January 20, 2015Volume 5, Number 21
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Bishop's Visitations
Gary Abbott to Retire
Companion Diocese
Clergy Spouse Conference
Bishop Louttit's Archive Page
The Jesus Prayer
Mardi Gras
Confirmation Retreat
Prison Ministry Conference
Toward the Cross
Social Media Connections
Article Headline
Web Links


This Sunday's Lections
Third Sunday after
the Epiphany
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Episcopalians Honor MLK in Parade

On Monday, the Episcopal group in Savannah's Martin Luther King Day Parade stretched along the route for as much as fifty yards with a banner, signs, and the float. Members of at least 12 congregations and the diocesan staff took part in the event. 


The 36th annual parade, sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance Association, included 315 parade entries. The parade route ends at St. Matthew's, Savannah, where Bishop Benhase officiated at a brief liturgy which included youth from the congregation reading portions of Dr. King's speech at the Lincoln Memorial best known for its lines "I have a dream". Click here for the full MLK Parade Photo Album


Diocesan Office Update    
Today, Rudy Reyes will visit with the students at the Episcopal Campus Ministry at Georgia Southern. 

This Sunday, Bishop Benhase makes his visitation to Trinity, Statesboro. 

Canon Logue will preach this Sunday at Annunciation, Vidalia, and then meet with the Interim Rector and Vestry for a Mutual Ministry Review.
Atonement, Augusta 
Bishop's Visitations 

 Pictured in front: Trent Mattson - Reaffirmed. Trez Rucker - Confirmed. and Robert Stewart - Received. Sanctuary party: Left to Right:  Suzanne Harrow, The Rev. Kurt Miller, Senior Warden Tony Kennelly, Bishop Benhase, Deacon Larry Jesion, Teresa Gaskin and Junior Warden Kathy Mullins.

Abbott to Retire from Full Time Ministry
The congregation of St. Luke's, Hawkinsville, will mark their final Sunday, January 25, with the only Rector in the church's more than century of ministry. The Very Rev. Dr. Gary L. Abbott, Sr. will retire this month after 47 years of ordained ministry in both the Baptist and Episcopal Church.

Born in Millen, Georgia (because Waynesboro had no hospital), he was raised in Waynesboro. Abbott graduated from Mercer University with a Bachelors in Christianity and History in 1969. That summer he married the former Billie Uselton of Augusta. The two would go on to have two sons, Gary Jr. and Russell. Abbott continued his education earning an M.Div. in 1972 from Southwestern Baptist Seminary and a D.Min. in 1978 from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. He did post-graduate study at The School of Theology at Sewanee from 2003-2005. First licensed to preach in his home church, First Baptist Waynesboro, in 1967, he was ordained to the Gospel Ministry on January 28, 1968 in the same church. From 1967-2001, Abbott served as Pastor and Interim Pastor of nine congregations including First Baptist Hawkinsville from 1982-1992 and First Baptist Milledgeville from 1992-2001.

Abbott served in many leadership positions in the Baptist Church including as Executive Committee Member of the Georgia Baptist Convention and as a member of the Mercer University Advisory Committee. He served as the Moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia in 1999-2000 and served two terms on that group's Coordinating Council in the 1990s. Always active in each community where he served, his involvement is too lengthy to detail, but includes work with the Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, Rotary, United Way, Kidney Foundation of Georgia, and the Georgia YMCA. As a pastor and priest who wears a badge, a significant part of Abbott's ministry has been as Sheriff's Department Chaplain in Baldwin and Pulaski Counties. Abbott is pictured above speaking to the diocesan convention in 2010 as St. Luke's was made a parish of the Diocese.

In the 1990s, he felt a call to sacramental worship that revealed an Anglican heart. He wrote at that time of the Eucharist as more than a mere symbol as the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Christ. He went on to say, "One of the things which captures me and feeds my spirit is the powerful sense of awe in Episcopal worship....It is the mystery of the Divine that captures me in awe."

Bishop Henry Louttit confirmed Gary and Billie Abbott in 2001, and ordained Gary to the diaconate in August 2002 and to the priesthood in February 2003. Abbott served first as Vicar and then of Rector of St. Luke's, Hawkinsville, as he guided that longterm mission to parish status. He also served as Disaster Coordinator for the Diocese of Georgia, hosting a meeting of the Episcopal Church's Province IV Disaster Preparedness Commission in Savannah. He served on the Province IV Commission and chaired it during 2012-2013. Abbott has served as an elected member of Diocesan Council and since 2012 as the Dean of the Central Convocation.

In retirement Gary Abbott plans to continue serving as chaplain to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office as well as serving as a supply priest in the Diocese of Georgia and in the Diocese of Atlanta.  "We've always lived in small, county-seat towns, and we enjoy the small town atmosphere of Hawkinsville," he says.  If possible, he'll work in some golf, gardening, reading, travel and quality time with the grandchildren.  Gary and Billie can look back on a lifetime of service to Christ's Body, the Church, as they look forward to retirement.

Companion Diocese
Mission Team Returns Today from the DR

The mission team from the Southeast Convocation of the Diocese of Georgia, led by the Rev. Dee Shaffer of St. Paul's, Jesup, has been at work in the village of El Carretón in our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic this past week. They are scheduled to return home on January 20th after working on a water project for the village and on replacing the leaking roof on a house. 


The Rev. David Somerville, the chaplain for the team, has written a detailed account of the work of the team in his weekly blog (link: Somerville writes from the DR). The primary objective of the team, the drilling of a well for the village to replace a polluted water source, was not accomplished because of late delivery of equipment and the unexpected presence of hard rock under the drilling site, but the team quickly adjusted to shift their work to replacing a house's leaking roof and teaching cultural awareness classes for the village children and the team members. This is the fourth consecutive year that a mission team from the SE Convocation has worked on this site. 


For an overview of the Diocese's mission work in the Dominican Republic since 2010, check here: (link: Diocese of Georgia Companion Diocese Web Pages). The next DR mission team, the second of six in 2015, is sponsored by St. Peter's, Savannah, and will conduct an optical clinic in the city of San Pedro de Macorís from January 31 - February 7.  


The pictures above show Katie Shaffer with children in the village, The Rev. David Somerville and Patrick Shaffer applying rust preventative to the corrugated roof sections for a house, and the colorful altar and back wall of the Episcopal church, San Antonio de Padua, in the village of El Carretón.

Clergy Spouse Conference  

Hello Clergy Spouses!Once a year, we gather together for a fun-filled weekend to share, support and encourage one another at our Clergy Spouse Conference. As clergy spouses, we know the importance of reflection and growth in our own spiritual lives as well as supporting our own spouse in his or her ministry. Many of us have benefited from these gatherings and we hope you will take the opportunity to be a part of this special community. If you have attended before, please encourage others to come. Some of us only see each other once a year at Diocesan Convention and we don't always have a chance to get to know one another. So come, relax and enjoy each other's company. - Jay Lacy 

This year Clergy Spouse Conference will be held at Honey Creek on Feb. 20th - 22nd, 2015.You may call Honey Creek at (912) 265-9218 or register online here:


Register Online 

 *If you need financial assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Diocesan Office at (912) 236-4279 or email Bishop Benhase at [email protected]

For more information, feel free to contact Leslie Parker at (912)232-2893 or [email protected], or Jay Lacy at (229) 472-2104 or [email protected].

Youth Programs 
Still Time to Register for Happening 

Happening #94 will be held at Honey Creek January 30- February 1, 2015 and is open to those in grades 10 - 12. Rachel Robinson from St. Paul's, Savannah will serve as Rector. During a Happening weekend, participants worship, play, sing, and talk about God's place in their lives. They make new friends who share similar concerns and questions - a reassuring discovery. 


A teenager who serves as "rector" leads the weekend with the help of a staff consisting mostly of young people. Some staff members give challenging talks, after which there's time for discussion and activity. Together, the staff and participants share in an exploration of the impact of Christian faith in their daily lives. Happeners who attend a weekend for their first time are called "Candidates." To be a Candidate, one must:

Bishop Louttit Emphasized Ministry of Baptized
In 1994, the Diocese of Georgia elected its second priest of the Diocese to be its diocesan Bishop. Bishop Louttit was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, son of Bishop and Mrs. H. I. Louttit, Sr. Married in 1962, he and his wife Jan have three children. Following graduation from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1963, he served Trinity, Statesboro. In 1967, Louttit became Rector of Christ Church, Valdosta, where he remained until election as bishop. He was consecrated bishop 21 January 1995 in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, GA. Louttit is pictured with his father following his ordination to the priesthood at Christ Church, Savannah.

In his first address as bishop to Diocesan Convention, Bishop Louttit stated he believed the ministry of the bishop to be: an encourager, friend, and prayer supporter; the link between congregations in our diocese, throughout the world, and back through time to the apostles; the chief administrator, planner, and visioner; trouble-shooter, and reconciler; the sharer of family stories, like the grandfather of the family; an icon model of Christian service.

Bishop Louttit's convention addresses focused on evangelism and church growth, conveying a firm concept of the ministry of "all the baptized" and "mutual ministry". He ministered pastorally to the people of the diocese during a time of continuing change and dissent in the life of The Episcopal Church, speaking frequently in meetings and in his convention address of the need for tolerance of a variety of theological positions. King of Peace was established in Kingsland, St. Luke's in Rincon, and in Evans County, Holy Comforter was established from St. Paul's, Augusta. A mission congregation, Our Savior, met in Honey Creek, with utilization of the chapel. A Lee County mission eventually failed. A gift of $500,000 enabled St. Luke's, Hawkinsville to become a parish.

In order that congregations which could not support a full-time priest would have the Eucharist every Sunday, Bishop Louttit initiated the training and formation of persons locally for ordination as priests and bi-vocational priests, without seminary degree, based on Canon 9 of the national Canons. The number of 'locally trained' Canon 9 clergy increased greatly in the diocese during his episcopate. Believing there should be at least one vocational deacon in every parish and mission, Bishop Louttit ordained many deacons.

Bishop Louttit strove to keep the diocese united during a period of great controversy following the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, a partnered homosexual. During his episcopate, in two congregations only, St.Thomas, Thomasville, and Christ Church Savannah, did some members leave the Episcopal Church to begin new congregations. Bishop and Jan Louttit are pictured above at a dinner during the General Convention in 2006.

The more complete history of his episcopacy is found online here: Bishop Louttit's Episcopacy. This completes a four-part series on the sixth through ninth Bishops of Georgia.
Kamp Phun Serves Children of Incarcerated Persons

Kamp PHUN if you don't know is a camp for children who have are have had a parent incarcerated. These children have had a hard time and we just don't know what they have had to face. A lot of them are being raised by there Grandparents. We provide a safe, caring and loving time and hope to make a different with these kids so they don't fall into the same role. I do believe we do this as I have heard from some of the kids after camp and it does mean a lot to them. 


This camp is a free camp for the children and transportation is provided. With that said it cost $1000 a child to go to this camp. All money is donated by individuals and congregations.  This Camp will meet at Honey Creek on July 26 - August 1. If any would like to help in any way  please let me know. Also visit us on Facebook.

Cindy Coward, [email protected]912) 355-0398

The Loose Canon

Contemplative Prayer for a Busy Mind

Jesus told a parable of two men who go to the Temple in Jerusalem to pray. The first stands and says to God for all to hear, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income." This first prayer is all about the man praying and how he deserves God's blessings.

The second man stands off to the side, head down beating his breast. His prayer is one from the heart and he cries out to God, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" And it was this second man, in Jesus' parable who is justified in God's eyes, for he lays his whole life before God and asks only for mercy.

This prayer of the humbled tax collector forms the basis for The Jesus Prayer-a prayer central to the Orthodox understanding of Christianity. The Orthodox churches, such as Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox were separated by political divisions from Christianity in the west for more than 1,000 years. There is within the Orthodox understanding of Christianity vast depths of wisdom which many of us who live West of Constantinople have never experienced. I want to offer this decidedly Orthodox form of prayer-The Jesus Prayer-as a possible new avenue for you in your life of personal prayer.

The prayer itself is the utmost in simplicity. Merely seven words: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. That's the whole prayer. This prayer takes as its pattern, the prayer of the tax collector who said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" There is a longer form of the prayer used sometimes which is "O Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." But the most common form is the shorter, seven-word version. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

The way I do this is to breathe in while thinking Lord Jesus Christ, and then exhale while thinking have mercy on me. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Try this prayer with me. I'll say the words. You just think them and breathe in and out with the words.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Over time I have come to see that "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me" says the same thing to me as "Your will be done on earth as in heaven." The Jesus Prayer is a prayer for whatever our Lord has for us. Not a prayer demanding some set solution, but a prayer open to whatever is God's mercy.

Praying this prayer for others
Once I came to see that, I started to use the prayer in a way I have never seen written or discussed. Yes, I know that The Jesus Prayer is an interior prayer, a prayer for contemplation. Yet I started to use the prayer to pray for others. Sitting at the bedside of my wife's dying grandmother, Hulda. I was grieving myself and all out of words, so I matched my breathing to hers and prayed, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on Hulda." Her breath, my breath, one prayer. Since then, I have prayed that way at other bedsides, in waiting rooms and courtrooms. "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on" and then I add the name of the person for whom I want to pray.

Deep Wisdom
But mostly I use the prayer as it has been used for centuries and I have found that here is deep wisdom in it. A deeper understanding of God in being humble enough to stop giving God the answers we are seeking, and instead just seeking the God who answers the prayers we don't even know how to put into words.

This form of prayer will not be for everyone who reads this. But if this seems like something God might be challenging you to try, then be sure not to forget the advice of Nicephorous the Solitary who said, "patiently continue with this activity for some time, and a way to the heart will be opened for you without any doubt. We have learned this by experience."

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

St. Paul's, Augusta
Mardi Gras Event Supports Food Ministries

The annual Mardi-Gras Fundraiser Party at St. Paul's, Augusta, will be held on Saturday, February 14, 2015, at 7 p.m. in the festively decorated River Room of the church located at 605 Reynolds St., Augusta. Paul Roberts All-Star Band will provide a variety of dance music. A Cajun dinner will be served. Beer and wines and will be available at a no-host bar. Auction offerings will also be featured. All proceeds are earmarked to help fund the congregation's signature food ministries which serve those in need in our Community. Tickets are $40 per person. They may be purchased in advance online at www.saintpauls.org, at the church office, or at the door. Phone (706) 724-2485 for information. Costume optional.

Lenten Retreat at Honey Creek
Whether you want to deepen your understanding of the Episcopal Church or are preparing for confirmation, we hope that you will join us for this exciting weekend! The Confirmation Retreat this year is open to both youth and adults. It will be held at Honey Creek from February 20-22, 2015.

This year's retreat will be led by Maggie Bloodworth, and the Revs. Kevin Kelly and Charles Todd. Topics covered will include Scripture, Creeds, Sacraments, Prayer, Church History, and an Instructed Eucharist.

If you need further assistance with registration, please contact: Maggie Bloodworth at (478)892-9373 or [email protected]
Diocese of Florida's Prison Ministry Conference
This is a practical conference for those involved in Prison and Post-Release Ministries. Attendees will not only worship together, but also hear national speakers who have real world experience making change happen while gaining useful tools to make a positive spiritual difference in the lives of the imprisoned and their families. The conference will meet Wednesday, March 4 at 12:00 p.m. - Friday, March 6 at 12:00 p.m. 

The keynote speaker will be Byron R. Johnson, author of More God, Less Crime. Johnson is a Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Institute for Studies of Religion as well as director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior, both at Baylor University. Before joining the faculty at Baylor University, Johnson directed research centers at Vanderbuilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, and criminal justice. 
There will be a number of speakers and experts along with panel discussions that will take place throughout the conference. A sampling of speakers includes: Michael Hallett, Ph.D of the The Angola Prison Rodeo, The Rev. Deacon Crabtree of Death Row Hospice Care, Ike Griffin of Horizon Communities in Prison; Boots on the Ground, Evelyn Lemly of Kairos Prison Ministries, The Rev. Dr. Allison DeFoor and many more. 
There will be a Prison Ministry Fair located on the grounds of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, open throughout the conference. For more information about this, please contact Paula Suhey at  [email protected] or by phone, 904-356-1328. 

The fee is $100.  Make your own hotel reservation by calling: The Hampton Inn & Suites Amelia Island Historic Harborfront, 19 S. 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida 904-491-4911 The Hampton Inn & Suites, 2549 Sadler Road, Fernandina Beach, Florida 904-321-1111

Toward the Cross

Tommy Townsend of St. Mark's, Brunswick, took this photo on a walk to the Memorial Cross at the University of the South (Sewanee) where he is one of four students from the Diocese of Georgia taking part in a two-week program there as a part of their formation to serve as bi-vocational priests. The Diocese has partnered with Sewanee with a two-year program in eight subjects, which is paired with training in the Diocese. Students spend a total of two months at the seminary during two years of studies in this distance learning program.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia