December 21, 2016
Volume 7, Number 16
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
Christmas Day 
Isaiah 9:2-7
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)
Psalm 96
here for the full text.
Join Our Mailing List
Presiding Bishop to Preach
National Church Highlights Diocese's Deaconess Alexander Event 

The Diocese of Georgia is one of six dioceses across the country partnering in a new initiative by The Episcopal Church: Episcopal Revivals 2017-18.

Georgia's revival, to be held under a large tent at Honey Creek Retreat Center on Sunday afternoon, September 17, will celebrate the new feast day of Deaconess Elizabeth Alexander, the first black female deacon in The Episcopal Church. The preacher will be our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry.

"We hope to encourage the people of the Diocese of Georgia to invite friends, especially those who may have left their previous churches because of a negative experience," said Bishop Scott Anson Benhase. "Rather than the hell-fire message usually heard at revivals, with the Presiding Bishop's help we will proclaim the liberating and life giving love of Jesus."

The Presiding Bishop will also lead the opening morning of the Diocese of Georgia's Fall Clergy Conference, scheduled to begin the next day.

Details about the September 17 event will be forthcoming in March.
Christ Church, Savannah
Carols for a Cause 
Ann Marie McPhail, soloist at Carols for a Cause.
Last Sunday evening, Christ Church hosted the third annual "Carols for a Cause" benefit concert. More than $5,000 was raised for Emmaus House, the homeless and feeding ministry which was founded in 1982 by a group of downtown churches to provide food and day services to the homeless and needy in our community. It is located in Christ Church's parish house.

Christ Church's rector, Michael S. White, said, "Emmaus House is faith in action in its purest form. With each soul that is fed, we are reminded of Proverbs 3:27, 'Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it."'

Under the direction of Christ Church's organist and choirmaster Timothy L. Hall, the Carols for a Cause audience of 800 enjoyed a festive evening of Christmas music featuring the Savannah Brass Quartet, Savannah Children's Choir (under the direction of Roger Moss), RISE Chorale (under the direction of Christ Church member Emily Williams Burch), Holiday Harmonies, and soprano Ann Marie McPhail, a former gold prize winner of the American Traditions Competition and communicant of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Atlanta.

Go here to see an album of photos from the event.

Dioceses of Georgia and Atlanta
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia will again partner with the Diocese of Atlanta to co-sponsor the Georgia Public Radio broadcast of A Festival  of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College Cambridge on Saturday, December 24 at 10 a.m. Find your local station on the radio by going here or listen online here.

A Brief History of the Service
In 1918, the then-new dean of King's Chapel, 34-year-old Eric Milner-White, wanted to try something innovative and beyond the standard liturgy of the Church of England. He wove together scripture and song, called on readers of various ages from school and town, and made up this truly magical progression that carries us from prophecy to fulfillment, from Old Testament foretelling to a birthday celebration. 

Download the 2016 booklet here. 
The  service was first broadcast in 1928 and, with the exception  of 1930, has been broadcast annually, even during World War II, when the ancient glass (and also all heat) had been removed from the Chapel.  The opening carol is always 'Once in Royal David's City', and there is always a new, specially commissioned carol. This year  Michael Berkeley wrote  This Endernight  for the liturgy.

From the Bidding Prayer 
"And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in mind and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; all who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love."
Campaign for Congregational Development

St. Joseph's Community, a ministry supported by the Campaign for Congregational Development, was highlighted in this video shown at the 2016 Convention. To support programs like this, please go here.  Thank you!
Youth Minister Draws on His Talents
Roger Speer, (left) new Director of Student Ministries at Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta, and a three-year member of the Editorial Board at Forward Movement, illustrated three books and two curricula released this month by Forward Movement. He also illustrated the cover of the February, 2017 edition of Day by Day.

"Nine months ago I was asked [by Forward Movement] to help with artwork with the goal of addressing the issue of Biblical literacy in the Episcopal Church," Speer said, "and offer tools to re-engage our members in the redemptive story of God's love."  Two of his books are below; for more information go to

The Path: A Journey Through the Bible (left) is geared towards youth to adults and encourages readers to "walk in the footsteps of faithful men and women who have done their best to follow God's call." The Path: Family Storybook recounts the major stories of the Bible in a way that engages children (and those who love them!)
Project Resource
Stewardship resources to use in the coming weeks
As the year comes to an end, your stewardship effort next year will benefit from some follow up work on this year's campaign. Templates to assist in this are offered by Project Resource, the trove of stewardship resources the College of Bishops pulled together for the Episcopal Church. While training in the Project Resource stewardship materials will take place in 2017 around the Diocese, we also want to share useful materials with you when they are needed.

End of Year Reminder Letters
This is a template to use in drafting a letter to parishioners who pledged either previous years or for the current year but who have yet to pledge for next year. Sometimes, a timely reminder is all that is needed. Download a reminder for those pledging this year here and download a reminder for those who pledged in previous years here.

Financial Support Survey
If you feel sure that a parishioner will not want to pledge, this sample questionnaire can help to discover the reasons why. Sometimes, we don't know why something isn't working because we fail to ask. Download the Financial Support Survey Here.
The Loose Canon
A Free Course to Foster Faithful Questioning 
Finding quality materials for engaging adults in a meaningful way about their faith in Jesus is never an easy task. Thanks to an Episcopal Church grant which underwrote the production of the course, Transforming Questions is an excellent course to encourage exploring faithful questioning in a small group setting, is available at no charge to your congregation. As we work on Invite-Welcome-Connect, this course fits well in connecting established members and newcomers around table fellowship and meaningful conversations.

Course creators, the Revs. Melody Shobe and Scott Gunn, provide everything you need for the 10-week course available as a free download from Forward Movement, the Episcopal Church agency that produces Forward Day by Day. Participants share a meal, listen to some solid teaching, and then discuss important questions including: Who is Jesus? Does God answer prayer? Why do bad things happen? 

This is both a helpful introduction to faith in Jesus for people new to the church, or who have yet to attend worship. This is a great side-door for someone who is interested in Jesus, but not sure about a church yet. Transforming questions is equally worthwhile for those of us who are long term Christians. Having created and taught a similar course 16 years ago as a parish priest, I know that perhaps most important is the community built around table fellowship and honest talk about personal concerns. 

Please note that this is not a drop-in course. Ask participants to commit to the whole 10 weeks as the work builds over time, especially with the meals and an ongoing small group. Don't be afraid to ask for and expect a commitment. The format for an evening is five minutes for the opening collect and welcome, 25 minutes to share a meal, an hour split evenly between the presentation and a small-group discussion, and then five minutes for the closing collect and dismissal. The presenter shapes the course material with personal stories, but the good work of developing a solid course is done.

Interested? Download the file from Forward Movement, which includes both the facilitator's and participant's materials. While this material is also available for purchase in book form from Forward Movement, you do not need to purchase anything to have the full course. Click here to download the Transforming Questions materials

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary
Sharing the Joy

Children from St. John's Church Savannah went caroling through Madison Square.

We'd like to highlight Pageant pictures in next week's edition of From the Field. Please send yours to 
Diocesan Office Update     
Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Patrick's, Pooler, this Christmas Eve. For the Bishop's complete visitation schedule, go  here.

With the congregations of the Diocese of Georgia covered for Christmas, Canon Logue will preside and preach Christmas Eve at the Episcopal Church in Okatie, SC. He will be on vacation from December 28-January 2, as he and Victoria visit their daughter, Griffin, in Arizona.

The Diocesan Office will be closed December 23rd and 26th as well as December 30th for the holidays.
Bishop's Visitations
The Rev. Donald K. Holland officially starts at All Saints' Douglas but he joined Bishop Benhase at the altar during his visitation this month. Also present were, from left: Kate and Emma Page, Carli Holland and Rosie Veal.

Following services at Trinity-Cochran on December 4, Bishop Benhase gathered with (from left) John Pasto, lay eucharistic minister; the Rev. Joy Fisher; Christian Kitchens, acolyte; George Scott, deacon; Bishop Benhase; the Rev. Dale Jones; Connor Cairney, acolyte; the Rev. Vernon Wiggins, and Andrew Golden, acolyte.
Behind This Week's From the Field Banner    

Timothy Hall, Organist at Christ Church at the 3rd Annual Carols for a Cause.
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 December 18 to 24
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for Diocesan Youth Programs, Columba House Savannah, and our Episcopal Campus Ministries at Valdosta State and Georgia Southern 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 Jesús Maestro (Jesus the Master) in Tamboril.

Prayers for December 25 to 31 
In our diocesan prayer cycle, we pray for Honey Creek, for the Order of St. Helena and all religious order in the Episcopal Church. We also pray for our ecumenical partners, especially the Catholic congregations of Our Lady of Guadelupe in Sandhill, San José in Twin Lakes, Holy Redeemer in McRae, and Holy Cross in Pembroke. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for Diocese of the Dominican Republic Parochial Schools. 
How many lions were in the manger?

The answer is, of course, "Just one. Jesus, the Lion of Judah." But there were more animals in the nativity pageant at Christ Church, Valdosta, this past Sunday as the children told the story of Jesus' birth.
Church Development Institute (CDI), December 9-10, January 20-21; March 17-18
Honey Creek
Go here for more information.

Winter Retreat for Youth, January 20-22
Honey Creek
Go here for more information.

Diocesan Council, February 3-4
St. Francis' Church, Savannah

Happening #98, February 17
Honey Creek
Go here for more information.

Cursillo #123, March 2-4
Honey Creek
Go here for more information.

Clergy Spouses Retreat, March 10-12
Honey Creek
here for more information.

New Beginnings #50, March 24-26
Honey Creek
Go here for more information.
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