March 4, 2014Volume 4, Number 27
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Diocesan Community Update
Youth Presence
Episcopal Youth Event
Preparing for Lent
Georgia Bishops' Statement
Clergy Spouse Retreat
Lenten Learning Day
Food for Thought
New Beginnings
Dancing a Jig
Social Media Connections
Web Links

This Sunday's Lections:
1st Sunday in Lent
Join Our Mailing List

Legacy Society

Planned Giving Sample Documents

Planned giving programs are vital long-term ministries to our parishes and should be a part of every parish financial development plan.  Bishop Benhase has requested that every parish in the Diocese have one in place. To that end,  he appointed  the Legacy Society Committee and tasked it with first developing a guide and the supporting documents necessary to establish a planned giving program and then, with providing the on-going support and assistance to help the parish establish a program or  strengthen one already in existence.  


The resulting "How-To Guide", samples of all of the necessary documents, and a list of the committee members can be downloaded by clicking the photo above. It is now also available on the Diocesan website at  

Diocesan Office Update  

Canon Logue will mark Ash Wednesday with a 2 p.m. service for the homeless in Savannah with a liturgy in a homeless camp together with the parishioners fo St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah. Tomorrow evening he will preside and preach at the Ash Wednesday liturgy at Annunciation, Vidalia. 


Bishop Benhase will be on vacation March 8-16. 


This Saturday Program Manager Rudy Reyes will attend the Vocare Steering Committee at St. Paul's, Macon. 

Community Update 


The Rev. Buzz Yarborough has accepted a call to serve as the Vicar of St. Richard of Chichester, Jekyll Island. 
Diocesan Youth Programs 

Launching Youth Presence in Georgia

In May and June, the Diocese of Georgia will launch its Youth Presence Initiative with the same meeting repeated in Augusta, Tifton, and at Honey Creek to maximize participation. This new initiative is designed to guide congregations through a process to create an effective youth ministry for their context. Congregations of every size hoping to positively impact their youth and others in the community are highly encouraged to put together a team of six adults for those first meetings in May.

At the heart of creating and supporting a strong youth presence is what is called the The Three Phase Approach to Youth Ministry. This approach has been proven very effective over many years and provides the framework for any context for a vital ministry with teens. It should be said at the start that this development and training come from a strong belief in youth led ministry and the gifts that our young people bring. We also believe that the presence of youth transforms a congregation and is essential to congregational health and vitality.

Phase One: Creating the Vision 
The first step is to create a vision. Youth ministry must emerge from the situation and context of your congregation. There is no perfect youth program that works for everyone or one person who can single-handedly attract youth. Thriving ministry with and by young people comes from God's vision for you in the place where you are. During the May meetings, participants will be guided through a visioning process for the particular congregation and the community.

Phase Two: Raising up adult teams 
A core value of this approach is that youth ministry requires a team of adults not a single person or pair of people. Most churches think it is difficult if not impossible to find more than one or two to work with youth people. Some churches hire someone thinking that is the solution. Experience shows that it takes many gifts and many people and that several adults can be raised up if we know how to do it and are committed to it. Once the adult teams are identified they must be trained. The Diocese will provide that training in September through this initiative.

Phase Three: Youth Led Ministry  
Youth Presence's strongest core value is to raise up young people as leaders and that it is not only their presence but their leadership that transforms congregations. The vision and adult teams must be in place first in order to build a foundation of support, but this is not hierarchical approach of adults who make all the decisions and who tell young people what they should do, feel and believe. Youth Presence affirms the extraordinary gifts of teenagers and believe that their ability to use those gifts to make a difference in our congregations and the world. We also are convicted that leadership training of young people is as essential as it is for adults. Training for youth will follow, but is not reflected in the schedule below.

Phase One Training Schedule:
May 16-17 - St. Anne's, Tifton
May 30-31 - Flowing Wells Property, Augusta
June 6-7 - Bishop's Hall, Honey Creek

Phase Two Training Schedule (save the dates):
September 5-6
September 12-13
September 26-27

Look for registration information in the March and April editions of News from the DoG House. For more information please contact Elizabeth Burns at [email protected]
Register for Episcopal Youth Event 

The Diocese of Georgia is going to the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) in Philadelphia, PA! EYE is the single largest gathering of young people in our church and it happens every three years, don't miss out. Those attending from the Diocese of Georgia will take part in both the national event and a regional one on the same trip.


