August 24, 2016
Volume 7, Number 51
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Track 1 
Jeremiah 2:4-13
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14
Track 2
Sirach 10:12-18
or Proverbs 25:6-7
Psalm 112 
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14 

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From the Bishop
Let's Go!
I am so thankful to have had 12 weeks away from my duties as your Bishop. Canons  Logue and Willoughby were quite careful in n ot sending me stuff and keeping me free to focus on the "sabbath" part of my sabbatical. Yes, there were the occasional "updates" and a few things that could not wait until I returned, but by and large, I was unplugged for 12 weeks. I needed it.

As many of you know, Kelly and I had planned to do some world traveling during my sabbatical. (Well, at least to Scotland and Namibia where we have close friends.) But my parents' health and hospice care changed those plans. Indeed, I was thankful to have been closer by when my mother died in late June.I spent all last week with my father, who, even though he is suffering from severe dementia, managed to playfully criticize my cooking each night. As he said, "It's a sin to lie and say you cook great, isn't it son?" Who could disagree with one's father when he spoke such truth?
Another gift of the sabbatical was that I was able to finish a book project that had been wandering around in my head for some time. Its working title is Done and Left Undone: Grace in the Mean Time. The Church Publishing Group will publish it in the Spring of 2018. I am sure it will not get better with age, but that is their decision to publish it so long from now, not mine.  The best way I can describe the book is that it is sort of an extended "love letter" to church leaders, mainly ordained, but to others as well. You will have to read it to see if you're in it anywhere.Some of you are. Names were changed to protect both the guilty and innocent alike!
This is all to say, I am ready to get back on the horse and ride (or get back in the car and drive.) To mix metaphors, I have gone into the locker room for half time to get re-hydrated and re-taped, the band has been marching, and now it is time for me to get back on the field for the second half. I trust you're as ready to go as I am. God has a lot in store for us. While I do not know what that will all entail, I do know it won't be boring or predictable.We live in a highly evolving social, religious, and political climate. And in just such a time, we are called to be steadfast in proclaiming and living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for the journey that we have had together and I am excited for what lies ahead. What a privilege God has given us to be stewards of the Great Narrative of Redemption in Jesus! So, saddle up, buckle up, or whatever, but let's go!

Bishop Benhase gathers with diocesan staff for an all-day meeting Monday. Clockwise from the Bishop: Rebekah Stewart, Communications and Event Specialist;  Dade Brantley, Director of Honey Creek Camp and Conference Center; Gayle Dawson,  Executive Assistant to Bishop Scott Benhase and Accounts Payable Bookkeeper;  Katie Willoughby, Canon for Administration; Anna Iredale, Director of Communications; Vicki Schuster, Staff Secretary and Registrar and Joshua Varner, Missioner for Youth.
Diocese of Louisiana
Responding to Louisiana Floods
Deacons Ri Lamb a nd Leea n n Culbreath, along with Bev Nichols, a parishioner from St. John & St. Mark, Alb any, left for Louisiana this morning to assist with flood relief efforts and to explore opportunities for future mission trips. They are partnering with an Episcopal congregation about 40 minutes north of Baton Rouge and anticipate assisting with cleaning out homes, meals, and/or pastoral care. 

From left: Dcn Leeann Culbreath, Dcn Ri Lamb and Bev Nichols.
The most urgent need continues to be Visa gift cards sent to the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana to assist flood survivors with myriad needs, including hotel costs that may not be reimbursed by FEMA. Some congregations in the diocese are collecting these cards and sending them together, and they can also be sent individually to the attention of Deacon Elaine Clemens, Diocesan Disaster Coordinator, Diocese of Louisiana, 1623 Seventh St., New Orleans, LA 70115. They are also receiving online flood relief donation on their website at
. Episcopal Relief and Development is providing support to the affected dioceses and donations made to ERD are tax-deductible,

Please keep all those affected and all responders in your prayers.
Commissioners and the to-be-Commissioned     
The new Columba House interns and the CH Commissioners stopped by the Diocesan House this morning to prepare for the service this evening at the Collegiate Church of St. Paul. Join us at the 6:30 PM service and a community potluck afterwards. Learn more about the event and the interns by going here. From left: the Rev. Guillermo Arboleda, the Rev. Kelly Steele, Kyrsha Allen and Matthew Yochum.

Diocesan Office Update     
Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Matthew's, Savannah, this Sunday.

Canon Willoughby met with the Board of the Corporation yesterday. Henry, Holland and Bromley presented the draft 2015 financial statements along with a performance report from U.S. Trust. The board approved the audit and it will soon be posted to the Diocesan website.

Canon Logue will be on vacation in Ireland August 25th through September 9th.
CreekFest is coming! 
The Honey Creek Commission has been hard at work planning the most talked about Honey Creek event of the year.  We are excited to share some of the activities to participate in this October at Honey Creek.

As you may already know, one of the many activities that CreekFest has to offer is 'Olympic-style' events.  The HCC has composed a list of six different events for all ages, including:
  • Archery Contest
  • Cornhole Competition
  • Team Trivia
  • Water Balloon Catapult
  • Obstacle Course Relay
  • Minute to Win It Pentathlon
How accurate can you shoot an arrow?  Will the obstacle course relay be your best victory ever?  Only one way to find out!  The fun doesn't stop there!  Grab your partners, put on those leather boots and tighten your belt buckles for our Square Dance under the stars. 

Of course, it's fun to get together and play games but let's not forget our time of fellowship and what better way to embrace the beauty of Honey Creek than worshiping together in our beloved Chapel by the water.
Register at today and mark your calendars for CreekFest, October 21st-23rd, 2016!  This is a weekend you don't want to miss!
Interested in volunteering?  Contact Jay Lacy for more information at

Consider Young Members as Diocesan Convention Delegates 
As you consider whom to send to the 174th Annual Diocesan Convention in November, you may want to try looking in a new place, toward the youth of your congregation. Our Diocesan Canons mandate that delegates the Convention be "confirmed adult communicants in good standing of this Church, at least sixteen years of age, and canonically resident in this Diocese."

Diocesan Youth leading worship at the 2015 Convention.
Young people often have a different perspective from that of older adults. Their decisions are based on their life experience, which is very different from those who grew up a few decades earlier, and their perspective is often one that looks farther into the future than ours. As a Church we would do well to listen to the perspective of our younger members as a matter of course at our Annual Convention.

In addition, we adults have the opportunity to convey a powerful message about the importance of our young people by not only allowing them to sit at the table, but by giving them full voice and vote, as full delegates to the Convention. If they see, on a practical level, that this is their church, then they may feel themselves more connected to it in the long term. In an ecclesial sense our young people are not our guests or our responsibility, but full members of the Church, with gifts of their own to offer, and perhaps, for some of them, the privilege and responsibility of representing their congregation at Convention is one of those gifts.

If you have questions about how you might go about helping a young person in your church serve as a delegate to Convention, please contact me at
Rev. Joshua Varner
Diocesan Missioner for Youth
The Loose Canon
St. Swithin's Can Moo, Can You?
The most effective means of attracting newcomers to any church is a personal invitation from a parishioner. If this makes you nervous about being turned down, know that survey after survey shows that three-quarters of people say they would go to a church if a friend, neighbor, or co-worker invites them. The question is, "Do you have a church home?" And if the answer is no, just say, "St. Swather's means so much to me and my family, I would love it if you would visit us sometime." It is that simple

In order to make the invitation even easier, Mary Parmer of Invite-Welcome-Connect recommends printing low-cost cards that church members can share with those you want to invite to worship with you. She prefers cards from as that company permit orders with up to fifty different photos on the set of cards. This means the prospective newcomer will see your church through photos of the building, or even better of worship or another parish event. Mary offers that the many images give a chance for you to fan out several cards with photos and let the person pick the image that appeals to him or her most.

On the backside of the card, offer information about the church including at least the physical location, phone number, web address, and Sunday service times. You may also want to add the web address for your congregation's Facebook page, if that page is active.

Bless the cards during a Eucharist and invite members to pray about who to invite and then take cards with them. When I served as a parish priest, I had a map with directions and service times on the back of a business card. That one small item often converted a conversation in the community to someone showing up for worship. 

We readily share restaurants, movies, and books with friends and co-workers. Why not also share your church with those you love. It is easier than you think.

The Curious Way
Good Comes Up; Bad Goes Down
A Reflection on the Gospel for August 28, 2016, 
by David Somerville+

Soon after I received my commission as a chaplain in the army, I was sent with my fellow battalion members, to participate in their field maneuvers by visiting the soldiers while they dug their fox holes.
Being a little uncertain about what was to be achieved, I was making the rounds anyway to visit the men. It was a frustrating day from my limited perspective with a desk full of unfinished paperwork back at headquarters and a sermon to write. But the commander was adamant.
He wanted a daily briefing on troop morale -especially in the February sleet at the foot of Mount Rainier.
My ponderings that day were interrupted as I heard a small group of Pfc's and E-4's with their comedian/sergeant singing at the bottom of a slushy ravine. Sergeant Bill Goofnoff (obviously not his real name!) was conducting a quartet using his latrine spade as a baton.
It sounded like bluegrass. He did not know I was coming. The men battling the boredom of the day were crooning together, "Drop kick me Jesus through the goal-posts of life, end over end, neither left nor the right....
"Hey, guys," stage-whispered one of the troops. "Shut up. It's the chaplain!"
To relieve their embarrassment, I said with tongue-in-cheek, "I had no idea you guys were so talented! You should consider joining the chapel chorus!" I was being affectionately sarcastic. None of these ersatz choirboys had any idea of where the chapel was, nor had they ever expressed any interest in finding out!
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 52 weekly prayers are available in one document  found here. 

Prayers for August 21-27
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Savannah, especially Christ Church, the Mother Church of Georgia. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Savannah, especially the Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and Ascension Lutheran Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the Church of St. Paul and St. Luke ( San Pablo y San Lucas) in San Isidro.
Prayers for August 28-September 3
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Savannah, especially St. Francis of the Islands and St. John's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially the Lutheran congregations of Redeemer and St. Luke's. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in San Francisco de MacorĂ­s, especially The Good Shepherd (El Buen Pastor).

Acolytes with Brave Hearts
This year's Acolyte Festival brought to mind this video made several years ago...enjoy!

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Diocesan Staff                             
Episcopal Diocese of Georgia