September 2, 2014Volume 5, Number 1
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Episcopal Development Agency of Thomasville
Columba House
Common Song Workshop
Convention Nominations
Convention Resolutions
The Loose Canon
New Beginnings
Clergy Conference
Seersucker Sunday
Social Media Connections
Web Links


This Sunday's Lections
13th Sunday after Pentecost

Track 1 

Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149

Track 2
Ezekiel 33:7-11
Psalm 119:33-40

Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20
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Bishop's Burger Bash in Tifton
Will Be Fun for the Whole Family 
The first ever Bishop's Burger Bash (or Bish Bash) will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on October 11 at St. Anne's, Tifton. 

This fun event, hosted by Bishop Benhase, gives an opportunity for children and youth to spend time with their chief pastor in a more relaxed setting. The day will include carnival-style booths, a kickball game, lunch and more. 

The cost is $10 per individual with a maximum of $30 for a family.

Diocesan Office Update    

Bishop Benhase meets with the Cursillo Commission this Saturday in St. Marys and then begins his visitation schedule with Christ Church St. Marys this Sunday morning and Good Shepherd, Brunswick in the afternoon. 


Canon Logue is working with congregations and clergy on getting their audits completed for 2013.

EDAT Hires First Executive Director

The Episcopal Development Agency of Thomasville (EDAT) has hired Keith Jenkins as the agency's first Executive Director. EDAT is a joint initiative between our three Thomasville Episcopal Churches which was made possible by funds from the Campaign for Congregational Development. 

Keith Jenkins with his wife, Yolanda

In talking about what brought him to the agency, Jenkins said, "I am very excited about my opportunity to serve as Executive Director of EDAT because in the small town of Boston, GA where I was raised there was a sense of community and everyone had a hand in each other's successes." He went on to explain, "If my neighbor was doing fine, we were doing fine. But when they were not, we had to help get them back to a place of doing fine." This fits with EDAT's mission to improve the lives of the people living around Good Shepherd Church.

All Saints Episcopal Church, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church have combined efforts to address the needs of the impoverished and primarily African-American neighborhood which surrounds Good Shepherd. Members of the parishes and the community are working together to help the residents develop a plan to help themselves-a plan that will initially allow them to address neighborhood hunger, and later, empower them to address many of the other issues that are facing their inner-city community.

Jenkins has earned an associate's degree in business administration and social work from Southwest Georgia Technical College as well as a bachelor's of science degree in social work from Thomas University. Driven by a desire to help empower others, he has worked as a community support activist, career placement coordinator, and a youth intervention coordinator, as well as volunteering for a local youth group that helps to mentor at risk teens.

Jenkins is an ordained Elder at Disciples of Jesus Ministries Inc. in Thomasville where he served as Youth Pastor for 13 years, together with his wife, Yolanda. Keith and Yolanda have been married for 22 years and have three sons Derrick (23), Keith Jr. (21), and Jeremiah (19). 


Lauretta Gibbs of Good Shepherd Church said, "He is energetic and can be a voice of the community." She says that Mr. Jenkins is presently working on a needs assessment and adds, "We are so happy to have an Executive Director working in our renovated Vicarage."

The Rev. Dwayne Varas, Rector of St. Thomas Church, said, "Mr. Jenkins is a man of faith committed to the Gospel. In the brief time Keith has been on board with EDAT, he has made building relationships a priority. He is accomplishing this one home at a time by making door-to-door visits."


The Rev. Paul Hancock, Rector of All Saints Thomasville said, "The search committee wanted to find an Executive Director whose personality and experience would make him or her a 'natural fit' for the program. We were thrilled to find Keith. He is a great ambassador for the vision of  a community organization that is embedded in the Stevens Street Historic Neighborhood where Good Shepherd is located." 

One of EDAT's first initiatives is the Oak Street Garden located on the Good Shepherd's grounds. EDAT's other initiative currently underway is the Enrichment Program developed in collaboration with the Thomasville Community Resource Center (TCRC). The program, also held on the Good Shepherd grounds, is open to children ages 6 through 12 four days a week. The curriculum, which includes academic enrichment in math, science, and reading, volunteer work in EDAT's community garden, and exposure to the arts, serves children from a variety of Thomasville neighborhoods and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Third Intern Arrives to Columba House

This week Columba House welcomes a third intern, James Rose to begin his year of service.  Columba House is an Episcopal intentional community where young people can explore spirituality through dialogue, prayer, and service to our neighbors.


Rose graduated from Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and double minors in Philosophy & Religion and Cultural Studies. While at Bridgewater, Rose was active in the New Community Project, which focused on green projects and education and promoting a sustainable lifestyle on campus. Rose received the Zygmunt Bauman Scholar Award, which is given to a student who demonstrates outstanding scholarship and leadership in the classroom and exemplifies academic citizenship in the Sociology department. He is interested in issues of food and justice. He enjoys art and philosophical discussions. A fun fact: Rose is a juggler.


Columba House is excited to welcome Rose, who joins Gabriella Caballero and Zachary Outlaw, who started their internships in August. Both the internship and fellowship programs at Columba House are always accepting applications. More information is available at

Common Song Workshop Coming to Kingsland

The Common Song: Helping Congregations Sing Together workshop will be held at King of Peace, Kingsland, on Sunday, September 14th at 4:30 p.m. "Common Song" (like "Common Prayer") is what we do when we gather for worship.  As we sing together, we become part of something larger than ourselves.  We enact the Church's liturgy, the work of the people.  The Common Song workshop is crafted to help congregations of all sorts and sizes to sing and make music with confidence and joy.  This way of music-making includes all styles and historic periods of music, and all who are present take part in making music. As an old saying has it: "If you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing!" Contact the Rev. Al Crumpton, by phone at (912) 510-8958 or by email at [email protected] if you would like to take part in this workshop.


The presenter will be the Rev. Dr. Jason Haddox, who has been making a joyful noise unto God since he was four years old, singing in the Cherub Choir of the First Methodist Church in Liberty, Texas.  He has led group singing in a variety of contexts for large and small gatherings throughout the United States.  He serves the Diocese of Georgia as the chair of the commission on Worship and Music, and is the rector of St. Augustine of Canterbury in Augusta. 

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
Convention Resolutions Due by September 7

Resolutions are due to the Secretary of Convention, Canon Mary Willoughby, by September 7, 2014, in order to be considered by the convention. As of now, no resolutions have been submitted for consideration by the convention. The rules of convention governing resolutions are found in the Canons of the Diocese of Georgia and are reproduced here for reference:

Resolutions on non-budget items to be placed before Diocesan Convention, except those from Diocesan Council and Convention Committees, must be submitted to the Secretary of the Diocese in writing at least sixty days prior to said Convention.

The Secretary will make the resolutions available to the convocations of the Diocese for study and response before the Convention and will provide for their publication in the Church in Georgia, at the latest, in the issue next preceding Convention.

All resolutions will be sent to the Resolutions Committee or other appropriate committee as they are received for study and recommendation of the committee to Convention. Those affecting the Constitution and Canons or Rules of order for the Convention of the Diocese shall also be sent to the committee on same.

No resolution received from the floor of Convention shall be voted on without the consent of two-thirds of the voting delegates present at the Convention. Time permitting, such resolutions shall be referred to an appropriate regular or ad hoc committee for recommendation.

So that content and intent may be clearly understood, any resolution submitted, except those of a laudatory nature, shall be titled and include a summary of its content and purpose. Said summary shall be read when resolutions are presented for referral or vote.


The Loose Canon
Problems with Church Statistics (and what to do)

Part of my job for the Diocese is to review annual Parochial Reports, comparing them to prevous years. This is a charge that comes from the denomination as someone in each Diocese is to look over the data before approving it for The Episcopal Church as part of churchwide statistics. This means I spend a lot of time with the data and so know perhaps better than anyone in the Diocese how watching data can hurt as well as help.

Most clergy already struggle with judging too much of their effectiveness in ministry by how the previous Sunday went. Trust me, your priest is likely to be full of self-confidence after a particularly good attendance Sunday where the sermon seemed to reasonate with the gathered flock. And likewise, her or his sense of how ministry is going can drop even the next week if there is low attendance, even (or maybe especially) when everything seemed to come together for the liturgy. This focus on the church's numbers on a week by week basis is something to discourage in clergy and we certainly wouldn't want that particular virus to spread to laity. After all, we are about the work of being the Body of Christ and that is something that slips through the cracks of a system that focuses on numbers as if these are the only measure of faithfulness to the Gospel.

Why Average Attendance Misses the Mark
This is especially true as the key statistic of Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) becomes less and less meaningful. Created in response to the problems of only tracking church membership, the ASA became across the 1980s and 90s a way effectiveness was judged. While better than speaking of members, the problem with tracking Sunday attendance is that more and more families consider themselves all in as church members without attending every week. So the ASA is getting more and more disconnected from how many people truly find their spiritual home with your congregation.

That said, it is not that numbers of any kind are of no help. After all, Jesus taught that we are to bear fruit and we do know that there are indicators of this to which we should be attentive. So we need to find a middle path between the fallen example of the priest who views her or his effectiveness in ministry by last Sunday's attendance and offerings and the opposite extreme of paying no attention to numbers as if there is no possible way of measuring the fruit of ministry.

This middle path is to track trends over time and to do so using both the metrics of The Episcopal Church's Parochial Report and some indicators that never appear on any denomination's annual accounting. To counter this problem, while using various indicators to keep an eye on the fruit being born by the ministry of your church, I recommend tracking trends as follows:

Quarterly and Semi-Annual Trends
In specific, I recommend that you pay no attention to any given week of data. No church is fully itself on any Sunday and so you shouldn't get excited about a week of atypically high attendance or offerings, or even two of these in a row. Similarly, you should not concern yourself with one or two low weeks in giving, or attendance, or whatever else you are tracking. Instead use the trendline option in your spreadseet program (you do keep up with all your key data in Excel or other similar program, right?) to track quarterly and semi-annual trends. These flatten out given Sundays, but still provide an ongoing look at how the ministry is doing in some objective ways. To do this, select trendline, then creating a rolling average across 12 weeks and 26 weeks (shown as the black line in the chart above). When these trends show rising or falling, there is more significance to the data. The trends will still rise with Easter and fall in the summer, but quite gently and the picture they create over time is all the more telling.

Tracking More Trends
Now that you are tracking trends, don't stop with Average Sunday Attendance and weekly offering, but add the indicators significant to showing the difference your congregation is making. For a church with a feeding program, you can track both meals served and hours of service by volunteers. You can track mid-week participation in all of the church's activities. The possibilities go on and on and I don't want to get you so lost in a sea of numbers that you fail to share the love of God with those both in your chuchand those who will likely never darken its doors. Numbers alone will never show vitality. However, numbers do matter as we find that typically when we are faithful, that shows in some ways.

Beyond Means of Quantifying
The ways most significant to a pastor's heart will never find a box in a spreadsheet, for their is no real way to numerically track lives changed for the better by the Gospel. The hospital visits that went well and led not to the hoped-for physical healing, but did lead to a person at peace with his or her death and a family gathered lovingly around for that time, will completely elude this tracking of trends. But don't let these gloriously significant moments which delight the heart of God prevent you from keeping watch over the trends of the congregation where you serve as vestry, vicar or rector.


The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary

Your will can be a testimony to your faith.


Please consider remembering your parish in your estate planning!

Youth Programs
New Beginnings #45 Coming in October

New Beginnings will take place during the weekend of October 17-19, 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.


This discovery happens trough making new friends and sharing with old ones, through singing, skits, talks given by teens, videos, games, worship, and conversation with each other! Participants 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.  


Applications are now being accepted for New Beginnings #45 which will be held October 17-19 at Honey Creek. 


Click here to register to participate in New Beginnings #45   


Latest Youth Programs Email Newsletter Available

Get the specifics on the Divergent themed Fall Gathering planned for September and the Bishop's Burger Bash and New Beginnings planned for October, a report on the Acolyte Festival and all the rest of the news of Youth Programs in the Diocese of Georgia. Click here for the late August edition of News from the DoG House.

Clergy Conference Focusing on Congregational Vitality
The Fall Clergy Conference will offer resources so the parish church may more fully live what it is - an expression of the Body of Christ, the People of God. Our presenters will be Bob Gallagher and Michelle Heyne.

Gallagher brings 40 years of experience in leadership training and parish development. Bob has been a parish priest and served as  a diocesan congregational development officer as well as consulting with hundreds of congregations. He was Director of the Church Development Institute (CDI) at the General Theological Seminary from 1985-2000 and continued as the Director of the CDI in Seattle until in 2011 when that changed to Shaping the Parish. Heyne brings empathy, humor, and a solid grounding in ecclesiology and effective organizational dynamics to her work as a trainer and consultant.  She is committed to helping parish leaders bring about effective change by developing the skills they need to make the most of the gifts they already have.  She has worked as a financial services executive for over 25 years and served as a parish lay leader for 15. Heyne has extensive experience with financial management, interpersonal communications and team dynamics, and developing and implementing organizational change initiatives. More information on the presenters is found online at their website

Cost for the meeting including the conference presentations, room and board are Lodge Room Double for $158, Lodge Room Single for $240, Shared cottage (or Dorm) for $118 and Tent Camping and Commuters for $100.

Click here to register for the Clergy Conference online 

Seersucker Sunday

A photo of the Seersucker Sunday Celebration at Christ Church, Savannah, which is a Labor Day weekend tradition for that congregation.

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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia