January 30, 2019
Volume 9, No. 23
Listening Sessions Announced
The Search Committee: front row, from left: the Rev. Tommy Townsend, Cissy Bowden, Gladys Lyde, Dr. Fred Richter;  middle row: Darrell Naylor-Johnson, the Rev. Joy Fisher, Chair of the Committee; the Rev. Tar Drazdowski; back row: the Rev. Will Brown, the Rev. Billy Alford, Bardin Hooks, and the Rev. Kevin Kelly. Not pictured: Lauretta Gibbs-Hadley.
The Search Committee for the 11 th Bishop of Georgia will be holding a series of Listening Sessions around the diocese over the next several weeks. These sessions are vital to the successful creation of our profile, as they offer the best opportunity to gather our vision for the next chapter in the life of our Diocese.
Each Convocation will host a Listening Session for anyone who can attend. In addition, there will be a session specifically for all clergy - deacons and priests - in the diocese, and another for our youth. The Youth session will be held during New Beginnings but is open to all youth (grades 6th-12th) even if they are not attending the New Beginnings weekend.
Some thoughts to ponder before you arrive at one of the Sessions: what miracle/joy/success have you seen in the last 10 years? What was your best moment in the Diocese? What have we missed, or what could we have done better? What are your hopes for the next 10 years?
The schedule is as follows:
Thursday, 21 Feb 
7:00pm at All Saints', Thomasville (Southwest)
Saturday, 2 March
10:00am at Annunciation, Vidalia (Central)
Sunday, 10 March
2:30pm at St. Mark's, Brunswick (Southeast)

2:30pm at Good Shepherd, Augusta (Augusta)
Saturday, 23 March
Time TBA at Honey Creek, (Youth)
Sunday, 24 March
3:00pm at St. Patrick's, Albany (Albany)
Tuesday, 26 March
10:00am at St. Anne's, Tifton (Clergy)
Sunday, 31 March
3:00pm at St. Paul's, Savannah (Savannah)
If you are unable to make the session in your own convocation, we hope that you will attend another in a neighboring convocation. We want to include as many voices as possible in the conversation.
As always and before all else, please keep the Search Committee, our Diocese, and all those who will be involved in whatever way in your prayers.

-Bishop Search Committee
In This Issue
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This Sunday's Lections
4th Sunday After Epiphany
Jeremiah 1:4-10
I Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30
Psalm 71:1-6

Go  here for the full text.

Get ready for the Honey Creek event of the YEAR!!!!
CreekFEST 2019!
Mark your calendars for February 15-17, 2019! The Honey Creek Commission invites ALL ages to come and join us on our beloved campus for the 3 rd Annual CreekFEST. This event has been designed as the Parish Retreat of our Diocese. The HCC has been working diligently to prepare for your arrival. So come to the creek and have some fun! You can enjoy special activities such as a Cornhole Tournament, Team Trivia, tie dye and Kickball! Come and also be refreshed in the beautiful, holy place that we have grown to love and share with one another.
For more information, visit honeycreek.org and click here to register TODAY!

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 four) on Facebook and on YouTube here For more information on the series, go here
"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. H e 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 audiobook read by the author. The Diocese will make a study guide available for groups wanting to read and discuss the book together.
Youth Ministry
Youth Summer Mission Trip Sign Up Deadline Approaches


Dates: July 13-20, 2019 and April 5-7, 2019 (Required weekend retreat at Honey Creek)

Cost: $900 (includes everything except personal expenses, scholarship available)

For: Youth who have finished grades 8-12 by summer 2019

Sign Up Deadline: February 11, 2019

Sign Up Link: http://bit.ly/2019MissionTrip 

The deadline to sign up for this summer's Diocesan Youth Mission Trip is only a few weeks away. Sign up now !

This summer our Diocesan Mission Trip will take us into the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee 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 in Eastern Tennessee (within an hour or two of Johnson City). We will go out each day in work groups 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!

Youth can sign up by following the link above and paying at least the initial $250 deposit. Additional information will be needed later. Adults who are interested in participating as advisors should contact Joshua at jvarner@gaepiscopal.org . Also contact Joshua with questions about the trip and about scholarship assistance, which is readily available.
Christ Church Frederica offers a Clarion Call for Change
Christ Church Frederica will offer a day long workshop, "Clarion Call: You Can Make a Difference; Together, We Can Change the World" on Saturday, March 2, featuring Amazon-best selling author Randy Siegel. In this fast-paced, interactive workshop participants from all faith experiences and political alliances will explore a creative process to identify specific ways we can affect positive change in the world today. 

"Terrorism... war... political polarization... climate change...the depletion of oil...economic upheaval...social inequality and injustice...mass extinction.... Today's challenges can feel overwhelming," explains Siegel. "Together, we'll explore how to move from pessimism to optimism, powerlessness to power, and paralysis to action."

Using poetry, prayer, music, dialogue, and journaling, participants will examine how to put their passions and unique skills to work on the issue that they care about most. 

The workshop begins at 9 AM and ends at 4 PM. It will be held in the Christ Church Parish Hall at 6329 Frederica Road on Saint Simons Island, Georgia. The cost is $25 and includes lunch and materials. To register, call the church at 912-638-8683. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, February 27, 2019.
Becca Stevens of Thistle Farms to Speak to ECW and DOK
The Augusta Convocation is excited to announce that this year's Diocesan Episcopal Church Women (ECW) Annual Retreat and The Order of the Daughters of the King (DOK) Spring Assembly will feature an Episcopal priest, social entrepreneur, and author as their keynote speaker, the Reverend Becca Stevens of Thistle Farms. Becca is founder and president of Thistle Farms, a global community of survivors of trafficking and addiction that includes justice enterprises. For her work as an entrepreneur and justice advocate, Becca has been named a White House Champion of Change, a CNN Hero, and holds numerous honorary doctorates. Her most recent book, Love Heals, was published by Harper Collins.
Join us for a full weekend with Becca and women from Thistle Farms for the first time in the Diocese of Georgia. Registration materials coming soon here and by snail mail. The meeting will be  April 26-27 th , at St. Augustine's and The Church of Our Savior. The weekend includes a BBQ Banquet and workshops with Diocesan leaders. You won't want to miss this.
For more information contact Margaret Lester Jordan at fayrelight@aol.com or Pat Solomon at psolom@aol.com.
Loose Canon
The Gospel as infectious dis-ease
Faith in Jesus in its earliest days was something more like an infectious disease. Disease, because those who came to see the world as Jesus saw it were put at 
dis-ease with the world as it is. Infectious because the sense that the world was upside down and needed to be turned aright spread effortlessly from person to person, rapidly taking over families, communities, and in time the whole Roman Empire with a subversive message of all being worthy of God's love, the last being first, and the least in society-the widows and orphans-should be the concern of all.

A Mild Case of Christianity
It is easy to get inoculated with a less virulent strain of the dis-ease with the way the world is. One can catch a mild case of Christianity and so end up immune to a more virulent strain as if by a vaccine. We can get a mild dose of "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so" and end up feeling that I am okay and you are okay and the way the world is, is probably more or less fine. But I am not okay. And while you might be okay for all I know, our society is not.

We don't have an opioid crisis by accident. We are surrounded by people wounded by people who were wounded. The pain can come from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, sometimes suffered even in the church itself. The pain can also come from feeling like they never measured up, having disappointed themselves, or acting in ways they know to be wrong. Jesus offers the antidote to a destructive way of life as he calls us to repent, turn toward God, and gives us the grace, the power, to amend our lives. In this, we find the healing and wholeness that come from God alone.

Anxiety Over Church Decline
I write this because as I am in contact with people in our Episcopal Church across the country (and sometimes here in the Diocese of Georgia as well) I hear concern for the church. Our congregations are aging. Membership is declining. This is true, of course. But I worry that focuses on decline in Sunday attendance could lead to quick fixes that hurt rather than help. It is my experience that when a church focuses too much attention on the finances, giving drops. When we talk about attendance numbers, the numbers go down. That is when these data points become the focus of our life together.

Above is Chinese Christian artist, He Qui's painting, The Great Commission.

We are surrounded by people captive to addictions, oppressed by unhealthy relationships, blind to how their behaviors hurt themselves and others. Jesus focused on these issues in his ministry as he wanted release for those captives, freedom for the oppressed, and recovery of sight for the blind. Jesus wanted and still wants healing and wholeness.

What One Can Do
Our churches are to be places of worship where lives are transformed for good by the life-giving good news of Jesus. And I know that I can't change others. I can only change myself. So it has dawned on me more and more that the main way I can work toward transforming lives is to focus a bit less on the church and a lot more on staying connected to Jesus in reading scripture, praying, worshiping, and serving. So I am working on my own spiritual practices and the beam in my eye instead of worrying about others and the speck in their eye.

The world needs more people who are not just at dis-ease with how things are, but who are open to God transforming them to be more like Jesus. While I want to see changed lives across all our churches, the best way I find at present to work on this is by working on me. I suspect this might apply to you too. I also figure if we do so, we might just find our faith more infectious.

If you are looking for resources for this work, try The Way of Love. Today a video series premieres from the Episcopal Church created with my friend Chris Sikkema as host: Traveling the Way of Love.

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue
Canon to the Ordinary
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

Post 9 of The American Legion in Brunswick offer their thank to Holy Nativity, St. Simons Island, for supporting the parish's efforts to minister to the growing homeless veteran population in Glynn County. The Rev. Tommy Townsend receives the certificate of appreciation from two representatives from the Post.
Work has begun on the tower of St. Augustine of Canterbury Church.

The Canons of the Diocese of Georgia call for every congregation to hold an annual meeting between the First Sunday of Advent and the last day of January. Above, the Rev. Doris Johnson leads the Annual Meeting at King of Peace, Kingsland, where she is the Interim Rector.

The Rev. Dr. Reed Freeman speaks to the Annual Meeting at St. Paul's, Albany, on Sunday, which was his first Sunday as Interim Rector for the parish.

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. 

January 27-February 2
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Augusta, especially, Good Shepherd and St. Alban's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Augusta, especially the Catholic Churches of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Joseph, and St. Mary on the Hill. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Barahona - Jesus the Pilgrim (Jesús Peregrino), Redemption (La Redención), and Lamb of God (Cordero de Dios).

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).

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 St. George's Savannah at 9:30 AM. His full schedule is available 

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue
will preach this Sunday at St. Paul's, Jesup.

The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner will serve at Happening #101 at Honey Creek Thursday through Sunday.

Canon for Administration Katie Willoughby returns to the office on February 4. Reach out to the following numbers or contact Canon Logue: 

CPG Medical - (800) 480-9967
CPG Pension - (866) 395-7794
Health Advocate - (866) 695-8622 
EAP - (866) 395-7794

Director of Communications, Anna Iredale, is on vacation this week, returning February 3.

The Rev. Melanie Lemburg, will serve at the noon, Thursday Eucharist at Diocesan House this week.
Lift High the Cross

The cross atop the steeple at St. John's Episcopal Church is seen against the backdrop of the city of Savannah. Every congregation of the Diocese of Georgia serves as a beacon of hope in their community.
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

Celebration of New Ministry
The Rev. Guillermo Arboleda
Wednesday, January 30
6 - 8 PM
St. Matthew's Church
1401 Martin Luther King Boulevard

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 Weekend
March 8-9
Diocesan House, Savannah

New Beginnings #54
For Youth in Grades 
March 22-24
Honey Creek

Clergy Spouses Retreat
March 29-21
Honey Creek
Register here.

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

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
Diocesan House
18 E. 34th Street, Savannah
11 AM, May 3

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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