May 13, 2015Volume 5, Number 37
In This Issue


This Sunday's Lections
Seventh Sunday of Easter
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Financial Oversight Is Critical

Late last year we discovered serious financial irregularities in one of our congregations. Upon a thorough investigation, we determined that an elected leader of the congregation had stolen over $50,000 of church funds. My staff immediately worked with the congregation's leadership and their financial institutions to end any further unauthorized transactions.


Our next step was to contact the insurance company that insures us against financial infidelity and then, as required by our insurance, to contact law enforcement. I then had a teleconference with our Standing Committee and Chancellor to inform them fully of the situation. The Standing Committee concurred with my decision for the Diocese to temporarily take control of the congregation's finances until this situation was fully resolved. We did this in consultation with the congregation's priest and then followed that up with a vestry meeting to explain our actions.


When confronted, this congregational leader admitted guilt and promised full restitution. Late last week, the individual made full restitution. What law enforcement chooses to do or not do is their concern. We are most concerned with the ongoing pastoral care of the people of this congregation. We also are concerned for the individual who committed this act. We pray for the person's repentance. We hope for the person's renewed relationship with God whose grace is poured out for saint and sinner alike.


This incident reminds all of us who have oversight of church funds that the policies we have in place for managing those funds must be followed completely. We accept no short cuts. When these policies are followed, incidents like this do not happen or their likelihood is greatly diminished. Our most important currency as church leaders is the trust that our parishioners have in us. This is not just true of financial oversight. When there is a scandal like this, it erodes trust and that can have an adverse effect on people's generosity in support of God's mission through the Church.


I ask all of us to pray for the continued generosity of God's people in the Diocese of Georgia and particularly for the congregation affected by this incident. I also ask your prayers for the person who violated our trust. This person, like all of us, stands in the need of God's mercy and compassion, which is given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.


-Bishop Benhase

Diocesan Office Update    

On Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to Holy Comforter, Martinez.

Canon Logue will preside and preach this Sunday at St. Peter's, Savannah, as that congregation celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Canon Willoughby met with the Board of the Corporation yesterday. She will meetwith the vestry of St. Matthew's this Sunday and the Finance Committee next week on May 20.

The Rev. Anna Martin Henderson (1942-2015)

The Diocese of Georgia mourns the loss of the Rev. Anna Martin Henderson who died on May 5. Anna was a retired priest, licensed to officiate and serving as she was able at St. Matthew's, Savannah.


Born in 1942 to the Rev. Thaddeus and Eleanora Martin, she grew up at St. Athanasius', Brunswick, where her father was the longtime rector. A 1964 graduate of St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1966, she married Enoch Henderson. She earned a Masters from Rutgers in 1973. In response to a long felt call to the priesthood, Anna attended the General Theological Seminary in New York City where she graduated in 1991. Ordained to the diaconate in 1991 and the priesthood in 1992, she served with the Bayshore Cluster Ministry of Congregation in New Jersey from 1991-1995. She next served as the Vicar of St. Anselm's in Nashville, Tennessee from 1996-2001. And at the time of her retirement in 2005, she had served for four years as the Assistant Rector of St. Edmund's in Chicago.


The Diocese held a Requiem Eucharist on May 11 with Bishop Benhase presiding and the Rev. Joslyn Angus preaching. Parishioners and clergy from other congregations attended including St. Athanasius, Brunswick, and St. Paul's, Atlanta, where Henderson's siblings are members. The gathered clergy are pictured below following the liturgy. 

Community Update 

The Vestry of St. John and St. Mark's, Albany, has called Jonathan Tuttle to serve as their Lay Pastoral Leader while he continues his process toward ordination to the priesthood. Tuttle has an undergraduate degree from Milligan College. He graduated Summa Cum Laude this past weekend from Duke Divinity School with a Masters of Divinity. A Lay Pastoral Leader is provided for in the Canons of the Episcopal Church for a lay person to be in charge of a congregation with the permission of the Bishop. As a seminary-trained aspirant for Holy Orders, Tuttle will preach, teach, and provide pastoral care. Mentorship will be provided by the Very Rev. Lee Lowery, Rector of St. Paul's, Albany, where Tuttle will serve on Sunday evenings and assist in pastoral care when needed. Supply priests will provide a sacramental ministry for the Sunday liturgies. His first Sunday will be June 7. Johnny is pictured at left with his wife, Nicki, and their son, Eli, who was born in March. Nicki is an Occupational Therapist. 

Above is a group picture of both first and second year participants together with their trainers. Below at right are this year's graduates.


CDI Graduates a Fourth Class

The Church Development Institute (CDI) of the Diocese of Georgia graduated its fourth class this past weekend. The two-year program equips leaders to facilitate a process of transformation, and to build up the capacities and skills of leaders through self awareness of one's personal impact on others and the organization; to increase knowledge of theories, methods and processes as a way to assess and understand the behavior and development of the congregation; and to give a safe learning environment where one can practice skills in facilitation, feedback, listening and presenting. 


CDI consists of two cycles and each cycle consists of four weekend training sessions, for a total of eight weekend training sessions across two years. The assumption of the program is that every participant is registering for the whole program (both cycles) i.e., 110 hours of workshop; worship with the learning community; required readings and other assignments; and planning, implementing and reporting on congregational development projects. A new class will enter CDI this December. More information on CDI may be found online here: 


Pictured at right, CDI trainers The Very Rev. Denise Ronn and The Rev. Walter Hobgood lead an exercise to explain Force-Field Analysis. 

EYCS College Scholarship Application Due May 31

Education Scholarship for College Applications Due!  Deadline, Sunday, May 31, 2015.  Apply online:  Scholarships are based on financial need and are awarded for undergraduate education. Scholarships are not available for graduate school.  Applicant must apply ONLINE by May 31st, for the following academic year.  Thank you on behalf of the Episcopal Youth and Children's Services Board. 

General Convention

Blue Book Published, Presiding Bishop Candidates Named

The full book of reports to the 78th General Convention, known as the Blue Book, has now been published and is available online by clicking on the image of the cover shown here. The General Convention, which meets in Salt Lake City from June 24th - July 3rd, 2015, is the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years. Deputies and bishops representing each of 109 dioceses carry out the work of the Church at each Convention. 


The reports to the Convention which are being widely discussed as the convention approaches include the Report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Report of the Task Force for Reimagining the Church, which are included in the Blue Book.

Presiding Bishop Nominees

Pictured above are Bishops Breidenthal, Curry, Douglas, and Smith.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop

 announced the names of the bishops it will nominate this summer to succeed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. The four names will be formally submitted to the General Convention during a joint session on June 26, the day prior to the day set for the election by the House of Bishops of the 27th presiding bishop. The nominees are:

The committee's formal announcement, along with biographical information about each nominee, is posted on the General Convention website: Presiding Bishop Nominees.


General Convention Conversations
If you wish to converse with our Bishop & Deputies about issues facing this Convention, then they will be available on the following dates in these locations:
Meeting Dates and Times
May 16 at 4 p.m. - Holy Comforter, Martinez
May 30 at 10 a.m. - Christ Church, Savannah
June 6 at 4 p.m. - St. Paul's, Albany
June 13 at 2 p.m. - Trinity, Cochran

A listing of the Georgia deputation with information on the legislation to be considered by the General Convention is online here: Georgia Deputation website

Summer Camp

Visit the Wish List to Make this the Best Summer Ever

Honey Creek Summer Camp has a wish list of items online at The items range from $9 to $188, with most costing less than $50. Your gift from the wish list can go a long way to improving the Summer Camp Program.


Summer Camp Wish List

After 30 years of joyful use, the congregation of St. Anne's, Tifton, processed to "The Bunker" to say their thanksgivings and goodbyes to the facility that housed Christian education, Sunday Schools, nursery, offices, outreach pantry, Vacation Bible Schools, prayer clinics, Bible studies, Vestry meetings, EfM, scout groups of all kinds, and more. The building will be torn down this week as it has been replaced by a new two-story Ministry Center.


Around the Diocese in Photos

These photos were gleaned from the Facebook pages of the churches of the Diocese of Georgia. If your congregation has an active Facebook page, contact the From the Field team at our  email address:  [email protected] with a link to the page and we will add it to our watch list. Emails with attachments larger than 10 megabytes will neither be received nor bounced back to send at that address. Please send smaller file sizes if emailing the photos.


At St. Andrew's and St. Cyprian's Churches in Darien, children spontaneously signed the white board in the Parish Hall to mark the end of this school year in the church's after scho6l program, the Community Cares Café.

At Christ Church, Valdosta, graduating seniors receive t-shirts saying "And Also with Y'all" among other gifts from their congregation.

The Rev. Richard Nelson, Rector of St. Thomas Isle of Hope, Savannah, is pictured with a group receiving their first communion this past Sunday and at right is a Mother's Day photo booth at Trinity, Statesboro.

Blessing mothers at St. Thomas, Thomasville.


Youth Programs 
Register for Happening #95

Happening #95 will be held at Honey Creek May 29-31, 2015, and is open to those in grades 10 - 12. 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 acts as "rector" leads the weekend with the help of a staff consisting mostly of young people. Melissa Smith of St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah, will serve as the Rector of Happening #95. 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:

  • Have completed the 9th grade (including those completing 9th grade this spring) and have not begun college.
  • Fill out the application:
    Candidate Application for Happening #95 (see below)

Happening costs $101 to attend, and financial assistance is available. For more information, please visit the Georgia Happening website.


Click here to register


The Benhase Family is pictured above at Mary Grace's graduation last weekend from Syracuse University. Kelly and Mary Grace are in the foreground with Charlie, John and Bishop Scott Benhase in the second row. Mary Grace will be joining the Young Adult Service Corps for the coming year with a likely placement in Hong Kong.

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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia