February 6, 2019
Volume 9, No. 24
Happening #101
"Love others as I have loved you"
The closing Eucharist of Happening #101. To see more photos from the event, visit the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia's Youth page by going 

Happening #101, postponed from September due to Hurricane Florence, took place this past weekend at Honey Creek. Over 70 adults and youth came together to share the Love of God with each other in real and tangible ways. They talked about the world around them and how they can live as Christians, following the way of Jesus, the way of Love not just at individual weekends but in their daily lives as well. Katie Grant, from Good Shepherd, Augusta, was the Rector for Happening #101. Her Observing Rector was Sarah Bianco, from St. Thomas', Savannah. Sarah will be the Rector for Happening #102, which will take place August 2-4, 2019.

This Happening was the final one for outgoing Happening Coordinator, Jody Grant, from Our Savior, Martinez. Jody has served the youth of this Diocese in this role since 2002 and next week's From the Field will feature him. 

Sarah Brittany Sandbach, of St. Paul's, Augusta, is the incoming Happening Coordinator. She has been involved with Happening and with the Diocese of Georgia Youth programs for years, both as a young person herself and as an adult who works with children and youth. She served as a camp counselor at Honey Creek, has participated in congregational and Diocesan Youth Programs. Many thanks to her for her willingness to answer the call to take on this new role!
In This Issue
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This Sunday's Lections
5th Sunday After Epiphany
Isaiah 6:1-8, [9-13]
I Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11
Psalm 138

Go   here for the full text.
Search Committee Publishes Timeline

To download a printable PDF of this timeline, go  here
Listening Sessions for XI Bishop Search  
The schedule is as follows:
Thursday, 21 Feb 
7 PM at All Saints', Thomasville (Southwest)
Saturday, 2 March
Thursday, 26 Feb
10 AM at Annunciation, Vidalia (Central)
1 PM at Diocesan House (Staff)
Sunday, 10 March
2:30 PM at St. Mark's, Brunswick (Southeast)

2:30 PM at Good Shepherd, Augusta (Augusta)
Saturday, 23 March
Time TBA at Honey Creek, (Youth)
Sunday, 24 March
3 PM at St. Patrick's, Albany (Albany)
Tuesday, 26 March
10 AM at St. Anne's, Tifton (Clergy)
Sunday, 31 March
3 PM at St. Paul's, Savannah (Savannah)
If you are unable to make the session in your own convocation, the Search Committee hopes that you will attend another in a neighboring convocation.
The Honey Creek Commission determined that, due to low enrollment, CreekFEST is cancelled this year.
The Bishop Knocks on the Door
St. George's Church, Savannah
Saint George's Episcopal Church has been drawing neighbors in Savannah's Southside to its sanctuary since the early 1960's. It's a neighborhood parish, according to the Rev. David Lemburg, Priest-in-Charge, "drawing worshipers who have an appreciation for liturgy that is in more of a higher Anglican tradition, but it's approachable," he said.

"We have the usual Men's Club and Children and Youth Programs but a truly unique ministry here is the St. Mary's Guild," said Lemburg. Members knit or crochet caps for premature infants and cancer patients. On Sunday the Bishop blessed the burial gowns crafted by parishioner Debby Thomas from the wedding gown of another parishioner, Debbie Shumans.

"Our members are gifted at using their skills and talents to help the individual," said Lemburg. "They are also gifted at fellowship and caring for each other. There are things that we do well and will continue to do: our new wine skins may be new ministries but there is a sense of excitement around what's next for St. George's."
The Rev. Denise Vaughn, in her own words:
Meet the New Dean of the Central Convocation 
I began my journey of life in Utica, New York. My mother, a Roman Catholic and my father, an American Baptist, met and married while in nursing school. At seven months old, I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. When I was four years old, my father enlisted into the Army and we began our travels to several bases in the United States and finally to Paris, France. 

After leaving France, we settled in Port Charlotte, Florida where I lived for 40 years. When we first arrived in Port Charlotte, my mother began attending St. James Episcopal Church where I was confirmed at 11. My two brothers became acolytes (girls were not allowed to be acolytes yet) and I joined the youth choir. We were part of the youth group spending many fun filled hours at church after school and on the weekends. Back then, Port Charlotte was small town and we could ride our bikes all over the area and even walk to the beach. 

After receiving my BA from the University of South Florida, in Tampa, I met and married my husband, Roy. Three years later, my daughter Lacy was born. While my daughter was growing up, I owned and operated a small business with several employees for 18 years. In my mid-30's, I attended a Cursillo weekend that helped to launch my journey toward ordination in June of 1997 to the Vocational Diaconate in the Diocese of Southwest Florida. Over the next eight years, I served as a vocational deacon in three congregations. I was also a member of the Diocesan Commission on Liturgy and Music for ten years and chair of our Companion Diocese relationship to the Dominican Republic for two years. In 2005, I left for Austin, TX to attend the Seminary of the Southwest, graduating in 2008 with my Masters of Divinity. 
In February of 2009, I was ordained a priest at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Austin, TX where I was on staff as priest in charge of outreach and pastoral care. In May of 2010, I became the first woman rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Chillicothe, Missouri. While in the Diocese of West Missouri, I was appointed by Bishop Fields to serve as a member of the "Futuring Group," a group of clergy and laity working with the bishop to cast a vision for the future of the diocese. I also served on the Commission on Ministry and as a chaplain for St. Luke's Home Care and Hospice. In November of 2015, I became the first woman rector of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in Vidalia. It has been a privilege and a joy to serve at Annunciation and as a member of the Convocational Discernment Committee for the Central Convocation. In my spare time, I enjoy working outdoors, reading, and spending time with my four grandchildren who live in Charleston, SC.
St. Peter's Opens Market at 3 West Ridge 

In less than a week The Market at 3 West Ridge, hosted by St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 3 West Ridge Road, Skidaway Island,  will open to welcome shoppers. The Market is a shopping boutique and blooming plant sale that brings 22 vendors from around the country with unique items for wardrobe, garden and home.  

2019 is St. Peter's 21st year of fundraising. To date the church has awarded $1.137 million to support programs that benefit some of Savannah's most vulnerable children. All donations and net proceeds from this year's Market will be divided between Family Promise of Greater Savannah (formerly Interfaith Hospitality) and Heads-Up Guidance Services (HUGS).

Tuesday, February 12: 5 to 7:30 PM
Evening shopping with complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres 
Wednesday, February 13: 10 AM to 5 PM
Café-style lunch available $10
Thursday, February 14: 10 AM to 4 PM 
Café-style lunch available $10

For more information and a vendor list visit >www.stpeterssavannah.org

Twenty of the 27 member Market Committee who are led by Market Co-Chairs: standing, fifth from left, Wyndie Eberle and, seventh from left, Beth Holmquist.

New Beginnings #54
Staff Applications Due this Friday, February 8!

New Beginnings #54, a retreat for youth in grades 7-9, takes place March 22-24! Youth people from across the Diocese will gather at Honey Creek for a time of worship, reflection, joy, and laughter. New Beginnings is primarily led by high school youth whose experiences at New Beginnings, at Happening, and at other youth events have led them to want to offer their experiences of unconditional love to younger teenagers.

Youth who have already participated in New Beginnings or Happening are eligible to apply to be on staff. The staff application is due by Friday, February 8. Adults who are interested in helping to support our youth as they lead should also fill out the same application.  Apply to join the staff at  http://bit.ly/NB54StaffApp

Participant registration is currently open as well! Participants should register at http://bit.ly/NB54SignUp. Early registration (lower cost!) lasts through March 8.

Last year's New Beginnings #53.
Bible Study with the Bishop
Journeys through Romans
The Good Book Study with Bishop Scott Anson Benhase continues on Wednesdays, 10:30 to 11:30 AM at St. Peter's, Savannah, and also live on Facebook through February 20. 

Watch recorded versions of the sessions (there are now five) on Facebook and on YouTube here For more information on the series, go here
Online filing available
2018 Parochial Reports Due to Diocese March 1 
Online filing for the 2018 Parochial Report for all Episcopal Church congregations is now available on The Episcopal Church website . In addition to the form, the page also offers step-by-step instructions and workbooks to guide you through this process.

