaders, and coordinating with church volunteers to arrange for dinner for children and volunteers.  Anticipated hours are 7-8 per week.  Pay will be $12.00 - $15.00/hour commensurate with experience. The director will report directly to the Rector and will have support from parish volunteers when needed. Program runs September 2, 2015 through May 11, 2016.   Send resumes to: St Nicholas Church, PO Box 752, Hamilton, GA  31811 or email .
This is being funded from grants monies received by St Nicholas.
BackPack Snacks

The Outreach Committee is busy planning more activities to support the project, BackPack Snacks. Along with three other Harris County Churches, St. Nicholas will be providing nutritional, easy to prepare meals for school children whose meal times are uncertain on the weekends. We will be packing six meals into back packs for four children chosen for the program by the counselor at Park Elementary School.  The Vestry has voted to give $300 seed money for this program, but your donations are needed to make it a success.
Before the planned October 25 fund raiser, more donations are needed to provide meals for four back packs seven times. Donations can be made monetarily by checks made out to St. Nicholas with the notation Back Pack Snacks on the memo line. Food articles can be brought to the church and will be collected and distributed. More breakfast foods are currently needed. Suggestions are small bags or boxes of cereal, individual packets of macaroni and cheese, individual small cans of fruit, granola bars, peanut butter, crackers, pop tarts, individual flavored rice and beef sticks.
Watch for more information about the fund raiser on 25 October and continue to bring donations as this is an on-going project
The mission of SNICK (St Nicholas Kids) is to provide the children of our community and church with a place of warmth and care, feeding their bodies and spirits through relationships. The program begins with a family friendly worship service involving the children followed by a nutritious meal.  After the meal they are engaged in fun, interactive spiritual education that forms them as individual Christians and as a community of faith.  It provides a space where barriers of race, socio-economic groups and age groups are broken down.  In this place, there are opportunities for spiritual and personal growth as well as teaching life skills and interpersonal skills. 

Enjoy the convenience of electronic giving!


We've had an enthusiastic response to our electronic giving program. Thank you to all the parishioners who have signed up.


This is a way to automate your regular weekly offerings--and another way to reduce the stress in your life! Please sign up today--it's quick and easy.  

Electronic giving is safe and convenient for you and provides much-needed donation consistency for our

congregation. When travel, illness or other circumstances prevent you from attending services, this program will allow your offerings to continue on an uninterrupted basis.

To set up a recurring giving schedule you, visit us online at and locate the blue Online Giving button in the upper right-hand corner of the home page. 



Your information is held in strictest confidence and your check, debit or credit card information will be secure. Setting up your profile and your giving instructions can be completed in less than 10- 15 minutes. 


I think you will find it very easy to get started, but please contact me if you have any questions.


Thank you for your generosity and support!


Nick Simpson

Financial Stewardship Vestry Liaison

Cell:  706 594-2884 




Steward of the Month

The best way to describe Katherine Johnson's activities during Fr. Jeff's sabbatical is WOW.  "Ask Fr. Jeff" rapidly became, "Ask Katherine" as she quickly took over most of the responsibilities of our Rector in his absence. 
She never faltered, she never failed, she was somehow always there.  Like many of you I grew to love and respect Katherine even more during this time of Sabbatical and now that she has time to accept it, the Vestry has unanimously voted her Steward of the Month.  Thank you Katherine for all that you do and what you have come to mean to all of us at St. Nicholas.  
Well done, good and faithful Servant!

"Sharing our gifts with others brings satisfaction, peace and joy to the giver's heart.  St. Paul once remarked: " . . . we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Get to Know Your Parish Family

David and Katherine Johnson

David Johnson is from the small town of Robbinsville, NC - high in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina - where he grew up with four sisters. After high school, his journey took him to Reinhardt College and then LaGrange College. He then went to the University of Alabama for a Masters in English and continued coursework for a Ph.D. Rather than writing a dissertation he chose to go to England to the University of Kent, Canterbury and write the "great" American Novel. It sits on our bookshelf today. Katherine accepts money for anyone wanting copies.

David taught at Columbus State University for 33 years in the Literature and English Department. His focus was American Literature and Creative Writing. He is a poet, gardener and collector of many things. He has published three books of poetry -and enjoys reading, meditating and writing each day. David became involved with the Episcopal Church in his twenties. Over the years, he has been active in Adult and Children's Education. There are pictures of David in Easter Bunny costumes delivering eggs at St Thomas. (A reflection of desperate times to make extra money to cover plane tickets for his daughter to visit...Oh what good Fathers do.) Katherine is from Mobile, AL - where she grew up with one brother and three male cousins. Many carefree days were spent swimming, fishing, dancing and enjoying friends. She went to Montevallo College and enjoyed some lackadaisical times there as well which extended her stay. Eventually, she graduated with a social work major and history minor. After graduating from Montevallo (now Alabama College), her path took her to Tuscaloosa. After a divorce, she went to graduate school at the University of Alabama majoring in planning and information systems. When offered a job with the Muscogee County School District she immediately packed her bag and moved to Columbus. 

A cradle Episcopalian, Katherine has been active in the church in various ways throughout her life. From being a Christmas Pageant Angel to an EFM graduate, the church has been an important part of her life. Though not really skilled at a particular thing, Katherine enjoys trying out just about anything and is pretty flexible. Both she and David enjoy their friends, the arts, good food, conversation and laughter. Daughter, Lauren, lives in California with her husband, Jay, and granddaughter, Nova. As with all of us, life's experiences have shaped and honed us and hopefully bettered our hearts and spirits. David and Katherine transferred to St. Nicholas about seven years ago. The journey at St Nicholas continues to enrich their lives.

           Lay Ministry Opportunities
There are many lay ministry opportunities at
St. Nicholas.   Each person has unique talents to share.    Think about your place to joyfully plug into St Nicholas.     
A few ideas are: Flower Guild, Greeter, Ushers,  Teacher,  Special  Event Volunteer,  Grounds, Choir, Lay Eucharistic Minister........  More opportunities will be listed next week.  But begin to think about it.  Tailor your lay ministry to your time.
Most of all do remember to worship at St Nicholas.



The FOCUS Food Pantry is in need of
Soup and  Peanut Butter .
 Thank you for your donations!

Lectionary Readings 

If you would like to see the readings for Sunday, 

In Thanksgiving

For the safe return of Fr Jeff and family. For the beginning of our ministry together
following sabbatical.

For those who are ill, recovering or needing special prayers:
Members of St Nicholas:
Bruce Clouser
Chris Butzon
Ashley and Nate Taylor
Bill Caudill
Dorothy Webster
Garrett Hinnant
Larry Hinnant
Bob Hamilton
Bill Batastini
Shelley Butzon
Judy Jenks

  Family members of members of the community:
James Daniels
Jack Whitley
Ron Anderson
Clara Butzon
The Harris Family
Jameson Miers
Andy Hubbard
Julie Raines
Paul Jones
LaDean Hall
Leanne Croft
Robin Zion
Jimmy Dorminy
Jimmi Ann Moore
Prayers for all our veterans, those currently 
serving their country  away from home, 
for their safe return and for their families 
who wait for them.
For those with unspoken prayer requests.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

August Birthdays

1 Patty Hamilton
6 Dick Wood
8 Bruce Clouser
10 Trish Wehrle
13 Danielle Whitworth
15 Kelly Dimon
20 Lexie Whitworth
26 Geoff Robertson
27 Leslie Cooling
31  Nancy Callaway    

September Birthdays
1 Sean Moody
2 Drucye Cox
3 Linda Sawyer
5 Jessica Cody
6 Susan Batastini
8 Lynn Norris
8 Sheila Turley
11 Garbrielle Clouser
12 Chris Dixon
17 Mary Davis
19 June Nowell
21 Joe Torres
23 Sammy Hubbard
26 Charlotte Winsness
29 Amy Buchanan
29 Terry Buchanan
30 Bill Caudill

August Anniversaries

Chris & Andy Butzon
5 Bill & Terry Caudill
16 Lynn & Kenny Hall
18 Jeff & Molly Jackson
29 Gene & Pat Demonet
31 Sammy & Kristy Hubbard

September Anniversaries

2 Bob & Janice Murphy
3 Doug Jr. & Peggy Martin
25 Geoff & Phebe Callaway

Save the Date:
Join CVEM for an evening of
"Bluegrass Served Up Family Style" 
featuring Columbus' own Debbie Anderson on 
Sunday, Oct. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. at 
St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Tickets will be $20 per person or $50 for a family. This ministry fundraiser includes a celebration of the 20th anniversary of TAP, the Thompson-Pound Art Program, a week-long summer art program for children ages 6-12 recruited from diverse religious and socio-economic backgrounds that teaches tolerance and peace-making. More event details to follow soon. E-mail for more information.
Bluegrass Served Up Family Style
Date: Sunday, October 25th
Time: 5:00- 7:00 pm
Location: St. Thomas Episcopal Church - Columbus, GA
The next confirmation service will be on  December 13 at 4:00pm  at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. If you would like to be confirmed, received, or reaffirmed, please let Fr. Jeff know so he can plan future classes.
Date: Sunday, December 13th
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta

As stewards, we are accountable to God for our time, talent and treasure.  We return to the Lord, the giver of all our gifts, a truly grateful first share of our time, talent and treasure.
Four Upcoming Retreats for Adults
Looking for a way to deepen your spiritual life? Honey Creek offers retreats that give room for recharging as well as learning more. Here are four upcoming offerings:

Cursillo - October 8-11
Pronounced 'kur-see-yo', this a short course in Christianity taken from the Spanish word meaning 'little' or 'short course'. Cursillo developed after World War II with Roman Catholic men. The short course has now been given to men and women around the world and in the process has assisted generations of Christians to more faithfully follow Jesus in their daily lives. Cursillo begins on a  Thursday evening and ends the following  Sunday evening. During those three days the participants engage in listening to talks given by priests and lay people, and small table discussion, while worshiping and playing together. The next Cursillo weekend will be  October 8-11, 2015, at Honey Creek. You can find out more and register to attend at
Women's Retreat - October 16-18
St. Elizabeth's, Richmond Hill will again host a Women's Retreat at Honey Creek. The retreat meets  October 16-18. With the theme "Deeper Into the Heart of God: Place of Freedom" the weekend is dedicated to bringing participants into an ever-deepening love relationship with Jesus. For more information or to register, contact Emily Hubbard at  (912) 856-7902 or email her at

  Advent Retreat - December 11-12
In December, the Revs. Dwayne Varas and Lonnie Lacy will lead an Advent Retreat at Honey Creek on following Jesus in the way of St. Ignatius. This retreat will be held  December 11 from  5 p.m. until 5 p.m. on  December 12thClick here for a brochure on this retreat.

The rates for the conference including three meals are: Lodge 1 Single $144, Lodge 1 Double $99.50, Lodge 2 Single $133, Lodge 2 Double $94, Cottage $90, and Campers and Commuters $64. Registration information will follow.
Lenten Retreat - February 19-20, 2016
In Lent, the Revs. Liam Collins and Frank Logue will offer a retreat at Honey Creek. The retreat will explore reconciliation, making room for real changes to take place in the lives of retreat participants during the weekend itself. This 2016 Lenten Retreat will meet  February 19 at 5 p.m. and conclude by  2 p.m. on the 20th. The costs will be identical to those for the Advent Retreat above.


New Beginnings Team & Participant registrations are now open! New Beginnings is a spiritual retreat designed for middle school youth. This is a life-changing weekend, and we believe all middle school youth in our diocese should experience it. You can find team registration  here  and participant registration  here .
The 2016 Diocesan Youth Mission Trip
 will be to Birmingham, Alabama. The dates are July 10-15. If your church would like to be a part of it you can RSVP now. Email Youth Missioner, Easton Davis here for more information about the trip. 
We now have 2 Diocesan Mission Trips scheduled for July of 2016. Diocesan Mission Trip Birmingham will now be for high school youth.

The diocese has also partnered with All Saints' Atlanta to provide an Atlanta based mission trip for middle school youth. These mission trips are just the beginning of providing a tailored mission trip experience for all youth of our diocese. Choose your diocese when planning a youth mission trip! Email Youth Missioner, Easton Davis here for more information

In This Issue
Episcopal 101

Diocesan Youth Day Retreat

From Fr. Jeff

Movie Nights

Clavinova Fund



Consecration Sunday October 18th

Children's Program Director

Back Pack Snacks


Online Giving 

Steward of the Month

Get to Know Your Parish Family

Lay Ministry Schedule & Opportunities

Vestry Minutes

FOCUS Food Pantry

Lectionary Readings


Birthdays & Anniversaries


Upcoming Retreats for Adults

2016 Youth Mission Trip




Father Jeff's Travel Blog 


Thought of the Month 
for August

We have all heard the saying, "Give until it hurts."  Too often we assume giving will hurt.  So, we procrastinate.  When we finally get around to giving we do so timidly, fearful it will impoverish us.  We rarely experience the joy of giving.  Yet Jesus says:  "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving."  Stewardship calls us to plan our giving... giving the first portion of our income, not the last.
Deadline for submitting news items is noon Monday.

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Thank you, St. Nicholas family, for your active involvement in our parish. 

Please help Patty Hamilton keep the church directory as up-to-date as possible.


If you have not yet filled out a form, please pick one up in the cloister room and return to the church office. Or you can send your info via email to Patty Hamilton at

  1. Please include:your names and the names of your minor children,
  2. address,
  3. email addresses,
  4. phone numbers (cell and home),
  5. birthdays and anniversaries.

If you need a new picture or a new name tag, indicate that as well.  Feel free to use a favorite picture. Just send it in jpeg form to


Mobile App Installation Instructions

Church members can view the St. Nicholas Church Directory from their iPhone, iPad, Android or Kindle Fire by downloading the free Instant Church Directory Members App.  

You may search for "Instant Church Directory" in the Apple App Store, Google Play, or Amazon Appstore, or use this link: 

After installation, open the Instant Church Directory icon (it looks like a church).  It will ask for your email address.  If your email address is in our church directory, the program will generate a password for you and email it to you.


This worked great for most, but if you have any problems make sure you first check to see that your email address is in the church directory.  


Contact Information

To place information in the newsletter email:
St. Nicholas Episcopal Church