July 8, 2015Volume 5, Number 45
In This Issue


This Sunday's Lections
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Join Our Mailing List

General Convention

Key Changes Made to Church Budget

As the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church concluded its work, the convention adopted a budget that reduced the amount asked of dioceses while emphasizing evangelism. 

The General Convention adopted the 2016-2018 budget after agreeing to an amendment made by Canon Frank Logue to add $2.8 million for church planting. This is in addition to the $3 million already budgeted for other evangelism work. While the addition passed with relatively little debate in the House of Deputies, the amendment faced some opposition in the House of Bishops. The 2016-2018 triennial budget is based on $125,083,185 in revenue. The budget comes in with a negligible surplus of $25,834. Its revenue projection is based in part on asking the church's dioceses and regional mission areas to give 18 percent of their income to fund the 2016 budget, 16.5 percent for the 2017 budget and 15 percent in 2018. The asking of dioceses has been 19 percent in recent years.

In adopting a budget process resolution proposed by Canon Logue and Deputy Susan Snook of Arizona, the General Convention made mandatory the current voluntary diocesan budgetary asking system for the 2019-2021 budget cycle and imposed penalties for noncompliance. The mandatory assessment will not apply to the upcoming 2016-2018 triennial budget, but becomes effective Jan. 1, 2019. Without getting a waiver, a diocese that does not pay the full assessment will be unable to get grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society unless the Executive Council specifically approves disbursing the money. 

The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church (TEC) that meets every three years. The Convention is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The work at Convention is carried out by deputies and bishops representing each diocese. The next General Convention will meet in Austin, Texas in 2018.

A complete wrap up with links to key resolutions is online from the Episcopal News Service: General Convention Wrap Up: Historic actions, structural changes

Diocesan Office Update    

Bishop Benhase is on vacation through Saturday, July 11.

Canon Willoughby is working with auditors on the 2014 audit for the Diocese of Georgia.

This Sunday, Canon Logue will preside and preach at St. Matthew's, Savannah.
A Call for Stories of Evangelism in our Diocese
This November, we want to share both how to share the Good News of Jesus and also give examples of the work of evangelism in our Diocese. What are the stories you know of persons coming to faith through the ministry of your congregation? What are ways we can share the life-giving love of God we have found while being true to our Episcopal tradition? If you have ideas, please contact Canon Logue at the diocesan office (912-236-4279) or by email at [email protected] Some of the stories will be shared here in From the Field and others at our diocesan convention.

General Convention

A Report from the Georgia Deputation


Dear Members of the Diocese of Georgia,

As the 78th General Convention concludes, your Bishop and Deputies from the Diocese of Georgia leave excited and energized by the election of the Right Reverend Michael Bruce Curry as our next Presiding Bishop. Presiding Bishop-Elect Curry has set forth a vision for the future of The Episcopal Church to go and make disciples of all peoples. The General Convention supported his vision by allocating extraordinary resources for church planting, evangelism, and racial reconciliation. (Pictured are Cissy Bowden, Kelly Benhase, Presiding Bishop Elect Michael Curry, and the Rev. Joe Bowden)

Another joyful highlight was the Convention's approval and now the Church's recognition of our own Deaconess Anna Ellison Butler Alexander for inclusion in Holy Women, Holy Men, our calendar of saints in the Episcopal Church.

The Convention also addressed structural changes to the governance of the Church. It passed resolutions to clarify the roles of the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council, the parties tasked with leading the Church between meetings of the General Convention. The Convention also addressed the budget process and changed the current practice of an "asking" from each diocese at a high percentage and replacing it with a mandatory assessment at a lower percentage  (much like the Diocese of Georgia has done with its own budgetary process). The Diocese of Georgia, lead by Canon Frank Logue, took a leadership role in this work (Canon Logue is shown here addressing the House of Deputies).

On the issue of same sex marriage, your Bishop and Deputies were very cognizant of the input received at the multiple listening sessions held around the diocese before the Convention. As you may have read in our daily blog posts or from the media, the Convention approved for trial use, rites for marriage that could be used for the marriage of same-sex and different-sex couples. The use of these rites in the Diocese of Georgia will be subject to the approval and supervision of our Bishop and are not effective until the first Sunday of Advent, 2015. The votes among your deputation were divided on the implementing resolutions, as reflective of the input received from around the diocese. Our Bishop will be consulting with the Chancellor and leaders of various diocesan bodies before making a decision as to how these resolutions will be implemented in our diocese.

Nine legislative days running from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. obviously addressed many other issues, too numerous to address in this letter. Additional information on passed legislation is available at Your deputation appreciates your confidence and prayers in allowing us to represent the Diocese at the 78th General Convention and will be happy to address any questions that members of the diocese may have about the actions of General Convention.

The Deputation of the Diocese of Georgia
at the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church

General Convention

Bishop Curry's Sermon for Convention Eucharist

Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry preaches at General Convention Closing Eucharist

General Convention

Draft Policy on substance abuse, addiction & recovery

In acknowledging that The Episcopal Church's long-standing tolerance for the use of alcohol has, in some cases, contributed to its misuse the General Convention approved Resolution A158 which "commits to create a new normal in our relationship with alcohol."

The 78th Convention adopted the following policy on alcohol and other substance misuse and encouraged dioceses, congregations, and affiliated institutions to update their policies on the use of alcohol and other substances with the potential for misuse. The policy for the Diocese of Georgia will be reviewed and updated accordingly by Diocesan Council at its next meeting. The new policy will consider the following from the resolution:

  1. The Church must provide a safe and welcoming environment for all people, including people in recovery.
  2. All applicable federal, state and local laws should be obeyed, including those governing the serving of alcoholic beverages to minors.
  3. Some dioceses and congregations may decide not to serve alcohol at events or gatherings. Others may decide to permit a limited use of alcoholic beverages at church-sponsored events. Both can be appropriate if approached mindfully.
  4. When alcohol is served, it must be monitored and those showing signs of intoxication must not be served. Whenever alcohol is served, the rector, vicar, or priest-in-charge must appoint an adult to oversee its serving. That adult must not drink alcoholic beverages during the time of his or her execution of his or her responsibilities. If hard liquor is served, a certified server is required.
  5. Serving alcoholic beverages at congregational events where minors are present is strongly discouraged. If minors are present, alcohol must be served at a separate station that is monitored at all times to prevent underage drinking.
  6. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages must be clearly labeled as such. Food prepared with alcohol does not need to be labeled provided the alcohol is completely evaporated by the cooking process; however, it is recommended that even in this case the use of alcohol in cooking be noted on a label.
  7. Whenever alcohol is served, appealing non-alcoholic alternatives must always be offered with equal prominence and accessibility.
  8. The serving of alcoholic beverages at church events should not be publicized as an attraction of the event, e.g. "wine and cheese reception," "cocktail party," and "beer and wine tasting."
  9. Ministries inside or outside of congregations will make certain that alcohol consumption is not the focus of the ministry and that drinking alcohol is not an exclusively normative activity.
  10. Food must be served when alcohol is present.
  11. The groups or organizations sponsoring the activity or event at which alcoholic beverages are served must have permission from the clergy or the vestry. Such groups or organizations must also assume responsibility for those persons who might become intoxicated and must provide alternative transportation for anyone whose capacity to drive may be impaired. Consulting with liability insurance carriers is advised.
  12. Recognizing the effects of alcohol as a mood-altering drug, alcoholic beverages shall not be served when the business of the Church is being conducted.
  13. Clergy shall consecrate an appropriate amount of wine when celebrating the Eucharist and perform ablutions in a way that does not foster or model misuse.
  14. We encourage clergy to acknowledge the efficacy of receiving the sacrament in one kind and consider providing non-alcoholic wine.
The resolution concludes, "mindful of the emerging legalization of other addictive substances and the increasing rise of addiction, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church provide for the ready availability, implementation, and continuing development of this policy church-wide, in consultation and coordination with Recovery Ministries of The Episcopal Church."


Clergy and Spouses Save the Date for Conference

The Church Pension Group (CPG) will be hosting the Clergy Conference this September 27-29 and both spouses and clergy are not only invited, but we really need spouses to take part. CPG will subsidize the cost of your attendance and reimburse child or elder care costs. Learn how to secure your financial future and take steps toward a healthier lifestyle at this special conference. As with recent conferences, the meeting will begin with dinner on Sunday evening and will end with lunch on Tuesday. See these documents for further information: CPG Event Announcement and Draft Conference Schedule

 Deacon Purks' Service to Humanity Honored

Deacon Jim Purks is pictured above at a ceremony in San Francisco where he received the 2015 Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. Chi Phi Congressional Award in recognition of outstanding service to humanity and exemplification of the values of Chi Phi Fraternity.

Installing a Roof at Honey Creek

Upgrades continue at our camp and conference center. This week, workers installed a new roof on Chapin Cottage.

Changes to Safeguarding God's Children

Those who work with children and youth and those who oversee them, must complete the Safeguarding God's Children training offered online. Praesidium, our Online Safeguard Training Provider,  has moved to a new platform. If you have been experiencing issues logging into the website, this is why! The online safeguarding website has changed to

If you already have a profile, Your user name and password are the same as with the old website.When you login to the new website for the first time you will be asked to answer 3 security questions, much like you would for your online banking account. This will help aid in password retrieval.  When you log into your account, please click on the "user profile" button and update your email. 

If you are new to the site and need to create a profile, there is a self-enroll option. In order to self-enroll, please follow these steps

  1. Go to
  2. Enter the registration code: dog611
  3. Fill out the form and click the link to enroll. Be sure to select the correct organization or location in the organization drop down.
  4. Print the page or write down your user login and password for future reference.
  5. To begin taking training immediately, click the first link or follow the instructions to the right to login later.

One of the new features of this new platform  is that general users  can print their own safeguarding certificates.  This can be done by clicking on the orange button at the top left of the screen that reads "print certificate."  

Please direct all questions regarding SafeGuard Training to Rebekah Stewart at [email protected]

Vacation Bible School at St. Thomas, Thomasville

Share VBS Photos with the Diocese

We want to share your Vacation Bible School with the Diocese in photo album collecting pictures of our kid-friendly catechesis taking place around the Diocese this summer. Send your congregation's photo to [email protected].

The photos will be added to a VBS album and used at the diocesan website. Seven congregations are already represented in the 25 photos in the Summer 2015 VBS Photo Album. Some of the photos will be shared here in From the Field. If you create a Facebook or other online album, you may also just send a link to that album to the address above we will copy a selection of photos to the diocesan album.  


Vacation Bible School at Atonement, Augusta

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 hosting 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. 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 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

Mission Trip
Youth from Christ Church Valdosta are 
working in conjunction with several other churches this week at a Son Servants youth mission trip. The group is replacing a roof for an elderly widow here in Chattanooga. They're staying in rustic cabins in Harrison Bay State Park. In the evenings they are enjoying worship, games, teaching, a little free time. 
Like Us on Facebook

Keep up with us on Facebook at our page Episcopal Diocese of Georgia on Facebook  


Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us on Twitter

The Diocese of Georgia also shares news 140 characters at a time through Twitter@GA_Episcopal

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

 View our videos on YouTubeThe Diocese of Georgia also has a YouTube Channel where you can watch past videos and subscribe to get updates when new videos are posted.

Send your news and events to [email protected],
so we can feature them in upcoming issues of From the Field.


Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia