October 7, 2015Volume 6, Number 6
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
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Growth at Christ Church Cordele
The Episcopal Church in Cordele is enjoying significant growth. Building on the hard work of the congregation's lay leadership and the Rev. Dr. Larry Williams, who the church called in 2014, the mission is growing numerically and spiritually.
More than 15 years ago, Bishop Louttit and Diocesan leaders chose to end all direct support to mission congregations. Some in Cordele recall it as a "sink or swim" moment. They decided to swim. More than a decade ago, the mission began Worship on the Water (WOW) each summer on the resort dock at the state park on Lake Blackshear.

Today Christ Church, Cordele, consists of 150 baptized persons. So far this year, the church celebrated six baptisms and on June 7, 8 adults were confirmed or received. The Operating Budget in 2014 was $95,260, and this year it is $143,792.
For years, Christ Church had two services in the summer beginning with Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day. Worship on the Water and the church in town services were conducted at the same time: 9 a.m.  A change was needed so the clergy could preside and preach at both. Having gone through a discernment process, the Vestry with the support of the congregation, made a decision to go to two services on Sunday, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 11 a.m. During the summer, the 9 a.m. is hosted on the water and the 11 a.m. in town. Since April 12, the average attendance for both stands at 90, up from 71 in 2013.
Christ Church member Robby Stripling said, "WOW and our outreach are probably the key ingredients to our success." Further explaining the growth, he said, "Father Larry has brought new energy. Allowing for two services and having Larry preach at both has increased engagement at services and with the church."
Christ Church has an excellent track record at connecting with the city of Cordele. First there was the Soup Kitchen, then came the Dennis J. Reddick Scholarship Memorial Golf Tournament, next Worship on the Water was born, then there was Relay for Life, the monthly Food Pantry, and their commitment to Episcopal Relief and Development.

Additionally in the past year, the mission added a formal Christian Education program for children and youth with 27 children on the rolls. 
Williams said, "Growth can be messy. It is not all about the numbers." He added, "Our goal is to balance our commitment to tasks with an equal commitment to relationships." Stripling added, "I'm extremely proud of the church. We made a committed effort to grow and we have grown."
Diocesan Council approved Christ Church Cordele for a grant from the Campaign for Congregational Development. Since giving to the Campaign has not yet permitted fully funding that grant, the Diocese has partnered with Christ Church by paying for the cost of insurance for the Vicar to enable the congregation to bring Williams on board. This relatively small amount of support from the Campaign has leveraged the strong foundation created by the lay leadership to foster further growth. For more information about the Campaign for Congregation Development please visit
Diocesan Office Update    
Bishop Benhase and Canon Logue will be at St. Augustine, Augusta this Friday and Saturday for a meeting of the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee. 

This Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Mary's Augusta.

Canon Logue will preside and preach this Sunday at Annuniaciation, Vidalia. 

How to Assist in South Carolina Flood Response
The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina requests that those who wish to volunteer in response to flooding in that state contact one of two deacons coordinating their efforts. Deacon Fergie Horvath is coordinating efforts in the Piedmont Convocation. She may be emailed at [email protected] or reached by phone at (864) 316-4333. Deacon Al Hipp will coordinate the work in the Foothills Convocation. His email is [email protected] and his phone number is (864) 449-6362.
Open House for Columba House Augusta this Saturday
Columba House Augusta (CHA) is underway! CHA Missioner Ranie Neislar, who started this 
September to oversee the local ministry of CHA is working with The Rev. Matthew Lewis to offer Tuesday night programming for college student and young adults at CHA. Pictured below are students from Augusta University with Lewis (far right) at CHA.

All are invited to drop in Saturday, October 10th from 3-5 P.M. to find out more about this new young adult, intentional living ministry and help furnish the house at:

Saturday, October 10th, 3-5pm
1867 Central Ave, Augusta, GA, 30904

CHA is the second Columba House in the Diocese. Columba House is an Episcopal intentional community where young people can explore spirituality through dialogue, prayer, and service to our neighbors. This program is one of the strategies of the  Campaign for Congregational Development designed to foster youth and young adult leadership.

Have questions that can't wait? Contact Ranie Neislar at [email protected]. For more information on Columba House visit or contact Rudy Reyes at 912-236-4279 or at [email protected]
Convention 2015
Register for Convention 
Delegates, alternates, clergy, and visitors may now register for the 194th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia. Each parish sends three delegates and one alternate, while each mission sends one delegate and one alternate. All active clergy canonically resident in the Diocese are voting members of the convention. Others may attend convention as guests. 
The registration for the meeting is the same cost as in recent years, just $85 per person. This fee offsets our cost for the conference center, and covers the cost of coffee and snacks on Friday and Saturday mornings, a lunch on Friday, and all printed conference materials.

The theme of Spread the Good News will open up our time to considering how Episcopalians can share the joy of the life of faith with friends and family. Bishop Benhase said, "Our Diocesan Convention will, of course, include our annual responsibilities of reports and elections, but much of our time will be devoted to being a missionary convocation for the people of this Diocese. We have the Good News of Jesus, crucified and risen, to share and we must equip everyone to share it."

Registration information
We are using our ACS database to register delegates. This simplifies the process for most clergy and lay persons as you will already be listed in the database and will not have to type in your contact information, but can change it if needed. For those not yet in the database, you will see a link as you complete registration to add yourself to the database. Please do so as this will help us to better retain your information for future events.

Convention 2015
Proposed Changes Will Expand Disciplinary Board
Based on experience with the Church Disciplinary Board, which handles allegations of clergy misconduct, the convention will consider a canonical change to expand the board's membership by one additional clergy person and one lay person. The proposal is approved create a board of six clergy and five lay members each serving three year terms. Our Chancellor, the Rev. Jim Elliott, proposes a resolution to make the change effective immediately so that the convention may elect the additional members during this convention. The board only meets as a whole for an organizational meeting. This year, that meeting will be at the convention site when the convention adjourns. During the year, a President is elected from that number. The elected board members are also selected to staff a Conference Panel and a Reference Panel as needed in accordance with the Title IV canons of the Episcopal Church.
Convention 2015
Nominations for Diocesan Elections
Make Nominations Now for Diocesan Elections
The following elections will take place at the 194th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia: 

Board of Corporation - Elect One Layperson 
The Board of Officers is charged with the oversight of the investments and disbursements of those funds entrusted to it through wills, deeds, and other trust instruments. The board meets quarterly. Person elected at 2015 Diocesan Convention will serve through the Convention of 2022. 

Disciplinary Board-3 Clergy and 2 Laypersons (anticipated)
Previously known as "The Ecclesiastical Trial Court," the Disciplinary Board of the Diocese of Georgia is vested with jurisdiction to hear and determine all proceedings in which a priest or deacon has been charged with one or more offense specified in the canons of the Episcopal Church. It meets only when necessary. After expected action to expand this Board, it is anticipated that three clergy members and two lay persons will be elected for a term of three years to serve through Convention 2018.  Newly elected members plus holdover members will be expected to attend an organizational meeting of the Board, probably on Saturday morning of the last day of the Convention.

Sewanee Trustee - Elect One Layperson 
The board meets in Sewanee, TN, early in October each year. The two laypersons and one priest who serve on the board from the Diocese of Georgia are to represent the university to the diocese. One lay person will be elected for a three-year term to serve through Convention 2018. 

Diocesan Council at Large Member - Elect One Person, Lay or Clergy 
Council's responsibilities are to carry out the policies, programs and directions of Convention; to deal with contingencies as they arise; and to assist the bishop in developing the ministry of the diocese. It carries out the duties of Convention between Conventions. Council generally has three overnight meetings a year in various parts of the diocese. The person elected at 2015 Diocesan Convention will serve through Convention of 2018. 

Standing Committee - Elect One Clergy and One Layperson 
The Standing Committee is the bishop's Council of Advice. In the absence of a bishop, the Standing Committee would act as the Ecclesiastical Authority for those purposes declared by General Convention. The Standing Committee must approve all ordinations and any financial indebtedness of parishes. It usually meets three times a year at the same time as the Commission on Ministry and in various locations throughout the diocese. As per the Diocesan Constitution, the Standing Committee members rotating off at this convention (The Very Rev. Ted Clarkson and Hughes Threlkeld) must wait at least a year before becoming eligible again for election.

Nominations Process
Our Nominations Chair, Liz Williams, of St. Anne's, Tifton, will need both Nomination Forms from the person making the nomination and the Nominee Information Form from the person nominated by October 16 to assure inclusion in advance materials for Convention. Nominations remain open until closed on the floor of the convention as business starts during the opening session on Friday morning, the first day of convention. 

Convention 2015 
The 194th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia meets at the Coastal Georgia Center in downtown Savannah. The Diocese has secured blocks of rooms at the following hotels. Once these hotel blocks are booked, those attending convention will have to find alternative accommodations. 

Courtyard by Marriott Historic District
415 West Liberty Street, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 790-8287

Rooms Available As of 10/07/2015:
1/Each Thursday, Nov. 12th, 2015
0/Each Friday, Nov. 13th, 2015

SpringHill Suites Savannah Downtown/Historic District
150 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 629-5300

To reserve a room, dial the hotel's Front Desk Agents directly at (912) 629-5300 and refer to the group name: Episcopal Diocese of Georgia Convention, to ensure proper room rates. 

The last day to secure a reservation at the quoted discounted room rates is 10/13/15, or when the block of rooms is booked.

Rooms Available As of 10/07/2015:
9/Each Thursday, Nov. 12th, 2015
9/Each Friday, Nov. 13th, 2015

The Rev. Leigh Hall blesses a dog in the liturgy at St. Paul's, Albany, where the priests also blessed an alligator (shown below), an owl, and the blue-tongued skink pictured at right.

Blessing of the Animals Across the Diocese 
Congregations across the Diocese of Georgia held Blessing of the Animals services this past week. The liturgy is usually offered close to October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, who is remembered for calling the church to greater faithfulness through his example of a life lived in greater fidelity to the teachings of Jesius. Francis also is said to have preached to the birds on one occasion and saved the town of Gubbio, Italy, from a wolf which he tamed. The wolf is buried in the cathedral in Gubbio, enjoying a place of honor by the altar in that town to this day. This is just a sampling. 
See all of the photos online here 2015 Blessing of the Animals Album

The Savannah Children's Choir sings for the Blessing of the Animals liturgy at All Saints, Tybee Island. The clergy pictured are the Rev. Thomas Payton, Pastor of St. Michael's Catholic Church and the Rev. John Anderson, the Lutheran Pastor who serves as Priest in Charge of All Saints.
The Rev. Jim Elliott at St. James, Quitman, and the Rev. Richard Nelson at St. Thomas Isle of Hope, Savannah.

The Rev. Stephen Norris blesses pets at St, Andrew's, Douglas.

Christ Church Savannah joined with Ascension Lutheran for their animal blessing this year. The Rev. J. Sierra Wilkinson Reyes is pictured above blessing a dog in front of the Lutheran church.
Blessing liturgies in Savannah are pictured above at St. George's on the left and St. Paul's on the right.

The Rev. Zachary Fleetwood blesses animals at St. Peter's, Savannah.
Above, the Rev. Tom Purdy blesses a dog at Christ Church Frederica and the Very Rev. Joan Kilian blesses pets at Trinity, Statesboro.

Trinity Cochran's Blessing of the Animals.
Convention 2015
Enjoy Eating Out During Diocesan Convention
During our 194th Convention, Savannah's Food and Wine Festival will be underway. In order to open convention delegates to taking advantage of the timing of that event or to otherwise enjoy eating out in Savannah, we will not offer a catered meal on either Thursday or Friday(see for more information). Delegations are to make their own arrangements for those meals. We will put the convention registration fee then toward providing excellent coffee service with some snacks on both Friday and Saturday morning in partnership with a local coffee shop.
Convention 2015
Limited Exhibit Booth Space Available
Each Convention venue presents both opportunities and challenges. The Coastal Georgia Center in downtown Savannah will provide a great new setting for our convention, but its floor plan limits severely the ability to offer an Exhibit Area. Rather than a separate hall, exhibitors will be in the entry area to the Center. This will limit the booths to only nine tables. For this reason, only diocesan-wide ministries will be able to have a table at this convention. Exhibit booths are at a first come first serve basis. There are only 5 exhibit booths remaining. Diocesan-wide ministries interested in sharing their ministry with the Diocese should contact Rudy Reyes at (912) 236-4279 or [email protected]
Convention 2015
Register for Convention Lock-In 
Christ Church Savannah will host a Lock-In from immediately following the Convention Eucharist on Friday, November 13 through Saturday, November 14 at 7 a.m. This lock-in is open to all 6th-12th youth and will focus on the 194th Convention theme: Spread the Good News. 

Participants can expect to participate in fun games, Instagram challenges, and open discussions about how we can all do our part to spread the Word of God. The lock-in registration fee of $50 will cover the cost of dinner on Friday night and breakfast Saturday morning as well as a t-shirt. Be sure to bring: Bedding (sleeping bag, pillows, etc.), Close-toed shoes, and Cell phones (if you have them).

Prayers for Weekly Liturgies
Our one-year prayer cycle combines prayers for every congregation in the Diocese of Georgia with prayers for our ecumenical partners and for our Companion Diocese of The Dominican Republic. The 52 weekly prayers are available in one document: 

Prayers for October 4-10
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Swainsboro, Good Shepherd. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Swainsboro, especially Holy Trinity Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santiago, especially Christ the Savior (Cristo Salvador), Emmanuel (Emmanuel).

Prayers for October 11-17
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Statesboro, Trinity. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Statesboro, especially St. William's Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Luke (San Lucas) in Santiago.
Potluck and Painting

St. Thomas Isle of Hope offered Potluck and Painting with Roger Speer from St. Luke's, Rincon led the group through creating their own painting of St. Francis of Assisi. Above, the Rev. Richard and Deacon Geri Nelson make their own versions of the painting as part of the group enjoying the creative devotional exercise.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia