June 12, 2012
From the Field
is a weekly eNewsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia sent out each Tuesday.
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Register for Happening
Deputies Concerned After Synod
Bishop Benhase and four clergy and two lay deputies to the General Convention took part in the Province IV Synod held at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. The Synod is comprised of the 20 dioceses of The Episcopal Church in the Southeastern United States. At the provincial meeting, the group heard from Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefforts Schori, President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson and others about the upcoming convention. Sessions were held on the proposed rite of blessing of same gender relationships, proposals to restructure The Episcopal Church and the Denominational Health Plan.
Given the anticipated weight of these many matters, your Bishop and Deputies were surprised that an area of even greater concern for them was the draft budget for the next three years. The process used to create the proposed budget was termed "an experiment that failed" by a member of the Executive Council and "confusing" by our Presiding Bishop. The current proposed budget with annotations from the Presiding Bishop's Staff is online here: Draft Budget for The Episcopal Church
The budget has many changes not widely discussed in the church including drastic cuts to the youth program budget and cutting completely the General Board of Examining Chaplains which creates and oversees the General Ordination Exams, while expanding staff positions for the denomination headquarters and our lobbying efforts in Washington. Your deputies present at the meeting feel strongly that these changes do not reflect the restructuring efforts our convention voted unanimously to endorse and we were vocal in the Province IV Synod about the problems. The primary issue, seen in many ways in the proposed budget, is that staff input, survey input and the guiding principles set by the last convention were not followed in creating the budget. Canon Logue, the Chair of the Deputation said, "We are committed to supporting all reasoned efforts to amend the budget prior to and during the convention to begin a leaner, mission-focused move as a Church."
During the Synod, the deputation also voted on resolutions proposed for the General Convention and elected officers for Province IV and nominated others for election at the convention. Present for the meeting were Clergy Deputies Frank Logue, Ted Clarkson, Lonnie Lacy and first alternate Tar Drazdowski together with Lay Deputy Victoria Logue and Lay Alternate Carolyn Baker as well as Bishop Benhase.
Diocesan Office Update
Bishop Benhase's eCrozier from last Friday "Moving from Attraction to Mission" is online here: eCrozier #138
This Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Andrew's, Douglas, in the morning and St. Matthew's, Fitzgerald (pictured) in the afternoon.
Canon Logue will meet with the vestry of Christ Church Augusta this Saturday as they work on strategic planning for that mission. Next week he will be out of the office for continuing education.
This Sunday, Canon Hall will depart for the final meeting of the Second Three Years program, which is sponsored by the Lilly Endowment and Virginia Theological Seminary. She will return to the diocese at week's end to celebrate and preach at St. Patrick's, Albany on June 24th.
Report from the Listening Sessions
As your elected deputies and first alternates, we will represent the Diocese of Georgia at the 77th General Convention this summer. We are grateful for the participation of more than 100 lay persons and clergy in the listening sessions we held with the Bishop in Eastertide in Augusta, Thomasville, Albany, Brunswick, Savannah, and Dublin.
We were formed by the depth of thoughtfulness in both the comments made and the generosity of spirit with which all listened to one another. The sessions made it clear that the people of the Diocese are concerned primarily with the two issues that have been given the most advanced publicity-restructuring The Episcopal Church and the proposed rite for blessing same-gender relationships. While all present who expressed opinions on restructuring the Church are generally in favor of the proposal, we clearly are not close to being of one mind with regard to the blessing liturgy.
Many spoke in favor, to some degree, of blessing same gender relationships, while others were strongly opposed to any such action. It is impossible to reflect in a brief statement the diversity of views expressed, which truly ran across a spectrum. Many people of differing opinions expressed gratefulness for Bishop Benhase's assurances that any such rite would not be mandatory, and would be permitted only if a.) the Bishop endorses the rite for use in the diocese, which is unlikely in its current form, and b.) the rector and vestry approve it for use in a given congregation. No priest will ever be required to officiate at the blessing of a same gender relationship.
After each session, all of the deputies, including those not present, were given full reports. Through this process, we have been formed again and again by the people of the Diocese, lay and ordained, who took the time to come be heard. Along with brief statements of support or opposition for trial use of a proposed rite of blessing, we heard many moving personal statements of how this issue impacts the lives of those with whom we worship.
The Bishop was joined at each session by as many deputies and alternates as could be present with reports on each meeting conveyed to our entire deputation. Though the listening sessions have ended, members of Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Georgia may still email the Bishop and deputies at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Chair
The Very Rev. Ted Clarkson
The Rev. Lonnie Lacy
The Rev. Joe Bowden, MD
The Rev. Tar Drazdowski (1st alternate)
Carolyn Baker (1st alternate)
Improvements Continue at our Camp
The picture above shows Cullum Dormitory getting a new roof in time for Summer Camp. The other two dormitories-Griffeth and Schuessler-will be reroofed after Summer Camp. These new roofs, together with the roof for the Reese Dining Hall/Bishop's Hall complex which was completed several weeks ago, were purchased with funds generated last year in the Honey Creek Bond Sale.
In addition to the motel-style lodge rooms, Honey Creek has three dormitories, used primarily for Summer Camp and Youth Events, but also for parish retreats and other events. This dorm is named for Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cullum of Augusta, who in the late 1950s were two major benefactors as our Camp and Conference Center was being built. Schuessler is named for a camp counselor who died in the Pacific during World War II and Griffeth is named for the longtime Christian Education Director of the Diocese who led summer camp for many years when it was at Camp Reese on St. Simon's Island.
As Honey Creek began to be used, Bishop Stuart, in his 1960 Bishop's Address said, "Once more the Diocese has a center for fellowship, education, and inspiration, the value of which can only be truly imagined by those who remember so gratefully the contribution made to the life and work of the Church by the old Camp Reese on St. Simons Island."
As our Camp and Conference Center heads into a busy summer, we give thanks for the generosity of the Cullums and those in previous generations who provided us this resource as well as Honey Creek bond holders and others whose recent investments have allowed us to attend to maintaining the facility.
St. Paul's, Albany
Joy Davis Ordained Deacon
Bishop Benhase ordained Joy Davis to the Sacred Order of Deacons in a liturgy at St. Paul's, Albany on Saturday, June 2. Davis is a parishioner and former vestry member and Senior Warden of St. Paul's. She has been assigned as a deacon to St. Patrick's, Albany where she also served an internship during her formation for ordained ministry. Above is a photo of the clergy gathered for the ordination.
Christ Church, Savannah
Part-Time Parish Administrator Sought
Christ Church Savannah has a position available for a part-time Parish Administrator working 18 hours a week.
The Parish Administrator serves as office and facilities manager; supports the Rector, staff and parishioners; performs a variety of general administrative duties such as maintaining church records; and, is responsible for supervising the Sexton.
Candidates must have the ability to work well with people in a professional and welcoming manner; be organized with ability to solve problems; be able to maintain confidential information; have a working knowledge of social and web site communication; and have a demonstrated knowledge of Word and Excel.
For additional information contact: Christ Church Savannah: (912) 236-2500. The Christ Church Savannah baptismal font is pictured above.
St. Barnabas, Valdosta
Youth Lead the Worship for Feast Day
In celebration of the feast day of St. Barnabas (June 11), St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Valdosta had their young people lead the worship service. (From left to right) Alex Stucker (Banner/Piano Soloist); The Very Rev. Denise Ronn; LaPharoah James (Torch Bearer/Epistle Reader/ Soloist); Bishop James (Gospel Acolyte/ Intercessor); Vincent Wilson (Crucifer/Acolyte); Bella Stucker (Usher); Savannah James (Torch Bearer/ Preacher); The Rev. Deacon Karyl Miller; Rusty Wetherington (Verger). (Front Row) Kayla Smith (Jr. Torch Bearer); Mareena Resta (Jr. Torch Bearer); Lorraine Lee (Youth Director). (Not pictured) Assisting: Lyssa Nickle, Anna Resta and Melissa Stucker.
Summer Youth Mission Trips
This week (June 9-16) eight youth and three chaperones from St. Anne's, Tifton, are on a mission trip to Washington D.C. There they have joined other youth from all across the nation to make a difference in the lives of some of D.C.'s most overlooked citizens,
while also enjoying the heritage and beauty of our nation's capital. Meanwhile, our Diocese is also hosting groups coming in from across the country. The Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta, is welcoming youth through Home Works. At left, youth in town for mission work through that non-profit, walk the labyrinth at Good Shepherd.
Savannah Grief Support Group
Deacon Geri Nelson and Deacon Sue Gahagan will offer an introductory Grief Support session at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Savannah on Sunday, June 17th at 3:00pm. If you've been considering joining a grief support group for a loss you have experienced, please come to this meeting. The six-week support group will begin at St. Paul's on Sunday, July 8th at 3:00pm - 4:15pm. For more information please feel free to contact Deacon Geri at (912) 844-4888 or by email: GeriLeeNelson@aol.com.
Vocare in Georgia Annual Meeting
Vocare in Georgia, a joint young adult ministry of the Dioceses of Atlanta and Georgia, held its annual meeting this past Saturday at St. Paul's, Macon. New leaders were elected and event details discussed. Outgoing Lay Director Matt Harrell (Vestry member of St. Barnabas', Valdosta and pictured above, seated, fourth from left) ended a six-year term as a member of the Vocare Steering Committee. Emily Stallings (Treasurer of the Episcopal Campus Ministry at Georgia Southern University and pictured above, seated, fifth from left) was elected as Steering Committee Secretary. Lyssa Nickle (Senior Warden of St. Barnabas', Valdosta and pictured above, kneeling, second from left) will serve as Observing Rector of the next Vocare weekend, which will be held January 25-27, 2013 and Rector of Vocare in 2014. Both Griff Holland (member of Christ Church, Valdosta and pictured above, seated, far right) and Amanda Drazdowski Harrell (Vestry member, St. Barnabas', Valdosta and pictured above, standing, far left) have committed several years of service to the Vocare in Georgia ministry by serving on Steering Committee. For more information on Vocare in Georgia, visit this link.
Hometown Missions 2012
Hometown Missions 2012 is slated for July 27 - 29 at Christ Church, Augusta, and is open to 6th through 12th graders. The cost to attend is $40. Participants will be housed at the Episcopal Day School/Church of the Good Shepherd.
Hometown Missions is a weekend event that allows participants to engage in small-scale, mission-focused projects in and around a selected church in the diocese. Participants are divided into work groups according to ability/age, and after a long work day, are treated to a fun event on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, participants worship with the congregation they have served. This year, participants will arrive at the Church of the Good Shepherd between 7p and 8p Friday evening, May 4. After spending the night there, they will travel by bus to Christ Church, Augusta, for a full work day on Saturday. The Rev. Dr. Robert Polglase, Vicar of Christ Church, and his wife, Amanda, will host a cookout and pool party at their home on Saturday night. Participants return to Christ Church on Sunday morning for worship and depart from Good Shepherd around lunchtime on Sunday.
For more information on Hometown Missions 2012, please
June 17 - 23: High School Camp, Honey Creek
June 24 - 30: Camp Sts. Joseph & Mary I, Honey Creek
July 8 - 14: Camp St. Peter, Honey Creek
July 15 - 21: Camp Sts. Joseph & Mary II, Honey Creek
July 22 - 28: Kamp PHUN, Honey Creek
July 27 - 29: Hometown Missions, Christ Church/EDS, Augusta
August 3 - 5: Happening #89
"Whoever does the will of my Father
in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
~Jesus (Matthew 12:50)
The Loose Canon
Quit Thinking of the Church as Family
If you are like me, that headline brought you up short. I didn't write it, but encountered it on the Internet along with a thoughtful essay by United Church of Christ Minister Tony Robinson. He takes issue with the analogy of thinking of a "church family."
As someone who has routinely written about a "church family" and even a "diocesan family," I am quite comfortable with the image. Yet, I have to admit that all analogies fail in some ways and he points to the flaws in this one. He cites the results of a national firm's ministry audit for a church he was assisting that said the church needed to end the internal conflict and to quit thinking like a family. They went on to say, "The purpose of the church is to transform both society and individuals to be more Christ-like. This concept goes way beyond family."
Robinson cautions that churches that think of themselves as a family are more likely to opt for comfort and satisfaction and focus on keeping people happy. He also writes, "Families sometimes keep secrets that shouldn't be kept in order to keep from bringing shame on the family name. And families aren't typically that easy to join." I have to admit he has a point and to that degree he's right, we are falling far short of the mark set by God. Our purpose is something more than making one another happy or having a club where everyone knows your name.
Robinson helpfully adds, "If we must use 'family,' we should be aware of the way that Jesus, while using 'family,' also subverts conventional understandings of family and challenges their usual boundaries with a thoroughly new vision of 'family.'"
His full essay is online here: Quit thinking of the church as a family. How does the image of a church as family help or hinder? Does it get in the way of the work of the Gospel or help it along?
The Rev. Frank Logue
Canon to the Ordinary
The Loose Canon is a regular column in From the Field whose content is gathered together with other items of interest to those concerned with congregational development at loosecanon.georgiaepiscopal.org
These photos are from Camp St. Mark's, a two-week VBS program of St. Mark's, Brunswick, now in its second week at Honey Creek.
Vacation Bible Schools Underway
We want to share your Vacation Bible School with the Diocese in photo album collecting pictures of our kid-friendly catechesis taking place around the Diocese this summer. Send your congregation's photo to email@example.com
The photos will be added to a VBS album and used at the diocesan website. You can visit this summer's VBS album online
. Some of the photos will be shared here in From the Field. If you create a Facebook or other online album, you may also just send a link to that album to the address above and our online photo gallery curator, Julius Arial, will copy the photos to the diocesan album.
Camp Registrations Going Well
Summer Camp starts June 17th, but the sessions are filling in fast with most sessions near capacity. The camp is on track to be the biggest summer for us in recent years.
At present, there is still room for you (or your children or grandchildren) to get in on the fun. Honey Creek Summer Camp offers incredible opportunities for exploration, adventure, learning about God and building relationships! As always, there will be great music and worship every day. You'll enjoy spending time in the activities in which you are interested including swimming, arts & crafts, campfires, archery, singing, exploring nature, kayaking, ropes course, disc golf, and more. Camp sessions are based on age groups. All camps include special opportunities to explore nature and music in a more in depth way.
Summer Camp Brochure | Frequently Asked Questions
Camp Application | Honey Creek Website Summer Camp Page
Summer Camp dates
High School / June 17-23
Camp St. Joseph & Mary I / June 24-30
Camp St. Peter / July 8-14
Camp St. Joseph & Mary II / July 15-21
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