December 5, 2018
Volume 9, Number 15
In This Issue
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This Sunday's Lections
Second Sunday of Advent 
Baruch 5:1-9 or 
Malachi 3:1-4 
Canticle 4 or 16 
Philippians 1:3-11 
Luke 3:1-6

Go  here for the full text.
Aces for the Disc Golf Tourney
Over 80 players turned out for the Inaugural Honey Creek Open Disc Golf Tournament played across Honey Creek's campus all day on Saturday, December 1. "For most participants, it was their first time to visit Honey Creek, and we received many compliments on our groundskeeping and hospitality. said Savannah Young, Director of Operations and Program. "Several players came from out of state, and we had eight professional disc golfers--that's right, people who make their living playing disc golf!--who were exciting to watch. "

Only one "Ace" was made the entire day, and it was from Honey Creek's own Josh McMains of Statesboro, Georgia. This was his first tournament, and he went home with the only Ace and the $130 prize. Griff Holland of Albany was another big winner, taking home the major raffle prize, a $600 gas grill donated by Lowes of Kingsland. In addition to Josh and Griff, several other Honey Creek alumni volunteering and playing: Grayson & Jamie Johnson, Rebecca Chancey, Jeremy Webster, and Joseph Vives.
Bishop Knocks on the Door of St. Alban's, Augusta
Gathered after the Bishop's visitation last Sunday: Confirmands Carolyn Cabe (left, front row) and Emily Chance. Second row: Archdeacon Sandy Turner, Phyllis Dodd, and the Rev. Billy Alford, Rector.
St. Alban's Church, Fleming Hills, Augusta , held its first services as a mission on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1953. It was the realization of the vision of Church of the Good Shepherd's Rector, the Rev. Allen Clarkson.

The first Rector at St. Alban's, the Rev. William C. Baxter promised the then Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Middleton S. Barnwell, that if he would pay his salary for three and half months, the parish would be self-supporting after that. He kept his promise and the church became self-supporting January 1, 1953.

Among the rectors at St. Alban's was the Rt. Rev. Harry W. Shipps. He served from 1970 to 1984-before he was called to be Bishop of Georgia.

Today St. Alban's stands out as a congregation that's diverse in age and race.
The Rev. Billy Alford at a recent baptism.
"We have five parishioners who live within walking distance, a lot of the people who attend St. Alban's travel some distance," said the Very Rev. Billy Alford, the current Rector of St. Alban's.

A major outreach of the parish is its Food Pantry which is stocked by parishioners who bring the food as part of their Sunday offering or provide funds to purchase the food. "We serve five to 10 families a week," said Alford, "they don't have to provide proof of anything, we welcome all who come. If they knock on the door when the pantry isn't open and I'm here, I give them what they need."

In the late 1980's the parish started a ministry for those with HIV/AIDS. This became St. Stephen's Ministry, which came to be supported by numerous churches in Augusta. At the height of the AIDS crisis, the parish took people in to care for them. Alford noted that the congregation's care continues for those they came to know because of the epidemic as they are buried in the church's memorial garden.
Bishop Shipps dedicated the Memorial Garden during his last visit to St. Alban's in 1993. 
The parish used to be open all the time and homeless people were welcome to stay there. An unfortunate in cident led to the difficult decision to lock the door. "But people still brought blankets and pillows for the homeless," said Alford, "that's just the kind of congregation we are."
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:
Advent Around the Diocese

The Stone family with an Advent Wreath they made at Christ Church Savannah.

Making Advent Wreaths at St. Thomas' Savannah and St. Paul's Augusta.

Intergenerational Sunday School at St. Augustine of Canterbury Augusta led by the Rev. Amy Bradley.

The procession ready to go at St. Luke's Hawkinsville and a visit from Saint Nicholas at Christ Church Frederica.

Madi Cook and Kate Templeton make Advent Wreaths at the Episcopal Center at the University of Georgia. Both were active in Diocese of Georgia Youth Programs before heading to college.
Calvary Salutes Veterans
The Men's Club of Calvary, Americus, hosted a social time and dinner to say thank-you to the Veterans in our church and in the community.  Approximately 30 veterans participated.  
Administrator's Corner
Clergy & Lay Pension Plan Shift to Online Payments
Many congregation should have received communications from CPG and Fidelity on the new remittance forms. The current paper-based system for submitting remittances to the Lay DC and RSVP plans is being replaced with a new, quick and efficient online system. During 2018, each employer must transition to the new platform. Effective January 1, 2019, the paper-based system will no longer be available. Communications began via email in the middle of this year and follow-up from Fidelity via phone has also occurred. 

The new system is called Fidelity's Simplified Contribution Platform (SCP). SCP enables you to set up, fund, and submit contributions to our defined-contribution plans quickly and efficiently.

If you haven't made the switch, please begin the process this month. It is critical that you do so before the paper remittance goes away. For immediate questions, please call Fidelity's SCP Hotline at (800) 868-1023

Below is step-by-step guidance and resources on the new system:

Step 1 - Provide Your Email
Where do I begin?

If you have not already done so, please provide your email contact information, plan number, and division code from your last invoice as soon as possible at

Once you do so you will receive a series of three email communications from Fidelity (or the "Simplified Contribution Platform" from
1. Within one month: you'll receive a "heads up" email to notify you of the new platform.
2. The next week: a welcome email including a video tutorial and detailed user guide.
3. The following week: an email with username and password and a link to log in and create an online account.

When you receive your user name and password from Fidelity it is important to set up your account and complete the registration process as soon as possible so you can continue to submit contributions in a timely manner.

Step 2 - Create Your Account
I provided my contact information, now what? 

Once you receive the set-up email from Fidelity, including your temporary password and username, and click the Login link, you will be prompted to set up a new permanent password.

Can't find the email with your temporary login and password? Please follow these steps:
1. Go to the Fidelity SCP Login page
2. Click Forgot Your Password?
3. Enter your Username (Note: Your username is typically your email address in lowercase letters)
4. Click Send Email to request a link to reset your password

Important note! Make sure all the plans your institution is enrolled in are connected to your SCP account. For example: any group which adopted the Lay DC plan prior to 2013 will have different plan numbers for employer and employee contributions*. If all of your plans are not appearing when you create your account please call Fidelity for assistance at (800) 868-1023.
Plan Name
Plan Number
Lay DC 401(a) 
Lay DC 403(b)

Any new users (i.e. your successor if you change roles, or additional administrators at your organization) will need to go back to step 1 and provide their email contact information before they can set up their account.
* If you are unsure of your plan numbers, check your plan adoption confirmation letter, or the Employee Roster. Your plan number is not the same as your unique division code.

Step 3 - Verify Your Banking Info
How do I set up my banking information?

Before you can create your first contribution request you must add your banking information and it must be validated. Detailed instructions are available in the SCP User Guide. Funding Options include ACH (no fee) or Wire Transfer (your bank may apply a fee*).
When you first log in to the system you will be prompted to establish a bank account to use for funding your contributions
Complete all the fields marked with an asterisk and click Preview Account
After the validation period, your bank account information appears as a funding option in your contribution request

Important note!
Allow up to 10 business days for account validation, depending on your bank.

You must also be sure to add banking information for each plan that your organization is enrolled in. You only need to do this once.
* Contact your bank to determine if any fees apply. CPG is not responsible for any fees charged by your bank.

Step 4 - Submit Contribution Request
After your banking information has been validated you are ready to create your first contribution request.
When you log in the system automatically opens to the My Contribution Request page and displays your new or saved requests that are ready for processing.
* The request populates with your prior participant contribution information
* New participants will not pre-populate with a contribution amount
* Eligible participants can be added to the request if applicable
* Confirm participant and funding amounts, and all request details before submitting
Detailed instructions are available in the SCP User Guide.
Important note! SCP is not used for enrollment or termination; it is only for submitting employer and/or employee contributions.

Step 5 - Set Notifications
Is there anything else I need to do?

Don't forget to configure reminders and notifications before you log off!

It is important to continue submitting contributions in a timely manner and reminders can help you do that. SCP offers customized email notification reminders that you can set up on a time frame that you choose. To do so:
1. Click your profile icon in the top right-hand corner
2. Click Configure Reminders
3. Set up notification time frames to align with your payroll cycle

You may now enjoy the benefits of the new platform, including these:
* Paperless processing
* Email notification reminders
* Pre-screening to confirm submissions
* Automated funding
* Transaction history

If you have any questions or concerns, please call me.

Katie Willoughby
Canon for Administration
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 will 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, and we hope you will consider making this weekend a family event as you 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.
Diocesan Youth Mission Trip for Summer 2019 
This summer our Diocesan Mission Trip will take us into the Appalachian Mountains for a week of service in partnership with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP)! ASP was founded in 1969 and works with families in Central Appalachia to make homes warmer, safer, and drier. Each summer they host groups in different locations in Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Our group will stay with other groups at one of ASP's Summer Centers and will go out to work on homes in the area. Whether you have never worked with your hands, or you regularly work on house projects, this trip will provide work that you can do that will make an ongoing difference in the lives of people you meet and in your own life as well.  

Trip Date: July 13-20, 2019  and 
Required retreat: April 5-7, 2019 (at Honey Creek)
Cost: $900 (includes everything except personal expenses)
For: Youth who have finished grades 8-12 by summer 2019
Sign Up Deadline: February 11, 2019

To sign up, please follow the link above and pay at least the initial $250 deposit. Additional information will be needed later. If you choose to pay in installments they are due February 15, April 5, and June 1. Please contact me at  with your questions about the trip and about scholarship assistance.
The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner
Canon for Children and Youth
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 2-8
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Waynesboro, St. Michael's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Waynesboro, especially Sacred Heart Catholic Church and our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Sylvania. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo, especially St. Margaret (Santa Margarita).

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).

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 St. James' Quitman at 9 AM, Sunday, December 9th. The bishop's  full schedule is available 

Canon Frank Logue will preach this Sunday at St. Luke's, Rincon.

The Rev. Kevin Kelly, Rector of St. Michael's and All Angels, will preside and preach at the noon Thursday Eucharist at Diocesan House.
Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant George. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.

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

February 15-17
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Register  here.

Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee
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

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
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