August 31, 2016
Volume 7, Number 52
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Track 1 
Jeremiah 18:1-11
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
Philemon 1-21
Luke 14:25-33
Track 2
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 1
Philemon 1-21
Luke 14:25-33

Go here for the full text.
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The Rev. George Maxwell,
Rector Emeritus of Christ Church 

A Requiem Eucharist for the Rev. George Motier Maxwell, a much loved pastor, friend and mentor, was held at Christ Church, Savannah this morning with the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase officiating. The Rector Emeritus of Christ Chu
rch  died early Sunday morning with his beloved wife Virginia by his side. 

"Fr. Maxwell was a priest's priest," said Bishop Benhase, "he was wise, he but never hit you over the head with his wisdom. He was always able to let other people know that no matter what he would love and care for them. The church needs more priests like George Maxwell. We are a lesser people now that he is in heaven, but heaven is the richer for his arrival."

Maxwell was called in 1973 to become the 39th Rector of Christ Church Episcopal in Savannah and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1990. He became a Fellow in the College of Preachers and received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1989.

Especially well known for his preaching and teaching missions, Maxwell and the vestry of Christ Church were part of Cursillo I in 1972 in the Diocese of Georgia. He also served on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Georgia and as a delegate to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

Since his retirement from Christ Church in 1991, Maxwell had been the spiritual director for the clergy of the Diocese of Georgia and remained active in teaching and preaching. The Rt. Rev. Harry W. Shipps who appointed him as spiritual director said, "I was grateful for his insights and wisdom, his grace, and his sound theology."  

The Rev. Billy Alford of St. Alban's, Augusta with George Maxwell who was the spiritual advisor to priests in the Diocese of Georgia following his retirement.
Born in Augusta, Georgia in 1930, Maxwell graduated f rom the Virginia Military Institute and served in the United States Air Force. A 1961 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, he was ordained a priest in 1962.  Prior to his call to Christ Church, Maxwell served as  Vicar, then Priest of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Spartanburg, S.C., Assistant Rector of The Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, Florida, and Rector of Holy Comforter in Sumter, S. C.
Virginia and George Maxwell following a service at Christ Church.
He was married to the former Virginia Towill, also from Augusta, and they had three children, the Rev. Anne Mears Maxwell, the Rev. George M. Maxwell Jr., and John Maxwell; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

To read a tribute to George Maxwell by Bishop Shipps, go here. To read the obituary published in the Savannah Morning News, please go here.
Administrator's Corner
Open Enrollment Coming Soon!
Katie Willoughby
Canon for Administration 
The annual opportunity for clergy and lay employees to review and adjust health coverage will occur between October 24 and November 9 of 2016.
The options selected during the open enrollment period will be in effect for the 2017 calendar year. This is your one chance to change, add or adjust coverage unless there is a life-altering event such as a birth, marriage or job change during the year. We continue to offer an option for active clergy and lay employees who are eligible for Medicare Part A to participate in a Medicare Secondary Payer plan.
If the clergy and eligible staff (employed at least 20 hours per week) of your congregation are not presently in the Medical Trust plans then please take time to review this material and contact Canon Willoughby at the diocesan office for a briefing. Those whose plan costs might increase and are considering other options, are also encouraged to contact Canon Willoughby for more information on various options.
Timeline and Major Dates: 
  • Renewal Release date: September 9, 2016Renewal rates (i.e. plan pricing) will be available the morning of Friday, September 9th. Please be on the look-out for the plan pricing structures to build your 2017 budget around this time. 
  • Open Enrollment Session: 
    October 24 - November 9During this period, anyone who is eligible can make changes or enroll in health insurance plans. It is vital to make those desired changes during this period. The plan document and a description can be accessed by logging in to your account at during open enrollment.
  • Retiree Open Enrollment dates and retiree "buy-up" funding:
    The Open Enrollment dates for retirees are:
    Retiree: October 13 - December 7
    (Retiree OE mirrors the dates of the Medicare OE.)
    Pre-65 retirees: November 7 - November 23
The Medical Trust also makes the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) available to all eligible clergy and lay employees whether or not they participate in health insurance coverage. So for those clergy who have alternative coverage such as Tri-Care or a spousal benefit, you may now enroll your entire family in the EAP for only $5 per month.
What is the Diocesan Policy on Health Insurance?
In order to comply with the diocesan clergy minimum compensation standard, a congregation with a priest working at least 30 hours per week is required to assure insurance coverage. For those who do not otherwise have medical insurance provided through a spouse or an existing plan such as Tri-care, this means selecting at least the lowest cost option health insurance plan.
For those in a High Deductible Plan with a Health Savings Account, the Diocese expects the employer will pay $200 per month or $2400 per year into the HSA for those electing the single HDHP and $400 or $4800 per for the plus one or family plan in the first year of coverage and to continue to pay $150 per month for Single HDHP and $300 per month for plus one, and $400 for family plans in subsequent years.
In addition to the health insurance benefits, we offer optional dental insurance for clergy and lay employees.
An interactive resource on detailed information on plans can be found here. The Diocese of Georgia only participates in Anthem BCBS plans.  
Next Up: 2017 Budget Planning
Beautiful Authority Gathering

The Rev. Denise Ronn, the 
Rev. June Johnson, the Rev. Leigh Hall, the Rev. Kit Brinson, the Rev. Dee Shafer, and the Rev. Ellen Richardson from the Diocese of Georgia recently attended the Beautiful Authority Clergy Women's Gathering at Kanuga, NC, an event designed for those serving in Province IV of the Episcopal Church. Their attendance was supported and encouraged by Bishop Scott Benhase.

Grounded in worship, scripture, and the collective wisdom of many, the conference was organized and mentored by women from several states and many roles in the Episcopal Church who presented fresh perspectives on the challenges that are unique to women clergy, and created time and space for conversations and networking across differences of age, role and life experience.

The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, discussed the nature of power and authority, reminding participants that all authority comes directly from the generative and creative source, the author of our salvation, and should be directed towards "mobilizing others to a deeper capacity to love." Other presentations offered life stories to teach the importance of self-awareness in negotiating our own roles in the apostolic mission--where we are sent to share and gather the people of God as One.

Ronn reflected, "God is doing a mighty work and God is doing it through all of us. This experience has fueled me in such a way that I feel ready for all that God's Spirit will reveal about God's Church eternal."

Hall said, "This conference meant a lot to me. Having such an extended time away with other female clergy from the Diocese of Georgia was unique and different!"
A Transformation
Members of Christ Church Valdosta transformed their Sunday School and Pre-School rooms over the summer, painting it with colorful, happy-looking animals. The transformation team included Steph Johnson, Millie Johnson. Leigh Long, Stefani Carroll, Abi Johnson, Emily Johnson, Sally Honeycutt, Bobby Yarbrough, Frances Crawford, Molly Stevenson, and Paul Stevenson.

Storm Watch    
The Diocesan House is closely watching the approach of Tropical Storm No. 9. In the event of a direct hit here in Savannah, the Diocesan House might be closed tomorrow or Friday. In case of emergency, please reach out to the Bishop or Canon Willoughby by their cell numbers. A status of the office will be posted to our Facebook page notifying everyone. Otherwise, we have access to email remotely and can be reached.
As a reminder, for those parishes potentially in the path of the storm, we recently put out a message from your Disaster Preparedness Coordinators. Please review the post for advice and take any necessary precautions for the safety of yourselves and property. You can review the article and resources here.
Our Neighbors in Louisiana
Flood Relief Team Returns
Over two weeks ago catastrophic floods inundated parts of Louisiana, but in some places the recovery process is just beginning and volunteers are urgently needed, reports a flood relief team from the diocese that returned on Saturday.
The Diocese of Georgia team joined clergy and members of Grace Episcopal Church, St. Francisville for Eucharist before a day of gutting and cleaning flooded homes. Pictured from left: the Rev. Roman Roldan, Dcn. Ri Lamb, Dcn. Leeann Culbreath, Bev Nichols, a Grace parishioner, and Fr. Peter Kang.
Deacons Ri Lamb and Leeann Culbreath, and Bev Nichols, a parishioner at St. John and St. Mark, Albany, traveled last week to St. Francisville, Louisiana, to assess needs and assist the local church with cleaning damaged houses. Although 40 minutes north of the disaster's ground zero in Baton Rouge, several low-income rural neighborhoods near St. Francisville received 2 to 4 feet of floodwater in their homes and are far from emergency shelters, volunteer crews, and other resources.

Clergy and members of Grace Episcopal Church, St. Fra ncisville, began identifying needs and assisting residents with tearing out wet, molding sheetrock, insulation, and
The mission team with the family they assisted.
flooring. Early last week, they began organizing work teams to help clean out up to 20 houses in the area, where most residents had little assistance and no flood insurance. They also spearheaded a community emergency supply distribution center, serving over 40 families a day in the first week in their small town.  The Georgia team partnered with Grace's clergy and lay volunteers on Thursday and Friday at several homes. Even at that time, nearly two weeks after the storm, one nearby neighborhood remained under water because of a slowly-receding lake.
"The lives and houses of these families are completely torn apart," said Dcn. Culbreath. "The recovery process will take months, maybe years, because the damage was so widespread and few have flood insurance. The more labor and supplies that get donated, the sooner folks can get back to some normalcy. At this stage, special skills are not required and teams of any size can make a big difference even in a short trip."
 She recalled the progress made on one house and the effect it had on the residents: "On our first day, the mold was pungent and spreading on th e walls, and the woman at the house was slumped and listless most of the day under the carport, visibly depressed and uncommunicative. We pulled nails, scrubbed walls and studs, and applied mold retardant. By the next day, you could actually breath in the house (though we still wore work masks!) and the woman was smiling, hugging, and planning new paint colors. They still have a long way to go, but they seemed hopeful when we left. The presence and ca
Deacon Ri pulls up following in a home, revealing mud and mold.
re of outsiders really means a lot."
Deacon Lamb encourages everyone to offer support in some way, even if they can't donate money or volunteer labor. " Find a way to connect with someone in the flood zone with interests like yours: your profession, kids your kids' ages, your hobby, whatever, and be their prayer partner," she suggested. "Already, flood survivors are feeling that this tragedy has been forgotten and the losses suffered just were never really important. Correspond by Facebook, email, or phone. Just let these neighbors know they are not forgotten. " Dcn. Lamb can assist you with making connections. 
All of the team members noted the generous hospitality provided by the church and the community. "If you go, they will take great care of you. This is a wonderful community that just needs a lot of support right now." Nichols said. 
Gift cards can be sent to the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana to the attention of Dcn. Elaine Clements and online donations can be made on their website or at Episcopal Relief and Development. For mission opportunities contact the Very Rev. Roman Roldan, rector of Grace, St. Francisville, and the Diocese of Louisiana's Disaster Response Coordinator at  or at 225-245-2979. 
Bishop Benhase leads the commissioning of new Columba House interns Kyrsha Allen and Matthew Yochum assisted by the Rev. Kelly Steele and Guillermo Arboleda at a ceremony held Wednesday, August 24th at the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle. 
Diocesan Office Update     
Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Michael's and All Angels this Sunday. On September 11 he will visit Holy Comforter, Martinez.

Canon Logue is on vacation in Ireland through September 9th.
United Thank Offering Coordinator Suzanne Harrow presented the plaque from the national office of the UTO notifying us of a grant for $19,660.00 for Honey Creek Camp and Conference Center with Honey Creek Director Dade Brantley and Bishop Benhase. The Diocese of Georgia's 2015 UTO Ingathering totaled $10,833.33 and for spring it was $4269.61. 
Energy Audits Under Way
Seven parishes across our diocese are participating this year in a specialized energy audit program offered by Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL), a faith-based environmental stewardship non-profit. The low-cost audit includes revi e w of past usage, on-site audit of buildings by an experienced engineer, and a detailed report with strategic recommendations for saving energy and money. 
Last week at Christ Church, Valdosta, the audit team used infrared technology to identify significant "hot spots" in both old and new buildings where improved insulation and ventilation could make a significant difference in energy costs, comfort, and the congregations's footprint on God's Creation.
Each participating congregation is eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in matching grant funds to make suggested improvements. More information about the audit program can be found at .
The Cost of Discipleship
Not Comfort Food, an Acquired Taste
A Reflection on the Gospel for September 4, 2016
Luke 14: 25-33
by David Somerville
Ellen Gould White
Prolific author and American Christian pioneer, Ellen Gould White, held the conviction that "God requires his people to shine as lights in the world." These are the words of a spiritual giant whose theology led to the development of the conservative Protestant denomination, the Seventh Day Adventist Church. This is interesting. But what has that to do with us? We are not Adventists. We are Episcopalians. Or are we Adventists? The answer will evolve as I invite you, Dear Reader, to explore what's involved with discipleship.
So who are the Seventh Day Adventists? They are one of the many sects born of the American Great Awakening in the 1840's. Their members are committed to a literal interpretation of the Bible, especially those parts of the Old Testament concerning the Sabbath, the day before Jesus' resurrection, as the proper day of weekly worship. These spiritual brothers and sisters of ours, who love the same messiah we do, have a commendable heritage of healthy eating habits as an important obligation of Christian discipleship. Their rigorous discipline and commitment to the well being of the whole person is reflected by the comfort and satisfaction reported by patients who receive care in their hospitals.
Ellen White was inspired by a visionary idea that recurs periodically in the waves of revivalism that is distinctly American. Many of these conservative evangelicals identify with a historic speech by John Winthrop aboard the ship Arbella, bound for the New England colonies in 1630. The idea was that, through their recovered orthodoxy, the Puritans would be " a city upon a hill, [with] the eyes of all people...upon us." They imagined a new nation that would be "exceptional." But this idea was rather different from the kinds of exceptionalism we see practiced today. Much of today's exceptionalism is used to justify an attitude of militant superiority over the cultures of the Old World. Today's ideas on the subject are popular among both social progressives and neoconservatives. They have a strong relationship to the coming presidential election in November.
As I see it, as a member of America's piece of the world-wide Anglican communion, we have a challenge that comes to us in the Gospel for this coming Sunday that resonates with Ellen White's conviction. We too are called to be a people who are to "shine as lights to the world." So then, Seventh Day Adventists are adventists. Are we?  READ MORE 

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 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).

Prayers for September 4-10
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Savannah, St. George's and St. Michael and All Angels. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Savannah, especially the Catholic congregations of Blessed Sacrament, Resurrection of our Lord, Sacred Heart, and St. James. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in San Francisco de MacorĂ­s, especially St. Stephen (San Esteban) and St. Matthew (San Mateo).
Get Ready for CreekFEST!
Join us for CreekFEST, an event for the whole diocese to celebrate an amazing place!
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Episcopal Diocese of Georgia