March 7, 2018
Volume 8, Number 28
Diocesan House to Relocate to Historic District

Improving accessibility on many levels, Diocesan House is moving within historic Savannah. The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia has purchased an 1882 home on E. 34th Street with proceeds from the sale of its property at 611 E. Bay Street and monies from the Connerat Fund, which was created for use at the bishop's discretion. The staff will be moving its offices in late April. The new property, which housed law offices before the current residents occupied it as their home, has ample dedicated parking for staff and visitors, increased space for staff offices and small gatherings, as well as a carriage house studio apartment.

"The Diocese is moving into new offices to create flexibility for generations to come, particularly around access to parking, handicap accessibility for people visiting us, and hospitality for out-of-town guests, none of which were ever going to be possible at our current office," said Bishop Scott Anson Benhase, "This new space will become a strong asset for our common mission."

Further details on the move will be forthcoming. Contact Katie Willoughby if you have any questions.
In This Issue
Join Our Mailing List

This Sunday's Lections
Fourth Sunday
in Lent
Numbers 21:4-9
Ephesians 2:1-10
John 3:14-21
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

Go  here 
for the full text.
Team Back from Dominic an Republic
The missioners with members of the Espiritu Santo congregation.

The missioners from St. Anne' s Tifton returned home on March 3 after a week of working in the Dominican Republic village of Las Carreras on the construction of the first building for the congregation of Espíritu Santo (Holy Spirit). 

The "Smurf" blue exterior paint color.
They painted the entire interior and exterior of the building, cleaned up construction rubble on the site, and continued to build relationships with the people of the village. The Rev. Lonnie Lacy, rector of St. Anne's, reports the missioners received more help from the local villagers than on any previous trip, a sign of the excitement felt by the village that the church building is almost complete. He also reported that the local vicar, Padre Manuel Díaz Estévez, said when asked about the "Smurf Blue" color of the exterior, "I chose this color so that when people walk by and see it, it will 'pop' in their eyes, and they'll say, 'Ah yes! The bright blue church... I want to go there." "A great example of evangelism by paint color!" replied Fr. Lacy.

The team presented gifts during a worship service in the church building on their final day in Las Carreras including a set of vestments for Padre Estévez and a set of Spanish lectionary books.

Every day the missioners had lunch with members of the local congregation. 
The next step in completing the building will be the installation of custom-made pews and sanctuary furnishings, including an altar and seating for the bishop, clergy members, lay readers, and acolytes. Another mission team of carpenters from the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast arrives on March 9 to build these furniture items in Santo Domingo. All of the pieces are scheduled for delivery and installation in Las Carreras on March 16. These carpenters will also install a Christus Rex that has been donated to Espíritu Santo by an Episcopal church in Tampa, FL. The Dominican Development Group (DDG, a consortium of Episcopal dioceses with companion relationships with the Dominican Republic, coordinated the transportation of this donated Christus Rex and the manufacture of the pews and other furniture to be installed in Las Carreras. The Diocese of Georgia is one of the Episcopal dioceses represented in the DDG.

Two other mission teams from the Diocese of Georgia will go to the Dominican Republic on June 23 -- the diocesan youth team, to conduct Vacation Bible School in two locations near the city of Boca Chica on the southern coast; and the Christ Episcopal Church (Valdosta) team, to engage in a variety of projects including playground repair, Vacation Bible School, veterinary clinics, and sewing classes in the Dominican Episcopal conference center near the city of Jarabacoa in the central highlands. For more information on the Diocese's companion relationship with the Dominican Republic, go here.
Lenten Quiet Day:
St. Thomas' Isle of Hope
The Daughters of the King of St. Thomas and St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Churches invite all church women to a Quiet Day on Saturday March 10 at 9:30 AM in the parish hall at St. Thomas church, Isle of Hope. The Rev. Canon Frank Logue will share thoughts on "Living a Forgiving Life" based on biblical teachings. The Eucharist will be celebrated at the close of the presentation, and lunch will then be served. 
Please RSVP TO Sue Tengg by March 6: 912-352-9252 or
There is no charge, but a goodwill offering will be collected.
ECW/DoK Retreat Registration Opens
Registration has opened for Go Share the Spirit , the Episcopal Church Women/Daughters of the King of the Diocese of Georgia 2018 retreat which will be held at St. Patrick's Church, Albany April 27-28. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Kelly Steele of the Church of the Epiphany, Savannah.
Members who register and pay in full by March 31 will be entered into a drawing for a prize with a $200 retail value. The last day to register is Friday, April 20th.
To register and pay online by going  here.
To download the registration form and pay by mail, go   here.
To download the event schedule, go  here.

Bishop Interviewed by Duke Divinity

An in-depth interview with Bishop Scott Anson Benhase about his book, Done and Left Undone, is posted on the Duke University School of Divinity's Faith and Leadership website this week. It can be found here.  

Here's an excerpt: 
Q: So you're saying it's critical for clergy to be able to acknowledge their own flaws and humanity?

People in the pews are actually attracted to that, and they connect with it. It's not that you stand in the pulpit and talk about all your great sins. But if leaders can be honest about themselves and their own struggles with following Jesus, then they give people a space to join in that.

If it's about some sort of Pelagian achievement, that "I'm this perfect disciple of Jesus, so I'm asking you to do that, too," people may follow you and underline biblical passages that you quote, but they're not going to be invited to go deeper into their own souls and into self-reflection and own their brokenness and who they honestly are.

If you can't have compassion for your own foibles and sin and brokenness, then you're not going to be very compassionate to other people.

The book is not a blueprint. It's the opposite of that. It's not "Do these things and you'll be fine" but instead "Take on the authentic self that you have and be willing to share that with other people." Create a context in which the leader is one who stands in the midst of the people, constantly proclaiming the great narrative of redemption in Jesus Christ.
News from St. Thomas' Thrift Store
St. Thomas' Thrift Store, 1126 E. Montgomery Crossroads, in operation for more than 20 years, has recently reconfigured its floor plan, enabling it to accepted more small to medium size furniture.

St. Thomas' encourages donations of clothing, furniture and household goods from members of Savannah-area congregations.  Furniture donors call the store at 912-692-0017 or me at 912-398-8775. 

All proceeds support organizations that serve the Savannah community. Earlier this year the Board of Directors of St. Thomas' Thrift Store awarded $45,000 in grants to 43 organizations from Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy to Emmaus House, Forsyth Farmers' Market to the Coastal Jail Ministries of Georgia and Church of the Epiphany. 

Pre-Summer Youth Mission Trip to DR Retreat Held
This past weekend, 14 youth and two adults gathered at Honey Creek to prepare for their Summer  Mission to our Companion Diocese of the Dominican Republic June 23-30. The 14 youth, come from nine different congregations across the Diocese. They gathered to discuss their hopes and fears for the trip, to learn about each others' strengths and weaknesses, and to share meals, laughter, and worship together. The group will be traveling to Boca Chica, and working with three local congregations in order to support two separate Vacation Bible School programs. Please keep them in your prayers! If you feel called to support these young people in their ministry, contact the Rev. Joshua Varner, Canon Missioner for Children & Youth at about ways to support the trip.

Chase Beckham - St. Anne's, Tifton
Sam Bianco - St. Thomas, Isle of Hope
Sarah Bianco - St. Thomas, Isle of Hope
Waverly Brown - Christ Church, Frederica
Kathleen Chitty - Christ Church, Frederica
Callie Cranford - Trinity, Cochran
Sydney Doss - St. Anne's, Tifton
Julianna Lindsey - St. Paul's, Augusta
Emilee Menard - St. Elizabeth's, Richmond Hill
Colin Parker - St. Paul's, Savannah
Abbey Shoemake - St. Paul's, Savannah
Garrett Shoemake - St. Paul's, Savannah
Annabel West - Good Shepherd, Augusta

Adult & College Advisors
Hannah Purvis (college advisor) - St. Augustine's, Augusta
Joshua Varner - Canon for Children & Youth, Diocese of Georgia
Liz Williams - All Saints', Thomasville
Katie Willoughby - Canon for Administration & St. Paul's, Savannah
Lent Madness
Two Quick Ways to Serve on Team Deaconess
With John Wesley already out of the running for this year's Golden Halo, all of you saints of Georgia can rise up in support of Deaconess Anna Alexander on March 13. Our own Saint of Georgia moves into the "Saintly Sixteen" in Lent Madness, the tournament-style single elimination bracket of 32 saints. British nurse and martyr Edith Cavell will face Deaconess Anna Alexander next Tuesday. As we want Deaconess Alexander to move forward in the fun Lent devotional, we ask that you look on the Diocese of Georgia's Facebook page this coming Friday and Monday for videos that you can share in your feed with a note encouraging your friends to go to and vote for Anna Alexander on Tuesday. Then vote on the 13th
Haven't taken part in Lent Madness yet? Go to and sign up for the daily email, or visit the website daily in Lent. You may vote once a day for the saint you want to win the match up. Whatever happens on Tuesday, Anna and Edith are both saints beloved by God, and people around the church are learning more about these exceptional women through this devotional.
Administrator's Corner
The Clergy Tax Guide for 2017 is live!
You can access the complete guide here.
Tax laws and regulations affecting clergy are complex. It is essential that clergy understand the special tax rules affecting themselves. Whether you prepare your own or by CPA, please provide them with or review this guide documentation each year. Below are key points from the changes to 2017 due to legislation:
  • On October 6, 2017, Judge Barbara Crabb of the federal district court for the Western District of Wisconsin again ruled that the ministerial housing allowance is an unconstitutional preference for religion. Gaylor v. Mnuchin, (W.D. Wis. 2017). The judicial process may take years to resolve, and therefore the tax benefits of the housing allowance will remain unchanged as of now.
  • If you are a retired or disabled cleric, be advised that, every year, the Board of Trustees of The Church Pension Fund (CPF) formally designates distributions from The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan (the Clergy Pension Plan) and the Episcopal Church Retirement Savings Plan (RSVP) as a housing allowance, subject to all limits and restrictions under Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information, consult the "Housing Allowance" section of this guide, beginning on page 12, and the 2017 CPF Form B.
  • The Affordable Care Act contains tax provisions that will affect the 2017 income tax return you file this year. In particular, you will be required to demonstrate that you and your dependents have been covered by "minimum essential coverage" for each month of 2017. Note that health care coverage provided through a health plan sponsored by the Episcopal Church Medical Trust will meet the minimum essential coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, should be provided to you by either the issuer or the sponsor of your health care plan and will report health care coverage provided to you and your dependents during any month of 2017.
  • It is the cleric's responsibility to review their Forms W-2 to ensure that wages, housing, and 403(b) contributions are reported accurately. In addition, the cleric should review their pension assessment for accuracy and determine that all payments have been received by The Church Pension Fund (CPG).
  • We also encourage that clerics should check the accuracy of their earnings record with the Social Security Administration.
  • The IRS standard mileage rate for 2017 was 53.5 cents per mile. It is 54.5 cents per mile for 2018.
  • Clergy may claim only expenses relating to their principal residence when applying the housing allowance.
Have clergy tax questions? Please contact CPG's clergy tax experts at:

Nancy Fritschner, CPA
Phone: (877) 305-1414

The Rev. Canon William Geisler, CPA-Retired
Phone: (877) 305-1415

Many Blessings,
Katie Willoughby
Canon for Administration
A Spirit Filled Weekend at Cursillo #124
What a Spirit-filled weekend! Full of new friendships, deepening of sacred relationships, and renewal of hope, Cursillo #124 brought together 15 participants and 24 team members from around the diocese.

"We prayed, 'Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful...'" said Cursillo #124's Lay Rector Rose Wilson. "He came and filled the hearts of the participants and the team with His Love, Grace, and Peace." Cursillo includes a three-day weekend that begins on Thursday evening and concludes on Sunday. The Cursillo weekend is not a retreat, but an opportunity to meet clergy and laity seeking to strengthen our faith. It provides an environment to experience the reality of the gift of God's love through shared prayer, individual meditation, worship, study, fellowship, laughter, tears, and unconditional love.
The Day of Deeper Understanding (DDU) will be Saturday, March 24 from 10 am to 3 PM at Church of the Annunciation in Vidalia. It's potluck, so bring a dish to share! Interested in sponsoring a participant? A Sponsor's Workshop will follow lunch at the DDU. Questions about being a sponsor? Contact Allison Clarkson at 912-230-9396.
Cursillo #125 will be October 11-14, 2018 at Honey Creek. Team and participant applications will be available shortly! Contact Rita Spalding (912-270-2725) if you're interested in being on team!
-Misty Graham
Saluda Cottage Opens Soon!
The Diocese of Georgia's cottage in Saluda opens for the season soon and we encourage those who enjoy the seasonal cottage to make their reservations! We have instituted new procedures to rent the classic 1920's cottage.

