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September 23, 2014Volume 5, Number 4
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Fall Gathering
St. John's, Bainbridge
Women's Retreat
Clergy Conference
Convention Website
The Loose Canon
Legacy
Parish Administrator Sought
General Convention 2015
Youth Presence Workshops
The Gift of Sight
Social Media Connections
Web Links
 
 

 


This Sunday's Lections
16th Sunday after Pentecost
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Honey Creek Chapel Laser Cut Art
To both generate support for our Camp and Conference Center and share a work of art by a young woman who has been very involved in our youth and young adult programs, the Diocese of Georgia is offering a unique way to give. Rachel Greneker created an original 16×20 papercut of the Honey Creek Chapel and we are offering an opportunity for you to make a donation to Honey Creek and receive an actual lasercut work of art. Order by October 10 to receive an 11×14 for a $55 donation or $85 for a 16×20. They will be available for pick up at the diocesan convention on Jekyll Island on November 7. Shipping for those who can not pick up the lasercut reproduction is $8. See detail photos below and click here for a brief video of the papercut


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Diocesan Office Update    
Bishop Benhase is traveling back tomorrow from the House of Bishop's Fall Meeting. On Sunday, he will make his visitation to King of Peace, Kingsland, in the morning and St. Mark's, Woodbine, in the afternoon.

 

On Thursday, Program Manager Rudy Reyes will visit with the Episcopal Campus Ministry at Valdosta State University.  

 

Bishop Benhase and Canon Logue will be at the Clergy Conference at Honey Creek starting on Sunday. 


Braving the Showers for an Epic Fall Gathering 
Rain late Friday and through a good part of Saturday did not dampen the enthusiasm of the more than 40 participants at this weekend's Fall Gathering, a retreat for those in grade 6-12. 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. 
  
Any middle school knows factions well and so we used the weekend to talk about the good and bad of groups and how the Body of Christ is so much more. The spiritual directors were 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 who was with us Friday night through all day Saturday for music, reflections and more. A photo album of the fun is online here

During our Divergent-themed weekend, we learned about the factions within the trilogy of novels and also the plight of those with no faction, who are the homeless of that world. During the weekend, we made signs to hold up as if God is the one passing by. What do we want to say to God? The video below captures the pain and the joy of their messages to God:
Fall Gathering - Factionless
Fall Gathering - Messages for God
 
 
  

St. John's, Bainbridge

Celebration for the Refreshed Parish Hall

Parishioners at St John's, Bainbridge, processed after Holy Eucharist Sunday to their refreshed Parish Hall to celebrate its new look, for the blessing of its many parishioner-created works of art, and for the blessing of personal crosses. Among art are stained-glass pieces by Chris Nelson, including the Episcopal shield that hangs above the parish hall entry. Parishioners who also contributed to the new look are wood-worker Charlie Murphy and quilter Phyllis Wilkinson.
  

Juliet Richards, Mary Ellen Holly, Murphy, and Nelson were the team that coordinated the building's new interior look, following guidance offered by Laurie McCall and Rusty McCall of Christ Church, Valdosta. 

  

Readers for the blessing, in addition to the team, were Senior Warden Cathy Stevens and Junior Warden Janice Pearce. The Rev. Marcia McRae, priest-in-charge, was the officiant. At left, Chris Nelson, who created this stained-glass Episcopal shield, prepares to read at the blessing of the Parish Hall at St. John's, Bainbridge. The stained-glass Episcopal shield now hangs above the Parish Hall entrance at st. John's, Bainbridge. Pictured above, are the crosses parishioners at St. John's brought for a blessing as a part of the blessing of the renewed Parish Hall. 

Purpose Filled Women Retreat at Honey Creek
Dr. Tammy Smith is the speaker for a Women's Retreat scheduled for November 14-16 at Honey Creek. The theme of the retreat is "Purpose Filled Women: Living a Life of True Peace and Joy in Christ." Sponsored by St. Elizabeth's, Richmond Hill, the retreat runs from Friday afternoon through lunch on Sunday. The cost is $158 for a single room and $117 for a double room. The fee includes the full conference, two nights lodging and six meals. 
  
A registration fee of $15 is due by October 15. For more information or to reserve a place, contact Emily Hubbard at (912) 856-7902 or [email protected].
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 www.congregationaldevelopment.com
  

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 

Convention Website
All the information you need on the 193rd Convention of the Diocese of Georgia meeting on Jekyll Island and at Honey Creek from November 6-8 is found in the convention website: http://convention.georgiaepiscopal.org

There you will find accommodations, election information, a resolution under consideration and more.
The Loose Canon
A Way to Put Church Attendance Data in Perspective

Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) is one commonly used indicator of the strength of a worshiping community. There are problems with this as it does not take into account the ministry of the people to their community. It also misses the importance of mid-week liturgies or that more families are attending less frequently while considering the family "all in" as members of a congregation. Nonetheless, ASA is useful. But getting Sunday attendance to more than 100 must be more difficult in a county of 25,000 people than in a county of 100,000 people, right? 

 

To add some perspective, since 2011, I have taken the ASA of every congregation in the Diocese and divide it by the population within a five-mile radius of the church. Why a five-mile radius when plenty of people drive further to church? Honestly, because I had access to that statistic for every congregation and it seemed a useful measure. Church with 3,000 within a 5-mile radius, seldom have much larger populations just beyond that boundary and if they do, it is less likely for someone to leave a populated area to head to a less populous place for church. We tend to go farther in directions we are accustomed to traveling, and less far when it is not on one of our usual routes.

  

So how do we do?
It turns out, that on average, .35% of the population within a five-mile radius is reflected in the ASA of the church. If a Diocese of Georgia congregation in an area with 10,000 people on Sunday is average, the church will have 35 people in church on Sunday. That average reflects a range from 2% to .02%. The church with the highest attendance to population ratio is Christ Church, Frederica (pictured above). With 315 in ASA with 16,028 living within five miles,roughly 1 in 50 people are in church on Sunday. Though as I have noted in a previous report, to be fair the congregations of St. Andrew's (pictured below) and St. Cyprian's in Darien may have two buildings and two vestries, but they share a priest in southeast convocation dean, the Very Rev. Ted Clarkson, and they share the same sparse population. Their combined Sunday attendance of 122 in a town of 5,000 means they top the chart together at 2.5%. I have created a chart with all of the above average congregations noted along with some aggregate data for cities: 2013 ASA data in Context

  

What does this mean?
First, please hear me clearly that this statistic was created to help set useful targets for growth based on experience, not to judge the effectiveness of existing ministry. Nor is this meant to suggest limits to the work of the Holy Spirit, but to give more useful comparisons. Churches low on the scale may be quite successful in other ways. For example, the next to lowest church on the scale happens to be Christ Church, Augusta which has one of the highest ratios of people touched by the ministry of the church each week compared to ASA (see this video for the Christ Church, Augusta story shown together with ministry at the churches in Darien). So take the data as it is intended. Look at your attendance compared to the population. Consider what this means for your church as you set reasonable goals with a strategy for reaching those goals.

   

Another approach
Or, you could always toss all the data aside and preach the Gospel and reach out in love to your community. Connect in meaningful ways to those around your church. Offer the life-changing love of God as found in Jesus Christ. Invite folks in to your church and into relationship with God and then integrate those who come into the life of the church, discipling them in the faith. That is always appropriate no matter what the data says. 

The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary


Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
-Hebrews 13:16 

 

Please remember your church in your will.

St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah

Part-Time Parish Administrator Sought

St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah is seeking a part-time Parish Administrator. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:00-1:00. We are looking for someone with strong interpersonal skills, as the Parish Administrator is usually the first person a guest or parishioner encounters during the week, and also someone fluent with basic computer programs - Word, Excel, Quickbooks, etc. Since the Administrator works closely with the Rector, good organizational skills and an understanding of the importance of confidentiality are must haves. If you are interested, please send a resumé to the Rev. R. Kevin Kelly at [email protected].

General Convention 2015
New Volume "A Great Cloud of Witnesses" Proposed
The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) is proposing a new volume titled "A Great Cloud of Witnesses," that would include a wide array of possible commemorations for individuals and congregations to observe.

"Recognizing that there are many perspectives on the identity and place of exemplary Christians in the life of the church, this volume proposes that the metaphor of a 'family history' is a fitting way to describe who is included," writes Derek Olsen, a member of the commission, on the SCLM blog. "As such, the title of this volume is drawn from the Epistle to the Hebrews, that "we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1). Those people found in this volume are not all definitively declared to be saints but are Christians who have inspired other Christians in different times and places to the commemoration of saints."

"The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music welcomes suggestions and comments as we prepare for General Convention 2015," said the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, chair of the SCLM and alternate deputy from the Diocese of California. "We hope that this new approach responds to the feedback we've received on Holy Women, Holy Men."

Read the press release. The entire proposal is posted on the SCLM blog; submit your comments on the blog or via email to [email protected].

Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church
Letter to the church, churchwide meeting on October 2
On September 4, the Task Force for Reimagning the Episcopal Church issued a letter to the church providing "an update about our thinking and emerging recommendations for your prayerful consideration and feedback." The group will publish its final report and legislative proposals in December. Some perspectives on the letter have been gathered together online hereSome perspectives on the letter have been gathered together online here.
  
The Task Force will hold a churchwide meeting at Washington National Cathedral on October 2 at 7:30 pm Eastern to discuss its work. The meeting, which will be webcast, is open to the entire church. Dioceses are encouraged to send a bishop, a lay deputy, a clerical deputy, and one person under age 35, and in-person attendees are asked to register online. Registration is encouraged, but not required, for viewing the webcast. Click here to learn more about the meeting.
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 26-27  St. Paul's Savannah

October 24-25   Flowing Wells Property Augusta

 

Click here to registration for Youth Presence Adult Teams Training

The Gift of Sight

 

About 800 pounds of donated medical supplies and optical examination equipment were inventoried and boxed up on September 20 at Christ Church, Valdosta, for shipment to the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Dr. Alan Peaslee, an optometrist who is a member of the optical clinic mission team from St. Peter's, Savannah, arranged for the donation of these supplies and equipment. 

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Sincerely,                                       
            
Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia