July 1, 2015Volume 5, Number 44
In This Issue


This Sunday's Lections
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Track 1
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13


Track 2
Ezekiel 2:1-5
Psalm 123
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

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Clergy Deputy William Willoughby, III addresses the Convention.

General Convention

Meeting Concludes on Friday

The General Convention of The Episcopal Church remains is session in Salt Lake City, Utah. With the deadline for adjournment set late Friday afternoon, a lot of moving parts remain in motion. Some resolutions have been passed by the House of Deputies, but not yet the House of Bishops and the opposite is also true, while many await consideration by either house. This makes this report from Utah very much an interim statement. With important matters including the church's position on marriage and the budget for the coming three years not yet decided, we report below on matters which have already been enacted by Convention. The work of this convention requires discernment. The deputation appreciates your prayers.

Links to the General Convention
The Diocese of Georgia Deputation's Journal - Includes a list of the Georgia deputation and a Diocese of Georgia take on the Convention in daily posts. The deputation will also share these photos and stories at the diocesan Facebook page and in our online photo album.

Proposed Budget - This link is to the budget proposed by the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance which will be presented today for later debate and a vote.

General Convention Media Hub - This site offers livestreaming of worship and legislative sessions so you can watch the General Convention on the web. For example, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time today, the livestream will show the four Presiding Bishop nominees each speaking to the House of Deputies and then answering questions by deputies.
General Convention website - Includes the official resolution text and stays updated on where in the system a resolution is at any moment.

#GC78 is the hashtag to follow the action on social media.
Diocesan Office Update    

Bishop Benhase and Canon Logue are with the rest of the Georgia deputation in Salt Lake City for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church which continues through July 3.

The Georgia Deputation on the Presiding Bishop Elect
A palpable sense of joy filled the General Convention on June 28 as the President of the House of Deputies announced news of the bishops' choice for the next Presiding Bishop. The House of Bishops elected Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina as 27th Presiding Bishop by a wide margin on the first ballot. The House of Deputies then confirmed the election. Here at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, the Georgia Deputation joined in the joyous celebration of the election and confirmation.


Bishop Benhase said, "I've known Bishop Curry for 20 years. I served with him as my Bishop in North Carolina. I love him as a brother. I am beyond joy at his election as our Presiding Bishop. He will lead us to take the Gospel of Jesus into our communities. It is time."


Deputy Mary Willoughby said, "The overwhelming consensus of the bishops and near unanimous affirmation of the house of deputies only hints at the energy, enthusiasm, and optimism expressed in the hall today. We are blessed in our leadership and it is my hope that we move forward together with the grace-filled energy expressed today."


In reaction to this election, the Rev. Sierra Wilkinson Reyes, a clergy deputy, said, "What the Church needs now is the courage and compassion to proclaim by word and example God's love to every corner of our society. Bishop Curry has a passionate Christ-centered fire for evangelism, public service and social justice. It's now the Church's time to joyfully and soberly confront the work God has given us to do. I'm so thankful to have the prophetic voice of Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry to give vocabulary to our common mission as Christians in the Episcopal tradition."


For more on Bishop Curry and his election, please see the Episcopal News Service article North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry elected as 27th Presiding Bishop


First Interview with Presiding Bishop Elect the Rt. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry

Companion Diocese
Youth Mission Home from Trip to the DR

Our diocesan youth missioners returned yesterday from their mission trip to San Matías Episcopal Church in Santana, in the Dominican Republic. Youth and adults from 13 different congregations in the Diocese of Georgia took part in the trip, supported by a network of family, congregations, and friends throughout Georgia and beyond. The group participated in a Vacation Bible School program at San Matías which began the week with roughly 100 children participating, and ended the week with over 300 participants from the community! Our Georgia youth led crafts, participated in music sessions, played games and sports, and even showed off their dance moves! At the end of the week, the group attended Sunday worship and then joined our Dominican hosts for an afternoon beach.

A map of the Episcopal Churches in the Dominican Republic is
available here Click on the icon in the top left corner of the map and scroll down to "Iglesia San Matías" to see exactly where our group was serving.

Of course one of the primary purposes of any mission work is to work with and serve the people of God wherever we go. However, a longer-lasting, and perhaps deeper, purpose is to enable us to form new patterns of behavior, patterns that will, with God's help, inform and transform our day-to-day lives once the trip itself is over. In many ways, this is one of the deepest purposes of the Church itself, to transform the world into God's dream. 

Photographs of this journey, are available Facebook at the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia Youth Page. Take a look and see what our youth and our Diocese can do in mission!


Blessed Deaconess Alexander Added to Calendar

Yesterday, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church added Deaconess Anna Ellison Butler Alexander (1865-1947) recognizing her as a faithful witness of our faith in Christ by including her in Holy Women, Holy Men. Her feast day will be September 24. (This icon by Louise Shipps hangs in the Chapel of St. George at Diocesan House in Savannah.)


Anna Alexander was born to recently emancipated slaves on Butler Plantation in MacIntosh County, Georgia. She became the only African American set aside in the order of deaconess in The Episcopal Church. Deaconess Alexander labored long and hard for the education of poor blacks in Georgia's Glynn and MacIntosh Counties. She helped establish Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Pennick, which is west of Brunswick, Georgia. She also established and helped run the St. Cyprian's School at St. Cyprian's Church, Darien.


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. Deaconess Alexander served in difficult times, however. The diocese segregated her congregations in 1907 and African-American congregations were not invited to another diocesan convention until 1947. Similarly, it was only in the 1950s that a woman set aside as a deaconess was recognized as being in deacon's orders. However, 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 propers for celebrating this feast day are online here: Deaconess Alexander Propers.



Statement on Supreme Court Decision

Today the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling on same sex marriage, making a way for same sex couples in all states to marry. I rejoice in this decision in that it grants a basic civil right to all couples under our civil law. The Court has determined that our Constitution requires that the government must treat all couples equally, regardless of sexual orientation. A civil right, nonetheless, is not the same as a sacramental rite. Our General Convention is currently discussing how we will respond as The Episcopal Church.


Until our Church discerns how we will proceed, the guidelines I put forward in the fall of 2012 are still in effect, but with a few changes. Same sex couples may now get legally married by the local civil authority and then come to the Church for a blessing upon their relationship. In my previous guidelines, I required each congregation's vestry to endorse these blessings if they were to be done on church property. Presbyters, however, were free to provide such blessings without vestry endorsement if they were to be offered elsewhere. This guideline is still in effect. My rationale for maintaining such endorsement is the basic reality that faithful people can and will come to different conclusions about the Church's role in blessing same sex marriages. However, creating divisions among clergy and lay leadership in a congregation serves no useful purpose for God's mission.


After General Convention is over, I will write more to the Diocese of Georgia on the decisions that we make here. I continue to hope that faithful Georgia Episcopalians can view whatever differences we have in light of the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of all, and whose resurrection promises eternal life for all who place their trust in him.


Scott's Signature

The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, 10th Bishop of Georgia

Marcie Cherau Elected UTO Vice President

The United Thank Offering Board elected Marcia Cherau as its Vice President during a meeting held in conjunction with the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Cherau, who divides her time between a home in Florida and on Tybee Island where she attends All Saints, has been active with the UTO in the Diocese of Georgia and was serving as the Province IV UTO Coordinator at the time of the election. The General Convention Eucharist on Sunday, following a long-standing tradition, included the official ingathering of the UTO. Representatives from each diocese (and several non-diocesan ministries) came forward to present the funds that had been collected in the famous "blue boxes" over the past three years. Cherau announced the Province IV dioceses and the total amount, of more than $800,000 gathered in the Province. Suzanne Harrow of Atonement, Augusta, represented Georgia at the ingathering. 


Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally. Recent grants to the Diocese of Georgia assisted the Oak Street Episcopal Mission in Thomasville in hiring a part-time coordinator for its community garden and in assisting St. Andrew's and St. Cyprian's Churches in Darien in hiring a youth minister to start their community youth group.

The Rev. Deacon Marty Meuschke Retires 

On June 28th St. Paul's, Jesup reluctantly said good-bye to Deacon Marty Meuschke. Meuschke retired as a Deacon, but will continue to attend St. Paul's along with his wife Paula. He said, "After a year of prayer and discernment, and discussion with Bishop Benhase, I decided it was time to take retirement-I'm 70-to pursue another diaconal ministry. We tell people about God's love, but I feel called to photograph and write about the many ministries within the Church which show God's love in action. Retirement will allow me to focus on this ministry."

Baptized and confirmed at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Brunswick, at the age of 56, Bishop Louttit ordained Meuschke to the diaconate on April 24, 2007, at St. Mark's. HIs diaconal ministry was Kairos Prison Ministry, serving first at D. Ray James State Prison and later at Smith State Prison. He also served for many years as an Education for Ministry (EfM) Mentor. He also served at the Seafarer's Center in nursing homes, and assisting Roxanna McGovern with Therapy Dogs. Currently, he is working with others to establish a rape crisis and sexual assault service in Wayne County.

The Celebration of Marty's ministry included a blessing of a quilt from the Quilting Guild (pictured at left) plus he received a love offering from the congregation. Also, the Body of Christ known at St. Paul's, laid hands on Marty and prayed Marty would experience God's presence and joy in in the next chapter of his life. A church wide reception followed the service. 

Youth Programs

Building a Youth-Led Ministry for Youth

Last year, the Diocese worked with Youth Presence (YP) Ministries to put on two different workshops in three different locations that attracted fifteen congregations from around the Diocese.  These two workshops were apart of YP Ministries three phase approach to creating a youth presence in ones congregation: Phase One-Create the Vision, Phase Two-Raise up Adult Teams, and Phase Three-Youth Lead Ministry.

This summer we will be hosing the third phase: Youth Lead Ministry (also referred to as After Damascus).  This training will be held at Honey Creek starting on the evening of July 26 and ending before dinner on Friday July 31.  Churches are asked to bring teams of youth and two adults.  The cost for this week is $295.  This fee includes all meals and lodging in the dorms as well as program supplies.  Note: This training will still be very effective with out the background of the first two phases.

The skills that the youth will learn are based around the community model of leadership.  This model of leadership focus on  collaboration between youth and adults.  In addition to the leadership model, we will help them discover their skills and gifts.  The following topics will be covered are below:   

  1. How to tell your story and how to listen to others
  2. How to express your thought, opinion, or belief - Speaking personally  & "I" messages
  3. Identifying your gifts and being able to offer them
  4. Idea making
  5. Utilizing a formula for collaborative leadership
  6. The leadership of presence
  7. Servant leadership skills
  8. Definitions and principles of the Community Model
  9. How to begin community at home
  10. Circles of Leadership
  11. Creating the Sacred Circle
  12. Faith from love
  13. Faith from community (belonging)
  14. Faith from doubt and struggle
  15. Faith that belongs to be (what I believe)
  16. Faith that is shared (spiritual leadership)

I can send any congregation the prospectus for this training.  Contact me at (912) 236-4279 or [email protected] for more information.  

-Elizabeth Burns, Missioner for Youth

Register for Summer Camp at Honey Creek

Summer Camp is now underway, but it is not too late to register for upcoming camp sessions. 


Remaining Camp sessions
July 5-11 St. Peter I Completed Grades 6-8
July 12-18 St. Joseph & Mary II Completed Grade 3-5
July 19-25 St. Peter II Completed Grades 6-8


Tuition for regular session is $430 per camper.
For more information visit


Click here to register


Parent and Child Summer Camp

There is still room in the July 12-14 Parent and Child Camp.  Tuition for each session Parent & Child session is $320 for one parent and one child ($85 for each additional child). Tuition covers room and board in a private lodge room, special activities, art supplies, camp photo and camp t-shirt. For more information, or to register, go to

For All the Saints
Some members of the Diocese of Georgia Deputation to the 78th General Convention pose for a photo with the icon of Deaconess Alexander which marks our place on the floor of the House of Deputies. Your deputation is delighted to report the two unanimous resolutions of diocesan convention passed both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies to add the Deaconess to the calendar of lesser feasts found in Holy Women, Holy Men.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia