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October 21, 2015Volume 6, Number 8
In This Issue
 
 




This Sunday's Lections
Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost
 
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Same Sex Marriage Policy
The Bishop's Policy for Same Sex Marriage will go into effect on the first Sunday of Advent this year to provide, as approved by General Convention, for trial use of authorized rites for the coming three years. Specifically, Bishop Benhase says that the following rites may be used by the presbyters of this Diocese with all persons who are legally and canonically eligible for marriage: The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (2); and, if the couple has already been married civilly, The Blessing of a Civil Marriage. Both rites are found in the document linked below.

The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (BCP, p. 423 ff) and The Blessing of a Civil Marriage (BCP, p. 433ff) are Prayer Book rites and thus should continue to be used as appropriate.

The following documents give the Diocese of Georgia policy, provide Model Congregational Guidelines, and give the text of the rites authorized for trial use in keeping with the policy:
Discussion Guide
In addition to the above information found at the diocesan website, the Episcopal Church's Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music offers Discussion Guide for congregations. This material are found on pages 109-129 of their Supplemental Materials PDF file.
Diocesan Office Update    
This week Bishop Benhase is attending the Province IV Bishops & Chancellors Meeting in New Orleans.

This Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to All Saints', Tybee Island.

Canon Logue is just back in the office from nine video interviews in five towns in the past two days as he prepares materials for the diocesan convention.
St. John's and St. Mark's, Albany
Bishop's Visitation and Ordination 
Bishop Benhase ordained Johnny Tuttle to the Sacred Order of Deacons at St. John's and St. Mark's, Albany on Sunday October 18. Bishop Benhase officiated and preached
Church Medical Trust
Open Enrollment Starts Today for Insurance
For clergy and church vestry and treasurers, please see the detailed information below on church medical trust insurance rates for 2016. Please note open enrollment starts today and ends on November 6. After that time, no changes can be made except in the case of a life altering event.

Insurance rates are seeing an increase in premiums this year from 2015 to 2016. The Diocese of Georgia began the move to encourage its members to participate in the High Deductible Health Plan. This year the Church Medical Trust is offering two new available High Deductible plans. The Bishop and Diocesan Staff led by making the move to this plan first and most clergy have followed since Diocesan Council made this the compensation standard.

The annual opportunity for clergy and lay employees to review and adjust health coverage for will occur between today October 21 and November 6 of 2015. The options selected during the open enrollment period will be in effect for the 2016 calendar year. This is your one chance to change, add or adjust coverage unless there is a life-altering event such as a birth, marriage or job change during the year. We continue to offer an option for active clergy and lay employees who are eligible for Medicare Part A to participate in a Medicare Secondary Payer plan.

If the clergy and eligible staff (employed at least 20 hours per week) of your congregation are not presently in the Medical Trust plans then please take time to review this material and contact Canon Willoughby at the diocesan office for a briefing. For those of you whose plans whose plan costs have increased and you are considering other options, you are also encouraged to contact Canon Willoughby for more information on your options.

The Medical Trust also makes the Employee Assistance Program available to all eligible clergy and lay employees whether or not they participate in health insurance coverage. So for those clergy who have alternative coverage such as Tri-Care or a spousal benefit, you may now enroll your entire family in the EAP for only $5 per month.

The 2016 rates and plans are in the table below. Please click on this link to reach the web site for plan information, CPG Plan summary, refer to the plan names and codes below to select your plan. Please note the plans beginning with MS are only for families or individuals with a member over age 65 and eligible for Medicare Part A. Please note that you will not receive a temporary log in for open enrollment as in past years. With its redesigned user interface at cpg.org, employees log into the site, click on the My CPG tab and continue with plan selection. Those making no selection will retain their current coverage.

Plans for 2016
 
2016 Rates
Plan Name
Code
Single
Plus One
Family
Existing plans
 
 
 
 
Employee Assistance
MEAP
$5
$5
$5
Anthem BCBS High Deductible
 
MHDE
 
$587
 
 $1057
 
$1,644
Anthem PPO 75/50
MSPV
$767
$1,381
$2,148
Anthem PPO 80/60
MSPZ
$849
$1,528
$2,377
Anthem PPO 90/70
MSPO
$981
$1,766
$2,747
Anthem BCBS EPO80
MSEZ
$842
$1,516
$2,358
New available High Deductible plan*
 
 
 
 
MHDG
$664
$1,195
$1,859
MHBR
$530
$954
$1,484
Medicare eligible plans
 
 
 
 
MS Anthem PPO 75/50
MSG5
$559
$1006
$1,565
MS Anthem PPO 80/60
MSG3
$608
$1,094
$1,702
MS Anthem PPO 90/70
MSG2
$668
$1,202
$1,870
Dental
 
 
 
 
Preventive Dental
DDPV
$28
$50
$70
Basic Dental 50/150
DD50
$59
$106
$165
Dent&Ortho 25/75
DD25
$80
$144
$224
*Please find links to plan summary details for the new plans

NOTE: In order to comply with the diocesan clergy minimum compensation standard, a congregation with a priest working at least 30 hours per week is required to assure insurance coverage. For those who do not otherwise have medical insurance provided through a spouse or an existing plan such as Tri-care, this means selecting at least the lowest cost option from the plans above.
  
For those in a High Deductible Plan with a Health Savings Account, the Diocese expects the employer will pay $200 per month or $2400 per year into the HSA for those electing the single HDHP and $400 or $4800 per for the plus one or family plan in the first year of coverage and to continue to pay $150 per month for Single HDHP and $300 per month for plus one, and $400 for family plans in subsequent years.
In addition to the health insurance benefits, we offer optional dental insurance for clergy and lay employees. The plan document and a description can be accessed by logging in to your account at cpg.org.
  
An interactive resource on detailed information on plans can be found below. The Diocese of Georgia is active in Anthem BCBS plans: https://www.cpg.org/active-lay-employees/insurance/health-and-wellness/open-enrollment/
Convention 2015
Register for Convention by November 6
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.
Convention 2015
Nominations for Diocesan Elections
The Convention website is now up to date with bios and photos of those nominated to election at the diocesan convention. Click here to See the current nominations

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. 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. 



Cornerstone
The Augusta Wide Youth Program Starts a New Year
Augusta's convocational youth program, Cornerstone, kicked off another year this past Sunday. Though there have been changes in youth leadership, the citywide youth ministry is still going strong and is unafraid to reinvent itself. Since the previous year, over half of the churches involved have had new youth workers come in. This year's planning team had its work cut out for it, but has done an incredible job working together collaboratively and creatively to make the most of this important ministry. 

This year Cornerstone 2.0 launched with a new theme based on Ephesians 2 and Christ's triumph over our the dividing walls in our lives. Ministers worked together to create an atmosphere of fellowship, breaking bread and worship all within a liturgical framework that faithfully integrates the contemplative with the contemporary. The program is off to a great start and the leadership is excited about what God has in store for us as we move forward. The photos here show Students breaking down barriers by shooting pumpkins with a potato launcher through the brick wall. 

A half dozen congregations take part in Cornerstone with roughly 10 adults and 30-50 students taking part. The group meets monthly from 5-6:30 pm. The next meeting will be on November 15th at St. Augustine's, Augusta. The site changes each month as it rotates monthly among the congregations taking part.
Augusta Group Headed to Aid South Carolina 
This Friday, Good Shepherd, Augusta, and Holy Comforter, Martinez, are joining the Diocese of Upper South Carolina in providing "boots on the ground" flood relief to Kingstree, SC. There is a need for people to help clear out flooded houses and provide food and pastoral care to those in need. There is no age limit (although we would suggest using common sense about bringing children) and persons of all ability levels are needed. 
  
Please join us this coming weekend. For more information and to sign up, contact Matthew Lewis at [email protected]
Youth Programs
Register Now for the 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: http://gaepiscopal.org/docs/oneyearprayercycle.pdf 

Prayer for October 18-24
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Thomasville, All Saints, Good Shepherd, and St. Thomas and for their work at the Oak Street Episcopal Mission. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Thomasville, especially St. Augustine's Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist (Capilla San Juan Evangelista) in Santo Domingo.

Prayer for October 25-31
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Thomson, Holy Cross, and for our ecumenical partners in Thomson, especially Zion Lutheran Church in Guyton and Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Lakeland. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo, especially the Cathedral of the Epiphany (La Catedral de la Epifanía).
Worshipping with homeless persons

The video above shows the Community of St. Joseph, a new ministry for homeless persons in Savannah led by the Rev. Jamie Maury. More information is found at the diocesan website: Community of St. Joseph
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Sincerely,                                       
            
Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia