August 5, 2014Volume 4, Number 49
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Convention Elections
Convention Workshops
Acolyte Festival Registration Closes Sunday
Blessing of the Backpacks
Fall Gathering
St. Patrick's, Albany
New Beginnings
Presiding Bishop's Sermon
The Loose Canon
Youth Presence
Fall Already?
Social Media Connections
Web Links


This Sunday's Lections:
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Track 1
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b

Track 2
1 Kings 19:9-18
Psalm 85:8-13

Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33
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Register for Diocesan Convention 

Registration is now open for the 193rd Convention of the Diocese of Georgia which will meet November 6-8 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Each parish sends three delegates and one alternate, while each mission sends one delegate and one alternate. All active clergy canonically resident in the Diocese are voting members of the convention. Others may attend convention as guests. 


The Eucharist and meal on Friday evening will on the grounds of Honey Creek. Thanks to Rachel Greneker of Christ Church Valdosta for the paper cut art of the Chapel of Our Savior on the grounds of Honey Creek.  


The rate for all in attendance is $85 which offsets the costs of the meeting space, snacks during breaks, printed materials, and the Friday evening meal at Honey Creek.


Registration information

For the first time ever, we are using our ACS database to register delegates. This will simplify the process for most clergy and lay persons as you will already be listed in the database and will not have to type in your contact information, but can change it if needed. For those not yet in the database, you will see a link as you complete registration to add yourself to the database. Please do so as this will help us to better retain your information for future events.


Click here to register online

Diocesan Office Update    

Libby Thoni and Canon Logue will be making a site visit tomorrow to Honey Creek to coordinate many of the details involved in hosting a convention Eucharist and meal on the grounds of our camp and conference center.


Bishop Benhase will preside and preach this Sunday at St. Matthew's, Savannah. 


Canon Logue will preach this Sunday at St. John's, Savannah.

Convention 2014
Diocesan Convention Nominations Open 
During the convention in November persons will be elected to five diocesan committees with other appointments made directly by the bishop. Nomination forms are found below these descriptions.

Board of the Corporation (1 Layperson)
One lay person will be elected to a seven-year term to the Board of the Corporation of the Diocese. This Board oversees the various funds held in trust by the Diocese. The group, consisting of the Bishop, Diocesan Treasurer and seven elected lay members, meets three or four times each year. Some meetings may be attended by web conference.

Diocesan Council (1 Layperson, deacon or priest)
One at-large member of diocesan council to serve a three-year.  This person may be a layperson, deacon or priest. Additional representatives will be elected at convocation councils in the six convocations of the Diocese. Council serves much like a vestry in a parish and is charged with acting as the convention in recess. Council carries out the programs and directives of the Convention; deals with contingencies as they arise; approves programs of commissions & committees and conducts an ongoing evaluation of these programs. The group meets three times each year around the Diocese.

Disciplinary Board (2 Laypersons and 1 Priest)
Two lay persons and one priest will be elected to the Church Disciplinary Board to serve a three-year term. This group of five deacons or priests and four lay persons handles clergy discipline matters in keeping with the Canons of the Church.

Sewanee Trustee (1 Priest)
One priest will be elected to serve as a Trustee for the University of the South (Sewanee) for a three-year term. This person will serve as one of three elected representatives to the Board of Trustees (one priest and two laypersons). The Board is made up of representatives from the 28 owning dioceses and meets in Sewanee each October for a two-day meeting.

The Standing Committee (1 Layperson and 1 Priest)
One lay person and one priest to the Standing Committee to serve a four-year term. The Standing Committee, consisting of four lay persons and four priests, is the Bishop's council of Advice. At times when there is no bishop, the Standing Committee is authorized by Canon Law to act as the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese for all purposes declared by General Convention. The group also has other canonical duties including approving persons for ordination and approving indebtedness of a congregation.

To Make a Nomination

Persons may nominate oneself or another person for any of the elections listed above. You must have the permission of the person you wish to nominate in order to use this form. Nominations will go to our Nominations Chair, Liz Williams of St. Anne's, Tifton. 


Nominators use the following form: 


Nominees are to provide a brief bio and photo by using this form:  


Committee Appointments
Bishop Benhase also annually appoints members to the Commission on Ministry, the Finance Committee, and the Honey Creek Commission. Persons interested in serving on a diocesan committee appointed by the bishop should express their interest in a letter sent to the Bishop at Diocesan House, 611 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401.  

Convention 2014
Diocesan Convention Workshop Offerings
The 2014 Diocesan Convention will be held on November 6th through 8th at the beautiful new beachfront Jekyll Island Convention Center (Convention Center website). On Thursday afternoon, those interested can attend one-hour workshops which will be held in the Convention Center. Offerings will include:


Session One - 2-3 p.m.


Helping Churches save Energy and Money through Energy Efficiency
Led by Georgia Interfaith Power & Light

Vestry Basics-The Work of a Vestry
Led by the Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary

Website Design and Administration
Led by Rudy Reyes, Program Manager for the Diocese

Session Two - 3:15-4:15 p.m. 

Introduction to ACS Databases
Led by Bill Bridges, Director of Business Development, ACS Technologies

Planned Giving Basics-Starting a Planned Giving Program in your Church
Led by Sandra Fletcher, Director of Planned Giving and Major Gifts, Valdosta State Foundation

Vestry Basics-Church Administration
Led by Canon Frank Logue

On-line registration for convention and the workshops is open now. See the top article in this issue of From the Field.

Registration Closes Sunday for Acolyte Festival
Does your congregation want to encourage its children and youth? The Acolyte Festival is the perfect place to not only lift up this important ministry, but to also build up your congregation's kids by gathering them with others from across the Diocese. Acolytes from as far a Augusta, Kingsland and Darien have already registered for the festival coming to Albany in two weeks. Registration remains open, but time is running out.

The Acolyte Festival is open to 3rd through 12th graders. This year's festival will be hosted by St. Paul's, Albany and will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 16 & 17.

Participants process during the Sunday morning Eucharist. Please bring vestments and the congregation's banner.


Register online for the Acolyte Festival now! 

The Blessing of the Backpacks
Since its founding in 1999, the Church of the Holy Comforter in Martinez has made the Blessing of the Backpacks an important transition from summer to fall. This has become a special Sunday the congregation looks forward to. It was also a time when they celebrate the ministry of the youth, who take the lead in all areas of worship on that Sunday. This year the sermon was given by the congregation's youth pastor, Highes McGlone. The sermon is online here: Youth Sunday Sermon
This annual event is now more common in other congregations, including St. Philip's in Hinesville, where the Rev. Adrianna Shaw is pictured below in their blessing held this past Sunday.

Youth Programs
Register Now for Fall Gathering 
This event for 6-12 graders kicks off youth programs at Honey Creek for a new school year. The theme for the event comes from the young adult book series Divergent, which was written on Christian themes. We will explore our unique gifts and the place each of us have in the Body of Christ through the lens of this fiction. The spiritual director will be Canon Frank Logue.

Come enjoy The Creek with singing, games, worship, and more.

St. Patrick's, Albany
Growing and Giving 1,000 Pounds of Vegetables

The Food for a Thousand garden program at St. Patrick's, Albany, recently passed a milestone, of 1,000 pounds of  fresh vegetables produced, harvested, and distributed to local food pantries such as Neighbors in Need and The Lord's Pantry. To date, the garden has provided almost 1,300 pounds of healthy food.


Physical work on "Food for a Thousand" actually began in early 2013 on the project envisioned by Juby Phillips of Albany and carried out through the donation and volunteer-recruitment efforts of Brenda Gray.  Numerous laborers from the parish's congregation have also donated many hours both initially and on a weekly basis harvesting crops of tomatoes, squash, okra, peppers, broccoli, beets, and others to help feed people in need.


The first couple of years have been an educational experience for the organizers and volunteers and they hope to utilize lessons learned in the future. Also, blueberries bushes have been planted to add a new aspect to future harvests.  Additional fundraisers, such as March's "Lap a Leprechaun", are also expected in the future.


The photo above shows St. Patrick's Marian White harvest okra from this year's stand in the "Food for a Thousand" garden at the church. (Special photo by Norris Wootton)

Youth Programs
New Beginnings Team Applications
Applications are now being accepted for the New Beginnings #45 Team, to serve October 17-19 at Honey Creek. Team is open to all who have been to Happening or New Beginnings. Making an application does not guarantee a spot on the team. If selected, you must attend the staff lock in at St. Luke's in Hawkinsville starting September 27 at 11:30 and ending after worship no later than 11:30 on the 28th. Applications are due by Friday, August 15th.
Next Cursillo Retreat Planned for March 19-22

Are you looking for a way to be more intentional about your faith in Jesus? The spring Cursillo retreat weekend will be held March 19-22, 2015, at Honey Creek. The cost to participants is just $90.


Cursillo (pronounced 'kur-see-yo') is a Spanish word meaning 'little' or 'short course'. This is the name given to the Short Course in Christianity which first developed after World War II with Roman Catholic men. The short course has now been given to men and women around the world and in the process has assisted generations of Christians to more faithfully follow Jesus in their daily lives. There is no real secret here, just the basics of the faith with an emphasis on how would you like to live it out in your life.


Cursillo begins on a Thursday evening and ends the following Sunday evening. During those three days the participants engage in listening to talks given by priests and lay people, and small table discussion, while worshiping and playing together.


Who Can Attend?

Any Episcopalian, twenty-one years of age or older, whose priest signs the application. Persons of other denomination may also attend if an Episcopal priest will sign for them. Each Cursillo is held at the Georgia Episcopal Camp and Conference Center at Waverly, Georgia.


Presiding Bishop preaches at Christ Church Savannah
The Presiding Bishop preaches at Christ Church Savannah on July 20
Click the image above to see the sermon on the diocesan YouTube Channel
The Loose Canon
Who Would Miss Your Church If It Closed?

If your church was to close its doors today, never to open them again, who would miss it? Certainly those who attend sporadically might miss the church as much as those who worship there, well, religously. But who else would miss your church? What would they miss?


This question cuts to the core of one way of considering church life. I came to this question while serving as a seminarian at St. Philip's in Baden, Maryland (pictured here). The historically black church had an Average Sunday attendance of 44 when I arrived. During the coming year, I only recall one visitor ever walking through the doors and she was welcomed and quickly became a part of the life of the church. So, while newcomer retention was 100%, no one concerned with church growth alone would have seen St. Philip's as a model congregation.


Yet, when considered by other metrics, the church ran circles around most every other congregation in the Diocese of Washington. The rural church had the clothes closet and food pantry for the community. They also had received a grant that supported a transportation ministry to pick people up at their homes and take them to the doctor or to get food or other essential trips (pictured at left). Beyond this they had created an 8-bed assisted living facility so the elderly could stay close to home when they could no longer care for themselves. The church might have been small on attendance and practically flat on growth in attendance numbers, but if the doors of the church closed, the community would have a sizeable hole to fill.


I tell this example of St. Philip's as attendance alone did not give the complete picture, but neither do outreach ministries tell the whole story. Small congregations that nourish their members so that they can go out and serve Christ through being teachers, bankers, real estate agents and so on also make an impact on their communities. Beyond this, there are many things which might connect a church deeply to the community around its property.


Please hear me clearly, I am not saying that outreach ministries alone are the answer. What I do want to do though is to elevate this question which has been fruitful for me to ask, "If this church closed, who would miss it?" Considering the question, praying about it and living in to what the answer means has been eye opening for me on more than one occasion and so I offer it to you with the challenge it brings and with no presumption about how it should be answered.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary
Your will can benefit
your family AND your church.



Please consider remembering your parish in your estate planning!

Youth Presence
Register for Adult Teams Training
The second round of Youth Presence Ministries working with congregations in the Diocese of Georgia will occur in September. The congregations who sent teams for the visioning session may now register teams for the second session of training. 
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 workshops offered will be tailored to the needs of churches gathered. Workshop topics include:
  • Introduction to team youth ministry: The call to youth ministry; it could be you!
  • Relational Ministry
  • The Community model for youth ministry
  • Developing Faith and Spirituality: How to be a spiritual group
  • Mission and Outreach and making a difference in the world
  • Retreats, Pilgrimages, trips and other "out of the ordinary" experiences
Phase Two: Adult Training Schedule

Augusta: September 5-6

Tifton: September12-13

Savannah: September 26-27


Click here to register online

Fall Already? 

This mid-flip photo was taken at the end of the summer party for the youth group at St. Andrew's and St. Cyprian's in Darien. The official start of Autumn is not yet here, but with kids headed back to school, the summer has ended. The following Prayer for Young Persons from page 829 of the Book of Common Prayer is always appropriate, but is particularly timely now:

Prayer for Young Persons
God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia