November 25, 2015Volume 6, Number 13
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
First Sunday in Advent
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Parishioners at St. Paul's, Albany, gather to work with that parish's Feed My Sheep program providing food to needy families year round.

We give thanks for fruits of the earth
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Shown above are members of FFA, FCCLA, FBLA, and HOSA at Bleckley County High School with over 800 cans of food that they and their club members donated to the Food Closet at Trinity Episcopal Church in Cochran.  The clubs held a "Scary to be Hungry" food drive during the month of October to bring awareness of hunger around the world.  Also, shown are Mrs. Cheryl Parks, Club Sponsor, and Deacon Dale Jones, Chairman of the Food Closet at Trinity.  Also instrumental in this project was Penny Spivey, a member of Trinity and an educator at BCHS.  
Diocesan Office Update    
On Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. James, Quitman, in the morning, and Good Shepherd, Pennick, in the afternoon.

Diocesan Community Update    

The Rev. Dr. Jim Shumard has accepted a call to serve as an Interim Rector St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Capser, a parish of the the Diocese of Wyoming. Shumard most recently served as the Rector of St. Michael's, Waynesboro. He has also assisted our Episcopal Campus Ministry at Georgia Southern.

Jason Peaslee finished his final weekend as New Beginnings Coordinator this past weekend as he prepares to move to Alabama for work. Peaslee is a product of the youth programs of this Diocese. As a youth, he served on many coordination teams for various events. He was a Happening rector, and often shared his musical gifts to make our events a success. Since New Beginnings #20 (His first event,) he has been present at all but four New Beginnings. As an adult, Peaslee served this community as a Program Coordinator for several years. We give thanks for his dedication in giving back to the diocesan community through his leadership in Youth Programs.

John Jenkins Ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests
Bishop Benhase ordained The Rev. Deacon John Jenkins to the Priesthood on Tuesday November 24, 2015 at St. Paul's, Augusta, where he serves as the Assistant to the Interim Rector. Bishop Benhase ordained Jenkins on behalf of the Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, Bishop of Alabama, the diocese that supported Jenkins in his discernment and preparation for ordained ministry. More photos are online here: Jenkins Ordination Album

Bishop's Visitation 

Holy Cross, Thomson
Bishop Benhase, The Rev. Erwin Veale, and Archdeacon Saundra Turner, with confirmands. 

Good Shepherd, Augusta

Bishop Benhase with the clergy and confirmands at Good Shepherd, Augusta.
Call For a New Diocesan Missioner for Youth
The Diocese of Georgia is happy to announce a call for a new Missioner of Youth. The Missioner for Youth reports to the Bishop of Georgia for all matters related to Diocesan youth programs, mission, and conformity with the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church. 

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and references to Canon Katie Willoughby either attached to an email to [email protected] (preferred) or by mail to Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, 611 East Bay Street, Savannah GA 31401. The materials are due by 5pm on December 4th, 2015.

To view the full job description, please 
Click HereThe Diocesan staff hope that you will share this opportunity with those you find fit for this position, and encourage all to apply that feel so called. 
Convention 2015
Let us know how to improve our conventions
If you took part in the recent 194th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia, we want your feedback as we seek to improve future conventions. Please take a few minutes to let us know what worked and what needs changing as we look toward next November's meeting in Augusta:

Honey Creek
Deadline for Registering for Advent Retreat
The Revs. Lonnie Lacy and Dwayne Varas are teaming up to lead a special Advent Retreat at Honey Creek, our diocesan conference center. The theme will be "Following Jesus in the way of St. Ignatius" and is well suited for anyone who wants some time away to make daily prayer a deeper reality in their life. This retreat will be held 5 p.m. December 11 to 5 p.m. on December 12. Register by this Friday, November 27. Click here for a brochure on this retreat.
The rates for the conference including three meals are: Lodge 1 Single $144, Lodge 1 Double $99.50, Lodge 2 Single $133, Lodge 2 Double $94, Cottage $90, and Campers and Commuters $64. Register directly with Honey Creek at (912) 265-9218 or [email protected].
EYCS Scholarship Program Changes Lives
EYCS The Episcopal Youth and Children Services Trust (EYCS) has provided more than $1,000,000 in college scholarships for over a thousand youth of the Diocese of Georgia, and in just the past few years, has given over $40,000 to allow hundreds of children the chance to attend summer camp at Honey Creek. This year's ingathering just occurred, but you can still support this important ministry. Find out how at

The annual offering for Episcopal Youth and Children Services is one of two offerings required by the canons of the Diocese of Georgia (the other is to Sewanee). EYCS is a Diocese of Georgia group created when the Episcopal Home for Girls closed in Savannah. EYCS provides need-based college scholarships for undergraduates and financial assistance for children who might otherwise not be able to go to Summer Camp at Honey Creek.  

A Reflection on EYCS from the past president
As former president of Episcopal Youth and Children's Services, I was proud to serve for several years with a dedicated group of women whose job was to solicit and grant funds to help youth in our diocese with Honey Creek summer camp scholarships and college scholarships.
When I passed the gavel in January, one of the jobs I committed to doing for the incoming president was to deal with The Boxes. 
The Boxes are two cardboard file boxes that have gone each year from the closet of one EYCS president to the closet of the next, with files dating from the early 1960s to present.  Some of the documents in The Boxes are actually older than I am!
Well, today is the day I decided to answer their siren call, beckoning me to deal with them, once and for all.
But before I could tackle The Boxes, I had to help my 15 year old daughter write a speech she'll be giving as part of our parish's stewardship campaign.  In it, she outlined the many ways her parish has had an influence on her life and how it inspired her to give back.  With her speech, she hopes to encourage others to do the same with gifts of money, time and talents.
Click here for an EYCS video
Click here for an EYCS video
With no excuses left, it was time to deal with The Boxes.  As I shredded obsolete bank statements, and organized board agendas and minutes, a pattern emerged.  The names I saw on the Honey Creek Summer Camp scholarship applications became the names I saw on the EYCS college applications.  Then, to my great joy, I found a file lovingly kept by a past president full of beautifully written thank you notes and college graduation announcements from those same students.  What amazed me even more was how many of the names I recognized; individuals who are now leaders in our parishes, convocations and diocese. 
As I thought about my daughter's description of how her parish has nurtured her so far, I realized there couldn't been a better job for me today.  In a visceral (albeit rather dusty) way, the continuum of love, fostering and aid that the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia offers throughout its numerous parishes and missions was made plain to me.
The EYCS Thanksgiving Appeal is coming to your parish in just a few weeks, its gold envelope representing the colors of fall.  As you contemplate your contribution, think of me and The Boxes - two funny little file boxes stuffed full of the records of the lives, aspirations and successes of the youth of our diocese.   This program has, and will continue to, make a difference in our diocese, thanks to you and your generous support.
-Cuffy Sullivan
Join in Diocesan-Wide Studies this Advent and Lent
1Book1Diocese Starts Sunday, November 29
This Advent, you are encouraged to join with Episcopalians across the Diocese in reading Rowan William's Being ChristianThis work, written by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, is based on talks given at Canterbury Cathedral as part of a series of open lectures in 2013. In it, he shares insights into baptism, Eucharist, reading the Bible, and praying. While the work is brief, the view Williams' offers is deeply Anglican, immanently accessible, and bracingly profound. 

How to Take Part
While congregations are encouraged to form study groups to share their thoughts face to face each week in Advent, you can also participate with the rest of the Diocese online. First, each week in Advent read the selected portion of the 96-page book or listen to the corresponding part of the 2 hour and 25 minute audio version. Then each Sunday in Advent, we will add a reflection on the section for the week to the website where you can also take part by adding your comments on that reflection as well as your thoughts on the questions Williams poses at the end of the chapter. Selections to read will be shared at the 1Book1Diocese website, here in From the Field, and at the diocesan Facebook page.
Youth Programs
New Beginnings Retreat Draws Large Participation
New Beginnings #47 took place over the weekend with over 66 youth participants involved, some for the very first time! Youth from all over the diocese came together to build community, understand reconciliation, and grow together in Christ at this event. 

Watching new friendships bloom and old ones blossom is certainly a blessing at youth events like this one, but perhaps the most inspiring element of events like New Beginnings is witnessing the awesome power of youth leadership. New Beginnings is an event almost entirely staffed by middle school and high school aged youth. These youth work together in the months leading up to the event to prepare awesome programming, write talks, practice skits, and meditate over the best way to provide an awesome event to their peers and younger comrades. 

If you know teens who were unable to participate in New Beginnings #47, either as a staff member or a participant, have no fear. Planning for New Beginnings #48 (March 4-6, 2016) is underway. Staff applications will be  open soon, followed quickly by participant registration.

To stay up to date about New Beginnings #48 and other fun events sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia Youth Programs, make sure you like youth programs on Facebook:

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Reflecting on the Ministry of Servanthood
In multiplying ordinary loaves and fish presented by an ordinary boy, Jesus fed the multitudes. Those same ordinary elements became food served to more than 5,000 people. God blesses ordinary, and even broken and sinful people to serve God in this church. As baptized Christians, we are ALL called to ministry. We cannot avoid it, we are called to step fully into the extra-ordinary roles of ministers. God calls some broken sinners to ordination. This reminds me to say here that some of the most powerful and important spiritual direction and leadership ever seen, has come from the wisdom of the Laity. There are no orders of ministry more valuable or important than another. 

Having said all that, why would anyone be bold enough to offer him/herself to ordained ministry? Why would we allow ourselves to be dropped into the fiery crucible of active discernment, instruction and the continual mirroring of others to us? The most frequent response I hear is that we would not prefer that to a root-canal!

In my personal experience, God calls us quietly and persistently through a deep soul-desire and through the calm voices of others in our communities who ask us in a slightly conspiratorial tone, "Have you ever thought about ordination?" God calls some individuals to be open to the particular servanthood ministries of ordination. There is no "magic formula" within a person that catches God's eye; no special or even necessary goodness that God wants to reward. We are all - every single one of us - called to minister to others in God's name and for God's very sake. Many deny this inner urgency for fear of what might be required of them. But I assure you that when God calls, you confidently follow because you will be given the gifts needed for the journey. Every so often discernment happens within a person who feels a particular guidance to serve God within the context of ordained ministry as Deacon or Priest or Bishop. Different gifts are needed for each of these orders, as well as some common gifts shared by all three - such as a deep love for God and God's creation, an unquenchable desire to serve others in Christ's Name, a practice of humble prayer and study. We are called to regular times of "quiet, solitude, & contemplation so that we find and keep to our ground and purpose." (Richard Rohr)

Since I'm an ordained Deacon, I'd like to share a little about our particular sense of ministry. Deacons are called to serve the folks they find (primarily) outside the church walls - the homeless, lonely, prisoners, orphans, widows, victims of violence, the dying, the elderly, the sick, the poor, those who are hungry, on the fringes of society and those who have run away (or been run-off!) by the church with deep wounding. Deacons are called to lead others inside the church to leave their safe & comfy pews to join us as we minister out in the world. Deacons are called to become "A thorn in the side" of our Bishop. I know this is so, because our Bishop Scott Benhase said so! And I always obey the decrees set by him! Deacons are also to become icons of servanthood as we serve around the Altar, setting the Table, assisting the Presider and sending the people out at the end of the liturgy - commanding us all to GO out into the world to love and serve the Lord!

If you might be wondering Whether or not that "nudge" you've been feeling is a legitimate call from God toward ordination, I advise a few things you could do to further your discernment. First, hit your knees in prayer and I do mean to humble yourself before God in prayer, asking for God's will to be made clear to you. Second, after a solid 30-60 days of praying in this way, speak to your Rector about your sense of Call, and then follow her/his direction about this. Thirdly, initiate a relationship with a Spiritual Director, who can walk alongside you on this journey.
At this point, your Rector may form a parish discernment committee to assist you in verbalizing your sense of call. 

At some point, at the Rector's discretion, s/he will send you to visit with our wonderful Bishop, where you will share with him your sense of Call. Getting a picture here? The Bishop may then send you into the Savannah Convocation Discernment process, where you will meet with these kind folk for approximately 6 months to further distill your sense of vocation. They will formalize their intent for you at the end of that time by declining to support ordination, or by sending the Bishop and your Rector a letter of recommendation that you are allowed to pursue further this vocation. The Bishop will take it from there!

My personal discernment process began in 1994, in Western N.C. under Bishop Robert Johnson. Through the next five years, I prayed, struggled, languished, studied, answered hard & probing questions from wise and kindly folk, until I finally settled into God's Will for my life. I was ordained at Church of the Holy Trinity, Asheville, N.C. in 1999. Each day of my life I pray that God will keep me from doing harm to anyone; that God will increase in me a sense of devotion to God and God's people, and that when it is my time to move into greater Glory, God will accept my frail spirit and body in generosity and love, for what I have tried to do on earth. 

If you are sensing a compelling urgency to talk to someone about being ordained, go to your Spiritual Director or your Rector. Let those who are wise in the ways of God help you to discover how you will proceed on the road!
-Deacon Geri Nelson
Celebrate Thanksgiving at Honey Creek
In a growing tradition, Honey Creek is offering Thanksgiving at the Creek again this year. There will be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, ham, green beans casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, salad bar, pecan and pumpkin pies, and more.)

Thursday, November 26, at Noon
Reese Dining Hall
$25 per person
$12 for 8-3 yrs old
Free for under 3 yrs old
If you want to stay the night, lodging is available too. Lodge 1 room $89, Lodge 2 room $78, Chapin or Hunt Cottage (minimum 5 persons) $35 per person.
Presiding Bishop's Primatial Staff has a Louttit Connection
During his recent installation as our 27th Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry received the primatial staff, a sign of his office in our church (he is pictured at left with the staff). Julius and Julia Ariail of Christ Church Valdosta report they learned of a connection between that staff of office and the Diocese of Georgia.  The cross on the staff was given to then Presiding Bishop Arthur Lichtenberger in December of 1961 by Bishop Henry I. Louttit, Sr. of South Florida on the occasion of the consecration of two bishops suffragan, James Duncan and William Hargrave. 

The staff was made in London. According to an article in The Living Church (December 31, 1961): "The staff consists of a sterling silver cross mounted on ebony. The seal of the Presiding Bishop, in red, white and blue enamel, reads: "Seal of the Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA." On the ebony base, ringed with sterling silver, are inscribed the words: "Presented to the Presiding Bishop-Dec. 19th, 1961, by the diocese of South Florida."

A double-barred cross is usually regarded as patriarchal, but some precedent seems to exist for the use of such a cross by primates or heads of national churches. The staff marking a Presiding Bishop as the head of our church was a gift of the father of the ninth Bishop of Georgia, Bishop Henry Louttit, Jr.
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: 

Prayer for November 22-28
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Vidalia, the Church of the Annunciation. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Vidalia, especially Sacred Heart Catholic Church and for St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Reidsville. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo, especially St. Peter and St. Paul (San Pedro y San Pablo).

Prayer for November 29-December 5
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Waycross, Grace Church. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Waycross, especially St. Joseph's Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Santo Domingo, especially St. Ann's (Santa Ana).
Peace be with you

The Bishop, clergy, and confirmands at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta, wish you peace this Thanksgiving week.
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The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia