Diocese Helps With Relief Efforts in Albany


The Rectory of St.John’s and St. Mark’s Church in the Radium Springs area of Albany.

A tornado that hit the Albany area Sunday night has caused significant damage to the region including the homes of many Episcopalians and buildings on the campus of the Church of St. John and St. Mark. “Folks were just digging out from a significant storm earlier this month,” said Bishop Scott Anson Benhase who was in the area this morning to meet with church leaders and work with Episcopal Relief and Development to provide emergency assistance.

Emergency Responders and the Episcopal Relief and Development field officer urge volunteer clean-up crews to wait until the area has been stabilized before heading to Albany. “For their own safety and the safety of those already in Albany we are asking them to hold off,” said the Bishop, “clean up will come later.”

According to the Bishop, large trees fell on both St. John and St. Mark’s sanctuary, parish house and rectory and it is unclear how soon restoration can be completed. In the meantime, the Rector, the Rev. Johnny Tuttle, and his family are moving into temporary quarters and the neighboring parishes of St. Patrick’s and St. Paul’s are coordinating with Tuttle to provide a location for Sunday services.

St. Patrick’s and St. Paul’s will also hold a community service on Wednesday at 6 PM at St. Paul’s Church to pray and raise funds for the Church of St. John and St. Mark and members of the community affected by the storm. It will be a Holy Eucharist with a Healing Service.

Albany resident the Rev. Gail Long said that a mobile home park located a block away from the church was completely gone. “There are people who have just lost everything,” she said.

For those looking to contribute, please do so through the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund. The Bishop’s Fund will be used to support parishes and individuals in need. Go online here http://bit.ly/OnlineGivingtoBishopsFund or text-to-give EDOG to 73256. Please make sure to select the Bishop’s Fund for contributions online. Cash or checks made out to the Bishop’s Fund can be sent to or dropped off at 611 E. Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401-1296.

Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Those parishes that have not already done so are asked to please reach out to the Diocesan House with updates.

Compassionate God, draw near to those recovering from the storm that raged across south Georgia, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Register Today for Diocesan Training Series

Dates, locations and registration details have been finalized for the series of trainings to be held throughout the Diocese in the coming months. Please register for the training nearest you by clicking on the appropriate link below!

Trainings for Vestries, Administrators and Communicators
Canons Frank Logue and Katie Willoughby will lead Vestry and Administrators’ Training in Albany, Augusta, Savannah, and the Southeast Convocation.
Sunday, March 12, 2-5 pm at St. Patrick’s, Albany
March 26, 2-5 pm , St. Michael and All Angels Church, Savannah
April 23, 2-5 pm, Grace Church, Waycross
May 14, 2-5 pm at Our Savior, Martinez

To sign up for the Communicators’ Roundtable, send an email to Anna Iredale, airedale@gaepiscopal.org and indicate which session you’ll attend.

Project Resource Stewardship Training
Created by the College of Bishops, Project Resource gathers the best wisdom in our church on annual stewardship, major gifts, and planned giving campaigns. We will hold one training a month from February through April.

Saturday, February 11, 9 am to noon, Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta
Saturday, March 4, 9 am to noon, St. Anne’s, Tifton
Saturday, April 8, 9 am to noon, St. Peter’s, Savannah

 

Diocese Mourns Death of Bishop Shipps

The Diocese of Georgia mourns the death of the Rt. Rev. Harry Woolston Shipps, the eighth Bishop of Georgia (1983-1994). He died this morning with his beloved wife, Louise, by his side. A Requiem Eucharist for Bishop Shipps will be held at the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle on Tuesday, November 22 at 11 AM.

The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase said of Bishop Shipps: “He was a man of great character and purpose, always ready to listen and offer good counsel. He was enormously helpful to me as one who had sat in the chair I now occupy. I could always count on him to give me perspective and needed humor on the Office of Bishop. He was a great leader of this Diocese because he loved God’s people so much. He was quite simply and humbly, a disciple of Jesus.”

Born on January 28, 1926 in Bordentown, New Jersey, Bishop Shipps attended Bordentown High School, Bordentown Military Institute, and the New York State Maritime Academy. On January 9, 1946, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Maritime Service. He sailed on a troop ship, then with Grace Line Steamship Company, until called to active duty in the Navy during the Korean War. He was assigned to a Naval facility in Savannah, then to shipboard duty in the North Atlantic. He married the former Louise Huntington in 1953.

Following his discharge from active duty, he attended the School of Theology, University of the South, as a postulant sponsored by the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Savannah. Ordained a deacon in 1958 and a priest in January 1959 by Bishop Albert Rhett Stuart, he was first assigned by Bishop Stuart as Vicar of St. Mark’s Church in Albany. Later, he served parishes in Savannah and Augusta. Prior to his election as bishop, he served the Diocese as Diocesan Secretary, Editor of the diocesan newspaper, member of Diocesan Council, President of the Standing Committee, and as a Deputy to three General Conventions. He was Rector of St. Alban’s, Augusta and the Dean of the Augusta Convocation when he was elected Bishop Coadjutor on September 15, 1983 and consecrated on January 6, 1984. He became the Diocesan Bishop in 1985 upon the retirement of Bishop Paul Reeves.

Initially opposed to the ordination of women to the priesthood, primarily on the grounds that it would impair ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Shipps early in his episcopate instituted a listening process to hear the diverse diocesan positions on the ordination of women, which The Episcopal Church permitted after its 1976 General Convention. Marking a change in his previous position, he initiated a process leading to women’s ordination in the Diocese. Susan Harrison of Savannah was ordained to the diaconate in September 1985. Sonia Sullivan of Valdosta was later accepted as a postulant for the priesthood and ordained.

Bishop Shipps and fellow ecumenist, the Most Rev. Raymond W. Lessard, Roman Catholic Bishop of Savannah, held several joint clergy conferences with noted speakers from both Churches. This led to a Covenant between the two dioceses calling for a number of mutual ministries and responsibilities.

During Bishop Shipps’ tenure as diocesan bishop, the Diocese of Georgia made headlines when a former Assembly of God minister, Stan White, led his entire congregation to join the Episcopal Church becoming the congregation of Christ the King in Valdosta.

Under Bishop Shipps’ leadership, a capital campaign raised $1.1 million. These funds enabled the Diocese through matching fund grants to double the number of lodge rooms at Honey Creek Conference Center, build church buildings for Atonement, Augusta; Holy Cross (Thomson), Trinity (Statesboro), St. Elizabeth’s (Richmond Hill), and Grace (Sandersville). Land was also purchased in Effingham County and Columbia County.

In 1994 the Diocese reported 17,197 baptized persons. Bishop Shipps’ reported in his Convention Address that year that the Diocese had the second highest average Sunday attendance (relative to its baptized membership) of all the dioceses in the U.S. and that our stewardship average per household was also second highest in the Church.

After his retirement as Bishop of Georgia in 1995, Bishop Shipps served as Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas for four years.

He and Louise, a gifted icon writer, artist, and teacher, have four children: Ruth Shipps, Susan Anderson (Daniel), Rebecca Eidson (Gary), and David Shipps (Sydney); seven grandchildren: Carol Lewis; Katie Lucas (Jordan), Spencer McGuire, Kristin Campbell (Richard), Joshua Anderson (Cami), Hunter Eidson, Abigail Shipps and David Shipps Jr.; and three great-grandchildren: Lucas Campbell, Riley Campbell and Oliver Lucas.

For Bishop Shipps’ Requiem Service, clergy should vest in cassock, surplice, and tippet.

Gifts in memory of Bishop Shipps should be sent to the Diocese of Georgia.

 

Helping the Homeless After the Hurricane

While some of the approximately 4,200 homeless persons living in Savannah took advantage of evacuation to the the Civic Center and then on to Augusta, many chose to remain behind. Both those who left and those who stayed have lost property left in camps covered by rising flood waters. The image from WSAV-TV above shows people leaving a camp.

The Community of St. Joseph, the Diocese of Georgia’s ministry to homeless persons, is uniquely positioned to provide direct material support to replace tents, sleeping bags, clothing, and shoes. Our Missioner, the Rev. Jamie Maury, can obtain good 4-bedroom tents for $40 and sleeping bags for the same amount. Use the link below for online giving or the directions for text to donate and 100% of the amount donated will go to supporting homeless persons in Savannah.

Please give to the fund we have established by going online here: http://bit.ly/DonateAidforStJosephCommunity

Or texting: EDOG $10.00 to 73256. Standard text messaging rates may apply and it will be possible to change the amount once you are re-directed.
 

Bishop Urges Support for Caribbean

As mandatory evacuation orders end and people on the coast of Georgia return home to begin the clean up, it is clear that the damage from Hurricane Matthew is less than was feared or forecasted.

“We are enormously grateful that the damage to the vast majority of our church property was so minimal, but we know that others in the southeastern United States, and particularly our sisters and brothers in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas, did not fare so well,” said Bishop Scott Benhase. “Our hearts and prayers go out to them. If you are moved to provide financial support for the recovery from this hurricane, then please do so through Episcopal Relief and Development and direct your gift to one of those countries in the Caribbean.”

“I am thankful for the work of my entire staff as well as the Revs. Charles Todd and Jim Parker, our Diocesan Disaster Preparedness Coordinators,” he said. “They all worked together to network and support all our congregations. The good work this diocese did to prepare for the hurricane allowed us to weather this storm. In the days ahead there will be insurance claims to file and lots to repair and to clean up. We will do that and move on. God has called us together so that we might be the hands and heart of Jesus for others.”

Twenty-four congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and its Honey Creek Retreat Center are located in the six coastal Georgia counties and were under mandatory evacuation orders. As full property surveys continue, 22 churches and the Retreat Center suffered minor damage or even no damage from the storm. St. Francis of the Islands, Savannah, lost a significant number of trees which in turn damaged the church porch, education building and playground. There is also tree damage to the Vicarage for Holy Nativity, St. Simons Island. “The Diocese of Georgia will work with impacted churches and insurance agencies to ensure that the needs of our congregations are met,” said Canon for Administration Katie Willoughby. “We are thankful that so many of our communities emerged relatively unscathed by the storm. This is the time to turn our attention to those crying out in dire need, particularly in Haiti.”

Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), an international relief and development agency, provides a compassionate response to human suffering on behalf of the Episcopal Church. It is well positioned to respond to the current need, having responded to the 2010 earthquake through the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s development arm, Centre Diocésain de Developpement Intégré et de Secours (CEDDISEC). Donations to the Episcopal Relief & Development Fund’s Hurricane Matthew Response can be made here: http://www.episcopalrelief.org/hurricane-matthew-response.

 

Post Landfall Hurricane Update

{Updated on October 8 at 9:13 PM in bold}
With all six of Georgia’s coastal counties still under mandatory evacuation and officials urging those who have remained to stay in place so that emergency crews can clean up the debris left in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the Diocesan House is receiving informal reports on various properties. While no churches have been inspected fully, we have received word that Christ Church Savannah, St. Paul’s Savannah, St. Michael and All Angels Savannah, St. Luke’s Rincon, St. Elizabeth’s Richmond Hill, St. Thomas’ Isle of Hope, St. Peter’s Savannah, St. Mark’s Brunswick, St. Andrew’s and St. Cyprian’s Churches Darien, and St. Patrick’s, Pooler all look to have sustained little or no damage. 

 
Despite the storm, four of our 24 coastal churches do have services scheduled:  
St. Luke’s, Rincon at 9:40 AM
St. Michael and All Angels, Savannah at 10:30 AM
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah, said Mass at 10 AM
Christ Church St. Mary’s, 10 AM
St. Luke’s Rincon, 9:30 AM
King of Peace, Kingsland 8:30 and 10 AM
Community of St. Joseph, Savannah breakfast at 8 AM and worship at 9 AM
 
Most churches on the coast will not be holding services tomorrow, including: 
All Saints, Tybee Island
St. Andrew’s and St. Cyprian’s, Darien
St. Thomas’ Isle of Hope
St. Matthew’s, Savannah
St. John’s, Savannah
St. Francis of the Islands, Savannah
St. Peter’s, Savannah
St. Patrick’s, Pooler
St. Mark’s, Simon’s Island
Christ Church Frederica, St. Simon’s Island
St. Elizabeth’s, Richmond Hill
Christ Church, Savannah 
St. Mark’s, Woodbine
Holy Nativity, St. Simon’s Island
St. George’s, Savannah
St. Richard’s, Jekyll Island
St. Athanasius, Brunswick
These lists will be updated as we receive more information but also check the church’s website and Facebook page. If you have news to add to this, please contact Anna Iredale, Director of Communications, airedale@gaepiscopal.org.
 
Let us pray:
Almighty God, who stilled the raging sea and saved your disciples perishing in a storm, we give thanks for your presence with us in the midst of Hurricane Matthew. We pray for all working to make way for evacuees to return home, and we remember those killed by the storm and those who mourn. Help us to be ever mindful that it is in you we hope and find peace even in the midst of the storms of this life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Canon Frank Logue
 

Hurricane Matthew Update

With Hurricane Matthew now moving past the Georgia coast, here are the latest updates:

Contacting the Diocesan Staff
With Chatham County still under a mandatory evacuation, Diocesan House remains closed at least through Monday, October 10. Emails will be monitored and responded to as conditions permit. We lost access to the gaepiscopal.org emails in the storm. If you need to contact us, email Canon Frank Logue (frankslogue@gmail.com) and Canon Katie Willoughby (katie.mkw@gmail.com) through their gmail addresses.

Reaching Out
If you would like to help with disaster relief in Haiti and other areas that may be affected by the storm, please visit Episcopal Relief and Development and make a donation.

Let us pray
Almighty God, who calmed the storm tossing the disciples’ boat, calm the fears that beset us as we await Hurricane Matthew: Grant us the peace that comes from you alone as we sit with the uncertainty of evacuation and in fear of damage to our homes and our communities, draw us ever closer to you, and give us the grace to comfort and aid others in need; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Travelers
O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel during the storm; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ out Lord. Amen.
The Book of Common Prayer

 

Preparations for Hurricane Matthew

With Georgia in the path of Hurricane Matthew, and its status now a Category 4, the diocesan office advises the following:

1) Take any necessary precautions for the safety of yourselves and property. If you have a Disaster Preparedness Plan, put it in place. If you do not, review the communication from the Disaster Preparedness Coordinators here for protocols.

2) Go to Episcopal Relief and Development’s Asset Map (here)
and ensure that the information related to your parish is complete and updated.

3) Create a photo and video inventory of all property; put important documents on the Cloud, and secure valuables and files in a waterproof and fireproof location. Back up all computers and important files.

4) In the event that the storm impacts Sunday services, be prepared to hold Sunday services in an alternate location and prepare a Communion kit and a plan to communicate with the parish.

5) If your parish is covered under insurance provided by the Church Pension Group, here is the number to submit a claim: (800) 223-5705 and the link to their website:  .

6) Stay current on emergency information through Chatham County Emergency Management (here) or the Georgia Emergency Management website (here)

In the event of a voluntary or mandatory evacuation, the Diocesan House will close. A status of the office will be posted to our Facebook page. In the case of emergency, please reach out to Canon Logue (912)547-5648 or Canon Willoughby (912)441-1220 directly by their cell numbers. You can also reach our Diocesan Disaster Coordinators the Rev. Charles Todd (912)441-9027 and the Rev. Jim Parker (912)604-4330. In addition, the staff will have access to email remotely and can be reached.

Let us keep our sisters and brothers in the path of the hurricane in our prayers, as well as our own community.

 

Parental Leave Policy for the Diocese of Georgia

Diocesan Council unanimously approved the following Parental Leave Policy for the Diocese of Georgia at its meeting on October 1, 2016 at St. Paul’s, Albany.

Parental Leave Policy for the Diocese of Georgia

A member of the clergy or full-time lay employee who has been employed by the church for at least one full year and is the designated “primary child-care parent” is entitled to leave for the birth or adoption of a child for a minimum of eight weeks with pay. Up to eight additional weeks may be taken without pay. The member of the clergy or full-time lay employee may elect to use vacation leave or sick leave during this latter period.

Coverage under benefits will continue during Parental Leave as set by Letters of Agreement, such as, but not limited to health insurance.

A member of the clergy or full-time lay employee who has been employed by the church for at least one full year and is the “non-primary-care parent” is entitled to leave for the birth or adoption of a child for a minimum of two weeks with pay and up to ten additional weeks without pay.

A member of the clergy or full-time lay employee employed by the church for less than one full year is entitled to the same number of weeks leave. Pay during this period is negotiated between the church and the member of the clergy or full-time lay employee.

Upon return from Parental Leave, an employee will be restored to his or her prior position, or to a position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, provided that an employee has no greater right to reinstatement or to other benefits and conditions of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed during Leave period, such as, but not limited to lay-off, re-structuring or conduct subject to disciplinary action.

 

Policy on Alcohol use in the Diocese of Georgia

  • Diocesan Council unanimously approved the following Alcohol Policy for the Diocese of Georgia at its meeting on October 1, 2016 at St. Paul’s, Albany.

Policy on Alcohol use in the Diocese of Georgia

  1. The Church seeks to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all people, including people in recovery from substance abuse and addiction.
  2. All applicable federal, state and local laws shall be obeyed, including those governing the serving of alcoholic beverages to minors.
  3. Some congregations may decide not to serve alcohol at events or gatherings. Others may decide to permit the responsible use of alcoholic beverages at church-sponsored events.
  4. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages must be clearly labeled as such. Food prepared with alcohol does not need to be labeled provided the alcohol is completely evaporated by the cooking process; however, it is recommended that even in this case the use of alcohol in cooking be noted on a label.
  5. Whenever alcohol is served, appealing non-alcoholic alternatives must be offered with equal prominence and accessibility.
  6. The serving of alcoholic beverages at church events should not be publicized as an attraction of the event, e.g. “wine and cheese reception,” “cocktail party,” and “beer and wine tasting.”
  7. Ministries inside or outside of congregations will make certain that alcohol consumption is not the focus of the ministry and that drinking alcohol is not an exclusively normative activity.
  8. Food must be served when alcohol is available for consumption.
  9. Reasonable measures shall be taken to prevent service of alcohol to persons who are visibly intoxicated and to prevent any such persons from leaving the premises while operating a motor vehicle including such measures as providing transportation home.
  10. Whenever alcohol is served, those persons having oversight of the event must appoint an adult to oversee its serving. That adult must not drink alcoholic beverages during the time of his or her execution of his or her responsibilities.
  11. No distilled spirits shall be served on church property, except at non-church events for which caterers have obtained the required license to serve distilled spirits. If the church owns a rectory or vicarage, then this does not apply to that dwelling.
  12. Serving alcoholic beverages at congregational events where minors are present is discouraged. If minors are present, alcohol must be served at a separate station that is monitored at all times to prevent underage drinking.
  13. Groups or organizations sponsoring any activity or event on church property at which alcoholic beverages are served must have permission from the clergy or the vestry. Such groups or organizations are responsible for compliance with this policy.
  14. Alcoholic beverages shall not be served when the business of the Church is being conducted.
  15. Clergy shall consecrate an appropriate amount of wine when celebrating the Eucharist and perform ablutions in a way that does not foster or model misuse.
  16. Clergy are encouraged to acknowledge the efficacy of receiving the sacrament in one kind and consider providing non-alcoholic wine when appropriate to the liturgy, such as a 12-Step Eucharist.

This policy is not intended to create any duties owed to third parties or to represent any standard of care, but reflects this diocese’s concern for the spiritual health and welfare of our communities.

 

Diocesan House

Diocesan House
611 East Bay Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401-1296
Phone (912) 236-4279
Fax (912)236-2007

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