To submit a request to rent the cottage fill out the form found here and return it by email or through the U.S. Postal Service. A calendar has been developed which lists dates that the cottage is available. It can be found here.

The rates for the cottage are now $250 per week for clergy in the Diocese of Georgia and $350 per week for all others.  
Come to Honey Creek to Toil 'n Sweat!
April 13-15
Grades 6-12
Cost: $115 (after April 1, $125)

Join us and help take care of Honey Creek! All youth in grades six through 12 are encouraged to come to Honey Creek April 13-15 for a youth weekend focused on caring for this place that is so special to so many of us. We will gather Friday night and spend time playing and singing together. Then on Saturday we will take on different tasks to help care for the Creek! Those tasks, which will be organized by the Honey Creek staff, will be led by adults and older youth, and may include items such as clearing sticks from paths, raking, cleaning the outside of buildings, painting, and other things that the Honey Creek staff request! Humorous name aside, there will be work available for all skill levels and physical abilities. After work, we will take time to reflect on the experience, to worship together, and, as always, to try to bring the experience back into our lives outside the Creek!

We strongly encourage advance registration! After April 1, the cost goes up by $10! Go ahead and register now! The Diocesan policy is that cost should never be a reason for not participating in youth events. Please contact the Rev. Joshua Varner, Canon Missioner for Children & Youth at with questions about both scholarship and either the event itself.
Youth joined adults in September to clean up the post-Irma mess. Join us in April to continue the work!
Prayer Retreat at Honey Creek March 9-10

From left: The Rev. Guillermo Arboleda, the Rev. Kelly Steele, Lynne Kemp, and the Rev. Hunt Priest will be leading a prayer retreat from 5:30 PM Friday, March 9 until 12:45 PM Saturday, March 10 at Honey Creek Retreat centered on contemplative spirituality. Participants will enter into contemplative spirituality through the practices of silent centering prayer, chanting and singing, praying with icons, Anglican prayer beads, Lectio Divina and the Daily Office. Additional information and registration can be found here.
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. 

March 4-10
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Brunswick, Good Shepherd, St. Athanasius', and St. Mark's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Brunswick, especially St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and St. James Lutheran Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Anthony of Padua (San Antonio de Padua) in Carreton.

March 11-17
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Cochran, Trinity and for our ecumenical partners, especially St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Cairo.  In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the Church of the Holy Name (El Santo Nombre) in Catalina. 
Diocesan Office Update and News  
Bishop Scott Anson Benhase returns from the House of Bishops spring meeting at Camp Allen in Texas on March 9. He will make his annual visitation to Grace, Sandersville at 11 AM Sunday, March 11. The Bi shop's full schedule is available   here.

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue will lead an ECW Quiet Day this Saturday at St. Thomas Isle of Hope, Savannah, starting at 10:30 am. Sundays, he is serving at St. George's Savannah through Easter. He will be in Cleveland, Ohio, March 13-17 as co-convener of the planning team for Evangelism Matters, a conference bringing together 400 attendees from 83 dioceses. Look for information on that event's livestream in next week's From the Field.

The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner will be at Honey Creek for New Beginnings.

The Rev. Denise Ronn, Rector of St. Philip's Hinesville, will officiate at the noon Thursday service in St. George's Chapel at Diocesan House. 
Share your news in From the Field
Send your news, events and photos to   so we can feature them in upcoming issues of From the Field. Deadline for submissions each week is Monday at 4:30 PM.  
New Beginnings
March 9-11
Honey Creek Retreat Center
To register, go here.

St. Paul's Savannah ECW Hosts
Julius and Julia Ariall
on the Companion Diocese of the DR
10 AM March 10

Commission on Ministry
March 23-24
Grace, Waycross

Chrism Masses
Holy Monday, March 26
11 AM
Christ Church Valdosta
Light lunch to follow

Holy Tuesday, March 27
Trinity Statesboro
Light lunch to follow.  The event is at no charge, but we need you to RSVP using the following links so that we will have the right number of lunches, including the correct count on those who need a vegetarian option. 

Hometown Mission Trip
June 1-3
When Your Birthday Happens During a Youth Retreat

It's celebrated with friends old and new. Happy Birthday Sam Bianco who marked his birthday at the retreat preparing for the Youth Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic.
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