"The annual Parochial Report has traditionally played a major role as the Church plans its mission and ministry," said the Rev. Canon Dr. Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention.

Barlowe also noted that all congregations should have received their 2018 Parochial Report Packet in the mail. The Parochial Report mailing included an explanatory letter along with the congregation's login information.

Congregations unable to file online can utilize a printable form, available on The Episcopal Church website here.

The canonical deadline for the 2018 Parochial Report to your Diocese is March 1. 

By May 1st all reports should be reviewed and marked complete by your diocese to the Executive Office of the General Convention.

Congregations that did not receive the 2018 Parochial Report mailing should immediately contact the diocesan house for their information.

Instructions and workbooks are available here.

The Parochial Report is the oldest, continuous gathering of data by The Episcopal Church. By tradition and canon, the reporting requirements are developed by the House of Deputies' Committee on the State of the Church, using a form approved by the Church's Executive Council. Seen as an annual rite of passage throughout The Episcopal Church, and overseen by the Executive Officer of General Convention, the Parochial Report touches every congregation of the church. Together with other data, including that of the Recorder of Ordinations and the Registrar of General Convention, the Parochial Report provides an insight to the state of the church.
From the Canon Commissioner for Children and Youth
Guest Columnist: Gracie Swan
Often, we spend our time wondering how to live our lives as Christians. Sometimes we have an experience that is an emotional and spiritual high point. But our most challenging times are often those that follow immediately afterward, as we grapple with the challenge of living in our day to day world that may not seem to have changed very much. Below is the text of a talk by high school senior 
Gracie Swan, of St. Paul's, Albany. The talk was given at Happening #101 this past weekend on Sunday morning as the participants and staff begin to turn their attention toward what comes after the weekend which, for many is a spiritual high point. - The Rev. Joshua Varner, Canon Missioner for Children and Youth

Hey, everyone! I'm Gracie Swan and I'm giving the World Talk.

I've always thought of this talk as "what next." We have spent an amazing weekend together and it is starting to come to a close. Happening has been incredible - we've made some amazing friends, felt closer to God, and enjoyed the love and peacefulness of this community. Much of this peacefulness comes from the lack of distractions, allowing us to focus on God and on one another. Unfortunately, these distractions will be waiting for us as we pass the stop sign and reenter the outside world. We will all get our phones back. We will have countless texts from friends and family, and we will start to reenter the craziness of "normal" life. Returning to the outside world can be really scary and terrifying. While we have been changed at Happening, the world that we return to remains as we left it and that can cause a disconnect. How can we maintain the spiritual connection that we felt so strongly in this place and in the midst of one another?
I want to share with you all a little of my post-Happening experience. I left Happening #99 ready to go out and change the world, wanting to passionately share what I had experienced. I lived this "Happening High" for a while, probably scaring my friends with the intensity of my excitement. I soon realized that my friends hadn't experienced the transformation that I had and this disconnect led to a lot of frustration. This frustration turned to tiredness as life began to get more and more distracting. Grades, friends, family, and even Netflix began to demand more of my attention, and my Happening group chats become quieter as all of our lives continued. Then, I received a letter. It was from a staff member from Happening #99 and reminded me of all that I felt when I was at Honey Creek and all that I was missing now. I knew that I had to reset and re-find the love that I felt here.
Now, I want to give you all a little "Gracie's how to guide" on re-finding this love and spirit at home. The most important tip I have is to figure out what made Happening so special for you. For me, one of the biggest parts of Happening was the sense of a Community of love. So I sought out other communities united by that same love. Church became very important to me and helped me recapture the spiritual connection I had felt. I've never been a person who thinks that you are a Christian just because you attend church, but I now see the importance of Church for Christians who want more or need the time set aside to connect with God. I also started to look for Youth events and camps where I could find more communities, both at Honey Creek and beyond. For example, I recently went to the Winter Youth Retreat at Honey Creek and had an amazing weekend in which I focused on God and formed connections with incredible people. These are things that I didn't seek out before attending Happening but they help me maintain my spiritual health. Bible studies and prayer groups also offer a great way to connect with other people who want to develop a closer connection to God. These can be as informal as getting together with people in your town who attended Happening and then inviting others to join you and share in God's community of love.
Worship is another aspect of Happening that contributed to my spiritual connection during the weekend. Worship can come through music, like my rockin' Happening playlist! Worship can also take the form of service, the true role of Christians, in which you celebrate God by gathering together to worship and going out to serve the world. Personal Prayer was also important in dealing with the world around me. Before Happening, prayer was more simply a part of my routine as it was something I just did before falling asleep because I always had. After Happening, I made sure to take time throughout the day, not only at night, to talk to God and take a step back from the world to reset. My prayers also changed after Happening. I began to add "please work through me and use me to do Your work."
While all of this is important in maintaining this spiritual connection back home, perhaps the most important advice I can give is to know and accept that you will wander away from God at times and make mistakes. Life is distracting and we don't always act out of love, and while that may not be something to celebrate, God has already forgiven us.
I want to leave you all with what Jesus left with his disciples at the last supper. He says to them, "I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you. 'Where I am going you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another" (John 13:33-34). I believe that this is the true key to returning to the world beyond Honey Creek. We must keep the love that we found and felt here; this love that is Jesus Christ. It sounds impossible to keep this love when you are thrown back into normal life, but Happening sounds impossible, too. Think about it for a moment- less than two days ago we were strangers. We were thrown, blindly, into a situation that can be incredibly overwhelming. Nevertheless, we found this love because we found Jesus - in songs, in worship, and, above all, in one another. This love is easier in an environment that encourages a connection with God like Happening and keeping this love is hard, but our challenge is to love when its hard. If we do not see this love in our realities, maybe it is our job to be what encourages it.
Where we all go, we cannot all follow. We will separate. We will leave Honey Creek and we will return home. We will always share this moment and this experience, however. We will always share this love because we will always share Jesus. I know that it can feel as if God exists more at a place like Honey Creek, but this is not true. God exists and is with us always, waiting for us to let God in as we did here. We now have a responsibility to embrace Christ and share His love and His word through the simple act of loving others. So, while our weekend of worship ends, God's love and presence never ceases. The best is truly yet to come.
"There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness,
because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy,
and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy.
-Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy
Prepare for Just Mercy in Lent
This coming Lent, the Diocese encourages individuals and congregations to read the book
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. In this coming of age memoir, Stevenson recounts his early career and the cases that led him to found the Equal Justice Initiative. He worked through the United States Supreme Court to prohibit sentencing children under 18 to death or to life imprisonment without parole. Stevenson has assisted in cases that have saved dozens of prisoners from the death penalty, advocated for poor people, and developed community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice. 

Author John Grisham, known for his courtroom novels said,  "Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God's work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope.  Just Mercy  is his inspiring and powerful story."  

The book is available in paperback and as an audio-book read by the author. The Diocese will make a study guide available for groups wanting to read and discuss the book together.
Dr. Catherine Meeks to Lead Clergy Conference
The Clergy of the Diocese of Georgia will meet April 29-May 1 at Honey Creek for the Spring Clergy Conference. Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in the Diocese of Atlanta will be our speaker. A sought-after teacher and workshop leader, Dr. Meeks brings four decades of experience to the work of transforming the dismantling racism work in Atlanta. The core of her work has been with people who have been marginalized because of economic status, race, gender or physical ability as they pursue liberation, justice and access to resources that can help lead them to health, wellness and a more abundant life. 

Leading a study of Just Mercy in Lent (see above) is the best way to prepare for her presentation.  This event is required of all priests in a full-time call and encouraged for those serving part time as well as the deacons of the Diocese. 
Clergy Spouse Retreat in March at Honey Creek
This March 29-31, the annual Clergy Spouse Retreat, will be held at the Diocese of Georgia's Retreat Center, Honey Creek. As part of a clergy spouse community, husbands and wives share acceptance, support, and companionship (including a lot of laughs) while exploring the gifts and frustrations that come with being part of a clergy family. Spread out across a big Diocese as spouses are, this Retreat gives precious time together.

