April 14, 2021
Volume 11, No. 32
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Becoming Beloved Community
"Where else should we start waking people up other than the house of God?"
- Mixed Greens Organizer and Community Builder Jessica Mathis

Jessica Mathis,
Mixed Greens
When grants became available from The Episcopal Church's Becoming Beloved Community initiative, the Rev. Kelly Steele reached out to Jessica Mathis, the leader organizer and community builder for Mixed Greens in Savanah. Mixed Greens was formed at the Forsyth Farmers Market out of seeing a need for radical hospitality for all, with a focus on disabled members of the community. Their primary focus of mindfulness, whole health, and ending racism and discrimination towards those with disabilities and all forms of inequality seemed a perfect fit for the grant. 

"I have known Jessica for years and know her passion for following Jesus and her drive to lift up others while assisting our churches in becoming truly welcoming communities," Bishop Logue said. "Mixed Greens seemed a perfect fit for the vision of all people experiencing dignity and abundant life as we all see ourselves and others as beloved children of God."

After conversations with Bishop Logue, he suggested that Jessica team up with the Rev. Cathy Henderson, Deacon, who had earlier expressed an interest in how to address racism in the church and community. The goal of the project is to address ableism and racism within Savannah and the Diocese by increasing understanding, acceptance, and inclusion of persons with disabilities and minorities. The hope is that offering community learning sessions to Savannah and churches within the Diocese that people will think more about what its like to live as a disabled person and that this project will help communities think about how they can include those folks in their circle. Henderson said, "I hope that this will make people more aware that folks have value and a lot to offer the rest of society if we will honor them and listen to them."

Members of the Mixed Greens community in Savannah

Mathis said that one of the questions for the grant, "What is the function of the Church and the Body of Christ?" made her think. "It is time for us to be healers of the world in this wounded time of social justice and unrest. First, being a healer requires that one speak the truth in honesty, love, and humility. Secondly, healers fix the wounds or hurt with forgiveness and understanding," said Mathis. 

Beginning in September there will be nine Zoom sessions that will enable those with and without disabilities to interact with each other. Sessions will include interviews with someone who is blind, a person with a physical disability, a family member of a person with a mental disability, and an interview with Maya Chung, an activist that works with transgender persons who are disabled. The sessions will provide discussion around the topics presented and give participants time to process each topic. Four sessions will focus on the Savannah area, with the same sessions repeating for other communities in the Diocese. A ninth session will focus on resources available to help persons with disabilities. 

Henderson's hope is that if someone who is disabled enters a church in our diocese, that these sessions will help churches know how to welcome those persons into the church community. She said, "I want this to help congregations be more open and feel more comfortable welcoming people who are disabled and minorities into their congregations. This is not a a group we typically reach out to, and I'm excited to begin this work for our communities."

There is a need for volunteers who would assist in leading small group discussions during the upcoming Zoom sessions. Training will be provided for those who would like to be a group leader. For more information, contact the Rev. Cathy Henderson at cathygh23@gmail.com.

1Book1Diocese Underway - Read Chapters Two and Three

This week the Diocese of Georgia continues a 1Book1Diocese read of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Love Is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times. We are currently reading Chapters Two and Three for discussions this week. 

A book discussion guide for the Diocese of Georgia's 1Book1Diocese read of Love is the Way is now online here: Discussion Guide PDF. Some congregations are holding discussions of the book on Zoom, but you can create your own group as well by asking a friend or two to discuss the book with you each week. 

Discussion Questions for this week:
When have you experienced a community of love offering comfort? 

When has a ritual of faith sustained you through a difficult time? 

In the recipe for making do, Bishop Curry describes a spiritual alchemy at work where the only explanation is God. When have you seen God showing up in this way?

FEMA program assists with the cost of COVID Funerals
If you know a family that had someone die from COVID-19 in the United States, a new program can assist them with the costs. We are passing this along to assist the congregations of the Diocese of Georgia in providing pastoral care to those in need. The program is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Episcopal Relief and Development has put all the information you need online here: FEMA Funeral Assistance

Diocesan Sunday livestream to end on Pentecost
Pentecost will mark the last of the online services provided by the Diocese on Sunday at 10 am. With the COVID-19 vaccine becoming more available and worship guidelines continuing to change, the Diocese will end the weekly offering. 

We will still provide the online calendar with livestream offerings from churches around the Diocese for those who would like to continue to experience an online service. 

At left, Canon Loren Lasch preaches her Palm Sunday sermon at Trinity, Statesboro.

Middle School New Beginnings Event Online
April 26-27, 6-8 p.m. on Zoom. Register Now

We are all looking forward to gathering together in person as soon as we can do so safely! In the meantime, some of our high school youth have come together to offer youth in grades 6-9 a small taste of one of our favorite middle school events!

This event, led by high school youth for middle school youth, will take place on Monday and Tuesday evenings, April 26 and 27. Our high schoolers will offer some thoughts on Friends, Changes, the Church and Me, and Sharing our Gifts. As they prepare, they are thinking back to their own middle school years and what they wish someone had said to them.

During each night, we will also have music, small groups, games, and a chance to worship together. Register now by clicking this link: New Beginnings Online!

ECW Online Event in April

Please join us in your Pearls & Pyjamas: A Celebration of Women's Ministries. We will be meeting virtually via Zoom on April 24th. The Order of the Daughters of the King will have a meeting using the link at 10:00 AM. There will also be a craft card session at 11:00 AM. 

At Noon we will have an hour of social time. Bishop Logue will join us at 1:30 PM for remarks and worship. Officers will be commissioned for both Diocesan Boards; Episcopal Church Women and The Order of the Daughters of the King. 

Our keynote speaker, the Reverend Kelly Steele, Priest in Charge of St. Peter's, Savannah, will join us at 2:00, followed by a brief business meeting at 3:00. The event will end with prayer at 4:30. 

Many surprises are in the works, so we hope you can join us!

For more information, contact Margaret Jordan at fayrelight@aol.com.

Two Upcoming Retreats for Deacons and Priests

Overnight Clergy Retreat in May
Deacons and priests of the Diocese of Georgia are invited to an overnight retreat May 17-18 at Honey Creek. There will be no speaker or program, but the clergy will worship together with the Daily Offices and Eucharist. Registration is now open at the Honey Creek website: Spring Clergy Conference registration.

Deacon's Retreat in June
"Being Changed by the Face of Christ"

The 2021 Deacon's Retreat, scheduled June 4-6 at Honey Creek, welcomes the Rev. Becky Rowell and the Rev. Terri Degenhardt to lead us through a weekend of Icon Writing, Meditations and Music. 

Bishop Frank Logue will be spending some time with us during the weekend to answer any questions, concerns, or thanksgivings we may wish to offer. 

Reservations must be made by contacting our Retreat Coordinator, Deacon Geri Nelson at GLNelson609@Gmail.com  Please RSVP as soon as possible so that we may arrange all the details for your visit. 

If financial assistance is needed please contact Archdeacon Yvette Owens: yvetteowens63@gmail.com.

Clergy Spouse Retreat in October

Registration Open for Family Camp 

For more information, contact Canon Joshua Varner at jvarner@gaepiscopal.org.

Livestream Calendar Update

  We are collecting updates for our newly organized Live Stream calendar. Please list your updated live stream services including any services throughout Lent and Holy Week. For any future updates to the Live Stream calendar, you can send them to DioGAEvents@gmail.com

To update your service schedule, click here.

Across the Diocese

 The new vestry at St. Paul's, Augusta met in front of the steps of the church for their investiture,
a tradition that dates back 270 years!

Volunteers with the I AM food pantry after the food drive at St. Peter's, Savannah. 1014 pounds of food were donated to the pantry at St. Michael's and All Angels. 

Worship with the Diocese of Georgia in Valdosta on Sunday

On Sunday we will stream Morning Prayer at 
10 a.m. from St. Barnabas in Valdosta with Bishop Logue as officiant and preacher and joined by the Rev. Karyl Miller, Deacon and readers from St. Barnabas.

Find Livestream Worship 
There are a lot of options each day for Episcopalians in the Diocese of Georgia to worship online and now they are listed in one place. The Livestream Services calendar tells the time, location, and which liturgy the congregation offers for the whole Diocese. Click the image above or this link: Livestream Services Calendar

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 2021 one year prayer cycle is online here: 2021 Prayer Cycle

April 18 - 24
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation 
in Fitzgerald, St. Matthew's, and for our ecumenical partners in Fitzgerald, especially St. William's Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Haina, especially St. John the Evangelist (San Juan Evangelista) and St. Mark (San Marcos).

April 25 - May 1
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our Grovetown Episcopal-Lutheran Mission, and our ecumenical partners in the Catholic churches in Cuthbert and Donalsonville-St. Luke's and the Church of the Incarnation. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for Christ the Liberator (Cristo Libertador) in Hato Mayor. 

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

This week, Bishop Logue will officiate and preach Morning Prayer from St. Barnabas in Valdosta. To view the services, visit the Diocese of Georgia Facebook Page or the Diocese of Georgia YouTube page. 

Canon Varner will be celebrating and preaching this Sunday at St. Luke's in Rincon.

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Diocesan staff are not all in the office at the same time with some working remotely. Email will be the quickest way to get in touch with the staff, although you are still welcome to call us on the phone! If we miss your call, please leave a voicemail with a detailed message. Staff e-mails can be found here.

Let Us Know!

What are you doing to keep community right now? Are you gathering for virtual coffee hours, delivering groceries to your neighbors - let us know! Send any updates or photos to our Communications Manager Liz Williams at lwilliams@gaepiscopal.org. We want to hear from you!

Fried Chicken Challenge

Executive Director of Honey Creek issued a new fried chicken challenge - try to stay awake after enjoying Ms. Linda's famous fried chicken. We can't speak for anyone else, but we'll probably lose this one.....

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