FROM THE FIELD: NEWS FROM THE DIOCESE OF GEORGIA


March 27, 2019

Volume 9, No. 31

First Church Named for Saint Anna Alexander!

Emma Marie Chiang photo

Sunday, in a much-anticipated liturgy, the words of the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of the Diocese of California, soared through the air, "It is my delight to authorize with the consent of the Standing Committee the organization of St. George's and St. Alban's into a new bishop's congregation with the name of St. Anna's Episcopal Church." 

With those words read by Canon to the Ordinary Abbott Bailey, the first Episcopal Church in the nation to be named after St. Anna Alexander was created. A community celebration is planned for July 21. 

Anna Ellison Butler Alexander came to the attention of St. George's, Antioch, and St. Alban's, Brentwood, during last year's Lent Madness, Forward Movement's version of March Madness with saints "competing" in the brackets. St. Anna "won" the Golden Halo, six months before General Convention reaffirmed her sainthood in July. 


Born shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Anna Alexander devoted her life to the service of others by providing much needed education and literacy to the children of those formerly enslaved. Despite the segregation of the Episcopal Church at the time, she became the first African American Deaconess in the Episcopal Church. 

The new congregation in California has parishioners who hail directly from Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Canada, Holland, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Bermuda and Ghana among others. The Rev. Jill Honodel, Long-Term Supply Priest said, "We were so inspired by Anna's story of the pouring out her life for the sake of those formerly enslaved; despite having little resources she managed over time to build a school as well as a church to help people succeed through literacy. Educational segregation exists right here in our neighborhood in that only 9% of the African American boys pass their math through high school. We are inspired by St. Anna to do our part so that as many people as possible have a chance to succeed and the opportunity for a good future." 

When parishioner Betty Smith saw the saint's photo on the front cover of Sunday's bulletin, she said, "It was good to come to church this morning and to see a saint of the church that looks like me. I'm really thankful that God has given this to me in my time." 

St. George's of Antioch and St. Alban's of Brentwood, which are near the epicenter of the real estate crash that impacted the nation in 2008, were hard hit. In 2018, they decided to not only share space in Antioch but also to share governance. On September 30th, the two mission churches officially petitioned to merge and reform into a new mission. The membership was unanimous in the decision. There is potential for a future church plant in Brentwood on a 9-acre property owned by the Diocese of California. The membership of the new St. Anna's has done significant and heartfelt congregational work over the last two and a half years. Bishop Marc Andrus has been supportive of the congregations and their merging into one and naming themselves after the church's newest saint. 

The new Senior Warden of St. Anna's, Michelle Price, summarizes the sentiments of the congregation by saying, "I'm elated that we are finally St. Anna's Episcopal Church. I was so inspired by her story in Lent Madness. She models what I feel is true Christianity: her quiet faithfulness and being a teacher, a champion for literacy and education, which is something I feel very passionately about. I took away from Lent Madness her being a saint as something I could emulate in my own life. Some of the saints do things that are so huge and so dynamic and here's this humble, small woman in Pennick, that just quietly changed people's lives one student at a time and depopulated the area and brought them to a new life where otherwise they would have been left behind so she is truly an inspiration to me. Hopefully our church will model the same through our resource center by hosting literacy programs, after school programs and math programs." 

Mimi Costa-White whose photo as a five-year-old was taken in the church when it was called St. Barnabas said, "Witnessing the proclamation of the birth of St. Anna's Episcopal was both moving and joyous. I felt St. Anna Alexander's spirit of strength, determination and love of community in every moment of the service. It makes me very proud to be a member of the first church to honor her memory and teachings." 

The mission statement of St. Anna's is, "A diverse community celebrating God's love and acceptance." 
Emma Marie Chiang photo

IN THIS ISSUENew Church Named for Saint AnnaAsk the Bishop ReturnsSurvey for Bishop SearchArchdeacon Turner RetiresProfile of St. Paul's AlbanyNew Beginnings 54Around the DioceseSacred Ground SeriesSpringtime at Our SaviourEvents

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THIS SUNDAY'S LECTIONS 

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Joshua 5:9-12 

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 

Psalm 32


Go  here for the full text.

Ask the Bishop Returns in April

The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase will be available on Fridays in April to answer questions about the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church in Georgia live on Facebook starting April 5th at 11 AM. A video of the livestream will also be available on YouTube later that day.

All questions on theology or the teachings of Jesus will be answered.  Maybe one question about the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Go here to participate in the livestream: https://www.facebook.com/georgiaepiscopal/

Survey Closes April 1 

The Search Committee has designed a survey for the XI Bishop Search that includes the questions that have been and will be asked at the Diocesan Listening Sessions. The final sessions will be held this weekend, see the Events section below.  

Whether or not you attend or have attended a Listening Session, please take the time to complete this brief survey. Go  here  to get started! The survey will close on April 1. 

St. Thomas DOK Chapter Quiet Day

The Daughters of the King (DOK) Chapter of St. Thomas' Isle of Hope will host a quiet day Saturday, March 30 from 9:30 to 1:30. The Rev. Beverly Braine is the presenter, the theme: Our Minds, Our Hearts, Our Hands: Creativity in Service to Our King. The program will be held from 10 to 11:30 and followed by Eucharist and lunch. For information, call Jane Gilchrist at 703-314-4134.

Archdeacon Saundra Turner Retires

The Rev. Dr. Saundra Turner


When the Rev. Dr. Saundra Turner, Archdeacon, turns her duties over to the next Archdeacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, it will be the first time this transition occurs. Because Turner, in 2013 was the first Archdeacon in the Diocese. 

A 30-year member at Our Saviour, Martinez, Turner continued to serve at Our Saviour after she became a Deacon in 2006. Two years ago she moved to a new church, as deacons do when there is a transition in leadership, and is now at Christ Church, Harrisburg. 

Turner started a free health clinic in Dearing, Georgia, a small town located between Harlem and Thompson and ran it for 18 years, opening it one day a week. She already has plans underway to create an interfaith clinic at Christ Church.

In addition to being a deacon, Turner was Assistant Dean and Chair of the Nurse Practitioner Program at the Medical College of Georgia, now Augusta University, for 27 years.

"Working on the development of the Deacon's Formation Program in the diocese has been rewarding as has assisting with ordinations and confirmations throughout the Diocese," she said.
When asked "why be a Deacon?" she replied, "I felt called to serve God in the world. The liturgy is so enriching and when I assist at the altar, I am serving God and the people at the same time.

"As the Archdeacon, it's been a wonderful opportunity to get to know more of the people in the diocese and to work with other Deacons in their ministry and to serve the Bishop. I've really enjoyed the role and thank the Diocese for the opportunity," she concluded.

The Bishop Knocks on the Door

St. Paul's Church, Albany

St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Albany, Georgia became an organized Parish of the Diocese ofGeorgia on April 21, 1851. On May 15, 1855 the first Episcopal Bishop of Georgia consecrated a frame building at the corner of Jefferson Street and Oglethorpe Boulevard, two blocks south of the present site at the corner of Jefferson and Flint avenues. The cornerstone of the church was laid January 25, 1896 and the third Bishop of Georgia dedicated St. Paul's before the end of that year. Known as the "mother church of the west," St. Paul's has nurtured the establishment of three additional Episcopal churches in Albany: St. John's in the early 1900's then St. Mark's in the early 1950's - these two parishes combined as The Episcopal Church of St. John and St. Mark after the flood of 1994, and lastly St. Patrick's established on July 3 , 1961. 


Most recently St. Paul's has survived two tornadoes in 2017 and a hurricane in 2018. Standing tall as a historic beautiful downtown church, St. Paul's works with other downtown churches of different denominations in collaboration doing the Lord's work. The Rev. Reed Freeman is the current Rector of St. Paul's. 


In addition to its extraordinary architecture, St. Paul's is known for its enthusiastic parishioners! Their outreach programs have included feeding our brothers and sisters through monthly grocery donations via their Feed My Sheep outreach program, feeding neighbors in need with luncheons and dinners, and their "Young Enough" group providing dinners to the area homeless in conjunction with our neighboring Methodist church. 

St. Paul's is the primary sponsor of Barney's Run for Warriors, an annual run raising funds to provide Service Dogs for post/911 veterans suffering from PTSD. These dogs have been instrumental in: 
* Restoring our state's warriors to daily life, 
* Blessing them and their families with renewed hope, 
* Preventing suicide, and 
* Reducing the necessity for anti-anxiety medications. 
This tremendous endeavor includes the Jim Purks Memorial Marathon, named for their beloved Deacon and a huge supporter of this event. The various races include distances of 26.2, 13.1, 10K and 5K. St. Paul's parishioners provide planning, administrative, financial, public relations, fund raising, and registration assistance. They also comprise the majority of race-day volunteers. Nine trained service dogs have been given to deserving veterans thanks to six years of this event. The ninth dog, Mimi, was just given to our first female recipient, Lydia Harris of Columbus, Georgia. Enough money has been raised for a tenth dog. The November 16, 2019 run will be the seventh Barney's Run for Warriors.
Bishop Benhase with the confirmands, from left: Marjorie Morgan, Ellie Morgan, Holladay Miles, Adaline Miles 

The Canon for Children and Youth

New Beginnings #54

Annabel West, of Good Shepherd, Augusta, preaching at the Closing Eucharist in the Chapel at Honey Creek.

New Beginnings #54 took place this past weekend, with approximately 50 youth participants and staff and 10 adults present. Together they explored questions of identity, family, friends, and peer pressure. They also heard talks from other teens on topics such as prayer, sharing gifts, and more. The whole weekend was grounded in worship, including a Friday night Service of Light, morning prayer each morning, a Saturday night healing service, and a Closing Eucharist on Sunday afternoon. Sera Davidson was the Lead Teen for New Beginnings #54, supported by an incredible staff of youth and adults. Deacon Yvette Owens of Christ the King, Valdosta and Deacon Ri Lamb, of St. John's & St. Mark's, Albany, served as the Spiritual Directors for the weekend. 

In her sermon at the Eucharist, Annabel West, of Good Shepherd, Augusta, summed up the weekend this way, "Being here this weekend, being here right now in this beautiful chapel at Honey Creek ... this is God reaching out to us ... It is like God stopped us in our tracks and just poured out light in even the smallest of ways. This weekend was our Burning Bush." 

Mark your calendars now! The next New Beginnings will take place September 6-8, 2019, and will be led by Lead Teen Waverly Brown, of Christ Church, Frederica.


The Rev. Canon Joshua Varner 
Canon for Children and Youth 
The New Beginnings #54 staff and participants!

Around the Diocese 
Volunteers from King of Peace, Kingsland prepared supper for the KidsROCK program.

Youth from St. Paul's Augusta with purchases to spruce up the youth room.


  Above, children from St. John's Savannah check the status of the pretzels they baked on Sunday because 'pretzels with their arms crossed in prayer are a Lenten treat to share.' At left, Members of the Men's Group from St. Cyprian's and St. Andrew's Churches in Darien, have been constructing handicapped accessible ramps for those who need them.

Sacred Ground 
Race Dialogue Series Offers Informational Webinars

Individuals or groups interested in learning more about Sacred Ground: a film-based dialogue series on race and faith, are invited to an introductory webinar hosted by Katrina Browne, Sacred Ground curriculum developer, and producer/director of the acclaimed documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North


Built around a curriculum of powerful documentary films, videos, and readings, Sacred Ground is a 10-part series that considers some of the major chapters of the United States of America's history of race and racism. It focuses on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian American histories as they intersect with European American histories. It also invites participants to weave in the threads of personal and family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. 

In this webinar, Katrina Browne shares the "why and how" of the Sacred Ground series. She also walks participants through the online Sacred Ground curriculum and resources, including the password-protected pages, to provide participants with an overview of all the elements of this resource. There will also be time for questions. 

Space is limited and registration is required. This free one-hour webinar is offered: 
* Monday, April 8, 1 PM: register here. * Monday, May 6, 4 PM: register here
* Tuesday June 11, 1 PM: register here

"More than a teaching tool, Sacred Ground calls us into intentional, sustained circles in which we can pray, watch, share our own stories, reflect, wonder, reckon, heal, and commit to action. Think of it as a pilgrimage in place," notes the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers.
For questions, please contact Katrina Browne. Webinar support graciously provided by Episcopal Migration Ministries.

Georgia Cares Training on Combating  Child Sex Trafficking 

Join us for the Georgia Cares Community Training Series! These trainings will be located across the state of Georgia in an effort to educate communities on the issue of Child Sex Trafficking and what Georgia Cares is doing to combat this crime and serve child victims. On Saturday, April 6 from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM a training will be held at First Baptist Church of Richmond Hill, 9148 Ford Avenue, Richmond Hill.

This training will be interactive and engaging- with videos, activities, and discussion around the epidemic of child sex trafficking and what it looks like here in Georgia. The goals of the training are:

  • Increase understanding of DMST/CSEC and Human Trafficking as a whole

  • Become familiar with Georgia Cares

  • Increase knowledge of Georgia Cares intervention and services to victims in Georgia

As invested community members, this training will educate you on the research related to child sex trafficking, the victimization, statistics in Georgia, and will prepare you to spread awareness and teach others. Our hope is that after the training, you will be mobilized to act and to do something to combat this horrific crime. Whether you choose to tell one person about what you learned, or volunteer to serve victims, your impact will make a difference.

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   found here. 


March 24-30

In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregation in Dawson, the Church of the Holy Spirit. We pray for our ecumenical partners, especially St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Camilla, and St. Christopher Catholic Church in Claxton. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Michael's ( San Miguel) in Doña Ana and The Grand Commission ( La Gran Comisión) in Doña Lila. 

March 31-April 6 
In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for our congregations in Darien, St. Andrew's and St. Cyprian's. We also pray for our ecumenical partners in Darien, especially Nativity of Our Lady Catholic Church. In our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic, we pray for St. Anthony of Padua ( San Antonio de Padua) in El Carreton.  

Additional Prayer Cycles 

We also offer 30-day prayer cycles for those who wish to pray daily for the clergy and clergy spouses:  Diocesan Prayer Cycle and  Clergy Spouses Prayer Cycle .

Diocesan Office Update and News

Bishop Scott Anson Benhase will make his annual visitation to Christ the King, Valdosta at 10 AM Sunday, March 31st.  The Bishop's full schedule is available here.

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue is in Salt Lake City, Utah for the first church-wide meeting of Diocesan Transition Officers in a decade. These are the persons in the 109 dioceses of the Episcopal Church who work with assisting priest and congregations with call processes. Most, like Canon Logue, are Canons to the Ordinary with broader responsibilities. 

This weekend, Canon Logue will assist the Rev. Helen White as spiritual director for the Clergy Spouses Conference at Honey Creek. 

The Very Rev. William W. Willoughby, Rector of the Church of St. Paul's the Apostle, Savannah and Dean of the Savannah Convocation, will officiate and preach at the 12 noon service at Diocesan House on Thursday. 

Springtime at Our Savior, Martinez.

Events  

Clergy Spouses Retreat

March 29-31

Honey Creek

Register here.

A Listening Session for XI Bishop Search led by the Search Committee for clergy spouses will be scheduled during the retreat.

Listening Session for XI Bishop Search, Savannah Convocation

3 PM, Sunday, March 31

St. Paul's, Savannah

Weekend Retreat for Youth Summer Mission Trip

April 5-7

Honey Creek Retreat Center

To register: http://bit.ly/2019MissionTrip

Search for XI Bishop Committee Meeting

10 AM, Saturday, April 6

St. Andrew's, Douglas

Parish Hall Dedication

St. Cyprian's and St. Andrew's, Darien

5 PM, Saturday, April 13

Holy Week Chrism Mass

11 AM Monday, April 15

Christ Church, Valdosta

Holy Week Chrism Mass

11 AM Tuesday, April 16

Trinity, Statesboro

Diocese of Georgia Episcopal Church Women Annual Retreat

Daughters of the King Spring Assembly

April 26-27

St. Augustine's and the Church of Our Savior, Augusta

To register, click here.

Spring Clergy Conference

April 29 at 5:30 PM to May 1 at 1 PM

Honey Creek Retreat Center

Register here.

Dedication of Saint Anna Alexander Chapel

11 AM, Friday, May 3

Diocesan House

18 E. 34th Street, Savannah

Toil 'N Sweat

May 3-5

Honey Creek Retreat Center

Register by going here: http://bit.ly/ToilNSweat2019 

Diocesan Council

Saturday, May 18

St. Paul's, Augusta

Ordination to the Priesthood for the Rev. DeWayne Cope, Deacon

St. Matthew's Savannah

6:30 PM, Wednesday, May 22

Nominations for XI Bishop Close

Friday, May 31

Diocesan Youth Mission Trip

July 13-20

To register:

http://bit.ly/2019MissionTrip

Happening #102

Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4; staff arrives August 1

Honey Creek Retreat Center

New Beginnings #55
September 6-8 
Honey Creek Retreat Center 

Diocesan Council

September 13-14

Savannah

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