February 5, 2020
Volume 11, No. 23
Gayle Dawson to Retire from Diocesan Staff
For the past 21 years, Gayle Dawson has brought her love of God and people to her work for the Diocese of Georgia. As the Bishop's Executive Secretary for Bishop Louttit and Bishop Benhase, Gayle shepherds our chief shepherds' schedules and keeps visitations and other events running smoothly with a seemingly effortless grace. On May 31, she will retire from her work with the Diocese. 

In addition to her work as Executive Secretary, Gayle also instinctively offers her hospitality to those visiting Diocesan House, and epitomizes the gracious welcome of the Hostess City. Baptized and married at St. John's, Savannah, Gayle offers her love for the Episcopal Church to her work and knits our diocesan community closer. 

Bishop Scott Benhase says, "It has been a joy for me to serve with Gayle these last 10+ years. To be in her presence for just a few minutes, one immediately recognizes her big heart for others. She is always ready with a smile and a word of encouragement. Her compassion knows no boundaries. That is proven by the fact that she has always laughed at my lame jokes. But that might not be compassion; that may be just pity."

Canon Katie Easterlin notes that she will be hard pressed to envision a work day without the joyous gift of serving with Gayle. She states, "Gayle serves the Diocese with conviction, grace, and love and demonstrates the spirit of the Gospel through her ministry to those she encounters. She is a critical part of the administration and makes sure the Diocese is run smoothly from accounts payable, records management, to keeping the team organized in responding to the many daily requests we receive. She will be missed, however, I look forward to hearing about the many travel adventures with her husband, Joe, her son, and grandchildren."

"While I knew and valued Gayle when a seminarian and then parish priest," Canon Frank Logue says, "serving on the bishop's staff for a decade with her has shown me the depth of knowledge she has and the organizational gifts she brings to her work. She puts her heart into all she does for this Diocese. No one cares more than Gayle Dawson."

"Gayle brings a generous spirit and an attention to detail to her work," says Canon Joshua Varner, "and her support is critical in keeping all the work of the Diocesan Office in order. I will miss both her expertise and her cheerful spirit."

Bishop Benhase adds, "I could not have imagined serving in the Diocese without her." 

Future issues of From the Field will have information on Gayle's retirement party in Savannah.
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Register now for Happening in February
The paticipants, staff, and supporters at the Closing Eucharist of Happening #100

Happening offers high school youth in grades 10-12 a chance to consider the deep questions about God, Jesus, the Church, Faith, Prayer, Love, and more. All of this is done in a way that allows youth to learn from each other, and to experience the love of God throughout the weekend. The teen who will serve as the Rector for this Happening will be J.D. Greneker of Christ Church, Valdosta.

Register soon! Registration closes on February 14, 2020.

Grades 10-12, February 21-23, 2020
Information on the Bishop Ordination and Consecration
Find out all about the May 30th Ordination and Consecration of the 11th Bishop of Georgia at consecration.georgiaepiscopal.org. The website has the schedule for the weekend, a way to sign-up to sing in the choir, hotel information and more.
Mirate to Serve as Dean of the Albany Convocation
Bishop Scott Benhase has named the Very Rev. Galen Mirate to serve as the Dean of the Albany Convocation. Mirate follows the Rev. Tar Drazdowski, who has served as Dean since 2018. In making this appointment, Bishop Benhase said, "Mother Tar has been an outstanding dean and we all thankful for her ministry with us. Mother Mirate will carry on the great leadership we've all come to expect from the Dean of the Albany Convocation."

Mirate serves as the Priest in Charge of St. John's and St. Mark's, Albany.  Born in Charleston, SC, Mirate's first career was in law. She earned a BS from Emory University in 1977 and a JD from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1981.  Mirate worked as an attorney who specialized in appellate court cases.  She was a parishioner at Christ the King, Valdosta, when called to the ordination process as a bi-vocational priest.  Following studies at Sewanee, Bishop Louttit ordained her a deacon at the 2006 diocesan convention in Savannah and to the priesthood that August. 

Mirate served as an Associate at Christ the King, Valdosta, and as the Vicar of St. Margaret of Scotland in Moultrie. In recent years, she has assisted the diocese with shorter calls that came at important times for congregations in transition including St. Patrick's, Albany; Calvary, Americus; and St. Paul's, Albany. Married since 1992 to Donald Mirate, they have one grown son, Milo, who works as a software engineer in a cybersecurity firm in Alpharetta, Georgia. Don, an ophthalmologist, has accepted a part-time position at Eye Center South in Albany. 
Bishop's Visitation to St. Margaret of Scotland, Moultrie

The Rev. Sally Shovar-Byers, Deacon; the Rev. Stan Christian, Priest in Charge; Matthew House, confirmand; Bishop Scott Benhase; and David Platter, crucifer; are pictured following the Eucharist at St. Margaret of Scotland, Moultrie.
At left, Vicki Britt of St. Luke's, Rincon, helps prepare a patient for an examination by an optometrist during St. Peter's Gift of Sight Mission Team's seventh visit to San Pedro de Macoris. At right, As Randy Stolt of St. Peter's and Ana Hall of Coral Gables watch, a young girl indicates the direction of a letter on the eye chart.

Companion Diocese
Team from St. Peter's Savannah sees 850 patients in the DR
Jim and Haydee Toedtman are pictured here with one of 850 patients seen.
The 23 short-term missionaries on the Gift of Sight Mission Team gave 850 eye examinations during a week-long eye care visit to the Dominican Republic. The team, including five doctors and two opticians and family and friends from three states and two countries, worked at La Clinica Esperanza y Caridad in San Pedro de Macoris and examined 850 patients. Some 1,385 reading and prescription glasses were distributed and 138 patients were referred for further specialized care. The mission trip started with Sunday morning services at the host San Esteban Church that included a 30-minute passing of the peace and the morning sermon by Rev. Guillermo Arboleda, Rector of St. Matthew's in Savannah.

 "Once again, this has been a gift for our community," said the Rev. Milquella Mendoza of San Esteban Church. "The gift is ours," said Haydee Toedtman co-director of the trip. "We are welcomed as family, we are able to offer service in the name of God and we share the tears and joy of people who now can see better."

The surgeries are performed by Dr. Bill Degenhart and Judy Piros and a 10-member team from the Georgia Eye Institute that has partnered with the St. Peter's team for three years. 

Dave Howell of St. Peter's explains the acuity test to indicate
how a patient will see with and without glasses.
They perform 20 cataract surgeries per day for five days, including one on Feb. 1 for a 70-year-old man named Johnny Gomez. He had been identified for the surgery a week earlier. Johnny awoke after the 30-minute operation and said:  "I saw the light of the world for the first time 70 years ago today. Now, 70 years later, I am seeing the light of the world again."

On the mission team were Jim and Haydee Toedtman, who follow Julius and Julia Ariail as the Diocese of Georgia's representatives on the Board of the Dominican Development Group (DDG). The DDG is a non-profit organization within the Episcopal Church, which assists with project planning, program development, and coordinating the schedules and the work projects of mission teams from the United States working in the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

Kristen Toedtman of the Church on the Square, Baltimore, joins a patient who is blind in one eye as they sing with other patients during the long afternoon wait. Patients often became a joyous chorus. Their favorite song was Cual Grande Es El (How Great Thou Art). At right, Sally Freeman of St. Luke's, Rincon, was one of the doctors on the mission team. Here she examines a patient during the week-long mission trip.
Around the Diocese
Children take part in on the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation, also known as Candlemas,
at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta. 

The Rev. George Muir, Priest in Charge of St. Paul's, Augusta, with the child he baptized on Sunday.

 The Feast of the Presentation at St. Thomas Isle of Hope, Savannah.

The Feast of the Presentation at the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah.

The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner hangs out with kids at Holy Comforter, Martinez, after presiding and preaching, and before leading a Godly Play session with children and parents.

The Rev. Charles Todd leads a weekly bible study with students from
Georgia Southern University Episcopal Campus Ministry.

A new playground has arrived at St. Augustine, Augusta. Rector, Rev. Jim Said, Junior Warden, Resident Engineer,
and two "play inspectors" work hard to set up.

The vestry of Holy Nativity, St. Simons Island, on retreat at Honey Creek.

A Project Smile dental mission trip is now underway in Belize City, Belize. This Christ Church, Savannah led team is under the leadership of Dr. Steve and Montie Acuff who have been going to Belize for 26 years. They saw 61 dental patients yesterday with a hearing clinic, led by Dr. Chip Goldsmith, that saw 21 patients and gave out 27 hearing aids. We will have a full report on this trip in next week's From the Field .

Join us on Friday, April 17th for a celebration honoring Bishop Benhase and Kelly Benhase. The Starland Yard is a food truck park in the historic Starland District of Savannah with rotating food trucks, a pizzeria, and yard games. This is a self-funded event.   Please let us know you are coming by clicking here .

Parking is free but limited in the Starland neighborhood, so please plan to carpool or Uber/Lyft if you are able. Click here to view the map on their website.

Contact Maggie Lyons ( mlyons@gaepiscopal.org) with any questions. 
Diocesan Office Update and News
T he Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase,  10th Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia, will make his visitation to St. Paul's, Jesup, this Sunday at 10:30 AM. To see the Bishop's complete visitation schedule, go here:  Visitations Calendar

Bishop-elect Frank Logue is in Richmond, Virginia, this week for the Living Our Vows program of the College for Bishops. Frank and Victoria and with other newly elected bishops and their spouses to begin the three-year program for new bishops as required by the canons of the church. He returns February 8.

Canon Joshua Varner will be at the Staff Retreat for New Beginnings #56 February 8-9, hosted by Trinity, Statesboro. He will then be on retreat the week of February 9-14.

The Rev. Kelly Steele, Associate Rector of St. Peter's, Savannah, will preside at the noon service at St. Anna Alexander chapel, Diocesan House, on Thursday, February 6, 2020.
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 2020 one year prayer cycle is now online here:  2020 Prayer Cycle

February 2 - 8
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Augusta, especially, St. Augustine's, St. Mary's, and St. Paul's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Adel, and St. Ann Catholic Church in Alapaha. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Boca Chica -Grace ( De la Gracia), Mount Zion ( Monte de Sión), and St. Joseph ( San José).

February 9 - 15 
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Bainbridge, St. John's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Bainbridge, especially St. Joseph Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Bonao, especially Pentecost ( Pentecostes) and St. Joseph of Arimathea ( San José de Arimatea).

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 .
Lent is around the corner

The Rev. Michael White, Rector of Christ Church, Savannah, looks on as costumed parishioners promote the congregation's Mardi Gras Party. The event will be February 25, the night before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras masks in New Orleans and elsewhere allowed wearers to escape society and class constraints. At Christ Church, they are just part of the fun of the party before the season of preparation for Easter known as Lent.

Happening #103
Thursday, February 20 (for staff, participants arrive Friday) to Sunday, February 23, 2020
Honey Creek 
For students in grades 10 to 12
Register  here.

Clergy Spouse Retreat
March 13 to March 15, 2020
Honey Creek

New Beginnings #56
March 27 to March 29, 2020
Honey Creek
For students in grades 7 to 9
Toil 'N Sweat: Caring for Honey Creek
April 24 to April 26, 2020
Honey Creek
For students in grades 6 to 12
Register  here or at  http://bit.ly/ToilNSweat2020 

EQHR for Clergy Only
April 27 to May 1
Honey Creek

Spring Clergy Conference
5:30 PM, Monday, May 4 to 1 PM, Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Honey Creek

Ordination and Consecration of the 11th Bishop of Georgia
11 AM Saturday, May 30
Johnny Mercer Theater
Savannah, Georgia

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preaches at Eucharist in Forsyth Park
11 AM Sunday, May 31
The Bandshell, Forsyth Park
Savannah, Georgia

High School Camp at Honey Creek
June 7-13, 2020
Register  here.

Camp St. Joseph & Mary I at Honey Creek
June 14-20, 2020
For those who have completed grades 3-5

Parent & Child session I at Honey Creek
June 14 - June 16, 2020
For those who have completed Kindergarten thru 2nd grade
Register here .

Camp St. Peter I 
June 21-27, 2020
For those who have completed grades 6-8

Camp St. Joseph & Mary II
July 5-11, 2020
For those who have completed grades 3-5
Register  here.

Parent & Child session II at Honey Creek
July 5-7, 2020
For those who have completed Kindergarten thru 2nd grade
Register  here .

Camp St. Peter II
July 12-18, 2020
For those who have completed grades 6-8
Register here

Episcopal Youth Event
July 6-14, 2020
University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
Participants must be in grades 9-12
Register by going here:

Happening #104
Thursday, July 30 (for staff, participants arrive Friday) to Sunday, August 2, 2020
Honey Creek
For students rising into Grade 10 through Grade 12

Conflict Transformation, Clergy Only
October 19-23
Honey Creek 
Contact:  the Rev. Walter Hobgood

199th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia
November 5-7
Jekyll Island Convention Center
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