March 25, 2014Volume 4, Number 30
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Community Update
MyCPG Website
Bergstrom Ordination
Foood for Thought
St. Mark's Brunswick
Lap a Leprechan
Around the Diocese
Lenten Learning Day
Summer Camp
Clergy Spouse Retrea
Social Media Connections
Web Links

This Sunday's Lections:
4th Sunday in Lent
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Cursillo Comes Back Strong 

The short course in Christianity known as Cursillo made its come back this past weekend after a respite for prayerful discernment and retooling. This was a back to basics approach. The goal of the Cursillo Commission was to return to the authentic Cursillo weekend with fewer add ons that had developed over time. 
 The Rev. Kit Brinson, who served as one of two Spiritual Directors for the weekend said, "Having taken a few years off, we were not sure what to expect.  The Holy Spirit showed up and showed God's love to so many folks."

Changes to the weekend included work on the music, move to family style dining at lunch and supper, changes to the schedule and more. The priority was an emphasis on what has always been the most important goal of Cursillo, creating small groups to continue to meet, sharing each others' faith journeys week by week. The Rev. Richard Nelson, who also served as Spiritual Director said, "What a joy to be part of the renewed Cursillo weekends and 4th Day ministries in the Diocese of Georgia.  Now it's onward (Ultreya!) as we continue to serve God, the Church and the world through living the Cursillo method in the 4th Day."
Cursillo Rector Allison Clarkson said she wanted the weekend to be meaningful for all of our participants, then added, "I can't be happier. I didn't want it to be over."  
Diocesan Office Update  

Bishop Benhase will make his vistation to Christ the King, Valdosta, in the morning and St. Francis', Camilla, in the afternoon. This will be the final visitation to St. Francis' Church as the leadership of the congregation has voted to close. The building will be deconsecrated at the close of the Eucharist.


Elizabeth Burns will be serving this weekend at the New Beginnings retreat for 7-9 graders taking place Friday through Sunday at Honey Creek.

Community Update
Congratulations to Roger and Fran Speer. They are new parents, shown pictured here at right with their baby, Fynn Alton Speer, born a month early on Saturday, March 15. Roger works full time at St. Luke's Rincon as their Children and Youth Minister. Fynn is their first child.

MyCPG Website Goes Live

The Church Pension Group has created an easier way to keep track of your pension, health, life insurance and other products. MyCPG Accounts is a password-protected site that lets you see all the benefits and products you have with The Church Pension Fund and its affiliates (the Church Pension Group). This new site supports both lay and clergy employees. Personal enrollment id numbers have been mailed to the homes of all individuals enrolled in clergy pension, lay pension, health, disability or life insurance products from the Church Pension Group. This personal login will bring you all the general information previously available from the site, , but will add a tab, labeled My CPG, that delivers to you alone the complete summary and status of you Church Pension Group benefits. No longer will one need to wait for quarterly or annual paper statements to know whether a job change or insurance status change is active. The health insurance section contains a link to the current plan summary and full handbook providing a quick location to get the exact information concerning your benefit.


Personal id letters were mailed around March 19th and should have arrived at your home address. Please make a point of finding the letter and logging in today. It is well worth the effort to have a full picture of your benefits and all the needed change reporting forms right at your fingertips. 

St. John's, Savannah
Dr. Jeremy Bergstrom Ordained to the Priesthood
In a glorious liturgy held last Tuesday evening, the Rev. Dr. Jeremy Bergstrom was ordained to the sacred order of priests by the Rt. Rev. Edward Little, Bishop of Northern Indiana. Jeremy was presented for ordination by the Revs. Clark Miller, Eric Cosentino, Jess Reeves, and Gavin Dunbar and the lay presenters were his wife Jackie and the wardens of St. John's, Floyd Whittington and Howard Helmken. Cosentino gave the sermon. He is the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Divine Love in Montrose New York, where Bergstrom came into The Episcopal Church while studying Patristics at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary. Champagne toasts were held on the lawn with a reception following in the Green-Meldrim House.
As required by the canons, Bergstrom remained canonically resident in his sponsoring diocese of Northern Indiana. Bergstrom is on the staff at St. John's, where he has served since July 2012. He married Jacqueline (Jackie) in June 2001. They have three children-Nathanael Harrison (6), William Caedmon (3) and Colman Elias (1 month).

Albany Convocation
Food for Thought Drawing a Large Lunchtime Group
The Lenten program jointly put together in Albany by St. John & St. Mark, St. Patrick's, and St. Paul's churches is being well supported by the community. Pictured above, Deacon Ri Lamb speaks to the lunchtime group in the parish hall at St. Paul's. And pictured here, the Rev. Lee Lowery passes along the proceeds to the Neighbors in Need program, a local Soup Kitchen run by the Roman Catholic Church and staffed on some days by members of our Episcopal congregations in Albany. Food for Thought will continue through April 9. The program meets each Wednesday at St. Paul's in downtown Albany with meditations from 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
A Refection on the Young Adult Retreat Weekend

Vocare was a different and much needed experience for me. I attended Vocare #23 in January 2014. The weekend was held at Honey Creek, which was extremely exciting! I was skeptical at first because it had been years since I was a participant at a weekend similar to this. We arrived late because I carpooled with a few others. When we arrived the weekend events had already begun. This did not affect anyone though. They took us right in and told us which group was ours and we joined them. Typically, things can be awkward when you are entering into a group at a later time. However, this was different. They acted as if we were there the whole time. This inclusive behavior and feeling of belonging continued throughout the entire weekend.


Overall, this was a very relaxed weekend. This was the opportunity that I needed to be at my favorite place in this world and build my relationship with Jesus. I was overwhelmed with love and welcoming when I arrived at the weekend, and right then I knew Jesus had called me to attend this specific weekend. As the weekend progressed, we learned about how each of us have a calling in life and what that calling might be. Although I did not have an "ah-hah" moment about who I was called to be or what I was called to do, I learned so much more about the power of prayer and understanding. My thoughts are now consumed with small prayers that I am sending to Jesus every day. There is not a day that goes by that I do not have a continuing conversation with God. I was also able to take away understanding from this weekend; whether it was understanding of prayer, understanding of God's timing in life, or understanding of not understanding. I am so thankful and so blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience such an incredible weekend. 


I have always been told to wait until you are in your twenties to attend Vocare even though the minimum age is 18. I now understand why that has been said. I think it is important to understand the reasoning behind Vocare before you attend. In my opinion, the weekend is for you personally, to build your relationship with Jesus on your own level. The Vocare weekend is unlike any other and cannot be compared to other retreats. Throughout the weekend you are given "prompts" to help you begin that conversation with Jesus and it is up to you to take that opportunity and to spend the weekend listening to what he has to say and to what his path is for you. 

-Sarah Brittany Sandbach
Sarah Brittany is pictured above with Aaron Wortham and the Rev. David Rose on a recent visit to St. Luke's, Rincon. 
St. Mark's, Brunswick
Churches Work Together to Host Lunches for Students
Two years ago, because it was simply challenging to get older high school youth to stay in touch with their churches, The Rev. Alan Akridge, Rector of St. Mark's Brunswick, said, "I knew where most of them were every day during the school year so I just asked Andrew Lyons what he liked to eat and told him to recruit the rest of our crew and some friends and I'd bring lunch to the parking lot"

Andrew reported that seniors could go off campus and get pretty much anything they wanted for lunch, "But Chic Fil A is too far to get there and back in time." He asked, "Could you bring us chicken?" And from this request, a ministry was started. Akridge began loading his pick up with drinks and nuggets and headed to the parking lot at school. By the end of the school year, over a hundred kids were "stampeding" to the parking lot every Monday and Tuesday. "It got so big, the principal had to shut us down" said Akridge. "But we didn't give up and neither did the school. I spoke with the youth leader and pastor of the 1st United Methodist Church across the street from us and we both agreed that we we shared a border with the High School and they had a great open and unused space where we could host a lunch for students. Later that summer the principal of Glynn Academy allowed kids (who were members of the downtown church youth groups and had their parent's permission), to walk off campus one day each week to eat with their youth leaders. The rest, they say, was history.

Careful to insure food and school regulations are being observed and that the safety of the kids is paramount, the two churches entered into partnership with Zaxby's and recently achieved a milestone in ministry: on March 4 St. Mark's Episcopal Church and 1st United Methodist Brunswick fed 209 kids without charging them a nickel. These kids ate 819 Zaxby's chicken strips and untold amounts of chips, sodas, and water.

"We tell the kids that each meal, 3 strips, a bag of chips, and a soda, costs us $3 but they can pay whatever they like. Up to an including "Nothing".  No one goes hungry if we have food." said Shanon Lewis, 1st United Methodist Youth Pastor. "Zaxby's and the local supermarkets make it possible because they really see it as a ministry too. We could not do it without them and the help of Hollington Vending (who have provided bags of chips free of charge)"

"We don't preach at them and we never turn kids away. When they ask why we are doing it, we just tell them we love them and they are worth it." Said Akridge "While the numbers and ministry is astounding, what it even more miraculous is what it costs, " said Akridge "Bear in mind that we never turn away a kid who has no money, we don't charge them for food, and we don't track who pays us and who does not.
On a recent week, they collected $629 of donations. The chicken cost $543. Seventeen cases of sodas cost $63 and chips were $13. This means that we came into this week with a $30 surplus.  That is one week's experience, but they find that somehow it averages out to breaking even. The churches give thanks to God for the ministry which has developed among our two congregations to feed about 1000 kids each month and costs virtually nothing and has no strings attached. And for their key volunteers, Melinda Hollington, Dan Redanze, and Shannon Lewis. "They are my heroes," Said Akridge.


Get more news about Youth in the Diocese

The article above ran in last week's News from the DoG House, our e-newsletter for youth programs. Want to keep up better with our Youth Programs and what youth groups are doing in our congregations? We are encouraging teens, their parents and youth leaders to subscribe to the monthly email. To subscribe to this email follow this link: Diocese of Georgia Constant Contact and make sure all of the email lists you want to receive updates from are checked off in the form.

St. Patrick's, Albany
The Inaugural Run of the Lap a Leprechan 5k Race

The first ever "Lap a Leprechaun" 5K Race & Family Fun Walk brought out a hundred runners for the race which began and ended at St. Patrick's, Albany. They gave prizes to top male and female runners in every age category of the 5k, as well as top overall honors and awards for the top runners in the 1-mile Fun Fun. The church also awarded prizes to the "Best Dressed Leprechaun" and to the child with the "Best St. Patrick's Day Hat". St. Patrick's Church provided a green, leprechaun-themed breakfast following the race. "Lap a Leprechaun" raised $5,000 to benefit the "Food for a Thousand" feeding ministry, and the "Building on a Sure Foundation" project. The congregation intends the race to become an annual event.



Around the Diocese in Photos
On Saturday March 22, the first annual "Bed Race" was held to benefit Family Promise, an organization that helps homeless families in Effingham County.  St. Luke's entry featured a fire truck motif and holy smoke in the form of incense trailing., and Fr. David Rose at the helm.  The event raised almost $10,000, and St  Lukes came in 3rd.  St. Luke's is a host church for Family Promise.
 Val Crumpton leads a Wednesday Night Lenten Book Study on "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis at King of Peace, Kingsland.
Pilgrims at Good Shepherd Augusta met last night and selected Italy as their destination for 2015.
A workday at St. Patrick's Pooler got parishioners together working in the yard.
Christ Church Savannah held its second monthly Dinner Liturgy, named Basil's Kitchen. The Group meets in the undercroft for a Eucharist in the context of an evening meal. 
Savannah Convocation  
A Lenten Learning Day this Saturday 

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. 


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. 


Workshops include: 


Becoming Disciples Through Prayer (for children of all ages) 
Misty L. Graham, Director of Christian Education at St. Thomas', Savannah 

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Preaching To & With Children
The Rev. Jeff Jackson, Rector of St. Nicholas', Hamilton

Teach them well: When Sunday School no longer works
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue

The Bible isn't boring and Hymns rock:
Teaching Children to Worship Deeply through Scripture and Song
The Rev. Helen White, Vicar of All Saints, Tybee Island  



Clergy Spouse Retreat

The Clergy Spouse Retreat will be held at Honey Creek from April 4 to 6. On this Lenten retreat, we will take intentional time to reflect on the various threads of our lives.  Before coming, we invite you to read, "Does this Church Make Me Look Fat" by Rhoda Janzen.  This humorous, thoughtful, and intentionally un-Episcopalian book will serve as a springboard for discussions, reflection and worship led by the Rev. Helen White with assistance from the spouses. Most of all, we will seek to take a short break from our various roles and remember who we really are:  children of God.   This is a wonderful opportunity for clergy spouses to listen, learn, ask questions; make new acquaintances, friends; and network. This is our only retreat scheduled for 2014, and it won't be the same if you're not there!  For those that have register make sure to look over the Clergy Spouse Conference "Don't Forget"  Checklist


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. 

Columba House 
Deadline for Internship is Monday

Columba House offers two residential programs for young adults who want to live intentionally and serve passionately. The first is a full-time residential internship and the second is a part-time residential fellowship. Interns and Fellows will live together intentionally in community through sharing a house, breaking bread, praying, and learning together. Interns and Fellows will support Columba House's mission to build spiritual community among young adults. There will be leadership opportunities and avenues to explore your gifts. Columba House's residential programs are 10 months from August to June with an option to extend for a 2 year.


The full-time residential internship program is well-suited for those individuals who want to immerse themselves in the life and work of faith, justice, community, and discipleship. Interns will serve in a local congregation and work in the community. The full-time Internship program strikes a balance with the needs of the congregation and the passion of the interns. This is an opportunities to purse your passions and expand your talents. Interns are given a modest stipend and provided housing, health Insurance and training.


The part-time residential fellowship program is tailored to those who wish to live intentionally and serve passionately while working or attending school. Fellows will serve a few hours each week at Columba House in a hospitality context. This is a unique opportunity to live in intentional community and put your faith into practice.


For more information, please contact Columba House Director Rudy Reyes at [email protected] or at 912-236-4279 and visit the Columba House website:

Playing Dodge
The Rev. Tom and Donna Purdy dressed in their roles as The Rev. Anson and Anna Dodge for Christ Church Frederica's 61st Annual Tour of Homes. The Tour is a major fundraiser of that congregation's ECW, which is then able to give generously to many local charities.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia