March 16, 2016Volume 6, Number 29
In This Issue
 
 




This Sunday's Lections
Palm Sunday
 
Join Our Mailing List
Campaign for Congregational Development
Keeping Up with Diocesan News 
Over the past six months, the Diocese of Georgia has been working diligently to spread more information about our existing Campaign priorities and initiatives. Perhaps you've read articles in From the Field about Congregational Growth & Development, Clergy & Lay Leader Support, or Development Leadership Formation for Youth & Young Adults. You've maybe seen one of our weekly news bulletins in your parish. Or you've kept up with our campaign initiatives by visiting our website at http://campaign.georgiaepiscopal.org/ and seen news updates on our Facebook Page (Episcopal Diocese of Georgia).

If you have been staying current with Diocesan news through any of these various sources, then you may know more about our campaign success than you realize. Some quick highlights include:

Columba House Savannah is in Year 3 of successful operation, with two newly ordained Missioners. Columba House Augusta has launched Year 1 with a newly rented house and a part-time missioner to help us reach out for the first time to young adults at Augusta University and the Medical Center.

Church Growth continues at Christ Church, Cordele, and St. Luke's, Rincon. Campaign gifts have helped both places grow substantially in people and ministries. Cordele's attendance has nearly doubled and Rincon has experienced 50% growth. Both missions are on trajectories to become parishes. And a generous donation has been reserved for St. Luke's, Hawkinsville in support of its future building plans.

The Church Development Institute is in its fifth year of shaping and strengthening leaders for the Diocese. In December, we began a new class of participants (24 new and 8 returning). Many exciting new ministries have been developed in our Diocese as a result of CDI leadership training.

Honey Creek has launched a new digital infrastructure through its website (www.honeycreek.org). Its purpose is to reimage and rebrand Honey Creek from a "conference center" into a "retreat and camping center." Some of the benefits of the website include a user-friendly scheduling calendar, clear education regarding the mission of Honey Creek, easy access to donation tools, electronic registration capability, and responsive, mobile-friendly access to the site.

So what's next?
The Diocese of Georgia is conducting a Discernment Study to determine the current highest priorities and needs of the members of our Diocese regarding the Campaign for Congregational Development. This is a crucial "next-step" in our Campaign. The information gathered in this study will help us assess Diocesan readiness to continue moving forward in the Campaign. The Bishop and staff are working with Andi Tilmann, our Campaign consultant with the Episcopal Church Foundation. She will be in the Diocese this week to hear from lay and ordained leaders across the convocations through confidential interviews and electronic surveys.

This upcoming Discernment Study will guide us in determining which initiatives have the most support at this time, and how much the Campaign for Congregational Development could raise to achieve them over the next 5 years. Gifts of all sizes are welcome and will enable the Diocese to strengthen our congregations, serve our communities and grow in the Body of Christ. More information on the Discernment Study and how to submit a survey will be highlighted in From the Field in the coming weeks. To find out more about the Campaign, call Rebekah Stewart at (912) 236-4279 or visit campaign.georgiaepiscopal.org  
Diocesan Office Update    
Bishop Benhase has been attending the House of Bishop's Spring Meeting in Camp Allen, Texas, which concluded yesterday. Today is a travel day.

Bishop Benhase will lead a Chrism Mass at Christ Church, Cordele on Friday and another Chrism Mass at St. George's, Savannah on Tuesday. 

This Palm Sunday, Bishop Benhase makes his visitation to Calvary, Americus. 

Canon Logue is in Cordele today. This Saturday and Sunday, he will preach at Christ Church Frederica on St. Simons Island.

The Diocese of Georgia office is closed Thursday and Friday for St. Patrick's Day.
1Book1Diocese
Lenten Study Considers Anointing the Sick 
As the Lent 1Book1Diocese continues to read Rachel Held Evans's Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the ChurchThe Rev. John Jenkins, offers his reflections on Anointing the Sick 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 Marriage, and next Wednesday we will post a reflection from Deacon Guillermo Arboleda, to the 1Book1Diocese website.
   
Companion Diocese
Explore a Connection to the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Development Group (DDG), a coordinating agency for the Dominican Republic mission teams from the Diocese of Georgia and the 11 other Episcopal dioceses with companion relationships with the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, sponsors specialized mission trips several times each year that are open to individuals from any of the companion dioceses. Two such trips have sign-up dates that are approaching soon. 

From April 7-13, 2016, the DDG will conduct an exploration trip designed to show both experienced and potential mission trip leaders many possible work sites for mission teams that are among the facilities of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. The sign-up deadline is March 21. More information, including a detailed itinerary, is here: DDG Exploration Trip Information

From April 13-20, 2016, the DDG will conduct a mission trip designed to test construction techniques for a new latrine design developed by Water Mission, another non-profit organization based in Charleston, SC. This trip will be led by the Rev. Tar Drazdowski, formerly of the Diocese of Georgia, who now serves as the Vicar for Mission in the Diocese of Nebraska. The sign-up deadline is April 1. More information, including a detailed itinerary, is here: DDG Sponsors Pilot Project

General information about the work of the DDG is here: http://www.dominicandevelopmentgroup.org 

In the photo above, members of a previous exploration team meet Padre Daniel Samuel (in green shirt), the priest at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in Montellano on the north central coast of the Dominican Republic.
Upcoming Youth Ministry Retreat 
(Adults who work with youth)
Registration is now open for the May 13-14 Adult Youth Ministry Retreat. This is a new event for the Diocese. We invite all adults 18+ who are engaged in youth ministry to join us for this overnight retreat- hosted at Honey Creek. This is an opportunity for us to all come together to begin forming our own community and support system. By taking care of ourselves, we can better care for our youth and youth programs. All are encouraged to apply!
 
Columba House Application Deadline & New Website
The Columba House Internship Application is open and available to young adults who want to live in community and serve the greater Savannah area. Our 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). 

For more information about our internship programs, please check out the brand new www.columbahouse.org!

The First Priority Deadline is this week. If you're working on an application, try to submit it as soon as possible! The Second Priority Deadline for the Columba House Residential Internship is April 27, 2016!
Spring Clergy Conference 
During the Spring Clergy Conference, the priests and deacons will hear from the Rev. Dr. Eric Law who will present the models, theology, and skill sets he has developed to unlock sustainability in outward focused congregations.  The May 1-3 conference will focus on Law's Holy Currencies which offers a holistic model for stewardship and congregational vitality, moving beyond "time, talent, and treasure" to create missional and sustainable ministries.  Law defines a missional church as a community of people who look outward and are able to connect with others who are not already of any church organization.

Parishioners as well as clergy are encouraged to read the Rev. Dr. Eric Law's book Holy Currencies: 6 Blessings for Sustainable Missional Ministries. Law will present to the Spring Clergy Conference the models, theology, and skill sets he has developed to unlock sustainability in outward focused congregations. Law finds that the face-to-face work in a short conference like ours goes much further in producing positive change when this is not the first encounter with the concepts.

His model with its processes, enables church leaders to understand, develop, and utilize five other kinds of currencies besides money that are essential for creating sustainable missional ministries.

Law is an Episcopal priest who with the support of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, founded the Kaleidoscope Institute in 2006 to provide resources to equip church leaders to create sustainable churches and communities.

The Loose Canon
Improve Your Congregation's Welcome
Among the areas proven to be critical to growing any size church, the most important are welcoming and following up with newcomers to get them connected to the congregation.

To assist congregations in the Diocese of Georgia with a hospitality tune up, I created a 3-page checklist, which is online here: Hospitality Checklist. The checklist takes a visitor's encounter with your church from before they arrive until after they are home. Included at the bottom of the checklist are two other ways to put your hospitality to the test:
  1. Have members of your vestry or greeting teams visit other Episcopal Churches and churches in your area of other denominations. Then have these teams return to brainstorm what was learned, seeing your own church with new eyes and incorporating good ideas from other churches.
  2. Ask a person with no church to be a "mystery worshipper" and make a report back on their experience. For examples of reports see: http://www.ship-of- fools.com/mystery/
Invite-Welcome-Connect
Another helpful resource is Mary Parmer's Invite-Welcome-Connect website created by the Diocese of Texas. That diocese created intentional structures of invitation, welcome, and connection which were researched, designed, and implemented in test congregations with reporting back on data to see the impact. The result is this well thought out and field-tested material. We know that cultivating new practices of invitation, welcome, and connection that are rooted and grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ will gradually change our congregations and help shape an authentic culture of effective newcomer ministry. The free resources at that website show how to improve your congregation's welcome.

Personal Invitation
Survey after survey shows that people most often connect to a new church after a personal invitation from a family member, friend, or co-worker invited him or her to church. There is no better time to invite someone to church than Easter. Pray who God would have you invite. Then when you feel that nudge of the Holy Spirit, don't hold back. Just ask.
 
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue
Canon to the Ordinary
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 March 13-19
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Cochran, Trinity and for our ecumenical partners, especially St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Cairo. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the Church of the Holy Name (El Santo Nombre) in Catalina.

Prayers for March 20-26
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Cordele, Christ Church and for our ecumenical partners in Cordele, especially St. Theresa Catholic Church. . In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for the congregations in Consuelo - The Grand Commission (La Gran Comisión) and St. Gabriel (San Gabriel).
Evening Eucharist

The Rev. Liam Collins presides at a Sunday evening Eucharist at Christ Church Savannah.
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Sincerely,                                       
            
Diocesan Staff                             
The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia