November 16, 2016
Volume 8, Number 11
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
Last Sunday after Pentecost
Track 1 
Jeremiah 23: 1-6
Canticle 16
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43
Track 2
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm 46
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43
Go   here for the full text.
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Diocese Gathers in Augusta
for 195th Convention
The 195th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia was held Thursday, November 10 through Saturday, November 12 at the Church of the Good Shepherd and Episcopal Day School in Augusta, Georgia. More than 250 clergy, delegates, and volunteers were in attendance. Mary Parmer led the diocese through her training on Invite-Welcome-Connect. 

Holy Comforter Moved to Parish Status
The assembled unanimously affirmed the petition to move Holy Comforter, Martinez to Parish Status and the Rev. Cynthia Taylor as their Rector. Taylor told the story of the parish's beginnings in a moving sermon given during Thursday's Evensong. Full text is here. 

Atlanta and Georgia Dioceses Join Forces 
A second resolution calling for the Dioceses of Georgia and Atlanta to form a Commission on Healing Justice also passed unanimously. Read this resolution and the one regarding Holy Comforter  here.

Budgets Pass
The 2017 budgets for the Diocese and Honey Creek Retreat Center were approved. Review them
Elections Held
Church Disciplinary Board
Neil Dickert; the Revs. Becky Rowell and Cynthia Taylor
Diocesan Council
Deacon Yvette Owens
Standing Committee
Carey Wooten and the Very Rev. Ted Clarkson
Sewanee Trustee
Isabella Stuart Reeves
Deputies and Alternates to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church
Lay Deputies
Jody Grant, Molly Stevenson, Clemontine Washington
Mary Willoughby
Lay alternates
Drew Keane, Paul Stevenson, Beth Mithen, and Rebecca Woods
Clergy Deputies
The Revs. Frank Logue (Chair), Ted Clarkson, Kelly Steele, and Cynthia Taylor
Clergy alternates
Deacon Sandy Turner, The Revs. Tom Purdy, William Willoughby, and Joe Bowden

Convention Awards
The Deacons' Award for servant leadership by a lay person went to Nancy Benson of St. Thomas, Thomasville. The Deans' Award for service to a parish went to Tony L. Chancey of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah. The Bishop's Award for service to the Diocese of Georgia went to Leslie Lambert of St. Paul's, Augusta.

John Prine, Hamilton and Who Tells Our Story 
At the Eucharist on Friday night, the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase gave his address to the 195th Convention. Drawing on references to songwriter John Prine, Hamilton and There's a Wideness in God's Mercy, he extolled the congregations to be "outposts of. . .grace; islands of mercy..." Read the full address  here.
Convention Photos and Videos
Thanks to Liz Williams, with support from diocesan staff, an album of photos is available online. Everyone will find photos that help capture the convention for your newsletter, bulletin, website, and Facebook page. Congregations are welcome to use any of the photos with no further permission required. The pictures are online here: Diocesan Convention Photos. In addition, videos highlighting the Lead, Share and Grow components of the Campaign for Congregational Development can be viewed here. 

Thank you
Special thanks go to Church of the Good Shepherd and their army of volunteers who helped make this Convention a success! 

Bishop Benhase and all in attendance hold hands for a closing prayer as Convention concludes.
Convention Survey
We have created a short survey about the 2016 Convention which takes less than five minutes to complete. We encourage attendees to the 195th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia to fill it out by going here.
Thank you!
Around the Diocese

For the past three years, clergy from Episcopal churches in the southeast area of Georgia have distributed bottled water during the gathering of thousands of college students on East Beach (aka Frat Beach), on St. Simons Island, the Friday before the Georgia-Florida football game. Local businessman and Christ Church, Frederica member Patrick Parker, generously donates 1000 bottles of water each year. Supported by Glynn County, clergy and volunteers offer pastoral care, a safe place to sit and sober up, or rest. This year, they also provided snacks and  sunscreen. At left, the Rev. Ted Clarkson, Rector of St. Andrew's and St. Cyprian's and Dean of this Convocation (left) and Deacon Tommy Townsend from St. Paul's Jesup. Additional volunteers included the Rev. Becky Rowell and Susan Shipman, Senior Warden at Christ Church, Frederica.

At left, parishioners of St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah, assembled more than 100 Thanksgiving bags to give to their I AM Food Pantry guests. At right, All Saints Tybee Island enjoyed a church cookout.
The Loose Canon
Implement Invite-Welcome-Connect   
In nearly two hours of training across the two days of diocesan convention, Mary Parmer brought the basics of Invite-Welcome-Connect to the Diocese of Georgia. Her work has been to gather the proven resources which are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and designed to shape an authentic culture of effective newcomer ministry. This is designed for congregations of any size. Whether you were at the convention or not, the tools to begin this work are readily available. I want to lay out a plan to implement this in your congregation.

Gather a Team
While larger congregations might end up with three teams, the work begins with a group meeting at the church in three sessions. In each hour-long meeting, watch one of the half-hour videos Mary offers at You will find one video for each of the three essentials. In advance of the first meeting, download the 20-page booklet found on the Resources Page of our diocesan convention website: Convention Resources. This provides an overview together with checklists for each of the three areas. 

Map out a Plan of Action
During the three sessions, begin to pick some of the strategies that will fit your congregation well. Mary calls the three areas essentials as churches that do one or more of these well, but fail in others will not succeed as well in attracting newcomers and integrating them into the life of your congregation. The plans will vary for each congregation as this is not a cookie cutter program, because one size never fits all very well. Instead, Mary highlights concerns and offers tools. Our largest congregations will want separate teams working on Invite, Welcome, and Connect, while most of our churches will benefit from one group working together to set out a plan and then begin working through the action items.

The One Step I Recommend for Every Congregation
Any size congregation in this diocese will benefit from a Sharing Faith Dinner, and those with fewer than 50 (or fewer than 20) in worship on Sunday may even find it more transformative than larger churches. This might sound scary, but this is the easiest option for Episcopalians. One person needs to download the full information at Gather 8-12 people for a meal. Then follow the plan in which you pick a card with a question and in answering that question, those sharing a meal with you will learn more about you and how your faith in Jesus has shaped your life in some way. I guarantee that this will be eye opening even when everyone present has known each other for years (which is why smaller congregations will really enjoy this).

There are no silver bullets and no one idea will transform the world. But you will learn more about yourself and those with whom you worship in one evening than would seem possible. Discovering how faith matters also builds up deeper roots. Growth is not only about moving out, but also about deepening our connection to God and those we already know. While that is not the one solution that unlocks all the spiritual growth we need, Sharing Faith Dinners is an important tool readily available thanks to the Diocese of Texas.

As you begin this work, let me know how it goes. Nothing will help us as a diocese set about this work more than sharing stories of how it is working in our congregations. We will want to share your stories here.

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary
Diocesan Office Update     

Bishop Benhase will ordain Deacons Donald Holland and Tommy Townsend to the Sacred Order of Priests this evening at 7 pm at St. Mark's, Brunswick. This weekend, Bishop Benhase returns to Augusta. On Friday, he makes his visitation to the PreK-8th grade Episcopal Day School, which was a host for last week's diocesan convention. Saturday he makes his visitation to Holy Cross, Thomson. Sunday morning he makes his visitation to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta. Then at 5 pm at St. Alban's, Augusta, Bishop Benhase will ordain Deacon Ray Whiting to the Sacred Order of Priests. For the Bishop's complete visitation schedule, go here. 

Canon Logue  travels to Dallas today where he is on the teamS that will lead several different Episcopal Church meetings related to evangelism that have been booked together for convenience.

First up is the 
Genesis Gathering for Church Planters  which is a meeting for training and support for 75 people starting new Episcopal churches and worshiping communities. Canon Logue is then the facilitator for the day-long Evangelism Summit which will bring together more than 40 people across our church whose roles have them involved significantly in doing and teaching evangelism. Canon Logue will facilitate their compiling currently available resources, such as courses and books, that will then be offered to the church as proven tools. The group will also work on deciding what further tools and resources are needed to assist the Episcopal Church in its work on evangelism and to begin work toward creating those resources.

Finally, Canon Logue is on the planning team for the
Evangelism Matters Conference which will bring more than 400 people to Dallas to learn more about sharing their faith. He will teach a workshop on Evangelism for God's Shy People (as our Presiding Bishop calls Episcopalians) and co-lead the closing plenary session. On Sunday, the team for Evangelism Matters will fan out around the area to preach in local congregations. Canon Logue will preach at the Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas.
Bishop Benhase' Visitation     

At Visitation to Christ the King in Valdosta, from left:  Isabella White, acolyte; the Rev. Stan White, Rector; Brenda Brunston, Received; Nicholas White, Confirmed; D.J. Jones,  Acolyte; Jessica Snyder of St. Mark's Brunswick, Confirmed; the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase; Faith James, Acolyte; Melanie Tolor, Received; Michael Tolor, Received; Leonard Neely, Received; Eucharistic Ministers Marc Rogers and Michael Carroll; Deacon Yvette Owens, and Acolytes Ryan and Daniel Smallwood.

Did you know that you can still get reservations for Honey Creek Thanksgiving...but not for long. Go to, and book your family and friends for a lovely day at your happy place. Call Carolyn with any questions, 912-265-9218.
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 November 13 to 19
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Valdosta, Christ Church, Christ the King, and St. Barnabas. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Valdosta, especially Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo,  San Felipe ApĆ³stol (St. Philip the Apostle).

Prayers for November 20 to 26
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Vidalia, the Church of the Annunciation. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Vidalia, especially Sacred Heart Catholic Church and for St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Reidsville. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo, especially San Pedro y San Pablo (St. Peter and St. Paul).
Teaching Our Children to Lead, Grow and Share
Religion Teacher Kristen Weston and her second and third grade students made banners that reflected the themes of Lead, Grow and Share to the delight of many Convention goers. Weston tells the story behind the banners in this video. 
Thanksgiving at Honey Creek: noon, Thursday, November 24
Cost is $25 per person, $12 for children eight and under. Lodging available also.
For more information, go here. 

Memorial Service for the Rev. Reginald Gunn, 11 AM, Saturday, December 3
Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus

New Beginnings #49, December 2-4
Retreat led by youth for youth in grades seven to nine. Go here to register. 
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Episcopal Diocese of Georgia