June 24, 2020
Volume 10, No. 42
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Digital VBS Kicks Off
Our digital Vacation Bible School is off to a great start! With over 100 participants registered, we're encountering children both during the morning Zoom calls and through visits on our YouTube channel. 

Each morning we gather on Zoom for songs, a story, small group time, and prayers. It's been a great week so far! There is still space available and we'd love to have you. If you can't make the live Zoom meetings, feel free to visit the VBS website to watch the videos on your own time. We've also provided a quick list of reflection questions to help with discussion at home. 

If your child is participating at home, we want to see it! You can upload photos here, tag us on Instagram or Facebook, or use #GAVBS. We'd love to have a slideshow for the end of the week to share!

Emma Varas of St. Thomas, Thomasville and Susan Keeley of Trinity, Statesboro show off their VBS artwork.

For more information, contact the Rev. Canon Joshua Varner at jvarner@gaepiscopal.org.
Phase 1 Guidance for Worship
While serious public health concerns remain, communities in the Diocese of Georgia are not all in the same context when it comes to the pandemic. Online worship options will need to continue for the foreseeable future. These may consist of livestreams of congregational worship or directing worshippers to Diocesan or National Church resources . These options are essential as many of our parishioners, and those who would like to newly attend our worship, are particularly vulnerable.

With that said, I am authorizing priests and vestries to consider their context and to discern whether and how they will offer worship greatly modified to mitigate risk. This will include, but is not limited to, 1) keeping appropriate physical distance, 2) wearing masks, and 3) not offering singing. The Rector (or Priest-in-Charge) and Vestry will need to consider their physical space, the age and vulnerability of the congregation, and their community context including the spread of the novel coronavirus in their region of the state.

In order to move to returning to worship under the Phase 1 guidelines the Rector (or Priest-in-Charge) and Vestry, acting together, will need to certify that, "We have assessed the outbreak in our region and feel a return to in-person worship following the Phase 1 guidelines is safe in our context." A summary of the Phase 1 guidelines is online here:  Phase 1 Diocese of Georgia Safer Standards

I have relied on the guidance of subject matter experts and have worked together with my colleagues in the House of Bishops to develop these guidelines. Please know that while nothing we do will eliminate the chance of contracting the virus when attending worship and anyone attending needs to understand he or she is assuming that risk, everything we are doing is to lower that risk.

Phase 1 guidance may take effect no earlier than July 1 for any congregations making that determination. Though many, if not most, congregations will not start any in-person worship that week, this guidance will remain in effect and any congregation later determining that they can begin to offer some services with these guidelines can start at any later date, once the vestry completes the brief certification. This same guidance applies to non-worship gatherings, including limiting the length of the gathering to no more than 40 minutes as increased time together in an enclosed space adds to the risk of transmission. Guidelines limit the attendance to a maximum of 25-50 persons depending on the size of the church. Congregations, therefore, may decide to offer in-person worship mid-week or offer more Sunday services or to wait until they can meet with fewer restrictions required.

Some have asked specifically about inviting AA and other 12-Step groups because of the essential support they provide attendees. Congregations may choose to allow such groups to resume meeting with appropriate masking, social distancing, and cleaning precautions.

Please be patient with your priests and lay leaders as they navigate these difficult decisions as you have been patient with me. The longing we feel to gather together to worship is a holy longing. The decision to wait until the risk is lower is also a holy act as we show our love and care for those most vulnerable among us. Jesus promised, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age" and he has not left his people. I am in prayer for your congregational leadership as they make these decisions and will support them as they determine what is right in their context.

The Rt. Rev. Frank S. Logue, Bishop of Georgia
Clergy Transitions
The Rev. DeWayne Cope was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. He graduated of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in 2018, where he earned his Master in Divinity degree. He was ordained to the diaconate on January 13, 2018 at St. Matthew's in Savannah, then to the priesthood on May 22, 2019. 

He was an active member at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Savannah, GA. While there he served as Eucharistic Minister and worked with the Sunday School, youth groups, ushers, and Altar Guild. He used his opportunity while giving youth homilies on Sunday mornings to discern a call to the priesthood. 

Before attending seminary, DeWayne earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems from Savannah State University. He worked as Adult Education instructor for over 15 years helping students prepare for the GED exam.

Following graduation from seminary, he served as the Assistant Rector at St. Paul's, Rock Creek in Washington, DC. He shared in all aspects of parish ministry, with a focus on leading outreach ministry, incorporation of newcomers, Christian formation, and parish life.

DeWayne is married to LaKeshia and they are the proud parents of children: Zariyah, who is a sophomore at Wake Forest University and Gerald who will be in the 10th grade. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with spending time with his family along with watching sports, grilling, and baking.

DeWayne is overjoyed to be returning home to the Diocese of Georgia and looking forward to the bright future that God has in store for St. Athanasius.  He will begin his call on July 5.
Subscribe to our new YouTube Channel
The current Diocese of Georgia YouTube Channel will become an archive of videos of Bishop Benhase's episcopacy. To subscribe now to the new Diocese of Georgia YouTube Channel click this link at then select "subscribe"
Worship with the Diocese of Georgia tonight and Sunday
Tonight, the Diocese will offer Evening Prayer again online at 6 p.m. with the sermon given by Bishop Logue. This Sunday, we will stream Morning Prayer at 10 a.m. from Thomasville. This will be the last week for the Wednesday Evening Prayer livestream. The Sunday service will continue at least through Labor Day.

These liturgies are stored on both 

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.
Employee Assistance Program Webinar
The Diocese often highlights the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as a great benefit through your health insurance. CPG is providing a webinar this Friday to highlight the EAP program and benefits included. Please register here:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/843495149670235659
Upcoming Ordinations
Despite changes in how we worship, the Church remains one. In that spirit, we announce the following ordinations in hopes that you will attend online:

June 27, 2020 - the Rev. Leeann Culbreath
The livestream of this ordination will be on the Facebook page for St. Barnabas, Valdosta.

Vocational diaconate
July 24, 2020 - Rita Spalding

All ordinations will comply with the guidelines and recommendations of public officials and healthcare professionals. You can still participate in each service by watching the livestream through each respective Facebook page for the sponsoring parish. 
Around the Diocese -VBS Style

Evie Briones of St. Thomas, Thomasville works on her art project.

Andrew Blagg of St Mary Magdalene, Louisville shows off his artwork. 

*Correction: Last week a photo of the Rev.  Leeann Culbreath attending "prayers to go under the portico"
was mistakenly labeled as at St. Barnabas, Valdosta. It is held at St. James, Quitman with
the Rev. Jim Elliott and the Rev. Leeann Culbreath.
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

June 21-27
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Quitman, St. James. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially St. Jude Catholic Church in Glennville. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the St. Peter the Apostle ( San Pedro Apostól) in Los Conucos.

June 28-July 4
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Pooler, St. Patrick's. We also pray 
for our ecumenical partners, especially Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Garden City and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Port Wentworth. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Mary, Full of Grace ( Santa María Llena de Gracia) in Mao.

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

Bishop Logue will travel to Thomasville this week to record Sunday's liturgy. On Saturday he will ordain the Rev. Leeann Culbreath to the priesthood.

The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner is spending his time leading Digital Vacation Bible School this week.

Liz Williams is working with Canon Varner on Digital Vacation Bible School.

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!
Online Services Attract New Members

One of the four-legged parishioners of St. Anne's, Tifton patiently waits for church to start.
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