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November 11, 2014Volume 5, Number 11
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Bishop's Address
Convention Actions
Convention Awards
Convention Elections
Convention Photos
Videos
Opening Presentation
Green Summit
A Wonderful Surprise
Minisitry Videos
Honey Creek Thanksgiving
A Reflection
A Rousing Concert
Article Headline
Web Links
 
 

 


This Sunday's Lections
Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost
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Convention Brings Diocese Together

The 193rd Convention centered around the Eucharist under the live oaks at Honey Creek, which grounded the meeting in worship with the community feeling of a homecoming and dinner on the grounds. The major talks from Thursday's Evening Prayer sermon by the Very Rev. Ted Clarkson, through Canon Logue's Opening Presentation, the Bishop's Address, and the Rev. Lowell Grisham's sermon for the Eucharist, all took up the theme of having the courage to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ out into a lost and hurting world.

  

The work of the convention is captured in the reports below, and that work mattered. But as is so often the case, it is the connections across the Diocese both made and strengthened when the community gathers, which is the work of the Holy Spirit and an important part of the annual meetings. All of the work of the 193rd Convention remains archived at the Convention Website.

 

Diocesan Office Update    
This Sunday, Bishop Benhase will ordain Burt Derrick a deacon on Friday evening at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Annunciation in Vidalia. On Saturday, he will meet with the Albany Clericus, and on Sunday make his visitation to Holy Trinity, Blakely.

Canon Logue will preach this Friday at Annunciation, Vidalia for Burt Derrick's Ordination to the Diaconate. On Sunday, he will preach at St. Cyprian's and St. Andrew's churches in Darien.

The diocesan staff took off Monday for Veteran's Day and is back in the office today following up on convention. We offer this prayer for those who are serving in our Armed Forces on this November 11: Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bishop's Address
The Bishop's Address to convention was sent by email to the eCrozier email list. The full text of his address is online here: Convention 2014 Bishop's Address

The Revs. Tom Purdy (facing camera) and Sam Buice (facing away) take part in the discussion on the proposed "Congregations at Risk" canonical change.

Convention 2014
The Actions of the 193rd Convention
The convention passed the 2015 budget for the Diocese, received reports and also passed two resolutions.  

Proposed Canonical Changes 
The Diocesan Committee on Constitution and Canons proposed two canonical changes which the Diocesan Convention considered. The proposed new canon on financial investments in mission congregations received a lot of feedback prior to the convention and based on that, a substitute resolution written by the Treasurer of St. Richard's, Jekyll Island, was put forward as a substitute version of a proposed canon by the Committee on Constitution and Canons. That text was slightly amended for clarity and approved by the convention. The resolution in its final form is online here: Mission Congregations Investments 
  
  The proposed canonical change titled "Congregations at Risk" was discussed both Friday and Saturday in following the Convention agenda. The proposed change was tabled until the next convention. Bishop Benhase will name an ad hoc committee to work on the resolution and propose an amended version to the next convention. The proposed canon remains online here for reference while it is tabled for further consideration: Congregation at Risk (Constitution and Canons Committee member, the Rev. Robert Fain, is pictured above addressing the convention)

Deaconess Alexander
The convention passed a resolution calling on the 2015 General Convention of The Episcopal Church to add Deaconess Anna A.E. Alexander to its calendar saints commemorations. This is an identical resolution to the one passed in 2011 for the 2012 General Convention. This new resolution will keep this consideration before the churchwide meeting to be held in Salt Lake City next summer. The text of the resolution is online here: Deaconess Alexander  
  
Willoughby Named Honorary Canon for Life 
In its final action, the Convention unanimously approved the following resolution:    

"Whereas Mary Willoughby, as Canon for Administration brought a high level of professionalism to her work, creating both financial stability and transparency in the Diocese of Georgia, 
  
And whereas Canon Willoughby was a vital part of the team that saved the diocesan camp and conference center in its time of crisis, 
  
And whereas Canon Willoughby pursued her work in a way that exemplifies a true Christian vocation, 
 
Therefore, be it resolved that the 193rd Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia names Mary Willoughby an "Honorary Canon of the Diocese of Georgia for life."

Mary Willoughby has served on the diocesan staff as the Canon for Administration since 2010. She recently announced she will be stepping down to return to her consulting work full time. Bishop Benhase and staff are currently interviewing candidates for the position.


Canon Mary Willoughby is shown at right above with her husband, The Very Rev. William Willoughby III, and their daughter, Colleen.

Bishop Benhase presents Charlie Hough with the Bishop's Award, which is given annually for service to the Diocese of Georgia.

Convention 2014 
Awards Honor Service to Others, Church and Diocese
During its 193rd Convention, the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia honored three persons for their service to their community, congregation, or the Diocese. The Deacons of the Diocese of Georgia gave their annual award to Gayle Rockwell of St. Michael's Waynesboro, noting that she is an icon of the ministry of all the baptized to serve Christ through serving others. Among other ways she serves, Rockwell founded the Heaping Hands Soup Kitchen, which feeds the community a hot breakfast each Saturday. A video showing the work of Heaping Hands is online here.
  
The Deans of the six convocations gave their annual award to Bill Bruce for his commendable service to his congregation of King of Peace, Kingsland. Bruce has fulfilled every lay role in the congregation and is also involved in taking the church out into the community. He also serves as a Sewanee Trustee and the President of the Church Disciplinary Board for the Diocese of Georgia.

Bishop Benhase gave the Bishop's Award for service to the Diocese of Georgia to Charlie Hough. In addition to serving on the Standing Committee and the Board of the Corporation of the Diocese, Hough served as the Chair of the Honey Creek Commmission during the financial turnaround which saved our Camp and Conference Center and moved the operations into the black for now three years in a row.


The Very Rev. Ted Clarkson, Dean of the Southeast Convocation, presents Bill Bruce with the Dean's Award for Bruce's exemplary service to his congregation, King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, as Bruce's wife, Rita, stands by him.

Convention 2014 
Election Results for the 193rd Convention

In our first vote taken with electronic ballot, the voting process went smoothly. The following persons were elected by the convention:

  

Board of the Corporation (2 Lay Persons)

Carolyn Eager

Neil Victor

  

Diocesan Council (1 Lay Person, Deacon, or Priest)

The Rev. Joe Bowden, MD

  

Disciplinary Board (2 Lay Persons & 1 Deacon or Priest)

Bil Bruce
Alta Holton

The Rev. Ellen Richardson, M.D.

  
Sewanee Trustee (1 Priest)

The Very Rev. Ted Clarkson

  

The Standing Committee (1 Lay Person & 1 Priest)

Molly Stephenson

The Very Rev. Denise Ronn, Ph.D.

  
 

Convention 2014

Convention Photos Online for All to Share

The diocesan photo albums are open for all to use as a pool of photos for your own newsletters, websites, Facebook pages and more. You will find an album from the meeting online here: Convention 2014 Photos


 

  
The Very Rev. Ted Clarkson preaches at Evening Prayer on Thursday and at right the Revs. Jason Haddox, David Rose and Joshua Varner play for the Convention Eucharist. The three priests also played for the Evening Prayer service and Joshua and David for the youth led Morning Devotions.

 

  
Clergy at the Honey Creek Eucharist and Youth leading the song "Every Move I Make."


 

 
Ethan White and Caroline Brewer speak to Convention on the difference Youth Programs participation has made in their lives.

 


 
Clergy and delegates hold hands as Bishop Benhase (at left) offers a closing prayer.

Episcopal Development Agency of Thomasville
Episcopal Development Agency of Thomasville
 
Convention 2014 
Videos on EDAT, Congregational Development, and Camp

While the convention heard compelling reports from our work with young adults and youth from speakers who addressed the convention, several key reports were received by way of videos. These were reports on the work of 1) The Episcopal Development Agency of Thomasville, 2) Congregational Development work at St. Luke's, Rincon, and Christ Church, Cordele, supported by the Campaign for Congregational Development, and 3) A moving report on the long-term influence of our Summer Camp program on the spiritual lives of participants.

  
 

Congregational Development
Congregational Development in Rincon and Cordele
Honey Creek Summer Camp
Honey Creek Summer Camp
Below are excerpts from the talk given by Canon Frank Logue as the opening presentation
to Convention 2014. The full text of the presentation is linked below.

The Loose Canon
A Tour of the Mission Taking Place Each Week

"The word "Mission" gets used so much in the Church, that mission is in danger of becoming so laden with meaning that it crosses over into being meaningless. Let me take mission from the theoretical to the very real and practical. We are to make disciples of all nations and to care for the least among us. Here is a snapshot of who we are as a Diocese, right now, and what we are doing this coming week:

  

"It's Monday in Kingsland, Georgia where the first staff member arrives at 6:20 a.m. to open up the preschool. The 70 students 15 staff will soon fill King of Peace Episcopal Day School. The church will stay busy all through the day and into the night when twenty people come out for the Boy Scout Troop 226 Venture Crew before the preschool closes. While that meeting is taking place, the school board or vestry usually meets and the last person leaves at 9:30 p.m.

  

"Meanwhile just north in Brunswick, volunteers gather at 8:30 in the morning to get ready to give out food collected from five Episcopal Churches in the Golden Isles at St. Athanasius' Food Pantry. More than 100 people will leave with bags heavy with food for the coming two weeks.

  

"At noon Good Samaritan House opens its doors in Dearing, Georgia, 30 miles west of Augusta. In response to real need in the area, our Archdeacon, Sandy Turner, opened a free medical clinic with help from parishioners at Our Savior, Martinez, and in partnership with Dearing Baptist Church and others. More than 20 patients will receive free care until the clinic closes at 4:30 that afternoon.

  

"As the workday ends, it will be a full evening at Good Shepherd, Augusta, with the Prayer Shawl group gathering at 5 p.m., a Grief Group at 6:30p.m. and finally the Alcoholics Anonymous group starts at 8 p.m. Good Shepherd is not just active in its building, the congregation also gives significantly of its resources for God's work in the world. In 2014, this amounts to $340,500 or 26% of the church budget."

After completing the seven day tour, I continued..."To the degree we are in business, we are in the business of changing lives through the power of the Gospel. We serve in the midst of a lost and hurting world deeply in need of the forgiveness, healing and wholeness that come through Christ alone yet all too often sure that Christians have but nothing but judgment to offer. Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by people lost to drug and alcohol addiction, abusive relationships trapping them in violence and degradation, and all sorts of other harmful situations. For there are many kinds of oppression in the world, there is all kinds of hurt and sin, but there is only one source of healing and that is found in Jesus."


 
Then I spoke to the rate of baptism in the Diocese and the two congregations with significant numbers of adult baptisms in 2013 and continued..."I say this because we are not the Rotary Club at prayer or a social service agency. We are the Church and we don't just reach out in mission, we also have a story to tell about how Jesus has broken into our lives in a meaningful way. And still we can be shy about telling out stories of faith. And this is true even though every Episcopalian I have ever met shows strong evangelical tendencies. My fellow Episcopalians tell me about good restaurants to try in their town, the best hotel to stay at, good books to read, and movies to watch. We have lots of Good News to share and we do it effortlessly.


"The key is to bring this all together. Take the ways in which we are connecting to our communities as I shared in my tour of a typical week. See how we might not be afraid to share our faith with the new people God brings across our paths. It is not as difficult as you might imagine. We are not talking about witnessing in the way other denominations might. We are only saying don't keep how Jesus has made a difference in your life a secret from family and coworkers. Don't make your congregation one of the best kept secrets in your town."

 

You can find the conclusion of this talk in the whole presentation which is online here: Convention 2014 Opening Presentation.
 

-The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary

A Green Weekend

 

Green Convention

A large meeting usually means extra waste, but not so at Diocesan Convention this year, thanks to many efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.

 

Re-usable water bottles were provided for attendees instead of single-use bottled water. Paper products, food waste, and "eco-plastic" utensils and cups were collected for composting. A buffet lunch reduced the need for extra packaging and significantly reduced food waste, as people took only what they needed and liked. The Convention Center provided recycling receptacles for paper, plastic, cans and glass. 

 

Similar efforts were made at Honey Creek. 

Honey Creek only need one dumpster for the 400 person celebration and filled it to the same level as the previous week, when there was only 22 people on the grounds. 

 

The end result was a lighter waste footprint, increased awareness, inspiration, smiles, a sense of accomplishment, empty trash cans,and a deeper commitment to our call to steward God's Creation. Thank you to all who took extra time and care to make the system work smoothly - especially to volunteers who assisted at compost stations during breaks and meals, and who helped clean items off tables at the close of each day.


 

A special thank you to Michael Wood-Miles for donating a trailer and time to collect and transport compostables to Longwood Plantation, a commercial compost farm near Statesboro. And a big thank you to Mike Smith of Longwood Plantation for gladly accepting our compostables and making them into a product that will nurture the Earth.


 

Green Summit

Over twenty lay people and clergy from around the Diocese gathered on Saturday afternoon to network, reflect, share ideas, and envision environmental stewardship projects for the Diocese and its congregations. After reflecting on personal motivations and theological grounding for "green" discipleship, the group reviewed results from discussions held across the Diocese in recent months. From those responses, several priorities emerged for future projects:


 

-Community gardening and composting initiatives

-Educating children, youth, and young adults

-Water conservation/advocacy


 

The group discussed holding a conference in the spring and beginning phone meetings to explore opportunities for projects that advance these priorities. If you were not able to attend but are interested in being part of this ministry, contact Dcn. Leeann Culbreath.


 

A Wonderful Surprise 

As part of my preparation for ordination to the Diaconate, I had to have a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). I took my CPE training at University Medical Center (now Shands Medical Center) in Jacksonville, Florida. Shands is a rather large hospital and also has a level-one trauma center as part of the hospital. They had a full-time chaplaincy department, and there was always a chaplain on call 24/7 in the hospital. 

 

The CPE Supervisor and students were assigned to that department. There were six of us, and we gathered with our supervisor, an Episcopal priest, one or two days a week for training, discussion, and soul searching. The process, as I recall, took about a year to complete; and during that year, I learned much about myself and my ministry calling-some of which I did not want to know-but all of which has been useful in my ministry since.

 

If anyone had told me that I was called to pastoral care ministry, particularly in a hospital or Hospice setting, I would have strongly denied it. But one of the things I learned in that year was that I was indeed called to that ministry and came to love it. The Holy Spirit confirmed this, not only by way of how I came to feel about it, but through the confirmation of my fellow students, my CPE supervisor, and many of the patients I've worked with over the years. Now almost 15 years down the road of experience, pastoral care, particularly in the hospital and Hospice setting, is still the core of my ministry.

What is the point of my telling you this story? Seek and strive to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all things! Make yourself available for service, and you may just get wonderfully surprised-I did!

 


 

Deacon Ed Williams served as Deacon at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Georgia, and in the Brunswick community for almost 15 years, with a ministry focused on pastoral care and teaching. Named Deacon Emeritus in January 2010, Deacon Ed continues to serve on a limited basis in pastoral care ministry, makes hospital and hospice visits and takes Communion to homebound. He also leads a Men's Bible Study class week and serves as Examining Chaplain for Liturgics for the Deacon School for Ministry.

St. Athanasius' Food Pantry, Brunswick, Georgia
St. Athanasius' Food Pantry, Brunswick, Georgia
Convention 2014
Videos Bring Ministries into Convention
In addition to the three videos above, which were reports on work funded through our Campaign for Congregational Development, three shorter videos were shared on ministries in the Diocese which started with one congregation and have expanded to include other churches and the community. These are: 1) The Food Pantry at St. Athanasius, Brunswick, which involves now all five Episcopal Churches in the Gold Isles. 2) Good Samaritan House in Dearing, which is a ministry of our Archdeacon Sandy Turner together with others from her congregation, members of Dearing Baptist Church and others. 3) Rebecca's Café, a twice weekly community meal in Statesboro, which now includes volunteers from ten area groups.
Good Samaritan House, Dearing GA
Good Samaritan House, Dearing GA
Rebecca's Caf
Rebecca's Café, Statesboro

 

 Book your reservations for the Annual Honey Creek Thanksgiving!


November 27 at noon

Let Honey Creek serve your family and friends this year. We'll do the cooking and cleaning, you do the quality time together. Email or call Carolyn for reservations (912-265-9218 or [email protected] ), and relax this Thanksgiving.

Next Sunday's Gospel: Is It Logical

A reflection by the Rev. David Somerville
Author of the popular meditation series, The Reflecting Pond, Liane Cordes reminds us that We all "...have unique talents ...". Well who could possibly disagree with that? So let's go a little further with this observation, and ask, "Do we really use our talents to their fullest potential? Probably not. If we did, Cordes would not need to offer her reminder. 

This is November, the final month of the Christian year. Just a few days remain before the last Sunday after Pentecost. Our liturgical cycle has brought us to where we can see its finale not far ahead with both its natural and biblically symbolic metaphors of the Fall season. It is the time when we hear variations of a consistent theme in our work, thinking, and worship: The harvest of God is coming. Have we "done [all] the things we ought to have done with our talents? Will there be a bountiful yield of good things coming from the way we have used our talents? God willing, our various harvests will be bountiful enough- not only from the works of the strong and the bright which are easily recognized, but also from the non-work of the broken and disabled, who have kept the faith, and through that faith, given the able bodied affirmation, by their gratitude for their care of them.

Next Sunday's parable of the five, the two, and the single talent will remind us that the master who gave us ours to invest for the goodness of his creation will return. So a whole lot more than Christmas is coming! Are we ready to entertain the possibility that the Jesus we (think) we know may be coming to us in a whole new way? And when that happens, will our investments come to a maturity that will be enough to satisfy our atonement with him? Maybe we fear that some of our yields will not be as plentiful as we wish. The parable ends with the chilling picture of the single talent servant being cast into the outer darkness. 

 

This reflection on Sunday's readings by the Rev. David Somerville continues online here: Next Sunday's Gospel: Is It Logical

A Rousing Concert

Charlie and the Foxtrots play on the stage in front of the Chapel following the Convention Eucharist. Group members Chas and Jeremy grew up at Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesboro and were active in our Episcopal Campus Ministry at Georgia Southern prior to forming the band.

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Sincerely,                                       
            
Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia