August 19, 2014Volume 4, Number 51
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Acolyte Festival
Columba House
Convention Exhibitor Information
Reading the Bible in 72 Hours
Prayer Cycles Posted Online
Servant Award
The Loose Canon
Fall Gathering
Snake Handling?
Social Media Connections
Web Links


This Sunday's Lections:
11th Sunday after Pentecost

Track 1
Exodus 1:8-2:10 
Psalm 124


Track 2
Isaiah 51:1-6
Psalm 138 


Romans 12:1-8 
Matthew 16:13-20 

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Fall 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 

Diocesan Office Update    

This evening, Bishop Benhase is visiting our Episcopal Campus Ministry at Georgia Southern.


This week Program Manager Rudy Reyes is working with orientation for new interns at Columba House in Savannah.

Acolyte Festival Draws Youth from Across the Diocese

The Sunday procession at St. Paul's, Albany, was longer this week than usual as 65 acolytes and 15 leaders representing every corner of the Diocese were at the church this weekend for the Acolyte and Youth Leadership Festival. Saturday included a mix of education, skill-building and fun. The lock in Saturday night gave more time and opportunity for kids from across the Diocese to get to know one another. Sunday, following breakfast and a rehearsal, the acolytes at the festival took part in the Sunday Eucharist at St. Paul's. They left with acolyte pins, t-shirts, increased confidence in their rolls in the liturgy and new friends from other Episcopal congregations. 


Thanks to St. Paul's for gracious hospitality, to the Revs. Lee Lowery and Mollie Roberts who did a lot of work to pull things together and to the other priests and youth ministers who taught and to all the adults who drove and chaperoned. More photos can be found online here: Acolyte Festival Photo Album




Columba House Welcome New Interns 

This week two Columba House Interns, Gabriella Caballero and Zachary Outlaw begin there year of service (August to June). Columba House is an Episcopal intentional community where young people can explore spirituality through dialogue, prayer, and service to our neighbors.


Caballero graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a BS in Communication with a focus on Journalism and Electronic Media. Her freshman year, she was invited to film a service and dinner at Tyson House, the Episcopal-Lutheran campus ministry at UT. This experience led her to return to Tyson House, where she would become an Episcopalian and an active student leader. Caballero has an interest in film and recently worked for Jupiter Entertainment. She is also a Spanish speaker. While attending Vocare, she realized the call to be an active lay member of the Episcopal Church and make a different in the lives of others. 


Outlaw graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Religious Studies. Outlaw is very active in ministry. He served as a verger for St. Paul's Episcopal Church Chattanooga and volunteered as a Spanish Language Intern at Southside Abbey in Chattanooga. In addition, Outlaw was a very engaged student leader for Project Canterbury, the Episcopal-Lutheran campus ministry at UTC. It was through the ministry of Project Canterbury that Outlaw became an Episcopalian. He see's God moving in Latino ministry in the Episcopal Church and wants to engage further in that ministry. 


Coumba House is excited to welcome Caballero and Outlaw. Columba House is always accepting applications for its Internship and Fellowship program. 

Convention 2014
Information for Convention Exhibitors - Please take note!

The set-up for exhibitors at this convention will be slightly different than in years past. There is a  limited number of tables in the Convention Center hallway; those that want to can set up in the meeting space. Both locations are assigned on a first come/first serve basis.   It is important to note that those exhibitors located  in the back of the meeting room will have relatively limited opportunities to talk to interested parties-coffee and lunch breaks and before and after the meetings. For more information please open  the registration link above.


Registered exhibitors will be provided a skirted 6' table, two chairs, a trash can, coffee and lunch for one person. The Convention Center's fee for those is $75. Should electricity be needed, an additional $75 is charged.  Please contact the Diocesan office with questions at [email protected].

St. Anne's, Tifton
Church to Read the Entire Bible in 72 Hours
To kick off a year in which the congregation will read the Bible together through the week, members of St. Anne's will read all 66 books of the Old and New Testaments in 72 hours this weekend. St. Anne's members will take turns reading for an hour beginning Thursday, August 21 at 10 a.m. and running in a continuous chain of readers through Sunday, August 24 at 10 a.m. They expect to reach Revelation 22, at which point they will pause worship and read the final chapter of the Bible together.
Updated Prayer Cycles Posted Online

Two of the prayer cycles of the Diocese have been updated. You can download and print PDF versions of the prayer cycles here:


Diocese of Georgia Prayer Cycle

Clergy Spouses Prayer Cycle

Deacons Seek Nominations for Lay Servants
At the 2014 Diocese of Georgia Convention at the Jekyll Island Convention Center the deacons of the Diocese will award a layperson their Excellence in Servanthood Award for the fifth year in a row. This award is funded and sponsored by the Deacons of the Diocese of Georgia. Please know that:
  • This award is to be conferred upon a member of the laity;
  • You must obtain the permission of the layperson you wish to nominate;
  • Nominations must be postmarked between July 1 and September 1, and must include all of the requirements listed above;
  • The Selection Committee, comprised of members of The Deacon's Formation Council, will not consider any application postmarked later than September 1, 2014 or which does not contain all required paperwork.

Please prayerfully consider the lay people you know to decide whose service as a servant to others the deacons should consider when making their selection.


The full application is online here: 2014 Servanthood Nominations

The Loose Canon
Clear Away Obstacles to Congregation Growth

Churches function differently at different sizes. This is essential. But this can also be an obstacle to moving from one size to another. For example, if a church has coffee after the service in a space that is comfortably full with 25 people, the congregation should not be surprised when newcomers don't tend to stick around at a church that readily fills the space in the few minutes after the service. Despite the number of empty pew spaces, the congregation is sending the unintended message that they have enough people already. There is no room for more.


The problems are varied, but the root cause is the same: a congregation that behaves like a smaller church will tend to stay smaller. This is no law of nature and exceptions are possible. Yet it is all too common that a change in behavior could unlock more room to grow, if the congregation could just see the obstacle and make the change to make room for more people.


I learned this from my then 9-year old daughter, Griffin. I was newly in Camden County to start what would become King of Peace, Kingsland. The name had just been approved by Bishop Louttit. Griffin and I went to the post office in Kingsland to rent a PO Box. The postal worker explained that they had three sizes, the letter sized, the drawer and the bin. He left me with a form to fill out. That's when my daughter asked which one I was renting. I explained that we didn't have much money and so I would get the letter sized box. "Papa" she said, a bit of exasperation breaking through, "you don't want to have to change addresses later. What size box would the church we are going to become need?" Griffin is no church growth guru, but she does listen well and learn from what she hears. We had been around for the first 2.5 years of Church of the Spirit, an Episcopal church we helped found while in seminary. Griffin had heard this lesson taught and then learned the hard way. She wanted King of Peace to get it right the first time. Over the coming ten years, our drawer-sized box was often comfortably full after a few days and so I often had cause to give thanks for my daughter's wisdom.


The lesson of the PO Box has helped me to see many other obstacles to growth at King of Peace and elsewhere. The key question is a variation on the one Griffin asked me that day: What would you do if you were already the church you are called to be? Then you set about doing what the church you will become would do. Apply this lesson to welcoming newcomers, communication within the congregation, and so on. You will find and break through barriers to growth you would not see any other way. These same principles apply to discipleship growth. Is the Christian education program that once served you well, no longer what you need. How might God be calling you to change when or even how you teach the timeless truths of the Gospel? What other changes are needed to clear away obstacles to growth?


Faithfulness is the goal
Please do not hear me wrong. There are many reasons for numeric growth in attendance and many reasons why growth is limited. There is no set size a church needs to become to be real. There are reasons why a church of 30 or 80 may be exactly where you need to be. But there is no reason a congregation can not consider if there are any obstacles hindering its becoming what God has called it to be. Whatever growth that occurs is a work of the Holy Spirit, whether that growth is in discipleship or attendance or giving. Ours is not to tell God who to send our way. But as Christians, we do owe it to our Lord to make room for all God does send so that if they do not connect to our congregation, it is not because we were inhospitable or were not willing to accept the gifts of one arriving as a stranger. Faithfulness is our common call, no matter the size of the congregation. We should seek to become the most welcoming, accepting places we can be and leave the results to God. What obstacles might their be in your congregation?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary

For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.

-Luke 12:34

Please remember your church in your will.

Youth Programs
Register Now for 
Fall Gathering 
Get ready for an Epic Event at Honey Creek. We will kick off the Youth Programs year with a Divergent themed retreat September 19-21 at Honey Creek. This event for 6-12 graders 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. 

Snake Handling at the Acolyte Festival?

 The photo above garnered a lot of comments when it was posted on Facebook from the Acolyte Festival. No, we are not teaching snake handling to our acolytes. This photo was taken when the group took a little time out on Saturday afternoon to tour the Flint Riverquarium in downtown Albany.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia