January 27, 2021
Volume 11, No. 21
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Diocese to Offer Daily Reflections in Lent
This year the Diocese will be offering daily reflections during Lent, written by both clergy and laity throughout the Diocese. Monday through Friday will be reflections on the Daily Office readings, Saturday reflections will be focused on a spiritual practice that you may be able to incorporate into your routine, and Sunday will be dedicated to a reflection of a piece of music. These reflections may be used as a resource for your congregation or as a personal guide through Lent.

The reflections will begin on Ash Wednesday and carry through to Easter Sunday. These reflections continue with the theme for November's convention. Jesus gave this image of him 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.

Look for more information about Thriving in the Vine: Daily Reflections for Lent as we move towards Ash Wednesday.

1Book1Diocese this Eastertide with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Beginning Monday in Easter week, the Diocese of Georgia will offer a 1Book1Diocese read of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Love Is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times. Picking up on the theme from his sermon for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Bishop Curry grounds his teaching in scripture and offers experiences from his own life to challenge the reader to make the ethic of love a guiding principle for their lives.

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. Available as a hardback, Love Is the Way is also an audiobook read by Bishop Curry.

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

The Rev. George Muir stepping down as Priest-in-Charge

The Rev. George Muir is stepping down as Priest-in-Charge of St. Paul's, Augusta, on January 31, as the St. Paul's Search Committee continues its work underway for a year. Muir has served at St. Paul's in retirement and he and his wife, Susan, are now fully retiring as the parish expects to call a new Rector this summer.

In making the announcement, Senior Warden Ashley Wright wrote, "When George arrived as our interim rector and made his first appearance on the day of the annual meeting, no one anticipated that he would serve this long and be appointed as our Priest-in-Charge at our request.  We are grateful for George's eight years with us and will continue to reap the benefits of his gifts and friendship."

She added, "It seems appropriate to note that six members of the current vestry joined the Church during George's tenure, which is just a small example of the extent and breadth of his ministry."

Muir wrote to the congregation, "The first time we stepped foot into Saint Paul's we could feel the presence of the Spirit, the space made holy by the women and men who have gathered in this place for generations. There was a true sense of joining with them and with you to do the work of the Gospel....It is now time to move on and to leave this work for you. We will miss all of you and know that God's work will continue here because of you."

Edward Fullerton - mourning the death of a lay preacher
Edward Fullerton is among the inmates laying hands on a fellow prisoner as Bishop Benhase made a visit to Dodge State Prison.
The deacons of the Diocese of Georgia join others in mourning the loss of Edward Fullerton, who died January 17, from complications due to COVID-19. Fullerton was a prisoner in Johnson State Prison who also served as a volunteer chaplain within the prison. He was licensed to preach by Bishop Scott Benhase. In letting the Diocese of Georgia know of Fullerton's death, the prison's chaplain, Forrest J. Lester, wrote, "His loss is felt deeply by both staff and inmates here at Johnson State Prison." 
Fullerton first came to the attention of Bishop Henry Louttit when he was an inmate then at Dodge State Prison, where the Rev. Louis Miller routinely held worship with inmates in the chapel. Bishop Louttit licensed Fullerton, a convicted murderer whose parole was not likely, as a Lay Eucharistic Minister. Fullerton then assisted Bishop Benhase on his visitations to the prison. The Georgia Department of Corrections moved Fullerton to Johnson State Prison. While there, Bishop Benhase discussed Fullerton's ministry with the chaplain and licensed him to preach. Bishop Benhase asked those teaching in the Deacons' School for Ministry to assist Fullerton with further studies.

Bishop Benhase wrote, "I am reminded of Bryan Stevenson's words when he said: 'We're never only the worst thing we've ever done.' Edward spent his life in prison caring for his fellow inmates, praying with and for them, and being a good friend and teacher to them. May he rest in the arms of his forgiving Savior."

Ash Wednesday COVID Guidance
This year Lent begins February 17 and so will start with an Ash Wednesday under COVID-19 restrictions. What follows is some background on Ash Wednesday that informs the options offered, together with several options for how we might use ashes while mitigating risk of exposure to the virus and keep to our existing guidance.

There are three options: 

For outdoor liturgies (including Ashes to Go)
Ashes are blessed as usual. Prior to imposing ashes on all those present the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" are said to the whole congregation. The person distributing the ashes may sprinkle a small amount of ash on the head as described in the document linked below. Imposing the ashes with the sign of the cross is also permissible. In both cases, this is done WITHOUT saying the words above to minimize time in front of one another and to not speak directly into the faces of parishioner after parishioner.

If offering Ashes to Go, please prepare handouts available for pick up that set the context for the ashes and offer prayers that may be said as the pastoral conversations typically possible will not be able to be a part of the practice this year.

For indoor liturgies
Have small containers of ash available for use by individuals and households or pods. These may be picked up on the way into worship and held out as the blessing is pronounced in the liturgy. Prior to imposing ashes on all those present the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" are said to the whole congregation. Parishioners may use the ashes to sprinkle on their head or to mark a sign of the cross on their own forehead or on one another in case of a household worshipping together.

With the above liturgies, it is possible to have a lay reader or clergy person masked and at least 12 feet from the imposition or sprinkling who says the words, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" for each person.

For online worship
Ashes are blessed in advance of the day and small containers of ash are prepared and made available for pick up in the days before Ash Wednesday for use by individuals and households or pods. Offer the liturgy online (using Zoom, a livestream, or prerecorded worship) and when you get to the imposition of ashes parishioners may use the ashes to sprinkle on their head or to mark a sign of the cross on their own forehead or on one another.

For the full document on guidance, including the history of giving ashes, click here.

COVID-19 Guideline Reminder

Yellow Level
Fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 people per day in your county and hospitals are at less than 85% capacity
  • 25-50 persons for indoor in-person worship depending on size of space.
  • 75 persons for outdoor in-person worship.
  • Communion in one kind. Parishioners coming by to pick up consecrated host permitted.
  • Some singing permitted.
  • Some food and beverage outdoors.
Orange Level
From 25 to 34.9 cases per 100,000 people per day in your county and hospitals are at less than 85% capacity
  • 25-50 persons for indoor in-person worship depending on size of space.
  • 75 persons for outdoor in-person worship.
  • Communion in one kind. Parishioners coming by to pick up consecrated host permitted.
  • No singing permitted.
  • No food or beverages.
Red Level
From 35 to 59.9 cases per 100,000 people per day in your county and hospitals are at less than 90% capacity
  • No indoor in-person worship.
  • 50 persons for outdoor in-person worship.
  • Communion in one kind. Parishioners coming by to pick up consecrated host permitted.

Dark Red Level
Above 60 cases per 100,000 people per day in your county OR hospitals are at greater than 90% capacity.
  • No in person gatherings. Worship offered online only (livestream, pre-recorded, Zoom, etc.).
  • Livestreamed or pre-recorded worship with a crew of up to 10 persons.
  • Communion in one kind. Parishioners coming by to pick up consecrated host permitted.
  • Singing if soloist or a singers from the same household are the only ones present when recording.

Corrected links for guidance and information are found below.

The guidance is based on the case counts in your county as reported online here:

And the hospitalizations in your area of the state as reported online here:

Once your congregation moves to a more restrictive level, dropping to lower restrictions depends on
both the case counts and hospitalizations staying below the thresholds for 14 days.

Across the Diocese

The Canterbury Club of Augusta once again filled their Canterbury Cart with donations of scarves, hats, lip balm, and gloves for their neighbors experiencing homeless this winter. Along with the Augusta University Office of Civic Engagement, and with the help of St. Augustine of Canterbury parishioners, Canterbury Club is contributing the creation of 300 "blessing bags." 

The Episcopal Campus Ministry at Georgia Southern kicked off their spring semester with a fire and discussion of the book they're reading together, Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans.

Say cheese! St. Thomas Isle of Hope, Savannah held their virtual annual meeting via Zoom. 

Worship with the Diocese of Georgia in Quitman on Sunday

On Sunday we will stream Morning Prayer at 
10 a.m. from St. James in Quitman with Bishop Logue as officiant and preacher, and assisted by the the Rev. Jim and Susan Elliott.

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

January 31 - February 6
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 7 - 13
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congr
egation 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 (Updated on December 17, 2020)
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

The Diocesan Office is transitioning to a new IT system this weekend, which will render email and phones inactive. If there is an emergency, call Canon Lasch as (912)707-0470.

Canon Varner is attending the FORMA virtual conference this week. FORMA, a ministry of Episcopal Church Foundation, is the Network for Christian Formation for the Episcopal Church and beyond.

Executive Director of Honey Creek, Dade Brantley, is attending the virtual Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers conference this week. 

On Saturday, Bishop Logue and Canon Lasch meet online with the Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee for a session facilitated by the Rev. Becky Rowell as the groups begin looking at the diocese's discernment process toward ordination. The goal will be a thorough review leading to any necessary changes to any steps in the process.

This Sunday, Bishop Logue will officiate and preach Morning Prayer online at 10 a.m from St. James Episcopal Church in Quitman. 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!

Lent is in the Bag

Volunteers Lynn Williams and Jinny Bradshaw at Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta put together Lent in a Bag for members to assist in their Lenten practices at home.

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