Around the Diocese

The Thurifur at St. Matthew's, Savannah

St. Luke's Rincon held a Chili Cook-Off and the winners were, from left: Fan Favorite: John Sorel; Best Overall: Claudia McCreesh, and Spiciest: the Rev. David Rose.
St. Augustine's youth group cooking up some soup to go into the freezer for the church's meal ministry!

The Rev. June Johnson, Priest in Charge at All Saints Tybee, wore her superhero shirt, a gift from parishioner Cindi Colley, while the Rev. Jamie Maury led the service on the fourth anniversary of his ordination.

Scout Sunday at King of Peace, Kingsland.
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. 

February 3-9
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Augusta, especially, St. Augustine's, St. Mary's, and St. Paul's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Adel, and St. Ann Catholic Church in Alapaha. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Boca Chica -Grace ( De la Gracia), Mount Zion ( Monte de Sión), and St. Joseph (San José).

February 10-16
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Bainbridge, St. John's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Bainbridge, especially St. Joseph Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Bonao, especially Pentecost ( Pentecostes) and St. Joseph of Arimathea ( San José de Arimatea).

Additional Prayer Cycles
We also offer 30-day prayer cycles for those who wish to pray daily for the clergy and clergy spouses:  Diocesan Prayer Cycle and Clergy Spouses Prayer Cycle.
Diocesan Office Update and News
Bishop Scott Anson Benhase  will make his annual visitation to Holy Comforter, Martinez at 10:30 AM this Sunday. His full schedule is available 

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue
will preside and preach this Sunday at Trinity Statesboro.

The Rev. David Rose, Rector of St. Luke's Rincon, will serve at the noon, Thursday Eucharist at Diocesan House this week.
Ready to Process!

Acolytes from St. Paul's Jesup gather before the procession.
Bishop's Bible Study
Wednesdays 10:30  to 11:30 AM through February 20th
St. Peter's Savannah or online at
Register for the in-person sessions by going here:   http://bit.ly/BibleStudywiththeBishop

February 15-17
Honey Creek Retreat Center
Register  here.

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Southwest Convocation
7 pm, Thursday, February 21
All Saints' Thomasville

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Central Convocation
10 AM, Saturday, March 2
Annunciation, Vidalia

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

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Southeast Convocation
2:30 PM, Sunday March 10
Annunciation, Vidalia

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Augusta Convocation
2:30 PM Sunday, March 10
Good Shepherd, Augusta

New Beginnings #54
For Youth in Grades 
March 22-24
Honey Creek
Contact the Rev. Canon Joshua Varner for more information:

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Youth
Time TBA, Saturday, March 23
Honey Creek Conference Center

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Albany Convocation
3 PM, Sunday, March 24
St. Patrick's Albany

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Clergy
10 AM Tuesday, March 26
St. Anne's Tifton 

Clergy Spouses Retreat
March 29-31
Honey Creek

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Savannah Convocation
3 PM, Sunday, March 31
St. Paul's Savannah

Weekend Retreat for Youth Summer Mission Trip
April 5-7
Honey Creek Retreat Center
To register: http://bit.ly/2019MissionTrip

Diocese of Georgia Episcopal Church Women Annual Retreat
Daughters of the King Spring Assembly
April 26-27
St. Augustine's  and  the Church of Our Savior, Augusta
For information: fayrelight@aol.com or psolom@aol.com

Spring Clergy Conference

April 29 at 5:30 pm to May 1 at 1 pm
Honey Creek
Register here .

Dedication of Saint Anna Alexander Chapel
11 AM, May 3
Diocesan House
18 E. 34th Street, Savannah

Toil 'N Sweat
May 3-5
Honey Creek

Diocesan Youth Mission Trip
July 13-20

Happening #103
Thursday, August 22 (for staff) through Sunday, August 25
Honey Creek Retreat Center

Diocesan Council
September 13-14

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