October 12, 2016
Volume 8, Number 6
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
Track 1 
Jeremiah 31:27-34
Psalm 119:97-104
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Luke 18:1-8
Track 2
Genesis 32:22-31
Psalm 121
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Luke 18:1-8
Go   here for the full text.
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The heavily treed grounds of St. Francis of the Islands, Savannah, took the hardest hit from Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew Update
Christ Church Frederica
The sounds of chainsaws fill the air from Savannah to St. Simons Island and Honey Creek as the Diocese of Georgia recovers from Hurricane Matthew. Twenty-five congregations, our Honey Creek Retreat Center, Diocesan House, and the Episcopal Campus Ministry at Georgia Southern were in areas impacted by the wind and rain of the Category 2 hurricane. The only significant building damage is to St. Francis of the Islands, Savannah, and the Vicarage at Holy Nativity, St. Simons Island. But downed trees wreaked havoc in the graveyard at Christ Church Frederica on St. Simons Island and on the campus at Honey Creek. The retreat center's dock also sustained damage.

St. Francis of the Islands
Yet even in these locations with costly clean ups, the effects of the storm could have easily been much worse. A 100-foot hickory tree uprooted alongside the historic church at Frederica fell among the graves. Had the tree fallen the opposite direction, the church would have been bisected and the steeple crushed. The same is true for many of our churches. The many trees that fell on Wilmington Island did damage three buildings, but none crashed into the church itself or hit the center of the buildings. In Pooler, a tree which crashed through a playground fence could have just as easily dropped through the middle of the church building if the wind direction had been otherwise.

Despite the storm, seven congregations in affected areas held worship services this past Sunday, most without electricity: St. Luke's, Rincon; Trinity, Statesboro; St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah; St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah; The Community of St. Joseph, Savannah; St. Andrew's and St. Cyprian's, Darien; King of Peace, Kingsland; and Christ Church, St. Marys. All of the 69 congregations of the Diocese of Georgia will offer worship services this coming weekend.

While some of the approximately 4,200 homeless persons living in Savannah took advantage of evacuation to the the Civic Center and then on to Augusta, many chose to remain behind. Both those who left and those who stayed have lost property left in camps covered by rising flood waters. The image from WSAV-TV above shows people leaving a camp. 

The Community of St. Joseph, the Diocese of Georgia's ministry to homeless persons, is uniquely positioned to provide direct material support to replace tents, sleeping bags, clothing, and shoes. Our Missioner, the Rev. Jamie Maury, can obtain good 4-bedroom tents for $40 and sleeping bags for the same amount. Use the link below for online giving or the directions for text to donate and 100% of the amount donated will go to supporting homeless persons in Savannah.

Since launching this campaign on Facebook earlier today we have raised $420 towards our goal of $4,000. 

Please give to the fund we have established by going online here:

Or texting: EDOG $10.00 to 73256. Standard text messaging rates may apply  and it will be possible to change the amount once you are re-directed.
More on Matthew
St. Paul's Jesup Opens Its Doors to Evacuees
In the words of the Rev. Dee Shaffer:
On October 5th, when it became more clear that Matthew was coming o
ur way, I contacted our sister churches along the coast and offered shelter to any of their parishioners without a place to go. The churches contacted were St. Andrew's/St. Cyprian's, Christ Church, Holy Nativity, and St. Mark's. We received folks from four of those and one from St. George's Anglican Church in Brunswick. We also received two families with a member of that family on hospice. St. Paul's parishioners opened their homes to some and others came to the church.  Altogether we had the honor to house 28 evacuees. Of those 28, 18 stayed in the church. 

When power went out we just switched to candles, flashlights and the grill.  So many of our wonderful parishioners came by to see what we needed.  From cooking with us to cleaning to delivering food from defrosting freezers (kept us in steaks), to taking us out our last night together...we were blessed! 
We had candle lit dinners and live music and worship and laughter and prayer.  Altogether it was a time of bonding with folks we did not know and the bonding was on a deep spiritual level.
Our guests will never forget the love of Christ we showed, and as for us, we'll never forget the huge privilege of living out our faith in such an intense way.
Volunteer Opportunities
From Our Friends at Step Up Savannah
Step Up Savannah is coordinating distributing bagged lunches to needy children and families that rely upon school lunches. They are also coordinating neighborhood clean-ups and helping with the restocking of food pantries. They need help!
Here are some opportunities to help out:

1. Social Apostolate is getting slammed with requests for food and other household items. They particularly need diapers in all sizes - big ones as well as small. And their food pantry in general needs to be restocked. Many people in their neighborhood lost all of their food.
Social Apostolate would also like to distribute 150 bagged lunches each day this week at noon. Lunches should contain a sandwich, drink, snack, and fruit or vegetable. If a group or congregation can pledge a certain number of lunches, please tell Kate Blair at Step Up: or call 912-856-1344. 
Items for Social Apostolate can be dropped off at 502 E. Liberty Street from 9 AM  to 3 PM.

3. There will be a community clean-up, lunch, and children's activities at St. Mary's Community Center on Thursday at 12 PM. Volunteers are needed for set-up, distribution, clean-up, running kids' activities, and cleaning up. If you can help with neighborhood clean-up please bring bags, rakes, chainsaws, etc. (Enough lunches now pledged for this but see #5 for continuing distribution out of St Mary's.)

4. There will be a community clean-up, lunch, and children's activities at Performance Initiatives, 2021 Tennessee Avenue Friday at 12 PM. Volunteers are needed for set-up, distribution, clean-up, running kids' activities, and cleaning up. If you can help with neighborhood clean-up please bring bags, rakes, chainsaws, etc. (Enough lunches now pledged for this but see #4)

5. Congregation Mickve Israel is making lunch for St Mary's on Friday morning. Volunteers needed to come make sandwiches at 9 AM on 20 East Gordon Street (on Bull Street - the first square north of Forsyth.)
These are both high need areas with lots of kids.
No need to RSVP for volunteering - just show up.

On Saturday, Canon Frank Logue trained two priests and two laypersons in Project Resource. These best practices for annual stewardship campaigns, major gift campaigns, and planned giving is offered at no cost for our use by the College for Bishops and the Episcopal Church Foundation. The Diocese is working to train persons who can in turn train congregations in their convocation. A second Train the Trainers event will be held at Trinity, Statesboro on October 29. Look for free training for congregations to start in 2017.
Diocesan Community Update
Deacon Leeann Culbreath has been appointed to the Commission on Ministry, replacing Deacon Geri Nelson who resigned due to family obligations. The Rev. Hunt Priest of St.Peter's Skidaway will join the Examining Chaplains as the examiner for Theory and Practice of Ministry in Contemporary Society with the Rev. Lonnie Lacy moving over to Liturgy and Church Music replacing the Rev. Jason Haddox who moved to Oklahoma. 
St. Anne's, Tifton
Hurricane Hospitality for Health Care Personnel
During the Georgia coastal evacuation for Hurricane Matthew, St. Anne's in Tifton was offered the opportunity to house 25-30 health care personnel who had been evacuated along with 71 nursing home patients from Brunswick to a sister facility in Tifton, a few blocks from the St. Anne's campus. They arrived at the Parish Hall Thursday evening, hours after settling their anxious elderly and disabled patients into unfamiliar surroundings. With little more than a pillow and blanket and a change of clothes, the reality of being separated from their own families 100 miles from home began to sink in. 

After a quick email to the parish, drinks, snacks, bedding and air mattresses began to appear like loaves and fishes, and our guests graciously made do on the par
ish hall floor, showering and grabbing meals at the nursing home, working and sleeping in shifts of 12 hours or more-day and night. St. Anne's members tiptoed in and out of the back door of the kitchen leaving homemade treats, nutritious snacks and alternative meals for those who needed to sleep through meal times at the facility. Other church volunteers stayed in shifts during the day and overnight to assure someone local was available for questions, problems or a friendly word or prayer. 

 As our guests created community in the kitchen, and made the most of challenging living arrangements while carrying more than their usual workload, they offered us patience, good humor, graciousness and gratitude. When they got to go home Monday morning, they left behind notes of thanks on cards and paper napkins; yet they had given us much more than they received, and the blessings of being able to make a meager home for them will continue to unfold at St. Anne's for a long time to come.
The Rev. Ellen Richardson

The convention will elect persons to serve on the Board of the Corporation, Church Disciplinary Board, Diocesan Council, General Convention Deputies and Alternates, the Standing Committee, and a Trustee for the University of the South. See who has been nominated so far and read their  biographies here.

Open House at Columba House Augusta
Hours will be Friday evening of Convention weekend. Additional information will be included in the convention booklet. 

For information on all things Convention 2016 including accommodations, how to register, apply for an exhibitor booth and more, go here.  

The Rev. Judy Jones Keith blesses pets at St. John's, Bainbridge, including a drive-up blessing for a dog that doesn't tend to play well with others.

Around the Diocese
Congregations Offer Blessing of the Animals
Each October, many Episcopal Churches carry out a Blessing of the Animals service close to October 4, which is St. Francis' feast day in the church calendar. These liturgies offer a unique opportunity for someone in your community to make contact with your congregation. Interested in bringing this liturgy to your community, but not sure how. Read Plan Now for a Pet Blessing Liturgy at the Loose Canon Blog and prepare for next October. 

At left is a photo from the Blessing of the Animals at Trinity, Statesboro.

The Revs. Lee Lowery and Leigh Hall bless pets at St. Paul's, Albany.

The Rev. Walter Hobgood blesses pets at St. Margaret of Scotland, Moultrie.
The Rev. Dave Johnson blesses pets at Christ Church, Valdosta.

Women's Retreat at Honey Creek, November 4-6
Women, want to develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus? St. Elizabeth's, Richmond Hill, invites the women of the Diocese to a Women's Retreat at Honey Creek on November 4-6. Lee Ann Rummell of Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida, will lead the retreat on Living in Freedom and Wholeness.

The retreat will start that Friday afternoon and concludes with lunch on Sunday. The all inclusive cost for a room in our renovated Lodge 1 is Single Room $258.00 Double $169.00 and in Lodge 2 just Single Room $236.00 Double $158.00.

A $20 registration fee is due by October 19. Call or email Emily Hubbard to secure your place (912) 856-7902 or Make deposit checks payable to "St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church" mail to: Emily Hubbard, 227 McDuffie Drive, Richmond Hill, GA 31324. 

Administrator's Corner
Reflection: After the Storm Here Come the Claims

Introduction and Recommendations on Church Insurance
In light of the recent Hurricane Matthew, this week's Administrator Corner is dedicated to information and recommendations around church insur ance policies and procedures. It is often in the aftermath of a storm that an organization is faced with the details and reality of its insurance policies. However, it's important that clergy, vestries, and church administrators become familiar with their policies and refresh their knowledge on an annual basis. A solid understanding of your coverage is an important factor in a disaster preparedness plan and even in annual budget planning.

While some of the below details are specific to the Church Insurance Vermont policies, several of the recommendations are valuable, even if your parish is covered by another company.

  • Work with your vestry to put together a disaster preparedness plan. If you need assistance, please reach out to our disaster coordinators the Rev. Charles Todd and the Rev. Parker.
  • Create photo and video logs of all core buildings and property and place on the cloud in an accessible location.
  • Review your policies on an annual basis during renewal time, there are specific clauses and valuations that change on an annual basis
  • Determine if you have the capacity to set up a building reserve fund to financially prepare for deductibles and out of pocket costs associated with storm and other forms of insurance needs. Deductibles are determined often times by the type and cause of the claim.  

If your property is damaged: 

  • If your church has suffered damage from the storm, please document immediately with photography and video. Do not take action until the damage is documented for record purposes.
  • Make a call to the Church Pension Group (CPG) Claims Department as soon as possible to open a claim number. This permits CPG to schedule a claims adjuster to come on site through third parties, and as appointments are set on a "first come first served" basis, it is important to move quickly. (800) 223-5705
Hurricane specific guidelines:
  • Once a hurricane is named, any property damage for a coastal church is covered by the hurricane clause. Depending on the proximity to the coast and the policy set with the insurance company, the new model is a % deductible against the value of the property, as opposed to a set deductible cost. This is a similar model for flooding damage. For example: a 5% deductible calculation would mean that Building A valued at $100,000 would have a $5000 deductible and Building B valued at $400,000 would have a $20,000 deductible. 
  • Tree removal (through CPG) is 100% covered if it affects the building and structures covered under the insurance policy. If the tree has fallen on the grounds and not affected any buildings or structures, it is not covered by the insurance. Unlike scheduling contractors for building repair when it is necessary to have an adjuster scheduled first, tree removal can be scheduled before an adjuster is scheduled. You must document the damage first through photos or videos. 

When scheduling contractors, make sure they are licensed with the city and do not accept contractors who are asking for 100% funds up front. This is a period of time when storm chasers often scam damaged properties.


  • The master Church Insurance Vermont property policy through Pinnacle Insurance is housed at Diocesan House. If you have questions, in addition to the annual documentation that Church Insurance Vermont provides you, please schedule time to speak with me or our insurance representative.
  • Additional coverage provided through the standard property/casualty insurance includes: blanket building, flood, acts of terrorism, commercial liability, personal injury, earthquake, sexual misconduct, employee benefits liability, and many more.
  • Please go here for more information.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I am here as a resource for each of you. It is our responsibility as stewards of the church and our fellow parishioners to plan for and educate ourselves on these topics to continue to grow in the body and love of Christ. 

Katie Willoughby
Canon for Administration
Diocesan Office Update     
Bishop Benhase will meet with the Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee this Friday and Saturday in Statesboro. He will make his visitation this Sunday to St. Augustine's, Augusta in the morning and the Church of the Atonement, Augusta, in the afternoon. For the Bishop's complete visitation schedule, go here. 

Canon Willoughby is working with Church Insurance to make sure our churches are well taken care of. She will meet tonight with the vestry of St. Francis of the Islands, Savannah, as the diocesan staff supports our congregation hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew. She is also working with Holy Nativity, St. Simons Island with its damage to the Vicarage and Christ Church Frederica with significant loss of trees in its historic cemetery.

Canon Logue will staff the Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee Meeting this weekend at Trinity, Statesboro.
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 October 9 to 15
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Statesboro: Trinity Church. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Statesboro, especially St. Matthew's Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for  San Lucas ( St. Luke) in Santiago.

Prayers for October 16 to 22
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Thomasville: All Saints, Good Shepherd, and St. Thomas and for their work at the Oak Street Episcopal Mission. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Thomasville, especially St. Augustine's Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for Capilla San Juan Evangelista (the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist) in Santo Domingo.
Hurricane Matthew Won't Stop CreekFEST!

A fallen tree at Honey Creek Retreat Center post Hurricane Matthew.

The Honey Creek Commission is moving forward with CreekFEST! "Like many of us, Honey Creek is bruised, but not broken. " said Jay Lacy, CreekFEST Coordinator. "There is never a better time than the present for the opportunity to come together for a weekend of worship, play and fellowship at Honey Creek. Let us rekindle old relationships while creating new ones with our brothers and sisters in Christ."

Coming together to celebrate and support our beloved Honey Creek presents an opportunity for many members of the diocesan family to get a sense of the effects of Hurricane Matthew on the coastal convocations, and how they can help. "The Honey Creek campus and the coastal low-country are forever changed, however, the coming together of the diocese at CreekFEST symbolically shows resilience...we're a hard family to break" says Dade Brantley, Executive Director.

CreekFEST is October 21-23, and registration remains open here. For more information, contact Jay Lacy at
Upcoming Events
Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee: October 14-15
Trinity, Statesboro

CreekFEST: October 21-22
For more information, go here.
Integrity: October 28-29
For more information, go here.

New Beginnings #48 Staff Lock-in: October 28-29
St. Anne's, Tifton
Staff application can be found here.

Ordination of the Rev. Deacon Luke Wetzel, October 29, 10 AM
Trinity Episcopal Church, 1130 First Avenue, Columbus, Georgia
The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase presiding.

Living Freedom and Wholeness Women's Retreat: November 4-6
Go here to register

Down to the River to Pray: November 5, 9 AM to noon

Go here to register. With Hurricane Matthew impacting rivers, local coordinators are assessing creek conditions. Registration remains open.

195th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia: November 9-12
For more information, go here. 
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Diocesan Staff                             
Episcopal Diocese of Georgia