March 10, 2021
Volume 11, No. 27
IN THIS ISSUE
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Easter Virtual Choir Deadline Soon
Most of our in-person singing is still restricted this Lent. So instead, I invite you to join your Diocesan community in singing the Easter hymn "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" together virtually!  Don't worry that this recording will have you singing "alleluia," a word the Church traditionally abstains from during the season of Lent. One of the challenges for musicians in ordinary years is that during Lent they rehearse music for Easter! This year, you can live into the Mystery of Easter by singing in joy and hope, trusting that your music will come together with others' offerings, and through the grace of the Holy Spirit, will create new life! 

In order to sing this hymn, all you need is a pair of earbuds, a computer, and a smartphone that can record video. You will download the appropriate guide track and then sing along with the guide track in your earbuds while you video yourself using your phone. 


We need your submission no later than Monday, March 22,  in order to incorporate it into the final choir.

In order to participate, you need the full instructions, which can be found here: https://bit.ly/JesusChristisRisenTodayVirtualChoir. The instructions include links to written music, guide tracks for melody, various harmony parts, and descant (if desired), and instructions on how to submit your video once you're done. Many thanks to Kathleen Turner, Organist and Choirmaster at Christ Church, Frederica, for creating these tracks.

Please read the instructions carefully before you record anything! Contact Canon Varner at  jvarner@gaepiscopal.org with your questions.

Please note that while singers sometimes feel like they are singing a solo during this process, and therefore choose not to participate, your offering will be mixed with others, creating the sound of many voices singing together through the miracle of technology. So go ahead and sing and submit your music. Your song will join with everyone else's offerings to create something glorious!

Registration is open
for Honey Creek Family Summer Camp!
"How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!" 
- Psalm 133:1

A few weeks ago we invited you to let us know about your interest in a different kind of summer camp this year, one that is geared toward allowing families of all types to experience Honey Creek this summer. Thanks to the interest expressed, we are happy to announce that registration is now open for three summer Family Camp sessions! These sessions will take place June 4-6, June 18-20, and July 16-18. Cost varies depending on the number of people attending and the number of lodge rooms occupied.

This camp will be supported by Canon Joshua Varner, along with other Diocesan staff and experienced youth and children's ministers from across the Diocese. Families will have activities they can do together, during each weekend, as well as some activities that youth and older children can participate in to give everyone some space. All activities will be structured so as to minimize the potential spread of Covid-19, while still allowing as much of a camp experience as possible!

This type of offering allows us to expand our traditional age range. All families, whether individuals, couples, or families with children are welcome to sign up!
Please contact Canon Varner at jvarner@gaepiscopal.org with your questions! We are looking forward to a different kind of summer camp, including the whole family!

COVID-19 Guidance for In-Person Worship Revised in Lent

With cases dropping, and every county where we have an Episcopal Church down in the yellow area in our guidance, Bishop Logue announced some slight revisions made possible by experience and input from public health officials. Lengthening the total time present to an hour indoors and 1.5 hours outdoors, adding the possibility of a nursery, and processions indoors (still with no singing in procession) are among the changes. 

Stability in planning for Easter
Given the input from public health officials, this is the guidance in effect through at least Easter and we are hopeful that it will remain in effect as the cases remain down. Here is a simplified copy of the PDF that shows only this guidance in effect now:


What if there is another surge?
The color-coded guidance chart will come back into effect if cases spike again and we face a new surge of COVID-19. The difference will be that, based on experience, the hospitalization numbers will no longer be used as a criteria. If there is a spike of cases in your area, checking the data on your hospital, to take into account if they are overwhelmed, remains prudent. We will no longer use regional hospital data to guide our color-coded system, which will be based solely on case counts per 100,000 people. Revised color-coded chart

 Virtual Grand Ultreya This Sunday


All are welcome to join the Grand Ultreya for our Diocese, virtually via Zoom, on Sunday, March 14, at 1 p.m. There will be music, special guests: our Bishop Frank Logue, Patrick Andersen, president of Episcopal Cursillo Ministry, and Rob Richardson, Southeast district representative for ECM. 

Spring forward with us on SUNDAY, MARCH 14th at 1PM, the first day of Daylight Savings Time (EDT). We are celebrating a Diocesan wide Ultreya online. Be uplifted and inspired by a lay witness talk, Cursillo music and hear about our upcoming Cursillo weekend at Honey Creek all from the comfort of your own home. See you there. DeColores!






Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 892 6792 9760
Passcode: 943632
*****Find your local number if needed:
https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kev2cplmW



Survey for Leadership Ministries

CDI weekend The Leadership Ministry Team and the Diocesan Council are conducting a review of all our leadership initiatives, primarily to learn what is working well, what is not working, and what improvements can be made. 

How are we doing? This is a question that the  Leadership Ministries Team and the Diocesan Council are hoping you can help us determine.
 
In particular, the Church Development Institute (CDI) a program which falls within the Leadership Ministries of the Diocese and supported financially in part through the Diocese is presently undergoing a review as to its overall effectiveness. 
 
Both committees want to learn how well the program has been in assisting congregations across the Diocese in building leadership and congregational development skills based on best practices, as well as in relation to the program's perceived value as an investment
 
This survey is one means which Leadership Ministries and the Diocesan Council are attempting to gather information to assist in analyzing the overall effectiveness of CDI. If you have been a participant in CDI, please take a few moments to complete the survey in an effort for the Diocese to provide programs based on best practices to both Lay and Clergy of the Diocese which are meaningful, relevant to the needs of the Diocese, and worthy of investment.

To take the survey, click here.

It's Audit Season!
The Diocese is currently preparing for its 2021 audit, which means it is time for congregations to pull together resources and plan for its financial review. Audits are an annual canonical requirement. 

The Diocesan Canons require audits/financial review of congregation financial operations. If the annual operating budget is greater than $500,000, a full 3rd party audit is required. If less than $500,000, the Diocese has a 36-question internal control checklist that parishes can use for individuals, not associated with financial procedures, to review records and procedures. 

All audits are submitted for final report to the Diocesan office by September 1st. Many congregations partner each year to review and conduct checklists for submission. You can find the checklist here.

It can be a daunting task each year for administrators, clergy, and volunteers to get themselves organized for a review. Especially now under special restrictions. The following are some best practices to consider when preparing: 

1. Keep detailed records- Each year, a vestry should review the record keeping practices of its parish/organization. Whether it is paper or electronic, detailed records of accounts payables, receivables, endowments, assets, and other detailed financial transactions should be kept in a well-organized and effectively searched method 

2. Maintain security- Many records hold sensitive information. Please ensure that files are either password protected, on a secure network, or kept in lockable file cabinet 

3. Make a checklist- Many professional audit firms will provide a detailed checklist of items to gather and review. Checklists are a great way to organize yourself for record pulling and review. Review the internal controls checklist to determine what files and reports help answer audit questions. Your checklist can also help administrators and volunteers divvy up tasks and take ownership or reporting information 

4. Determine recommendations- Each year should result in recommendations for improvement of procedures, policies, and reporting -- even if it is small improvements and determining best practices for financial controls 

5. Report and communicate- Once an audit is complete, make sure to supply reports to vestry members and communicate impacts of reports to congregations. This helps to support budget and annual stewardship campaigns 

Audit tasks can be handled either online or electronically, and are designed to help churches manage its resources. This may seem like a tedious task, but it's a great way for vestries and leadership to learn detailed administrative work and have a detailed list of church resources.

For any questions, please reach out to Canon Easterlin at Diocesan house at keasterlin@gaepiscopal.org.

Resources for Lent and Eastertide

The Diocese's daily reflections during Lent, written by both clergy and laity throughout the Diocese is well underway online and a print copy of the devotions is now available as well. The reflections began on Ash Wednesday and carry through to Easter Sunday. These reflections continue with the theme for this past November's Diocesan Convention: "Thriving in the Vine." Jesus gave this image of himself as the vine and us as the branches to his followers on the night before he died, as he knew they would face tremendous hardships and he wanted them to see how life-giving connection to him is for each of us.

The Diocese of Georgia's social media pages (FacebookInstagram, and Twitter) will post a piece of each day's reflection, along with a link to the PDF with the full reflection. 

To view and download the reflections, click here.

Lent devotions available as a book
A few people have said that they would like to have these devotions as a book, and we now offer that option for $3.60 each plus shipping. You can order copies from the print on demand website Lulu.com by following this link: Purchase a book

Beginning Monday in Easter week, the Diocese of Georgia will offer a 1Book1Diocese read of Presiding BishopMichael Curry's Love Is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times. While you may enjoy reading the book yourself, the audio book version is read by Bishop Curry is an enjoyable way to hear experiences from his  life to challenging us to make the ethic of love a guiding principle for our lives. 

Book Discussion Guide Now Available
A book discussion guide for the Diocese of Georgia's 1Book1Diocese read of Love is the Way is now online here: Discussion Guide PDF

Bishop Curry to meet with us online
We will offer a discussion guide for groups that want to meet online for a discussion at the congregation level. Individuals may also read the book and then join us for online meeting with Bishop Curry to discuss the book. 

Look for more news on this study in upcoming issues of From the Field and at the Diocese of Georgia's Facebook page.

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

 
Volunteers from Church of Our Savior, Martinez assisted the Canterbury Club of Augusta University with their food drive for the Paws Pantry. The pantry provides food for students who are food insecure.

St. Francis of the Islands, Savannah, had their first indoor service in a year this past Sunday.

   
The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase, 10th Bishop of Georgia, watches as the Rt. Rev. Frank Logue, 11th Bishop of Georgia, presides over the ribbon cutting for the new solar panels at the Diocesan House. Two grants covered the total cost of the project.
    
The Diocesan staff and guests after the official ribbon cutting for the new solar panels. The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase began the initiative during his episcopacy, and was completed after his retirement. 

Worship with the Diocese of Georgia in St. Mary's on Sunday

On Sunday we will stream Morning Prayer at 
10 a.m. from Christ Church in St. Mary's with Bishop Logue as officiant and preacher, assisted by the Rev. Canon Dedra Bell-Wolski.


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

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.

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

March 14 - 20
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Cordele, Christ Church and for our
ecumenical partners in Cordele, especially St. Theresa Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Dajabon, especially Holy Spirit the Comforter (Espíritu Consoladorand Holy Word (Verbo Divina).

March 21 - 27 
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Dawson, the Church of the Holy Spirit. We pray for our ecumenical partners, especially St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Camilla, and St. Christopher Catholic Church in Claxton. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Michael's (San Miguel) in Doña Ana and The Grand Commission (La Gran Comisión) in Doña Lila.


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 meets virtually with the House of Bishops this week.

This Sunday, Bishop Logue will officiate and preach Morning Prayer online at 10 a.m from Christ Church in St. Mary's. To view the service, visit the Diocese of Georgia Facebook Page or the Diocese of Georgia 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!

The Queen of Trash Pick Up

The St. Anne's Adopt-a-Mile team picked up a new member on their clean up route.

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