From the Field
News & Events of the Church in Georgia
March 26, 2013Volume 3, Number 31
In This Issue
Diocesan Office Update
Bishop's Visitation
Diocesan Community Update
Jesus Stolen
Cemetery Consecrated
Snake Handling
Project Smile
Loose Canon
Web Links
March 31 Readings
Easter Sunday
Brent Runyon of St. Thomas, Thomasville, reports on the work on community development being initiated by three Episcopal congregations.
Council Approves Grant to Rincon

Diocesan Council met last Friday and Saturday in Americus and a major item of business was to consider proposals for grants to be funded by the Campaign for Congregational Development. Proposals had been emailed in advance of the meeting. Additionally, Canon Logue presented each proposal for consideration and deans were asked to weigh in on the grant requests from their convocation.


Council voted to approve three grant requests-congregation redevelopment at St. Luke's Rincon and Christ Church Cordele and supporting St. Andrew's Darien in enhancing its Signature Ministries through hiring a staff member. Because of the limited funds available for use at this time, Diocesan Council was only able to fund the grant request for Rincon with $350,000 approved for the coming three and a half years, pending some changes to the proposal as outlined by Council. The grants in Cordele and Darien are approved and will be funded as new gifts are made to the Campaign.


On Saturday, representatives from our three Episcopal congregations in Thomasville (Good Shepherd, All Saints and St. Thomas) presented the work their continuing collaborative work on a community development project based at Good Shepherd Church. Bishop Benhase reported that the Diocese has applied for a $27,000 grant from the United Thank Offering to give initial seed money for this growing collaboration. Diocesan Council anticipates a future grant request of $250,000 from the Thomasville congregations to Campaign for Congregational Development. Our Campaign leadership is working on identifying potential donors for this exciting work.
Diocesan Council also heard from Canon Willoughby on the finances of the Diocese, a report from Canon Logue on clergy salaries and recruitment, in addition to the Bishop's report.



Diocesan Office Update 

On Thursday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Francis of the Islands, Savannah for Maundy Thursday. On Easter Sunday, Bishop Benhase will make his visitation to St. Paul's. Albany. 
Canon Logue will preside and preach Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday at St. Matthew's, Savannah.
Diocesan House will be closed Friday March 29th for Good Friday and Monday April 1st for Easter. 
Bishop's Visitation 


Christ Church, Cordele

(Front) Ernie Rhodes, Sandy Rhodes, Candace Johnson, Nancy Melvin, Al Melvin(Back) Acolyte, Kelly Glass, Deacon John Lane, Bishop Benhase & The Rev. Tom Arledge

   The Liturgy of the Palms with Bishop Benhase at Christ Church, Cordele. 


Calvary, Americus

 Bishop Benhase, The Rev. Rick Buechner, Deacon Dianne Hall, and confirmands from Calvary, Americus. 

Diocesan Comunity Update 

The Diocese of Georgia is experiencing old-fashioned church growth in a mini baby boom. Three priests families were extended with the birth of grandchildren last week: The Revs. Will Carter, Jim Clendinen, and Carlton Shuford.
The Rev. Remington and Casey Slone are the thankful parents of Madeleine Elizabeth Slone (pictured at right). Madeleine arrived on March 22 at 1:53 a.m. weighing in at 8 lbs 8 oz and 20 � inches.

Good Shepherd, Augusta

Have You Seen My Lord

Good Shepherd, Augusta

A statue of the resurrected Jesus was stolen from the side of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta. The Rector, the Rev. Robert Fain, has been speaking to media outlets quoting the words of Mary Magdalene "they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him" (John 20:13). We pray for the thief that he or she may repent and return to the Lord and in so doing bring the statue back to its place at the church.

   Bishop Benhase, the Rev. Ian� Sastre and acolytes are shown during the consecration. 


Bishop Benhase Consecrates Pauper's Cemetery 

Bishop Benhase consecrated the Pauper's Cemetery now officially named the St. Marys Public Cemetery on Saturday March 16, 2013. Buried in unmarked graves in an unnamed pauper's cemetery were the victims of flu and yellow fever epidemics, sailors who died at sea, executed criminals and those too poor for their families to purchase a gravesite elsewhere.  Both the cemetery and those buried there were long forgotten with the last burial during the 1920's. The site had returned to woods and no one knew the cemetery existed until the Guale Historical Society lead by President and King of Peace parishioner, Robin Cross discovered the site.  The local Historical Society worked to clear and mark the area and are now researching to mark the graves.  The cemetery was given the official name of "St. Marys Public Cemetery" and a sign was erected. 


Bishop Scott Benhase conducted a touching consecration service proclaiming that every life is important and that the cemetery ground is sacred.  Tears streamed down the faces of many onlookers as Bishop Benhase ceremoniously walked through the burial site stopping to pray, recite scripture and make proclamations of blessings on the ground and those laid to rest.  The St. Marys Public Cemetery is located at Bartlett and Meeting Street in St. Marys, Georgia.  King of Peace Episcopal Church hosted a well attended reception following the consecration service.                                                                 ~Mary Jane Brooks, King of Peace

 St. John's, Savannah 

Drive the Snakes Out of Savannah

St. John's, Savannah

St. John's, Savannah, had a special activity for children on March 16 as all of Savannah was celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Plastic snakes were hidden around the garden and the children rounded them up as they remembered the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland. The children are shown below sorting the snakes in the bins labeled for the seven deadly sins.





Project Smile

Still Serving 21 Years and 12,000 Children Later

When seventeen US volunteers landed at Golson International Airport in Belize City on February 19th, the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect.

We, along with our luggage and boxes of supplies, took 3 taxies to our hotel, the Chateau Caribbean. We changed into shorts and T-shirts and took a short walk to our dental clinic, which is permanently set up in St. Mary's School, adjacent to St. Mary's Anglican Church in the old town in Belize City.

The clinic had been closed up for a few months, but Carolyn Arnold, our faithful Belizean friend, had prepared it for us.  We set up our seven dental stations and "made our nests" for the onslaught of kids.

The next day we started the day in the clinic with Morning Prayer, led by Comer Immel from Savannah, Georgia. Then the fun began....

In the clinic there were the Dental Arts:
Children lined up for exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, extractions (baby teeth only, thank goodness), and toys and goodies were given out.

In the adjacent service area were the Manual Arts:
 Children brought broken chairs, desks, tables, benches and bookcases to be glued, screwed, sanded and renewed.

In another classroom were the Visual Arts:
Children took turns finger painting, drawing, painting with watercolors, making paper designs, and were encouraged with their art skills.  More toys were handed out.

After our hard work in Belize City, we visited San Pedro Town on a nearby island for sun, sail, snorkel and more seafood.

On Sunday evening, on the beach with a full moon shining through the palm trees, the Rev. Michael White led us in a Eucharist from the Prayer Book of the West Indies, a gift from Fr. Leroy Flowers of St. Mary's.  This setting gave new meaning to having a cathedral ceiling over our heads.

We have been working in this dental clinic in Belize for 21 years.  Project Smile has treated over 12,000 children since 1992 and has reduced dental decay, pain and tooth loss by over 50%.

Teams from Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, England, and California have participated.  It feels good to be around volunteers who have gifts of hands, minds, and hearts and are willing to share. It feels good to serve.


-D. Stephen Acuff, D.D.S.

President, Project Smile, Inc.


The team for this trip included nine Episcopalians from four Savannah area congregations-Christ Church Episcopal, St Thomas Isle of Hope, St. Luke's Rincon, and All Saints' Tybee. These served together with two Methodists and two Presbyterians. 

The Loose Canon 
Part II of a how-to guide for sickness & grief
Last week, I shared a few opening thoughts on how every Christian is to respond to those he or she knows who are suffering rather from sickness, grief or some other cause. I shared how one might offer some direct action, such as taking care of the children of a mother who is sick or cutting the grass for a family in grief. Beyond these offers of direct assistance, there is the question of how to respond in words as well as deeds. What do you say and how do you say it? 

How to Write
When writing, opt for a hand-written note. It is generally best not to try to explain the tragedy or make it better. Words like "well at least you have other children" or "he had a long, full life" may be true, but they sometimes wound rather than heal.

Instead of trying to make it all better, you can just be honest with something more like, "I don't know how you feel or what you are going through, but I wanted you to know I care." This line of writing opens the connection to the person in physical or emotional pain without trying to jump to solving the problem.

With that said, I don't want to discourage you from writing a note. Even a note that gets off track and says the wrong thing will still convey that you care. Erring on the side of being in communication is most helpful.

What to Say
Even better than writing is to go in person. When you show up and are able to listen, you have offered the greatest gift of all. What a person going through medical treatment, dealing with grief, or otherwise making sense of tragedy needs most is a safe place to be able to process what he or she is thinking. Listening without judgment, and without trying to make it all better (which will take much more time than a single conversation) is the best you can offer.

Whenever you go in person or call on the phone, begin with "Is this a good time?" If the answer is no, then respect that answer. Let the person know that you are available to listen and then check in the next day or the next week. When the time is right, try to listen much more than you speak and allow for longer than comfortable pauses to make room for the other person to think. When it feels right, a hug or touch of the hand may be the most healing thing you can offer.

For men, going and listening does not come easy. But if it is a man dealing with tragedy, he may only open up and talk with another man. If you have a good friend dealing with a personal tragedy, then even if you do not think this is your gift, you may still be the person God has in the area. It may take you out of what you think you can do, but remember, you don't have to be good at it, you just have to be present to your friend. God will make up the difference by being with the two of you.

Call the Priest
Remember to call the priest. Make sure that your priest and the priest or pastor of the people most directly affected by the tragedy knows what is happening. Do not assume that he or she already knows. I didn't list this until last, not because one shouldn't call right away, but to emphasize other steps as calling a priest does not mean that your job is completed. For while clergy can and will want to help, it is the close friends and family who will be able to stay in touch day by day and week by week for the year or years ahead. Be open to being the person who takes on that role and you will find that God will bless you as you show love to your neighbor.

It is not always easy or convenient to step beyond "I am sorry for your loss. Let me know if I can help." But putting your concern into both words and actions that help bring healing is not for the seminary trained alone. Often, what you do or say matters so much less than that you show up and care and this is something each of us who follows Jesus can and should do.

The Rev. Frank Logue 
Canon to the Ordinary 

PS: A great book with lots of great advice based on both years of experience and surveys with those who have been comforted by others in times of sickness and grief is Don't Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart by Kenneth Haugk. Written with lay persons in mind, it is a great resource for clergy as well.

 The Loose Canon columns are archived online at
Spring 2013 Clergy Conference 
Spring Clergy Conference

Welcoming New People in our Churches

The Rev. George H. Martin, creator of the Church Ad Project and author of Door to Door Ministry, will guide our May 5-7 Clergy Conference in engaging with the challenges of welcoming new people in our congregations.
George's style is not simply to lecture, but to encourage dialogue and discussion at the clergy conference as we need and benefit from the collegiality. Clergy should come ready not merely to listen, but to hear what George has to say and then use that as a springboard for fruitful discussion.
The rates for the full conference program, meals and lodgings are $152 for lodge room (based on double occupancy), $232 for a Lodge room (single occupancy), $112 to stay in one of the cottages with other clergy, or in a dorm, and $96 for those tent camping or commuting.
If you have any questions about the variety of accommodations, call Carolyn Middleton at Honey Creek at (912) 265-9218, but remember to register online rather than over the phone. You may always choose to have some additional downtime by speaking with Honey Creek about staying over Tuesday night. The conference will be over, but the time at our Camp and Conference Center could be restorative.


The Rev. Joshua Varner gives the children's sermon on Palm Sunday at St. Patrick's, Pooler, using materials from Godly Play.


Holy Week Across the Diocese   

As we move through Holy Week let us share in the joy of our liturgies in the worship of our Lord Jesus Christ through sharing our life together through photos. Photos from this year are being curated by Julius Ariail in our 2013 Holy Week Album Please send a few of your photos (or the web address of an online photo album) to From the Field at and we will share them with your diocesan family. At left is a photo from Palm Sunday at Christ Church, Savannah.



An acolyte distributes palms at St. Matthew's, Savannah, after a heavy thunderstorm moved the procession indoors.


Palm branches and palm crosses at St. Thomas, Thomasville.


The Rev. Walter Hobgood and children from St. Margaret's, Moultrie.



 The Rev. Jim Elliott and  Deacon Nancy Sartin at St. James, Quitman.
Deacon Joy Davis and the Rev. Jay Weldon dedicate the font from the Lutheran Church of Our Savior as an outdoor font at St. Patrick's Albany where the two congregations now both worship.
 The Liturgy of the Palms at St. Anne's, Tifton. 

A Poem for Good Friday  

Blessed Jesus,
Did you really forgive them?
You were busy dying and yet someone heard you forgive
Someone heard you speak of paradise and eternity and love
And I hope you did
I hope to God you really did
Because I believe in paradise and eternity and love
Because of you and you alone
Because of what someone told me you said
When you were reigning over heaven and earth from that awful tree.


The above text, sent to From the Field by Deacon Joy Davis, is a portion of a poem written by the Rev. Jay Weldon, Rector of St. Patrick's Albany, where it was read last year on Good Friday as the homily. The full text of his meditation is online here: Sermon on Good Friday

Life Profession

Sister Faith Anthony, OSH is pictured above as the Leadership Council of the Order of Saint Helena receives her as a life professed member of the order at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta, last Tuesday.


OSH built a convent in Augusta at the request of Bishop Albert Rett Stuart who asked in the 1950s that they come and pray. A short video with interviews with Sr. Faith Anthony and three other sisters is online here: Sister Faith Anthony's Life Profession

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The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia