February 24, 2016Volume 6, Number 26
In This Issue

This Sunday's Lections
Third Sunday in Lent
Exodus 3:1-15
1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Luke 13:1-9

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Bishops Denounce Campus Carry Bill
ATLANTA and SAVANNAH (Feb. 23, 2016) - Georgia's Episcopal bishops have issued a joint statement denouncing legislation allowing guns on Georgia public college and university campuses.

Bishops Robert C. Wright of Atlanta and Scott A. Benhase of Savannah, said House Bill 859, approved Monday by state representatives, conflicts with Christian values and would be bad public policy.

"This bill is not consistent with either God's vision for a community built on respect for human life and love of neighbor or with responsible gun ownership," Wright and Benhase said in a statement to some 400 Episcopal clergy throughout Georgia. "Having more guns in more places on our state's campuses will not make them safer as proponents of the bill suggest. Instead, reputable studies have shown that this will increase the likelihood of gun owners accidentally shooting and wounding - sometimes killing - others."

The bishop's said HB 859 would also add significant additional costs for security and screening to a system that already has been forced to make cuts at the expense of education.

"There are better ways to increase safety for our state's students, professors and staff at our state's schools. We ask that the state's educational leaders be allowed to identify and put in place measures that safeguard all on our campuses," the statement said.

The bishops asked their clergy to encourage the some 75,000 members of Georgia's 180 Episcopal Churches to join them in calling upon state senators to reject HB 859.
"Please call or email Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and your state senator today expressing your opposition to HB 859 and Campus Carry," the bishops said. "Tell your elected representatives in the Senate that passing HB 859 is a step away from common sense law and a step toward a more violent society."

The bishops also opposed legislation in 2014 to expand the number of places where guns may be carried (That statement is online here
. After the bill was changed in the Senate to require churches to "opt in" to allow guns in churches the bishops banned guns from all Episcopal churches, schools and other ministries.
Diocesan Office Update    
Bishop Benhase will be at St. Francis, Savannah this Friday and Saturday for a meeting of the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee. 

On Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Luke's Rincon. 

Canon Logue is in Dallas from Thursday through Sunday for a meeting of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, which is our denomination's Board of Directors. 
St. John and St. Mark's, Albany
Bringing the Church to the Community 
The Congregation of St. John and St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Albany, Georgia, has had a long-standing relationship with its surrounding community of Radium Springs. The parishioners of this church offer many annual outreach ministries to the community including Halloween and Christmas Block Parties, Teacher Appreciation breakfasts at the Radium Springs Middle School, and clothing drives to benefit non-profits in the area.
The congregation has established an intention to care for their fellow man, and in recent years has begun taking steps towards building a signature ministry out of it's Parish Hall.  The original idea was to develop a cyber caf�.
Deacon Johnny Tuttle of St. John and St. Mark's shares his initial impression of the parish, "Actually when I interviewed and first started talking to Canon Frank Logue about coming to this diocese, he described their outreach and congregation and what they were trying to accomplish. The cyber caf� and the block parties were both incredibly appealing to me. So I jumped on that and gravitated toward that." He adds, "They were listening to people in the neighborhood and were trying to respond to what they were hearing. One of the things that they noticed was that there were a lot of kids in the neighborhood. They were trying to provide for a need for school computers in the neighborhood."
After receiving some donations, the Cyber Caf� became a reality. The church had acquired the computers and the servers and the volunteers to make it happen. But the seats were empty.
Tuttle says, "When I arrived the Cyber Caf� had already been established and was beginning to fade. The congregation made it clear that this project didn't work out the way they wanted it to. Since the church had already established a relationship with the Radium Springs Middle School, I connected through our parishioners to set up a meeting with the school Principal. I had a conversation with him in his office about what we could be doing to get more involved with the school."
Through this conversation, Tuttle learned that several factors were playing into the lack of interest in the Cyber Caf�. The students at the middle school had school assigned iPads that they were able to take home at night, negating the need for a Cyber Caf�. In addition, the principal expressed that the school has issues getting people involved. "He basically said it is near impossible to get people to come to anything-it doesn't matter what it is. Not afterschool tutoring, not even PTO meetings. The only thing people show up to is something with incentive," shares Tuttle.
The congregation realized it needed to reassess its outreach and begin talking about how to move forward. Tuttle said, "We're going to need to go where we want to do outreach and ministry rather than demanding that they come to us."
This notion of taking the church to the community has lead to some really inspirational ideas from the congregation of St. John and St. Mark's. Tuttle shares, "The church obviously doesn't have a lot of substantial means to lure members of the community to our ministry. But we do have a lot of retired educators in our congregation. The principal told us that it would be helpful to enter the school as mentors and tutors. So that's a direction we've begun moving towards."
But the church hasn't entirely given up on the idea of a Cyber Caf� either. Tuttle states, "On the other side of this, removed from the school, is an interest in a Prisoner re-entry program. The governor is trying to implement this program in Georgia to help formerly incarcerated people re-enter the workforce and general population. It's possible we could offer these computers as a resource to look for jobs and apartments and general needs. But that's a little further down the road."
It's become apparent in this congregation is determined to keep moving forward, despite the many hurtles it has face so far. "Honestly when I arrived, folks were generally disappointed that the original Cyber Cafe hadn't taken off. There's a genuine desire to be a part of this community and to offer something to the community that is substantial. I think the Cyber Caf� was a real try in that direction. But I think that the people here are just committed to doing what they can to become part of this community. So we're really in this position where we're looking around us and trying to match our gifts to the needs of the community," says Tuttle.
The truly inspiring moral of this story is that this parish is clearly going to continue working towards building a relationship with their community. "That's kind of the point. We're always learning and reassessing. The fact that we keep showing up for this community with excitement- that alone is encouraging." 
Lent Discussion Considers Holy Orders this Week
As the Lent 1Book1Diocese continues to read Rachel Held Evans's Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the ChurchThe Rev. Tom Purdy,  offers his reflections on Holy Orders at our website. His reflection is part of our diocesan engagement with the book as each Wednesday in Lent, we add a reflection on the section for the week to the 1book1diocese website. You can take part by adding your comments on that reflection as well as your thoughts on the questions posed there and on anything you want to share on reading Searching for Sunday. 

Next week we will discuss the chapter on Communion, and next Wednesday we will post a reflection from Brenda Kellar, to the 1Book1Diocese website.
Daughters of the King Spring Assembly in March
The Daughters of the King will hold their Spring Assembly at Honey Creek on March 11-12. The theme for the weekend is: Finding Your Personal Mission of Service in DOK.  The group will explore this theme with Terry Kravitz of the Prayer Bear Ministry from Sherman, Texas and the DOK Province IV President Susan Towson.  For more information, contact Angel Bernier DOK Diocesan President 301 Wild Grape Drive St. Marys, GA  31558 or call her cell phone 401-529-0786.

About the Daughters of the King
Daughters of the King are Christian women, both lay and ordained, who are strengthened through the discipline of a Rule of Life, and supported through the companionship of our sisters. Because Daughters of the King accept a Rule of Life, the define the group as an order, not an organization. Our community is found primarily in our local chapters, but it extends around the world. Daughters do not just enroll as members and attend meetings. After a three-month period of study and discernment, each new member takes lifetime vows to uphold the two Rules of the Order, the Rule of Prayer and the Rule of Service.
The Episcopal Church's Good Friday Offering 
The history of the Good Friday Offering reaches back to 1922 when, in the aftermath of World War I, The Episcopal Church sought to create new relationships with and among the Christians of the Middle East. From these initial efforts which focused on a combination of relief work and the improvement of ecumenical and Anglican relations, the Good Friday Offering was created.

Through the years many Episcopalians have found the Good Friday Offering to be an effective way to express their support for the ministries of the four dioceses of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Pastoral care, education and health care continue to be primary ministries through which the reconciling spirit of the Christian faith serves all in need. Participation in this ministry is welcome. The generous donations of Episcopalians help the Christian presence in the Land of the Holy One to be a vital and effective force for peace and understanding among all of God's children.

To make a donation to the Good Friday Offering, please write a check payable to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, write "Good Friday Offering" in the memo line, and mail to:

DFMS - Protestant Episcopal Church US
P.O. Box 958983
St. Louis, MO 63195-8983

CONTACT: The Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds, Middle East Partnership Officer
Columba House Savannah
Priority Deadline Approaching for Internships 
Applications for Residential Internships at Columba House Savannah in 2016-2017 are now available. Columba House's Mission is to cultivate young adults to become disciples and leaders in the Episcopal Church and "to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ" (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 855).

The Residential Internship is robust and rewarding. Residential Interns will develop as Christian disciples and leaders through prayer, community, and service. They commit to following a Communal Rule of Life, praying the Daily Office, and eating meals together as a house. While living in the Columba House Savannah community, each Intern will work part-time at a local parish or non-profit organization.
Our mission of holy unity and discipleship is carried out through worship, study, and work in the Columba House Savannah and surrounding neighborhood. In order to become the next generation of lay and ordained church leaders, Interns share a common, balanced schedule with daily worship, meals, work and free time; weekly discipleship and leadership training and neighborhood events; and semi-annual retreats. These elements of the program ensure that Interns have the tools they need to live as mature, evangelistic Christians grounded in the catholic faith expressed by the Episcopal Church.

This year's Columba House Savannah Residential Internship begins August 22, 2016 and ends April 30, 2017.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016: Priority Application Deadline #1 for 2016-2017 Residential Internship

For more information, please contact the following:

Columba House Savannah
The Rev. Dcn. Kelly Steele, CHS Missioner, [email protected]
The Rev. Dcn. Guillermo Arboleda, CHS Missioner, [email protected]

Save the Date - Fall Prayer Retreat September 23-24
The 22 participants and retreat leaders at the Lenten Retreat just held at Honey Creek agree that the retreat was so beneficial, another retreat should be offered in the fall. Following the same format, but with different material on prayer, this retreat is appropriate for both those who just attended the Lenten Retreat and those who did not. 
The Gospel offers the possibility of metanoia, a change of mind and heart. During the overnight retreat participants will delve into just how that change occurs and to begin to effect that change in mind and heart. Find the deep connections that will permit your life to be lived not out of a sense of never being or having enough, but in the power and presence of God. Come expecting God to be present to you.

The retreat will last from 6 pm Friday, September 23, to 1:30 pm on Saturday, the 24th. The cost includes a room at Honey Creek and three meals as well as the retreat: Lodge I - Single Rate: $144.00; Lodge 1- Double Rate: $99.50; Lodge 2 - Single Rate: $133.00; Lodge 2 - Double Rate: $94.00; and Commuter Rate: $64.00.
Christ Church, Cordele

Faith in Daily Life Discussions for Lent
Christ Episcopal Church hosted the first of a series of Lenten lunches that features a guest speaker each week talking on the subject of how faith influences their life and career.  The initial lunch was held Wednesday, February 17th and our guest speaker, Sheriff Billy Hancock, shared how important his faith is in both his personal life and his professional life serving Crisp CountyChrist Church invites the Cordele-Crisp County community to join us for a simple soup & sandwich lunch in the fellowship building, Holmes Hall, each Wednesday at noon through March 16th. 
(The names of those in the picture are, from left to right:  Susan Wright, Sheriff Billy Hancock and Ernie Rhodes)
Chrism Mass and Renewal of Ordination Vows
Bishop Benhase invites the clergy of the Diocese to attend one of two Chrism Mass liturgies which will be held 11 a.m. on March 18 at Christ Church, Cordele, and at 11 a.m. on March 22 at St. George's, Savannah. At each liturgy, the Bishop will bless the oils for healing, chrism for baptisms and oil for catechumens (setting aside adults preparing for baptism). The liturgies will include a reaffirmation of vows for deacons, priests and our bishop. Lunch will follow on each day. Lay persons are invited to attend. Those who can make the trip this will be a meaningful time of worship as we recommit to our vocations in Christ's Body, the Church.
Please RSVP to the priests hosting the liturgy:
March 18 in Cordele - The Rev. Dr. Larry Williams - [email protected]
March 22 in Savannah - The Rev. Jim Parker - [email protected]
Regrets do not need to be sent.
Youth Programs
February 28 deadline for Nebraska Mission Trip
Our Diocesan Youth Mission Trip will take place June 21-28, 2016. We will be visiting western Nebraska, on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. Our trip will be led by the Rev. Joshua Varner and will be hosted by Christ Episcopal Church in Sidney, Nebraska. We will spend our time working with the Episcopal churches in Sidney and in other nearby areas, as well as taking time to play, explore, and pray! We will seek, search, and listen for God in our hosts, in each other, and in the world around us as we travel together.
The estimated total cost for the trip is $1000, including airfare, other transportation, meals, lodging, and other activities. Participants will need to attend a weekend retreat March 11-13, at Honey Creek, also included in the cost of the event.

Sign Up Deadline, February 28, 2016
Then send your $300 deposit to the Diocese. Checks should be made out to the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, marked with the participants name and the memo "2016 Youth Mission Trip" and sent to: The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, 611 East Bay Street, Savannah GA 31401.
Financial aid is always available upon request. Please contact the Rev. Joshua Varner at [email protected] to discuss financial aid, to receive a hard copy of the sign up form, or to discuss any other questions about the trip!
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  

Prayers for February 21-27
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Baxley, St. Thomas Aquinas and for our ecumenical partners in Baxley at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Bonao, especially St. Joseph of Arimathea (San Jos� de Arimatea), St. John the Baptist (San Juan Bautista), and St. Nicodemus (San Nicodemo).

Prayers for February 28-March 5
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Blakely, Holy Trinity, and for our ecumenical partners in Blakely, especially Holy Family Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Cornelius (San Cornelio) in Cabarette.
Sewn with love

Ladies from St. Luke's Rincon's Tuesday morning women's group show the dresses and pillow cases they made for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) to distribute to their clients.
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Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia