December 12, 2018
Volume 9, Number 16
Being the Hands of God
It started with a migraine. Bertice Berry, the best-selling author, and award winning lecturer, woke up with a bad migraine, cancelled her conference call for the morning and tried to shut out the pain, but couldn't. 

Berry, a parishioner at Christ Church Savannah and a member of its vestry, seeks to put her faith into action. Her
"Child of God" written on the back of each coat in day-glo paint helps drives in cars see--and remind them--that the wearer is a child of God.
pain led her to wonder about others who are affected by cold and weather changes.  

She had already begun repairing and making coats for those who live outside because they don't have a home. Berry said, "As I sewed linings and re-washed coats, I thought about the woman who sold them to me." The woman asked why she needed so many coats and Berry told her that she was repairing the coats and then sewing a heart inside that reads, "I matter." On the outside, she painted the words, "Child of God". Berry said, "we all are, but sometimes we need to be reminded."

Berry goes on to explain, "This beautiful woman began to cry. She s aid that she had come to Savannah homeless. She was celebrating one year  o f sobriety. She told me that hearing that she mattered and that I knew that she was always a child of God truly touched her heart." She charged Berry the lowest cost for each coat and  they hugged each other. Berry said, "As I thought of her, my migraine faded and I'm ready to live."

Berry adds, "Here's the thing, there is a lot of pain, division and suffering going on. I can lean into the pain, or I can lean into gratitude and creativity. I still have pain, but now, it's oh so beautiful. And I know that I am not alone."
In This Issue
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This Sunday's Lections
Third Sunday of Advent 
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3: 7-18
Canticle 9

Go  here for the full text.
Gullah Geechee Commission Meets
On December 1, St. Cyprian's hosted the Gullah Geechee National Heritage Corridor Commission  for its quarterly meeting.  The Commission, established under the Federal National Heritage Areas Act of 2006, is charged with helping to recognize, sustain, and celebrate the important contribution made by the Gullah Geechee to American Culture. 

Griffin Lotson, vice chair of the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Commission, demonstrates a traditional water ceremony.

Fr. Ted Clarkson receiving a Gullah Geechee translation of the New Testament at the meeting of the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Commission.
Seventh Annual St. Nicholas Block Party
For the seventh year, the church of St. John and St. Mark in Albany held its St. Nicholas Block Party for neighborhood children and parents on Saturday, December 8. The annual event began as an outreach ministry of one of the congregation's Cursillo Reunion groups, but was quickly adopted by the entire community.

Working through a partnership with Radium Springs Elementary School, (a Title I school within walking distance of the parish) flyers were sent through each child's weekly parent packet. Children and parents were invited to join the congregation in an introduction to St. Nicholas on the Saturday nearest December 6th.

Despite the fact that the neighborhood has been devastated by both tornadoes and hurricanes in the last two years, more than 40 children, along with parents or older siblings gathered with a large contingent of parishioners for this celebration.

Parents and students were brought to the Parish Hall for hot chocolate and cookies. From there, the children were escorted to another room, where each child got to choose two to three gifts for Mom, Grandmother, Dad, or other significant people. A wide assortment of possibilities... from jewelry to tools... was on display. All items are free, donations made by the congregation. After selections were made, the children were then assisted--as needed--in wrapping their selections.

Once their Christmas shopping is finished, the children rejoined their families in Primo Hall. Ornament kits were available, and each child made an ornament. St. Nicholas was also present, handing out chocolate gold coins and hugs.

The Rev. Johnny Tuttle, Rector, in speaking about this neighborhood ministry said, "The remarkable thing to me is that this congregation is so engaged in its conviction to be involved in the life of Radium Springs. 

Bishop Knocks on the Door of St. James' Quitman
Imagine being the only Episcopalian in town. That was the case in 1895 when only one Episcopalian lived in Quitman. But within two years a small group that included a priest from Valdosta were holding services in their homes. By 1899, they began to plan for a church building, and in 1900 the cornerstone of the building was laid. St. James' has been renovated, expanded, moved, and expanded again since its 1910 consecration.

Unlike the original congregants, half of the small congregation who attends St. James' don't live in Quitman. "They come from the neighboring county or two, live in rural areas of the state," said the Rev. Jim Elliott, Priest-in-Charge, "for a small town, St. James' congregation covers a broad spectrum both socio-economically and ethnically."

During his visitation to St. James' on Sunday, Bishop Scott Anson Benhase told the congregation, "It's apparent that you love each other."
Bishop Scott Anson Benhase with the Rev. Nancy Sartin, Deacon, and the Rev. Jim Elliott, Priest-in-Charge at St. James' on Sunday.
"We do love each other," affirmed Elliott, "and are very accepting of differences. On the whole we have very gen erous hearts when helping neighbors in need."

Longtime organist Emily 
Wall, had endured St. James' old finicky organ and admitted that she often had to be creative in the way that she played. Once the congregation decided to replace the organ, they raised funds, but only half of what was needed. A parishioner stepped forward and donated the remainder on the condition that a bronze plaque be placed on it stating that it was given in thanksgiving for the ministry of Emily Wall.

"I'm very proud of our people," said Elliott, "when neighbors have experienced disasters, like the recent hurricanes, we raised funds for Episcopal Relief and Development. We talk a lot about sacrificial love, the kind that Jesus exhibited to the entire world. It's especially evident and palpable here at St. James' as we prepare and wait for the Feast of the Incarnation." 
Around the Diocese

Advent at St. Paul's Augusta

Making Advent wreaths at St. Paul's Albany.
Lighting the Advent candle at St. Luke's Rincon.
Reminder About Pledges
The final pledges are due by the end of this year. Call the office with any questions: 912-236-4279.
Plan Now for CreekFEST this February 15-17
CreekFEST began with a mission to get all those of us around the Diocese who appreciate and love The Creek together. We worship, play games, eat yummy food, sing, tell stories, relax, and enjoy time together, all while celebrating the place that brings us joy and peace. This is still the mission of CreekFEST, and we hope you will consider making this weekend a family event, so mark your calendars! 

Registration includes lodging, meals, a 
t-shirt, and events. 

This year, we'll be entertained by the Dusty Roads Band on Saturday evening.
Winter Youth Retreat at Honey Creek - January 11-13
Jesus said to his disciples, "Come away by yourselves and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). 

Between exams, the holidays, travel, and all the other things that December brings, January is often a time when we truly need a time of rest. Come to Honey Creek January 11-13 to relax, tell stories, gather around the fire, and experience the Light coming into the world.

This retreat, coordinated by the Rev. Amy Bradley and Canon Joshua Varner, will offer time to relax, time to tell and listen to stories, and time to play together. The retreat is for g rades 6-12. The c ost is $115 (after January 4 cost is $125). Contact your priest and/or our Canon Missioner for Children and Youth, the Rev. Canon Joshua Varner for scholarship assistance:
United Thank Offering
Grant Applications Now Being Accepted for 2019

Applications are now accepted for the 2018 United Thank Offering grants. The application forms are available here.

The focus for the 2019 United Thank Offering grants is Go: Crossing boundaries created by race, culture, and economics to create communities that listen deeply and learn to live like Jesus. More information is available here.

"Boundaries divide us and encourage us see each other as more different than we are. Jesus was always crossing those kinds of boundaries to include the 'other,' and UTO wants to encourage projects that will continue that work of Jesus to heal divisions and grow the beautifully diverse kingdom of God," said Sherri Dietrich, United Thank Offering Board President.

Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address a new focus area each year, both domestically and internationally in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The United Thank Offering was founded to support innovative mission and ministry in the Episcopal Church and to promote thankfulness and mission in the whole Church. 100% of thank offerings given to UTO are granted the following year.

Detailed guidelines for applying for the grants are here (). The deadline is March 1, 2019 at 5 pm Eastern.

Webinars to answer any questions and go over the application will be held on Tuesday, January 15 and Wednesday, February 13 at noon and 8 pm Eastern Time; the link is here. 

More information can be found here.  

Please note:
The United Thank Offering will accept:

* grant applications for start-up costs of a new ministry.
* grant applications for seed money for start-up positions.
* one grant application per diocese within the Episcopal Church and one per province of the Anglican Communion.
* one additional application for a companion/partnership grant from a diocese of the Episcopal Church.

For more information about guidelines and applications, contact the Rev. Canon Heather Melton, Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering, hmelton@episcopalchurch.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 52 weekly prayers are available in one document  found here. 

December 9-15
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Woodbine, St. Mark's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially the Catholic congregations of Holy Family in Metter and St. Bernadette in Millen. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo, especially Holy Trinity (Santísma Trinidad).

December 16-22
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for Diocesan Youth Programs, Columba House Savannah, and our Episcopal Campus Ministries at Valdosta State, Georgia Southern and Augusta Universities. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially those in Springfield St. Paul's Lutheran Church and St. Boniface Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for Jesus the Master (Jesús Maestro) in Tamboril.

Additional Prayer Cycles
We also offer 30-day prayer cycles for those who wish to pray daily for the clergy and clergy spouses. These are Diocesan Prayer Cycle and Clergy Spouses Prayer Cycle.
Diocesan Office Update and News
Bishop Scott Anson Benhase  will make his annual visitation to Trinity, Statesboro at 10:30 AM, Sunday, December 16th. The bishop's  full schedule is available 
here

The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner  is on retreat this week.

The Rev. David Rose, Rector of St. Luke's Rincon, will preside and preach at the noon Thursday Eucharist at Diocesan House.

Diocesan offices will be closed December 24-26 and January 31-1.
Events 

Winter Youth Retreat
January 11-13, 2019
Honey Creek

Diocesan Council 
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Annunciation, Vidalia

Happening #101
January 31 (for staff) through Sunday, February 3
Staff register here, candidates  here
Honey Creek Retreat Center

CreekFest
February 15-17
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Register  here.

Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee Weekend
March 8-9
Diocesan House, Savannah

Happening #102
Thursday, April 11 (for staff) through Sunday, April 14, 2019
Honey Creek Retreat Center

Diocesan Council

May 17-18
Augusta

Diocesan Youth Mission Trip
July 13-20, 2019
Happening #103
Thursday, August 22 (for staff) through Sunday, August 25
Honey Creek Retreat Center

Diocesan Council
September 13-14
Savannah
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