September 9, 2020
Volume 10, No. 53
IN THIS ISSUE
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Good, Bad, Godly
A reflection by Canon Lasch

Canon Lasch's view during Youth Compline
In the first month of my priesthood I was giving a very valuable gift, one which has helped guide my ministry and sustain me throughout the years.  It wasn't a set of vestments, or a book on theology, but a seemingly simple spiritual practice called "Good, Bad, and Godly." This practice was taught to me by a dedicated youth leader at my first parish, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta.  At each gathering of her youth Sunday School class, as a way of building community, the group would share their "good, bad, and Godly" moments from the week.  When the practice was first shared with me, it struck me as a great way to break the ice each week and get people talking.  What I didn't realize at the time was how this practice would continually help shape my prayer life and my attentiveness to God.  

I've used this practice personally, and have shared it with groups of all ages, including with the staff at Diocesan House, and we have begun using it in our weekly staff meetings. During this time of ongoing struggles in our world, we've found this practice particularly helpful.  It is easy to get caught up in the stressful and overwhelming things, and this has helped us to name those things while also paying attention to our joys and the ways in which God is shining through the darkness.  So, instead of focusing just on the fact that we need a brand new air conditioner in the house we've owned for just two months (that's the week's bad!) I've been able to also give attention to the gladness of spending time seeing my son learn new skills in virtual kindergarten, and give thanks to God for feeling the Spirit's presence while joining the Diocesan Youth Compline service from Honey Creek.  The Diocesan Staff invites you to join us in the spiritual practice of Good, Bad, and Godly, whether using it as a personal devotion or as a group spiritual exercise with your family or colleagues.  We hope it will be as meaningful for you as it has been for us!  

Diocesan Online Godly Play Offering begins this Sunday
This Sunday the Diocese will begin a series of virtual Godly Play offerings. Godly Play is a Montessori- based curriculum that focuses on telling stories using physical materials and allowing participants to play and work with the stories at their own level. 

This coming Sunday, September 13, Canon Joshua Varner will tell the Creation Story on the Diocesan Facebook Page at 11:00 a.m. On the following Sunday, September 20, Canon Varner will host a Zoom call during which children (and their associated adults) can gather to hear the story again and reflect on it together, sharing their ideas and wonderings. These sessions are appropriate for young people of all ages, and many adults find that the Godly Play method allows them to think about stories they have known for a long time in new and different ways.

The link to the Zoom Call will be available next week, both from the Diocese of Georgia FB Page and through From the Field. Please contact Canon Varner at  jvarner@gaepiscopal.orgwith your questions.

Strategic Planning During a Crisis
Submitted by Canon Katie Easterlin, Canon for Administration

While there is a myriad of challenges and uncertainty in the midst of 2020, the Diocese took an opportunity to conduct a strategy planning session. This article is to highlight why this can be helpful and important to do. In March, the first thing on everyone's mind was, "how do we respond?" In times of crisis, responsiveness and flexibility are critical. But as a crisis drags on, crisis fatigue becomes very prevalent and challenging for anyone. The core questions become two fold, 1) how do we plan for a thriving future? and 2) how do we build resilient leaders in our congregations and community? Taking the overall approach can be helpful: 


Given that many of us are still in the response and planning phase, how do we take steps to thrive? There are many different approaches to having a strategic planning session. Many see strategic planning through the lens of 3-5-10 year plans for the future of an organization. However, it is also important to take a shorter view on the next year to lay a strong foundation for longer-term visioning efforts. An organization can't thrive if it can't learn, adapt, and grow from its current environment. If you are looking to plan a strategic planning session, consider the following questions:
 
  • What is the current environment and challenges the organization faces? 
  • What is the tone of the organization? 
  • What does the organization want to accomplish in the next 6 months to a year? 
  • Who are the core stakeholders the organization should consider in its planning? 
  • What overall impact does the organization want? 
  • What development and funding opportunities are necessary?  
  • What can we learn from the crisis? 
  • What can we learn from our peers? 
  • What are the core activities we are doing now to respond and consider recovery? 
  • How do we plan for the other side of the crisis to create an opportunity to thrive? 
An effective tool to guiding some of these questions is a SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results) analysis. The SOAR analysis is rooted in the strength of the organization to lay the foundation for next steps and plans. 


Leveraging a SOAR approach can help a congregation think through a roadmap with high-level recommendations to use the lessons learned from responding to the COVID 19 pandemic. Overall, the exercise supports the congregation brainstorm and bolster efforts in the organization, identify development opportunities, understand organization capacity, and continue sustainability of the organization's mission. While there are many unknowns, and plan may have to adapt quickly, this is great chance to engage leaders in your church to have healthy dialogue about planning and aspirations in the congregation. For more information on how to conduct a planning session, please reach out to Canon Easterlin at keasterlin@gaepiscopal.org.

Thriving in the Vine Registration Opens on Friday


Registration for the 199th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, Thriving in the Vine, opens this Friday, September 11. 

Registration and additional information will be available online at http://convention.georgiaepiscopal.org and through the Thursday convention newsletter. 



Spot the Scam





The two most common email scams we see are phishing emails and business emails. They always exhibit a sense of urgency and encourage you to click on a link that is harmful to your computer and your personal information. 

 If ever in doubt about an email sent to you, call the Diocese directly for verification. 

Episcopal Relief and Development Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Laura pummeled the Gulf Coast recently, and Episcopal Relief and Development  is working with the affected dioceses and churches to get relief as soon as possible. ERD has come to our aid in past storms with funds to assist in rebuilding, food and gas assistance, and more. 

To donate to the Hurricane Relief Fund, click here.

2020 Full-time Priests' Salary Survey
 
A survey of the compensation for priests serving in full-time positions is posted at right and on the diocesan website to assist vestries as we enter the time of year to plan congregation budgets. This is the tenth year that the salary survey has been published by the Diocese. 
 
The 37 priests on the two charts are only a portion of those serving our 69 congregations. This reflects the many congregations served by part-time priests, who are often bi-vocational or retired. For comparison purposes, the archived surveys from 2011-2019 each remain online in the Resource Library at the diocesan website.
 
A Note on Priest's Compensation
The salary listed will appear 15% higher than pay for most other individuals as priests must pay that amount for SECA (the self-employment version of FICA or Social Security) out of the listed compensation in addition to state and federal taxes. The compensation data in the chart reflects the combined total of salary, housing, and an offset for half of SECA. For clergy in a rectory or vicarage, the value of that provided housing is included in the compensation figure and can lead to a compensation figure that seems out of line with other priests in similar calls. To assist in setting salaries, the diocesan staff works with vestries in a new call to consider salaries in neighboring dioceses around the Diocese of Georgia. We also consider other salaries in the town by comparing to salaries in the school system (available at www.open.georgia.gov). Depending on the complexity of the congregation, the salaries of teachers, assistant principals, and principals with a masters degree is instructive as these are local salaries with similar benefits.
 
A Note on Benefits
A large factor in determining a congregation's ability to pay a full-time priest is the cost of health insurance and other benefits. The clergy salary survey does not reflect the great range from a priest whose insurance is covered fully by the spouse's employer to those receiving full family coverage through the congregation. The Diocese moved to a standard of a high deductible insurance plan with a Health Savings Account to contain costs as much as possible.
 
Here are the charts showing this year's survey:

Livestream Update
Have you adjusted your livestream schedule? Let us know! We have a running calendar that you can find here. Check to see if your schedule is correct, and if there are any changes, email Administrator Assistant Daniel Garrick at dgarrick@gaepiscopal.org.


Upcoming Ordinations
As we have seen across the board, despite changes in how we worship, the Church remains one. 

In that spirit, we announce the following ordination:

Vocational diaconate
September 26, 2020, 11:00am - Rita Spalding

All ordinations will comply with the guidelines and recommendations of public officials and healthcare professionals. You can still participate in the service by watching the livestream. To view the ordination of Rita Spalding, visit the St. Mark's, Brunswick Facebook page.


Bishop Logue Virtual Visit Schedule

Bishop Logue will continue to do virtual visits to churches across the Diocese in order to officiate and record Sunday worship. 

To see the calendar for the remainder of 2020, click here.

Worship with the Diocese of Georgia in Tifton on Sunday
This Sunday, we will stream Morning Prayer at 10 a.m. from St. Anne's, Tifton. 

To view the service:
St. Anne's Facebook Page


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.

Around the Diocese

A virtual backpack blessing at St. Paul's, Augusta




When church is online, you get to enjoy it anywhere, including the porch! (St. Augustine's, Augusta, left), and the I AM Food Pantry at St. Michael's and All Angels, Savannah continues to serve their community (right).

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

September 8-12
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Savannah, especially St. Thomas 
Isle of Hope and St. Matthew's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Savannah, especially Holy Spirit Lutheran Church and St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in San Pedro de Marorís, especially The Good Shepherd (El Buen Pastor), St. Stephen (San Esteban), and Holy Cross (Santa Cruz).

September 13 - 19
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Savannah, especial
ly St. Peter's and Epiphany. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Savannah, especially Messiah Lutheran Church and St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Matthew (San Matías) in Santana.


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 Sunday, Bishop Logue will officiate and preach Morning Prayer from St. Anne's, Tifton. To find the service, visit the St. Anne's Facebook or YouTube page.

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!

A Canon's Work is Never Done
Bishop Logue taking a break while Canon Lasch gets ready to work.


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