After careful consideration of high schooler busy schedules and financial situation.  The Diocesan trip to EYE has been scaled back.  The trip will take place on July 8-13, 2014.   The Diocese will cover the cost of registration.  The group will fly up to PA.  Participants will be responsible for their cost of transportation.   (No more than $450.)


Click Here to Register 


Elizabeth Burns needs to have all registrations into the larger Episcopal Church  by March 15.  Therefore you must register by March 14 at NOON, no exception.

St. Paul's Augusta raised money to fight hunger in its community through a Mardi Gras dinner this past weekend.

Preparing for Lent around the Diocese

The congregation of St. John's, Bainbridge, prepares to bury the Alleluias for Lent. 
The Very Rev. William Willoughby III digs a whole in the churchyard to bury Alleluias for Lent at St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah.
King of Peace Kingsland took part in the Mardi Gras Parade in St. Marys Georgia with its heavenly float distributing beads along the route.
Members of the three Episcopal Churches in Thomasville-Good Shepherd, All Saints and St. Thomas-worked together in the garden at Good Shepherd.
St. Augustine, Augusta hosted a presentation of The Wisdom of the Labyrinth: History and Practice, featuring labyrinth facilitator Joyce James of Philadelphia. It is the largest outdoor labyrinth installation in Richmond County, and is often used by guests and strangers who just "drop by" to meditate, pray, and walk the sacred path.
Georgia Bishops of the Episcopal Church Statement on House Bill 875
We, the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the State of Georgia, are opposed to House Bill 875.

If House Bill 875 becomes law, then it will allow guns in houses of worship as well as bars and schools. This is a mistake. HB 875 has already been passed by the House and will soon be before our State Senate.

Supporters of this bill claim our current quite expansive gun laws are not expansive enough. They claim that if only the "bad guys" have guns, then the "good guys" cannot stop them. As one State Representative who sponsored the bill said: "Gun free zones that are created by well-meaning laws are gun-free to the good guys only. The bad part of our society does not care."

Our Christian Faith has a more complex understanding of "good guys" and "bad guys." Our Biblical understanding of human sin informs us of this universal truth. People who had no criminal record and had a legal right to their weapons have perpetrated almost all of the recent tragic shootings in houses of worship and schools. They were "good guys" until they weren't.

This bill solves nothing and it only creates the potential for more gun violence, not less, to say nothing of increasing political polarization in Georgia. Our State's current gun laws are already quite fair to gun owners, adequately protecting their rights. All the citizens of Georgia have rights as well. We have a right to keep guns out of our houses of worship and our schools. Please join us in praying for our elected representatives and all those who hold the public trust that they would act wisely on behalf of all Georgians.

The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta  
The Right Reverend Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia
Clergy Spouses Lenten Retreat
A Reflection on Clergy Spouse Retreat

Hello clergy spouses.  My name is David Ronn.  I am a clergy spouse, husband of the Very Reverend Denise Ronn, who is Vicar of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Valdosta, Georgia.  I would like to share my experiences with the Clergy Spouse Conferences held in our diocese.  As a male spouse, I have attended all of these conferences in the past 4 years.  Each has been a wonderful time in my life.  Some of the highlights are as follows:

  1. Getting to know the other clergy spouses in our diocese.  This is the best part.  We all have an opportunity to share what is going on in our lives...both the blessings and the challenges.  All information shared is confidential.  We are all facing different situations.  By ministering to each other, we may be helped by the wisdom of the other spouses.
  2. Opportunities for spiritual growth and learning.  We pray together, worship together, and receive excellent teaching.  This year we will discuss ideas from the book Does this church make me look fat? by Rhoda Janzen.  Hey guys, even we can learn something from this book.
  3. Opportunities for service.  We participate in work projects to help Honey Creek, such as planting shrubs, painting signs, and refurbishing chairs.
  4. Opportunities for fun social events.  We play games, do crafts, sing, dance, and do yoga.  A couple of examples are singing and eating s'mores around a bonfire, and line dancing. 
  5. Sharing great food and drinks.  The selection and taste of all the meals is top-notch.  Plus we provide a variety of delicious snacks and drinks.

     As you can see, there is a lot to do and much fun to be had.  But if you would like more quiet time, you are free to get off by yourself whenever you desire.  The planned schedule is very flexible.  This year's conference will be more spiritual and reflective in nature, since it is during the Lenten season.  As a male spouse, I have been outnumbered by the female spouses in the past.  The ladies have made me and the other male spouses feel right at home.  Clergy spouse issues discussed are relevant to both men and women.  Last year 5 men and about 20 women attended the conference.  I strongly encourage all of you male or female clergy spouses to attend this year's conference at Honey Creek on April 4 - 6.  We look forward to getting to know you better. Come, expecting God to move in each of our lives during our time together.  May God bless you.

- David Ronn 


Honey Creek prices for the retreat are as follows:

Lodge Rooms   $220.00 single rate with 6 meals

Lodge Rooms  $148.00 double rate with 6 meals

Dormitory  $118.00  includes 6 meals

Commuter Rate:  $100.00 with 6 meals


Click here to register for Clergy Spouse Retreat


Bishop Benhase is again offering scholarships to any clergy spouse who needs financial assistance to attend. Please contact the Bishop directly to inquire about the scholarship.  


If you have any questions about our retreat for this year please let get in touch with any of our Clergy Spouses' Planning Committee members:

Jay Lacy                [email protected]

Cissy Bowden       [email protected]

Geri Nelson           [email protected]

Kelly Benhase       [email protected]

Leslie Parker         [email protected]

Savannah Convocation 

Teaching Children To Worship Deeply:
A Lenten Learning Day

The Savannah Convocation is sponsoring a Teaching Children To Worship Deeply: A Lenten Learning Day on Saturday, March 29th 2014 from 9am-1pm at Christ Church, Savannah. 


At baptism, we promise to raise children in the Christian faith and life, yet every church struggles with how to engage children in worship. How can the church compete with television, movies, video games, and sports? How can we teach them when they hardly sit still? During this year's Lenten Learning Day, we will find that the best tools for deepening our own practice of worship lie in two obvious places: our children and our liturgy. Join us as we hear from one priest and congregation who are engaging children in worship, that we might consider how our congregations may continue to raise faithful children.


The Rev. Jeff Jackson, rector of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Hamilton, Georgia, will speak on engaging children worship, including Sunday worship and family devotions. Father Jeff is the father of four children, and has done children and youth ministry for almost 20 years. The day will include workshops led by dynamic church leaders in our convocation. Child care will be offered. Click on the picture above for a printable PDF flyer about this event.


Register for the Lenten Learning Day

Albany Convocation 

Food for Thought this Lent

If you would like to take a thoughtful break on Wednesdays during Lent, from March 12 until April 9 you can find it at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 212 N. Jefferson. Members from St. Paul's, St. John's and St. Mark's, and St. Patrick's Episcopal churches and their clergy will provide a light lunch and some "Food for Thought." Beginning at 12:10 a light lunch will be served, donations will be gratefully accepted and all donations will go to benefit local needs, some sponsored by the Episcopal Church and some by other local charities. At 12:30 there will be a 15 minute meditation. Our hope is that local people can come for lunch, give to a good cause, have some time for reflection and be back at work by 1 p.m.


On March 12th, The Rev. Bill Stewart of St. John's and St. Mark's give a meditation about "Grace." March 19th The Rev. Ri Lamb will speak on "Faith." March 26th The Rev. Lee Lowery will address the "Sacraments." On April 2nd, The Rev. Jay Weldon will consider "Obstacles to Grace." And April 9th The Rev. Mollie Roberts will speak on "The Christian Life."


Call St. Paul's Parish Administrator Mrs Debbie Godwin for more information. 229 436-0196

Diocesan Youth Programs 
Register for New Beginnings 

New Beginnings will take place during the weekend of March 28-30, 2014 at Honey Creek. New Beginnings is a weekend retreat for teenagers in grades 7-9 led by a team of mostly teenagers, with a few adults, and two clergy spiritual directors. The weekend takes participants through a discovery about ourselves, our friends, our families, our faith, and how to live out our faith in our daily lives.


How might this discovery happen? Through making new friends and sharing with old ones, through singing, skits, talks given by teens, videos, games, worship, and conversation with each other! You are encouraged to bring friends from your church and an adult who will stay through the weekend. Everyone will take an active part in the program. You can go to New Beginnings as many times as you'd long as you're in grades 7-9. We know once you go, you will want to go back. There is even an opportunity to serve on the'll hear more about that at the weekend.


New Beginnings Staff Application

New Beginnings Participant Application

Doing a Jig for Summer Camp
Celebrating Honey Creek Summer Camp
Celebrating Honey Creek Summer Camp
Honey Creek Executive Director Dade Brantley promised on Facebook that he would ask Summer Camp Director Elizabeth Burns to dance a jig to Let It Go, the song from Disney's movie Frozen if we exceeded targets for camp registration by Friday's early bird deadline. Campers came through with the registrations and we share the 30 seconds of joy with you in the video linked above.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia