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September 9, 2014Volume 5, Number 2
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Fall Gathering
St. Luke's, Rincon
Gospel of Matthew
The Loose Canon
Legacy
Youth Presence Workshops
Common Song Workshop
Night of Joy
Social Media Connections
Web Links
 
 

 


This Sunday's Lections
14th Sunday after Pentecost
Join Our Mailing List
Deaconess Alexander Resolution

The deadline for resolutions for our November Diocesan Convention was September 7. In addition to some proposed canonical changes being considered this coming weekend by Diocesan Council, a resolution was filed to call on the General Convention meeting in 2015 to add Deaconess Anna Alexander to the commemorations of the church in Holy Women/Holy Men. A similar resolution was passed unanimously in 2011 and did place Deaconess Alexander before the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music (SCLM). The SCLM held a hearing on proposed additions to the calendar and Deaconess Alexander received good arguments made in her favor with no opposition. The matter was, as anticipated, referred for study between that 2012 convention and the 2015 General Convention which meets next summer in Salt Lake City. The new resolution will assure that the proposed calendar addition makes back to the General Convention for consideration.

  

Born circa 1865, Anna E.B. Alexander became in 1907 the only African-American ever set aside as a deaconess in the Episcopal Church. She help found Good Shepherd Church in rural Glynn County's Pennick community where she taught children to read - by tradition, from the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible-in a one-room schoolhouse. The school was later expanded to two rooms with a loft where Anna lived. She ministered in Pennick for 53 years, leaving a legacy of love and devotion still felt in Glynn County. Her witness - wearing the distinctive dress of a deaconess, traveling by foot from Brunswick through Darien to Pennick, showing care and love for all whom she met-represents the best in Christian witness.
 

The full text of the resolution is found online here:

Deaconess Alexander Resolution

 

Convention 2014

The full information on the 193rd Convention of the Diocese of Georgia is all at our convention website:

http://convention.georgiaepiscopal.org

Diocesan Office Update    

This Friday and Saturday, Bishop Benhase, Canons Willoughby and Logue, and Elizabeth Burns will meet with Diocesan Council at St. Luke's, Hawkinsville.

 

On Friday and Saturday, Elizabeth Burns will be in Tifton for Youth Presence Ministries.
 

On Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Luke's, Hawkinsville. 

 

On Monday, Program Manager Rudy Reyes will meet with the Columba House Augusta Advisory Board in Augusta. 

A movie trailer style video to promote Fall Gathering
A movie trailer style video to promote Fall Gathering

Youth Programs
Register by September 15 for an Epic Weekend
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 has a movie also out on video. In Divergent, the world is divided into factions based on virtues like candor always tells the truth and dauntless is courageous. You've been to middle school, so you know about factions.   

During the weekend, you will get to test which faction may be right for you and then participate based on that choice. Different factions will be doing activities based on the group selected. We will also spend some of the time with middle school and high school split up. But we won't only be divided. We will also find out together what it is like to be factionless and how each of us is divergent, combining more than one ability. 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 directors will be Misty Graham of St. Thomas Isle of Hope in Savannah and Canon Frank Logue who will work with our Missioner for Youth, Elizabeth Burns, the Rev. Joshua Varner will be with us all day Saturday for music and we'll have a team helping to pull off this unique youth event. Come enjoy The Creek with singing, games, worship, and more. Scholarship assistance is available.

NOTE: You DO NOT need to read the books or see the movie to enjoy this weekend.

 

Register online for Fall Gathering now!

St. Luke's, Rincon 
Brushes with Fate

Brushes with Fate began in the spring of 2014 as an outreach ministry of St. Luke's, Rincon.  The new ministry began partly inspired by the tradition that Saint Luke the Evangelist wrote the first icon, partly from the previous experience of St. Luke's Youth & Children's Minister Roger Speer, as an instructor at a sip and paint.  Brushes with Fate offers a space for prayer and meditation along with panting instruction.

 

Part of the outreach of Brushes with Fate comes from the partnering of St. Luke with local coffee shop, Baibry's Coffee & Café, to hold classes for the public once a month. "Our hope," says Speer, "is to build Brushes with Fate into a mobile art class that can 

travel across the county to shops, cafe's, and even other churches to bring a message that creation at any skill level is an act of prayer, and should be honored and nurtured."

 

Brushes with Fate currently meets on alternate Fridays at St. Luke's and Baibry's, adding more classes as need demands. For more information on this dynamic new ministry email Roger Speer directly, [email protected].


 

Pictures of this past class at St. Luke's on Friday, Sept. 5: https://www.facebook.com/BrushesWithFate
St. Paul's, Albany
Hear the Gospel of Matthew as Never Before
You are invited to a spectacular and dramatic presentation of scripture, light, and movement when Michael Reardon and Patrick Lane bring The Gospel of Matthew to the Diocese of Georgia. This is a profoundly moving and totally captivating work of faith, making the Scripture come alive in a fresh way, with music, lighting, and costuming, proclaimed in the oral tradition of the early church. Michael and Patrick have traveled around the world with this prayerful and powerful ministry of proclamation. This one-time performance will be held Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm at St. Paul's, 212 North Jefferson St, Albany, Georgia. The 2-hour long production is $10 for adults and $5 for those under 16.

Michael Reardon has memorized the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as the Book of Revelation, and performs them dramatically worldwide. Patrick Lane, Director, Musician and Lighting Artist, has designed the special effects and written the original music, all of which is done live for each performance.  They have given over 1000 performances in cities throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Republic of China, Europe, and Israel.
The Loose Canon
How to Invite Newcomers and Incorporate Them

If we are to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus, we will need to do more than wait for people to join us in the pews. There is nothing in Jesus' teaching that recommends that approach. But by word and example, Jesus taught those who follow him to go and tell and to invite others to come and see. Here are some steps your congregation can take to be faithful to this call:


 

Personal Invitation
Those who attend your church now making a personal invitation to friends and co-workers are the best way for you to connect with new people. But this is most true for those who are new to your church. Newcomers know a whole new group of people to invite who may not yet have heard of your church. Teaching in newcomer classes on the importance of invitation and talking through ways to do this, combine this together with teaching the five-minute rule (that those who attend the church should give the first five minutes after church to meeting new people, before turning to talk to those they already know). Doing this raises the awareness with those new to your congregation and in so doing extends the reach of your church. In support of this, creating an attractive brochure to share, or printed invitations to Christmas and Easter services make the invite even easier.

Printed Invitations
Sending out invitations to those with changes of address is a great way to reach those most likely to be looking for a new church. There are mailing services found online that will sell changes of address information. Real Estate agents should have access to this information for free. Sending out a card with an invitation to join you for worship is a way to make a direct connection with those who may be shopping for a church.

The Bishop and I have gone out with the Rev. Joshua Varner, knocking on doors in Pooler and handing out invitation to worship at St. Patrick's. They are blessed with a lot of new housing within a mile of the church and have tried the direct aproach to contacting their neighbors.

Hospitality and Incorporation
But no matter what you do to invite people to your church, it is hospitality and newcomer incorporation which connect people to your congregation. Get the invitation right and this wrong and your church will not grow. Skip all of the above and get this right and you can still grow. Put it all together and you set the stage for numeric growth in attendance. I have found that when we do all we can to prepare to welcome new people, the Holy Spirit speaks to hearts and minds and new people start showing up. For in the end, all we are discussing is not about the church alone, but about the church as a means of connecting people more closely to God through the local church, and this is not something we do alone, but an activity in which we join with what God is already doing in the lives of the people we want to reach.

Celebrate the Gift of Hospitality
This means that we will need to identify people with a real gift for hospitality. I know I get more credit for growing a congregation than I deserve. It was the genuine welcome provided by church members with a real God-given knack for welcoming, that did more than I could ever have accomplished to connect folks to the church. In your congregation, you have people who are good at this already. They need to be encouraged and the work they do in looking out for and speaking to visitors needs to be elevated and set as a model to others. This will not be a gift shared by all in your church, so make sure those who are good at greeting know their abilities are valued and encourage them in this vocation.

Incorporating Visitors
Once newcomers have arrived, have those who greet them encourage signing in the guestbook. This will get a physical address and an email address and phone number. It is a best practice for each visitor to get a letter from the Vicar or Rector within a few days of the visit. One other contact is also a best practice. For some congregations, this means "mugging" the newcomer by having a couple of people on a hospitality committee drop by with a coffee mug in a bag with a brochure and the most recent newsletter. Other congregations take fresh baked bread. Still others rely on a phone call. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is a low impact contact. Whether dropping something by or making a call, it should only be a brief visit in which it is clear that something is being dropped off with no expectation. We want to balance being in contact, with seeming to attack.

Newcomers who come back a couple of times should be encouraged toward a newcomers' class or meeting. Whatever your church uses to do this, it should be made clear how someone can get more involved in your church in a way meaningful to them.

The Good News
Worry about giving and giving will decrease. Worry about attendance and that too will lessen. Instead, try lifting up the virtue of taking on these practices of hospitality because that is how Christians are to behave and leave the results to God. The Good News is that every congregation should already be doing all it knows how to do to reach out to others and invite them in. This is what we are to do, not for the sake of growing a churchor even maintaining the status quo. We are to invite and welcome for the sake of the Gospel. 

  

There will be few, if any, people in your community looking for an Episcopal Church. But everywhere you go, everyone you meet needs, deeply needs, a relationship with God as found in Jesus Christ. For some in your community, that will only happen with integrity when they find their way to come and worship with your congregation. Making the invitation, being hospitable to those who come and incorporating them into the Body of Christ is simply living into who we are to be as followers of Christ.

  

The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary
 

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

-Luke 12:34

 

Please consider remembering your parish in your estate planning!

Register for Youth Presence Adult Teams Training

The Second Round of Youth Presence Ministry Workshops is starts this weekend.  At the workshop we will recapture the vision teams set in the spring time.  We will also discuss getting the team on board, relational ministry, model of ministry, and faith development and spirituality of our youth.  The workshops will take place on Friday evening from 6-9 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.  The cost for the workshop is $30, which includes dinner on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and all workshop material.

 

Upcoming Dates: 

September 12-13  St Anne's Tifton

September 26-27  St. Paul's Savannah

October 24-25   Flowing Wells Property Augusta

 

Click here to registration for Youth Presence Adult Teams Training

Common Song Workshop This Sunday

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. 

Night of Joy

St. Paul's Jesup Youth (pictured above) and St. Thomas Thomasville (pictured below) attended Night of Joy at Disney this year to see and hear contemporary Christian groups Casting Crowns and Mercy Me!

 

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Sincerely,                                       
            
Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia