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Visitations Calendar

AUGUST

23 10:00a.m. Grace, Sandersville

29 11 – 2 p.m. Standing Committee, TBA, Savannah

30 10:00a.m. Good Shepherd, Swainsboro

SEPTEMBER

6 10:30a.m. St. John’s, Bainbridge

7 Holiday – Labor Day Observed

12 12:00 p.m. SW Clericus Lunch, St Margaret’s Moultrie

13 10:00a.m. St. Margaret’s, Moultrie

18 12:00 p.m. Dean’s Lunch Meeting, St. Paul’s, Jesup

2:00 p.m. Diocesan Council Meeting, St. Paul’s, Jesup

19  9:00 a.m. Diocesan Council Meeting, St. Paul’s, Jesup

20 10:30a.m. St. Paul’s, Jesup

25  4:00 p.m. Liturgics Practicum, Grace, Waycross

26  9:00 a.m. Liturgics Practicum, Grace, Waycross

27 10:00a.m. Grace Church, Waycross

6:00 p.m. Bishop’s Dinner with Clergy, Honey Creek

7:00 p.m. Bishop’s Time at Clergy Conference, Honey Creek

28-29 TBA Fall Clergy Conference, Honey Creek

OCTOBER

4 10:00a.m. St. Francis, Savannah

9 2 – 8 p.m. SC & COM Meeting, St. Augustine’s, Augusta

10 9 – 12 p.m. SC & COM Meeting, St. Augustine’s, Augusta

11 10:00 a.m. St. Mary’s Augusta

12-13 TBA VTS Convocation

14-16 TBA Board of Trustees Meeting, University of The South, Sewanee

17 12 – 2 p.m. Albany Clericus Lunch, St. Paul’s, Albany

18 10:00a.m. St. John & St. Mark’s, Albany

4:00 p.m. Holy Spirit, Dawson

21-23 TBA Province IV Bishops & Chancellors Meeting, TBA, New Orleans

25 10:00a.m. Christ Church, Augusta

NOVEMBER

1 11:00 a.m. All Saints’, Tybee Island (Canon Frank Logue’s Visitation)

TBA Installation of Bishop Michael Curry, 27th Presiding Bishop,

National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

2-3 TBA Duke Divinity School, North Carolina

7 11:00 a.m. Deacon Aaron Brewer’s Ordination to the Priesthood,

St. Luke’s, Hawkinsville

8 10:00a.m. St. Barnabas’, Valdosta

11 Holiday – Veteran’s Day Observed

12 TBA Diocesan Convention, Savannah, Evensong, St John’s, Savannah

13 TBA Diocesan Convention, Coastal Georgia Convention Center, Savannah

TBA Diocesan Convention, Holy Eucharist, Christ Church, Savannah

14 TBA Diocesan Convention, Coastal Georgia Convention Center, Savannah

15 9:30 a.m. St. Philip’s Hinesville

21 5:00 p.m. Trinity, Harlem

22 8:00 a.m. Good Shepherd, Augusta

10:00 a.m. Good Shepherd, Augusta

4:00 p.m. Holy Cross, Thomson

23 12:00 p.m. Augusta Clericus Lunch, Good Shepherd, Augusta

24 8:00 a.m. Episcopal Day School, Augusta

7:00 p.m. The Rev. Deacon John Jenkins Ordination to the Priesthood,

St. Paul’s, Augusta

25 Holiday – Thanksgiving Observed

26 Holiday – Thanksgiving Day Observed

27 Holiday – Thanksgiving Observed

29 10:00a.m. St James, Quitman (Advent 1)

4:00 p.m. Good Shepherd, Pennick

DECEMBER

2-4 TBA Province IV Bishop’s & Spouses Meeting, Louisville, Kentucky

6 10:00a.m. St. Luke’s, Hawkinsville (Advent 2)

12 12 – 2 p.m. SE Clericus Lunch, King of Peace, Kingsland

13 10:00 a.m. King of Peace, Kingsland (Advent 3)

4:00 p.m. St. Mark’s, Woodbine

19 12 – 2 p.m. Albany Clericus Lunch, St Anne’s Tifton

20 10:00a.m. St. Anne’s, Tifton (Advent 4)

24 Holiday – Christmas Eve Observed

25 Holiday – Christmas Observed

31 Holiday – New Year’s Eve Observed

JANUARY 2016

1 Holiday – New Year’s Day Observed

3 10:00 a.m. Christ Church, St Marys

8 12:00 p.m. Dean’s Lunch Meeting, Christ Church, Valdosta

2 – 8 p.m. Diocesan Council Meeting, Christ Church, Valdosta

9 9 – 12 p.m. Diocesan Council Meeting, Christ Church, Valdosta

10 10:00a.m. Christ Church, Valdosta (Baptism of Our Lord)

15-16 TBA SC & COM Meeting, TBA, SE Convocation

17 8:30 a.m. St. Richard’s, Jekyll Is. (2nd Sunday after the Epiphany)

11:00 a.m. Holy Nativity, St. Simons Island

18 Holiday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observed

20 TBA EYCS Annual Meeting, TBA

24 10:45 a.m. St. Patrick’s, Albany (3rd Sunday after the Epiphany)

4:00 p.m. Holy Trinity, Blakely

31 9:30 a.m. St. George’s, Savannah (4th Sunday after the Epiphany)

FEBRUARY

7 10:00 a.m. St. Patrick’s Pooler (Last Epiphany)

10  Ash Wednesday

14 10:00 a.m. All Saints’, Thomasville (Lent 1)

15 Holiday – President’s Day Observed

21 10:00 a.m. St. Michael’s, Waynesboro (Lent 2)

28 10:00 a.m. St. Luke’s Rincon (Lent 3)

MARCH

6 10:00 a.m. St. Peter’s, Savannah (Lent 4)

9-16 TBA HOB’s Spring Meeting, Camp Allen, TX

20 10:00 a.m. Calvary, Americus (Palm Sunday)

24 7:00 p.m. St. Thomas’, Savannah (Maundy Thursday)

25 Holiday – Good Friday Observed

26 8:00 p.m. St. Augustine’s, Augusta (Easter Vigil)

27 10:00a.m. Trinity, Statesboro (Easter)

28 Holiday – Easter Monday Observed

APRIL

3 10:00 a.m. St. Thomas, Thomasville (Easter 2)

10 10:30 a.m. Christ Church, Savannah (Easter 3)

17 11:00 a.m. St. Paul’s, Augusta (Easter 4)

18-22 TBA Bishop Benhase on OA Retreat

24 10:00a.m. Our Savior, Martinez (Easter 5)

29-30 TBA ECW Annual Conference, TBA, SE Convocation

MAY

1 9:00 a.m. Christ Church, St. Simons Island (Easter 6)

11:00 a.m. Christ Church, St. Simons Island (Easter 6)

6:00 p.m. Bishop’s Dinner with Clergy, Honey Creek

7:00 p.m. Bishop’s Time at Clergy Conference, Honey Creek

2-3 TBA Spring Clergy Conference, Honey Creek

5 7:00 p.m. St. Paul’s, Savannah (Ascension Day)

7 10:00 a.m. Ordination, Savannah (Tentative)

8 10:00a.m. Annunciation, Vidalia (Easter 7)

4:00 p.m. St. Thomas Aquinas’, Baxley

Mother’s Day

13 12:00 p.m. Dean’s Lunch Meeting, St Alban’s, Augusta

TBA Diocesan Council Meeting, St Alban’s, Augusta

14 TBA Diocesan Council Meeting, St Alban’s, Augusta

15 10:00a.m. St. Alban’s, Augusta (Pentecost)

22 10:00a.m. St. Elizabeth’s, Richmond Hill (Trinity Sunday)

23 Bishop Benhase on Sabbatical begins and concludes

August 22

30 Holiday – Memorial Day Observed

JUNE

19 Father’s Day

Parishes not on list for

“2015 – 2016 Visitation Calendar”

Parish                                               City                        Convocation                  Last Visitation Date

Atonement                                           Augusta                AUG                                   01/18/2015 p.m.

Christ Church                                      Cordele                ALB                                    06/07/2015 a.m.

Christ Church                                      Dublin                  CEN                                  03/01/2015 a.m.

Christ the King                                    Valdosta               SW                                    03/29/2015 a.m.

Good Shepherd                                   Thomasville         SW                                    05/24/2015 p.m.

GSU Campus Ministry                       Statesboro           CEN                                 04/21/2015 p.m.

Holy Comforter                                    Martinez             AUG                                   05/17/2015 a.m.

St. Andrew’s                                          Darian                 SE                                      05/31/2015 a.m.

St. Andrew’s                                          Douglas               SE                                     06/14/2015 p.m.

St. Athanasius                                       Brunswick          SE                                    05/03/2015 p.m.

St. Bartholomew’s                                Savannah           SAV                                 04/26/2015 p.m.

St. Cyprian’s                                          Darien                SE                                     05/31/2015 a.m.

St. Mark’s                                              Brunswick         SE                                      05/03/2015 a.m.

St. Mary Magdalene                            Louisville          CEN                                    04/19/2015 p.m.

St. Matthew’s                                       Fitzgerald          ALB                                      06/07/2015 p.m.

St. Matthew’s                                       Savannah          SAV                                        04/12/2015 a.m.

St. Michael & All Angels’                   Savannah         SAV                                        05/14/2015 p.m.

 

Congregational Development Links

The resources on this page are intended to assist churches who are looking at means to foster growth in their congregation (spiritual for those already present as well as numeric by adding new persons). There is no silver bullet on this page which will easily accomplish that task.

Congregational development involves discovering the gifts already existing within the congregation and the needs in the community and bringing these two together in order to more fully live into being the body of Christ. This is never easy, but neither is it optional. The resources below are offered to assist in this process.

Loose Canon Blog
This is the Rev. Canon Frank Logue’s repository of information which includes his weekly emails on congregational development, together with other items of interest.

Church Development Institute
Follow this link to full information on the Diocese of Georgia’s training for clergy and lay leaders.

Clergy Conference PowerPoint
At the Spring 2010 Clergy Conference, Randy Ferebee was our presenter. His Powerpoint presentation and notes are online here: Diocese of Georgia Conference PowerPoint 

The Church Toolbox
This is an online resource created by the Diocese of Virginia Commission on Church Development. Included are pages on:

Congregational Development from The Episcopal Church
This is the web page for congregational development within The Episcopal Church with areas on:

Congregational Resource Guide
This is an effort of the Alban Institute and the Indianapolis Center for Congregations created to help congregational leaders connect with resources to foster vitality in their communities of faith.

“To grow and to continue growing, it is necessary for each mainstream church
to become a vital religious institution, vibrant with the presence of God.
It must develop a clear religious identity, a compelling religious purpose,
and a coherent sense of direction that arises from that purpose”
Rerouting the Protestant Mainstream: Sources of Growth and Opportunities for Change

(C. Kirk Hadaway and David A. Roozen, Abingdon, 1995, p. 86)

 

MISSION REPORT ON THE VISION CLINIC IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
January 30 – February 7, 2015
By David Sweeterman

Mission Team:

David Sweeterman, leader, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Savannah GA
Judy Sweeterman, St. Peter’s
Jim Toedtman, St. Peter’s
Haydee Toedtman, St. Peter’s
David Howell, St. Peter’s
Cindy Howell, St. Peter’s
Adrienne Williams, St. Peter’s
Cissy Brennan, St. Peter’s
Jurgen Dinger, Skidaway Island
Ximena Dinger, Skidaway Island
Dr. Alan Peaslee, Optometrist, South Georgia/North Florida Eye Partners, Mission Medical Director. Member and Sr. Warden, St. Anne’s, Tifton, Ga.
Jason Peaslee, Optician, South Georgia/North Florida Eye Partners, St. Anne’s, Tifton, Ga.
Dr. Henry Croci, ophthalmologist, Skidaway Island, Ga.
Suzanne Croci, M.S. nursing, Skidaway Island, Ga.
Dr. Sally Freeman, optometrist, Effingham Eye Care, Rincon, Ga., St. Lukes Episcopal
Gina Overstreet, optical technician, Effingham Eye Care, Rincon, Ga.

The Mission Team of 16, with approximately 1000 pounds of baggage, arrived in Santo Domingo, Saturday, Jan.31, 2015. After attending a rousing 2 hour service at St. Esteban’s Episcopal Church on Sunday in the city of San Pedro de Macoris, the team went to work setting up furniture and equipment for the 5 day eye clinic. La Clinica de Esperanza y Caridad, adjacent to San Esteban’s was our work site, and we lodged and took our meals at the Kellogg Center, which is also on church property across the street from the clinic. The Kellogg Center is named for Bishop Paul Kellogg, past Bishop of the D.R. It serves as a retreat house and conference center for the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Bishop Julio Holguin, who paid us a visit during our stay, has presided over remarkable growth of the diocese over the past 24 years. He has led the expansion from about 20 congregations, 16 clergy, 10 churches and 7 schools in 1992, to 70 congregations, 47 clergy, 30 churches, 24 schools and 3 clinics today. In recent years, a Seminary has been established in Santo Domingo.

With 3 doctors’ examination rooms, an optical shop, station for fitting reading glasses, nursing station for administering eye drops, visual acuity testing station (eye charts), admitting station, and crowd control (led by clinic staff), we established a pretty efficient work flow.

In addition to our team of Georgians, we also had four paid local translators. Rector Ramon Canela; Clinic Director Esther Baez and her staff; and Karen Carroll, Mission Coordinator for Bishop Holguin, played major roles in bringing in patients, managing the crowds, providing transportation and many other organizational tasks necessary to a successful mission. The vision mission was successful by any measure:

Admitted: 790, 158/day
Normal vision: 115 (15%)
Doctor’s exam: 427 (54%)
Readers: 463 (59%)
Rx glasses dispensed: 177 (22%)
Rx glasses referred: 93 (12%)
Rx glasses ordered: 20

Dr. Henry Croci was able to establish a relationship with a Dominican Clinic, El Centro Cristiano de Servicios Medicos, with five branches, which will provide free followup care to patients needing surgeries, treatment for glaucoma, or other procedures that we were not able to provide. This represents a major step forward, as we had no such help last year.

In addition to the diagnostic equipment that we took with us, we had sent 4,000 pairs of donated glasses, as well as hundreds of pounds of equipment, medical supplies and medicines in the weeks prior to our departure. The value of the equipment, medical supplies, medicines and other items needed to conduct the clinic, would normally cost several thousand dollars. The great majority of these were donated, without which the clinic could not be held. As you can imagine, it was a significant organizational and logistical challenge.

We left some very valuable pieces of diagnostic equipment as a donation to La Clinica de Esperanza y Caridad. We also left 3,000 pairs of prescription glasses and readers to be prescribed by the clinic to its patients, as well as several large cartons of medical supplies and medicines. The Clinic is now in a position to offer diagnostic examinations and some basic eye care on its own.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, DONOR’S LIST, AND SPECIAL ASSISTANCE GENEROUSLY GIVEN:

St. Peter’s Outreach Committee $13,000 est. Final figures are still being calculated. About 50% was prepaid – 2014.

Lion’s Club, Valdosta, Ga. through Dr. Alan Peaslee $1,000

Lion’s Club, State of Delaware through Jim Toedtman 3,000 pairs of Rx glasses and readers

Jim and Haydee for sourcing, sorting, packing and shipping the glasses

Dr. and Mrs. Henry Croci Charitable Gift Acct. $1,000 to be used to purchase Rx glasses for prescriptions that could not be filled in Dominican Republic

South Ga./North Fl. Eye Partners, Valdosta, Ga., (Dr. Alan and Jason Peaslee) donations of equipment, medical supplies, medicines

Effingham Eye Care, Rincon, Ga. (Dr. Sally Freeman, Gina Overstreet) Donations of equipment, medical supplies, medicines.

One Sight, Mason, Ohio (charitable outreach arm of Luxottica Corp.) Donation of 1000 pr. readers, through Dr. Croci

George and Diane Young through Jurgen and Ximena Dinger $100

All the members of St. Peter’s and Skidaway Island residents who donated Rx eye glasses and readers

There may be other contributors of who we are not aware. We thank you all.

Respectfully submitted,
David A. Sweeterman

 

Diocesan Audit Now Online

The 2013 Audit for the Diocese of Georgia, including Honey Creek, has been completed and received by the Finance Committee. The auditors gave the finances of the Diocese and its camp and conference center an unqualified opinion that reveals a substantial improvement in financial health. The keys to this positive change remain the increased financial stability of Honey Creek and the success of the Campaign for Congregational Development.

The full report is now posted online here:

2013 Diocese of Georgia Audit Report

The report is also archived at our Diocesan Financial Reports page on the website where the most recent quarters financials are maintained online together with Audits dating to 2009.

Congregation Audits Due September 1
In keeping with canons and diocesan policy, a financial review of the finances of each congregation is due to the diocesan office by September 1. For congregations with a budget of $500,000 or more this must be an independent audit by a Certified Public Accountant. In the case of congregation with smaller budgets, this report may be a review either by an internal audit committee, or by a group from a neighboring church. An internal committee is made up by two or more members of the church who are not involved in the finances other than their work on this committee. This review should consist of verifying the balance sheet for the congregation as well as completing the Financial Controls Checklist.

Together with Parochial Reports, which have been received for 2013 from every congregation, the audit or financial review must be received for the clergy of the congregation to have seat, voice and vote in the diocesan convention. This rule was traditionally waived when the convention met in February and will not be set aside with the move to a November diocesan convention. Congregations not meeting the September 1st deadline, but still completing the required financial review by the time of the convention may be granted an exception this year. If your congregation needs assistance in completing its audit, please be in touch with Canon Logue at (912) 236-4279.

 

Activities During 2013

During 2013, clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Georgia took part in three mission trips and three other activities in the Dominican Republic. Summary reports and links to online photo albums from these 2013 events are available below.

———-

Mission Trip Report – January 2013 (El Carreton)

Members of the mission team from the SE Convocation working in a room in the high school building in El Carreton. The team arrived in the Dominican Republic on January 14, 2013, and returned to the United States on January 21.

On January 14-21, 2013, a team of 9 people from 3 churches in the Southeastern Convocation (St. Andrews/St. Cyprians Darien, Christ Church St. Marys, Our Savior at Honeycreek) participated in a second mission trip to the village of El Carreton to assist the parish of San Antonio de Padua continue work that began last year on the parish school. In January 2012, the team traveled to El Carreton to complete work on a community high school that had been started several years prior by other churches and left unfinished. The January 2013 trip was a continuation of the work started in 2012.

The importance of a school for the village of El Carreton is paramount. Public school in the Dominican Republic only goes through the 8th grade, and the village of El Carreton has no local options for education beyond 8th grade. Without the parish school from the Episcopal Church, only those residents whose parents can afford tuition and transportation to another town would be able to have an education above middle school. This disparity of education almost assures the continuance of poverty and social injustice.

The school in El Carreton opened for the 2012/2013 year with 39 students of various ages including 1 high school class. The mission trip for 2013 was to complete a minor construction project and make a solid plan for the ongoing work that would continue over the next 5 years. The adventurous crew completed both preparations for the installation of a kitchen and a large mural for an inside hallway in the school. The mural depicted scenes typical of the rural areas of the Dominican Republic with mountains, flowers, palm trees and brightly colored housing, and scenes typical of coastal Georgia with a large oak tree, and owl, marsh, sea turtles and wading birds. Connecting the two “islands” of land was a vast deep ocean complete with whales on both sides meeting in the middle.

The most significant accomplishment of the trip was likely the continuance of the deepening relationship and commitment that the community feels from the consistent support provided by a returning group of missionaries. In this visit in addition to sharing meals together and we learning Spanish from them, and they English from us, we made plans for a bigger, more long term relationship. Our work plan for next year was selected and plans are already underway for the construction of a library and computer lab for 2014. Missionaries interviewed children who are on a scholarship list and in need of financial support to continue their studies at the school so that the mission team can assist is getting scholarships funded for the children who need financial support. Plans were discussed to bring a physician to the village on the next trip in 2014 because the group was saddened to find upon arrival two of the children from the previous year’s visit were no longer there, having died likely due to lack of appropriate medical care and resources.

The ongoing relationship with the village of El Carreton is one that enriches the lives and spirits of all who attend from the United States and those that receive us in the Dominican Republic. We began as strangers unable to speak the same language, and we are now friends whose limited common words do not at all hinder the shared communication we feel when together through united common goals and hearts united in Christ.

For more information on this mission trip, contact the Very Rev. Ted Clarkson.

———-

Exploration Trip Report – February 2013

The Rev. Tar Drazdowski (front row, black shirt), representing Bishop Benhase and the Diocese of Georgia, at the board meeting of the Dominican Development Group in Santo Domingo on February 11, 2013.

The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, along with her husband, Jim, and Julia and Julius Ariail, all from Christ Church Valdosta, were in the Dominican Republic from February 10-16, 2013, to attend a meeting of the board of the Dominican Development Group and to spend a few days at the Episcopal camp and conference center in El Pedregal to explore work options for the mission team to this location sponsored by Christ Church Valdosta from June 15-22, 2013.

The Rt. Rev. Julio Holguín presenting his report to the DDG board.

The board of the Dominican Development Group met in the office building of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic on the evening of February 10th and all day on February 11th. The members heard a report from the Rt. Rev. Julio Holguín, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, and also reports from the board officers and committee chairpersons. On February 12th, the Rev. Drazdowski and the others from Christ Church Valdosta traveled by public bus to Jarabacoa and then by taxi to the village of El Pedregal, the location of the camp and conference center of the Dominican diocese and the work site for the annual mission teams from Valdosta. While they were in El Pedregal, they visited several houses in various states of construction that might be the focus of the June 2013 mission team and also met with local knitters to determine the knitting projects for June 2013. Since their visit coincided with Ash Wednesday, the Rev. Drazdowski and Padre Carlos Santana, the vicar of the local Episcopal Church of the Mount of the Transfiguration, conducted two Ash Wednesday services, one for the children of the Episcopal school and the other for members of the local village community. They left by public bus on February 15th to return to Santo Domingo in preparation for their flight back to Orlando on February 16th.

Some of the children at the Episcopal school in El Pedregal on Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

An album of photographs from this trip is available here. For more information on this mission trip, contact the Rev. Tar Drazdowski.

———-

Encounter in Mission Event Report – April 2013

A photograph from the closing service of the Encounter in Mission, attended by five bishops of the Episcopal Church. Click this image to see more photographs from this event.

An album of photographs from this event is available here.

The Encounter was the subject of two news articles posted on the Episcopal News Service and available here and here.

The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Chair of the Companion Diocese Commission of the Diocese of Georgia and assistant rector of Christ Church (Valdosta), recently represented the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase at the first Encounter in Mission, a celebration of ministry sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic and held in Santo Domingo from April 12-14, 2013. Julius Ariail, a member of Christ Church, also was there to photograph the event for the Dominican Development Group, a US-based organization that provides substantial financial support to the Dominican church. This event brought together representatives from the Companion Dioceses of the Dominican Republic, the Dominican Development Group, leaders of mission teams from the United States, and the clergy and lay leaders of the Dominican Episcopal church to celebrate 116 years of Anglican ministry in the Dominican Republic and 100 years of membership in the Episcopal Church. (more…)

 

Activities During 2012

This is an archive page for the mission activities of the Diocese of Georgia in the Dominican Republic during 2012.

Companion Diocese Commission
Annual Report for 2012

DR Diocesan seal

The seal of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic

Once again, this year has proven to be a productive year of partnership with our Dominican brothers and sisters. Collectively we have experienced an increase in our efforts to help build relationship, infrastructure, and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Dominican Republic. In 2010, there were five mission or exploration trip events in the partnership between the Diocese of Georgia and the Diocese of the Dominican Republic; in 2011, there were six such events; and in 2012, there were nine of these events. In 2012, we also saw the growth of multi-year relationships between specific churches or convocations in the Diocese of Georgia and specific locations in the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Christ Church, Valdosta, is into its second decade of working in the village of El Pedregal; St. Patrick’s, Albany, and St. Anne’s, Tifton, are into their third year of working with several congregations in Azua; St. Paul’s, Savannah, has completed its second cooperative event with the Episcopal seminary in Santo Domingo; and by the time of our 2013 Convention, the SE Convocation will have completed its second mission trip to El Carreton. The steady growth in numbers of events, along with this increase in long-term relationships between several of our churches or convocations and several communities of the Dominican Episcopal Church, testify that our work is bearing fruit in both the Diocese of Georgia and the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

The following is a summary of our activities for 2012 and planned activities for 2013 (as of 01/02/2013).

LIST OF 2012 EVENTS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:

1. Mission trip to Azua (St. Patrick’s, Albany; January 15-20)

2. Mission trip to El Carreton (SE Convocation; January 23-30)

3. Representation at the DR Diocesan Convention based in El Pedregal, DDG meeting and exploration trip based in Santo Domingo, (Diocesan team; February 8-21)

4. Mission trip to El Pedregal (Christ Church, Valdosta; June 16-23)

5. Mission trip to San Francisco de Macorís (Trinity, Statesboro, June 19-26)

6. Preaching mission in Savannah (St. Paul’s, Savannah, and representatives of the Episcopal Seminary in Santo Domingo, July 22-27)

7. Dominican Development Group meeting based in Michigan (The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, October 18-19)

8. Exploration trip based in Santo Domingo (The Rev. Joshua Varner, October 22-26)

9. Mission trip to Azua (St. Patrick’s, Albany and St. Anne’s, Tifton, October 27 – November 2)

SCHEDULED 2013 EVENTS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER (as of 01/02/2013):

1. Mission trip to El Carreton (SE Convocation, January 14-21, 2013)

2. Dominican Development Group meeting in Santo Domingo, exploration trip in El Pedregal (The Rev. Tar Drazdowski and Christ Church team, February 10-16)

3. Encounter in Mission in Santo Domingo (April 12-14)

4. Mission trip to El Pedregal (Christ Church, Valdosta, June 15-22)

5. Mission trip to Santiago De Los Caballeros (The Rev. Joshua Varner with diocesan youth, June 24-July 1)

For more detailed information, please check out the Companion Diocese webpage at http://georgia.anglican.org/?page_id=19. You will find a wealth of information about mission opportunities, travel diaries, and photographs of most of the events mentioned above. For more information, contact the Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Chair of the Companion Diocese Commission and Assistant Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta Georgia; or the Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Georgia.

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Mission trip to Azua (St. Patrick’s, Albany; January 15-20)

The members of the mission team from St. Patrick's, Albany, with the local construction chief and Fr. Jesús Mosquea in Azua, January 2012. Click this image to see other photographs from this mission trip.

The Diocese of Georgia conducted a mission trip to Azua during January 15-20, 2012. This mission trip was organized by St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Albany, GA, and led by St. Patrick’s rector, The Rev. Jay Weldon. Five people from St. Patrick’s, including Fr. Weldon, participated in this trip. The team flew from Atlanta to Santo Domingo on January 15th and stayed overnight in a hotel in Santo Domingo. While in the city, they met with The Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguín, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. After traveling in a rented vehicle to Azua, they stayed in the Hotel San Ramon and ate most meals in the home of the local priest, Padre Jesús Mosquea. Padre Mosquea is the vicar in charge of three congregations in the Azua area: San Jorge, Espíritu Santo, and La Reconciliación. The team’s meals were prepared by two local parishioners.

The team’s primary activities included concrete-block construction work on a house and detached bathroom facilities.

On January 20th the team drove from Azua to Las Américas International Airport east of Santo Domingo and flew back to Atlanta.

An album of photographs from this mission trip is available here.

For more information on this mission trip, contact The Rev. Jay Weldon.

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Mission trip to El Carreton (SE Convocation; January 23-30)

Team member Kate Pontello with local children on the steps of the unfinished high school in El Carreton, January 2012. Click this image to see other photographs from this mission trip.

The Diocese of Georgia conducted a mission trip to El Carreton during January 23-30, 2012. This mission trip was organized by The Southeastern Convocation and was led by the Very Rev. Ted Clarkson, rector of St. Andrew’s, Darien, and St. Cyrian’s, Darien. Sixteen persons, including Fr. Clarkson, participated in this trip. The team flew from Orlando to Santo Domingo on January 23rd and stayed in the Hotel Caribani in Bani, a small city near El Carreton. They ate their breakfast and supper meals in the restaurant of this hotel, and their lunch meals were provided by local residents at their work site.

The team’s primary activities included working on an unfinished high school building (painting, wiring, and installing a rooftop solar hot water heater) along with crafts and play activities with the local children.

On January 29th the team drove from El Carreton to Santo Domingo and stayed overnight in the Hotel Mercure prior to their flight back to Orlando on January 30th.

An album of photographs from this mission trip is available here.

For more information on this mission trip, contact The Very Rev. Ted Clarkson.

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Representation at the DR Diocesan Convention based in El Pedregal, DDG meeting and exploration trip based in Santo Domingo, (Diocesan team; February 8-21)

The Rev. Joan Kilian is greeted by Padre Hipólito Fernández Reyna at the entrance to El Buen Samaritano, a day care center in San Francisco de Marcorís. Mission team member Fred Richter is in the background of this photograph. Click this image to see other photographs from the February 2012 exploration trip.

During February 8-21, 2012, the Diocese of Georgia conducted an exploration trip to the Dominican Republic to represent The Rt. Rev. Scott A. Benhase at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic and to examine potential mission work sites. The exploration team included two clergy and six lay members from two congregations within the Diocese of Georgia: Companion Diocese Commission Chair, The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Christ Church (Valdosta); The Rev. Joan Kilian, Trinity (Statesboro); Julius Ariail, Christ Church (Valdosta); Team Leader Fred Richter, Trinity (Statesboro); Josan Rivera, Episcopal Campus Ministry, Georgia Southern University/Trinity (Statesboro); Laurie Sattler, St. Paul’s (Savannah); Savannah Spivey, Christ Church (Valdosta); and Michael Wood, Trinity (Statesboro). A daily journal of their trip with a link to an online photograph album is available here.

The two-week trip had two distinct phases. Julius and Tar+ flew from Orlando to Santo Domingo on February 8th, stayed overnight in Santo Domingo, and went on by commercial bus to the Episcopal camp in El Pedregal on February 10th for the Dominican diocesan convention. They returned to Santo Domingo on February 12th to attend the semi-annual board meeting of the Dominican Development Group. The remaining team members flew from Orlando to Santo Domingo on February 14th and were met at the Las Americas airport by Julius and Tar+. The whole team then stayed at the Mercure Hotel in Santo Domingo for the duration of the exploration trip, with the exception of the night of February 18th, which they spent in a hotel in Barahona. During the days, they rode in the Dominican diocesan van or a chartered bus to visit sites, returning to the hotel each evening. While based in Santo Domingo, they ate in commercial restaurants or in Dominican Episcopal church or school facilities. With the exception of Fred Richter, who flew from Santo Domingo to Puerto Rico on February 21st for a personal vacation, the team flew back to Orlando on February 21st.

Sites visited were the following (in alphabetical order, city or location name first, church name and facility type second:

Azua – La Reconciliación (church), San Jorge (church)

Bani – La Transfiguratíon (church and school)

Barahona – Jesús Peregrino (church and children’s shelter)

Boca Chica – San José (church and school); Hogar Obispo Isaacs (retirement home)

Bonao – San Juan Bautista (church and education center, along with a fire station)

Catalina – El Santo Nombre (preaching station)

El Carreton – San Antonio de Padua (church and school

Haina – San Marcos (church and school)

Jarabacoa (El Pedregal) – Campamento Monte de la Transfiguratíon (church, school, camp & conference center).

San Francisco de Macorís – Buen Samaritano (day care center); Jesús Nazareno (church and school)

San Pedro de Macorís – Bishop Kellogg Center (conference center and medical clinic); San Esteban (school); Buen Pastor (church, school, day care center and medical clinic); Santa Cruz (church and school)

Santana – San Matias (church and school)

Santo Domingo – La Epifanía (cathedral); San Andrés (church, school, clinic, mission team dormitory facility); San Pablo y San Pedro (church); San Felipe Apóstol (church)

The team had a productive meeting with The Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguín, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, and senior members of his clergy to learn about his priorities for integrating the work of mission teams in the development of the Dominican church. The team members were also greatly assisted by The Rev. Deacon Bob Snow and Ellen Snow, two missionaries who work on Bishop Holguín’s staff to coordinate the work of mission teams in the Dominican Republic, and by Patricio (Rafelito) Encarnación, the diocesan driver and mechanic who drove the diocesan van.

The Rev. Tar Drazdowski and Fred Richter wrote this statement to summarize this trip:

“The February 2012 Exploration Trip to the Dominican Republic was memorable for several reasons, among them the opportunity to visit sites in Azua and El Carreton where mission teams from the Diocese of Georgia had been working only a month earlier; for the overnight trip to Barahona in the southwestern corner of the Dominican Republic, where none of us had ever visited before; and for the invitation to help the clergy and staff of La Epifania, the Dominican Episcopal cathedral, to distribute a free breakfast meal and staple food supplies to the needy residents of the neighborhood. We looked at many potential mission sites to gather information on work projects and logistical support to share with congregations planning future mission trips, and two that would represent new sites for work by Georgia teams attracted our particular attention: the day care center and unfinished church in San Francisco de Macorís, and the church and school in Santana. As a result of this trip, Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesboro is currently planning a mission trip to San Francisco de Macorís in June, 2012, a location that would represent the fifth mission work site for the Diocese of Georgia in the Dominican Republic. We were deeply moved by the enthusiasm of our Dominican friends for international partnerships, and we hope to convey this enthusiasm to the congregations of the Diocese of Georgia through the future work of the Companion Diocese Commission.”

For more information on this trip, contact Team Leader Fred Richter (Trinity, Statesboro); The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Chair of the Companion Diocese Commission and Assistant Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta GA; or The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon for Congregational Ministries, Diocese of Georgia.

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Mission trip to El Pedregal (Christ Church, Valdosta; June 16-23)

The June 2012 mission team sponsored by Christ Church (Valdosta) conducted knitting classes for over 60 women in the village of El Pedregal. To see other photos from this trip, click the picture above.

This mission trip report, along with the associated trip journal and photographs, is available at the Christ Church (Valdosta) web site, here: http://www.christchurchvaldosta.org/?page_id=4686.

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Mission trip to San Francisco de Macorís (Trinity, Statesboro, June 19-26)

The design on the t-shirt worn by mission team members in San Francisco de Macorís in June 2012. Click this image to see pther photographs from this mission trip.

The Diocese of Georgia conducted a mission trip to San Francisco de Macorís during June 19-26, 2012. This twelve-member mission trip was organized by Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesboro and was led by the Rev. Joan Kilian and Dr. Fred Richter. Most of the team members were from Trinity’s EYC group. While in San Francisco de Macorís, they stayed in the church buildings of Jesús Nazareno and worked at the El Buen Samaritano day care center. Their work was supervised by Padre Hipólito Fernández Reyna, vicar of Jesús Nazareno. Their meals were provided by the staff of the church and by Padre Hipólito’s family. Their primary task at the day care center was to sand and make ready for use the pews for a new worship space and social welfare building under construction at that facility.

At the conclusion of their work in San Francisco de Macorís, Padre Hipólito sent this email message to Trinity (Statesboro): “HI! Blessings to all!! This has been a great visit, a wonderful group!! Everything was just fine and they did a great job. They’re now in Santo Domingo. Blessings.”

An online album of photographs from this mission trip is available on Trinity’s Facebook page here.

For more information on this mission trip, contact the Rev. Joan Kilian or Dr. Fred Richter at Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesboro.

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Preaching mission in Savannah (St. Paul’s, Savannah, and representatives of the Episcopal Seminary in Santo Domingo, July 22-27)

The Rt. Rev. William Skilton (center) with other participants in this preaching mission at St. Paul's.

For the last three years, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Savannah has worked at building a ministry with the Hispanic/Latino Community in Savannah. In order to increase their efforts in mission and evangelism with the Hispanic/Latino Community in Savannah and the surrounding areas, St. Paul’s hosted a Preaching Mission during the week of July 22 – July 27, 2012. The Preaching Mission was called “Encounter with Christ 2012: Go and make disciples.” Each evening the services focused on one part of the Baptismal promises as they explored how to live into the call of Jesus to “Go and make disciples.”

It was very exciting to have three visitors from our Companion Diocese of the Dominican Republic come to assist St. Paul’s in the Mission. The Venerable Ramón Antonio Garcia, Archdeacon of the Northern Region of the Dominican Republic, was joined by two seminarians from the Centro de Estudios Teológicos, Luis Garcia Correa and José Martin Abreu. On Thursday evening, the Rt. Rev. Wiliam Skilton, retired Assistant Bishop of the Dominican Republic, participated in the service and gave a most enthusiastic sermon in both Spanish and English.

For more information on this preaching mission, contact the Rev. Charles Todd at St. Paul’s.

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Exploration trip based in Santo Domingo (The Rev. Joshua Varner, October 22-26)

The interior of an Episcopal church in Santiago, a large city in the north of the Dominican Republic.

During October 22-26, 2012, the Rev. Joshua Varner conducted an exploration trip in the Dominican Republic to scout potential locations for a diocesan youth mission trip in the summer of 2013. Despite Hurricane Sandy’s presence on the island, he was able to visit sites in the capital, Santo Domingo, as well as sites east, west, and north of the city, including both work sites and possible places to stay in each area.

Photographs from the primary four days of the Rev. Varner’s trip are available at the four links below:

First Day – Traveling to the Dominican Republic
Second Day – Visiting sites east of Santo Domingo
Third Day – Visiting sites west of Santo Domingo
Fourth Day – Visiting sites near Santiago (north of Santo Domingo)

This week-long mission experience for 9-12 grade students in the Diocese of Georgia is scheduled to take place from June 24 – July 1, 2013. For more information about this youth mission trip, contact the Rev. Joshua Varner at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Pooler, GA.

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Mission trip to Azua (St. Patrick’s, Albany and St. Anne’s, Tifton, October 27 – November 2)

The members of the mission team from St. Anne's Tifton and St. Patrick's Albany in Las Carreras. Click this image to see other photographs from this mission trip.

From October 27 until November 2, 2012, five members of St. Anne’s Tifton teamed up with three members of St. Patrick’s Albany for a mission trip to Las Carreras, a small community near the large city of Azua on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. The main purpose of the mission trip was to help build a church for the congregation of Espíritu Santo in Las Carreras. The Rt. Rev. Julio Holguín, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, visited their work site one day and blessed each member of the mission team.

Bishop Holguín (purple shirt, back to camera) blesses the Rev. Lonnie Lacy while other team members and local residents gather around. Click this image to see other photographs from this mission trip.

The team reported that although the construction work was important, the “greater work of building lasting relationships and friendships with our Dominican brothers and sisters ended up mattering so much more.”

An album of photographs from this trip is available here.

For more information on this mission trip, contact the Rev. Lonnie Lacy at St. Anne’s Tifton, or the Rev. Jay Weldon at St. Patrick’s Albany.

 

Activities During 2011

This is an archive page for reports about the work of the Companion Diocese Commission in the Dominican Republic in 2011.

Annual Report for 2011

The Annual Report of the Companion Diocese Commission
Prepared for the 191th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia
February 2-4, 2012

DR Diocesan seal

The seal of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic

The Diocese of Georgia continues to be a very active mission partner with our Companion Diocese of the Dominican Republic. During February 18-20, The Reverend Tar Drazdowski, Christ Church (Valdosta), represented Bishop Benhase at the annual convention of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic held in Santo Domingo. She addressed the convention, bringing greetings from the Diocese of Georgia.

The Exploration Trip to the Dominican Republic, February 22-28, was productive and successful. The ten team members were from the following parishes: Trinity, Statesboro; Christ Church, Valdosta; St. Andrew’s and St. Cyprian’s, Darien; and St. Peter’s, Savannah. The team traveled throughout the southern and central parts of the Dominican Republic taking in the beautiful countryside while looking for possible mission sites. In both urban and rural areas, opportunities and mission sites are plentiful, and the team members were made keenly aware of how many communities are looking to form partnerships with churches in the U.S.

From April 5 to 7, The Rev. Jay Weldon, rector of St. Patrick’s, Albany, and The Rev. Lonnie Lacy, rector of St. Anne’s, Tifton, visited the city of Azua, where St. Patrick’s parishioners were active in 2010 to seek out potential worksites for their next mission trip. As a result of this trip, projects have been identified for a trip planned in January 2012.

Deacon Susan Gahagan (St. Paul’s, Savannah) made her second trip to the Dominican Republic during May 28-June 7 to participate in the “Latin Experience”, a program sponsored by the Association of Episcopal Deacons and the Deacons of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic to learn about the ministry of the deacons in the Dominican Republic. While Deacon Gahagan was participating in the program, she was partnered with a Dominican counterpart. She stayed in the home of Deacon Susanna and basically shadowed her through her weekly responsibilities.

During June 18 to 25, Christ Church (Valdosta) sent the largest team ever in the ten-year history of our work in the Dominican Republic. The team of thirty short-term missionaries represented churches from four states – Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Churches in our diocese whose priest or parishioners participated included: Trinity, Statesboro; Saint Anne’s, Tifton; and Christ Church, Valdosta. The team worked at the Camp of the Transfiguration in El Pedregal, near Jarabacoa. The one-week mission included daily instruction for four knitting projects with supplies included; Vacation Bible School instruction, music and crafts with supplies included; and several construction projects in the community as well as at the camp. During two of those construction projects, one new house was roofed and the aging roof on another house was replaced with new metal sheets.

During October 22-25, the Dominican Development Group held their bi-annual meeting at Christ Church, Valdosta. Bishop Scott Benhase, Diocese of Georgia; Bishop Julio Holguín, Diocese of the Dominican Republic, and Bishop William Skilton, retired from South Carolina and now assisting Bishop in the Dominican Republic, and members of the companion dioceses met together to develop and support a plan to obtain secure funding to help build the Endowment Fund for the support of the Dominican Church. The Diocese of the Dominican Republic has been negatively affected by the budget cuts at the national Episcopal Church, and is taking measures to become more financially independent. Progress is being made in this effort. The Diocese of Georgia is helping by maintaining their full partnership with the Dominican Development Group. The line item in our Diocesan budget for $11,000.00 is used solely to support the efforts of the Dominican Development Group and the work being done in the Dominican Republic.

Much of our work in 2011 has laid the foundation for a flurry of mission team activity in 2012, with four mission trips in various stages of planning to take place during that year. One of those trips will feature a team from the Southeastern Convocation, a new sponsor of Dominican mission work, whose trip will be to El Carreton, a Dominican community where teams from the Diocese of Georgia have never worked before. 2012 will also see another exploration trip and the presence of an official representative from the Diocese of Georgia at the annual convention of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic in February.

For more information, please check out the Companion Diocese webpage at http://georgia.anglican.org/?page_id=19. You will find a wealth of information about mission opportunities, travel diaries, and photographs of everything mentioned above. We are grateful to Julius and Julia Ariail for their continued effort to keep this information current and available for everyone. For more information, contact The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Chair of the Companion Diocese Commission and Assistant Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta Georgia; or The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon for Congregational Ministries, Diocese of Georgia.

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The overarching purpose of the mission trip sponsored by Christ Church (Valdosta) to El Pedregal in June, 2011, was to establish a ministry of presence. To see other photos from this trip, click the picture above.

Report of the Mission Trip in June, 2011

The Diocese of Georgia conducted a mission trip to the Episcopal Camp of the Transfiguration (Campamento Episcopal Monte de la Transfiguración) from June 18-25, 2011. The Camp of the Transfiguration is located in El Pedregal, a small village about 2 miles east of the large city of Jarabacoa. This mission trip was organized by Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, and included 30 people from 5 dioceses of the Episcopal Church and 1 diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. This trip in 2011 marked the tenth year that a mission trip from the Diocese of Georgia has come to this location. The team flew from Orlando to Santo Domingo on June 18th and rode in a chartered bus from the airport to El Pedregal, a trip of about 4 hours. The bus transport was coordinated by the mission team support staff of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. The team members stayed in the dormitory rooms of the Episcopal camp, and their meals were prepared by members of the camp staff and served in the camp dining room.

On Sunday, the first full day of their mission trip in El Pedregal, they attended church in El Pedregal where the three priests on the mission team, The Rev. Tar Drazdowski (Christ Church, Valdosta), The Rev. Lonnie Lacy (St. Anne’s, Tifton) and The Rev. Justin Yawn (Trinity, Statesboro) were the co-celebrants. During the service, their mission team crosses were blessed by Padre Carlos Santana, the priest in charge of the camp, school, and church. The team members presented Padre Carlos with a ciborium to match the chalice a previous mission team from Christ Church had donated in an earlier year.

During the week the mission team members were in El Pedregal, they completed construction projects such as excavating a site for a new electrical power substation, roofing two houses, removing a chain link fence and its foundation to prepare for the installation of a new fence and concrete block wall, cleaning and then painting a tile roof over a carport on a house in the camp property, installing three ceiling fans in the camp dining room, and installing ceilings in bathrooms in a new camp dormitory building. They also conducted knitting classes for approximately 75 knitters and Vacation Bible School classes for approximately 125 children. They attended a graduation exercise for the Episcopal school on the camp property, and helped conduct a water splash party for the village children.

Watercolor: 'Five Palms'

Michael Wood, an artist and a member of the mission team, created three watercolor paintings from scenes in El Pedregal. One of these paintings, “Five Palms,” was painted in El Pedregal during the mission trip, and the others were painted after Michael returned home. Prints of these paintings are for sale, and net proceeds benefit future mission work in the Dominican Republic. To see illustrations of the three works and for more information on purchasing prints, go here.

On Thursday, June 23rd, the last full day they were in El Pedregal, the community joined them in the camp dining room in a covered dish supper with dancing afterward. The team presented team t-shirts and crosses to several members of the community and the camp staff. They also donated a large banner decorated with handprints of the VBS children to the Episcopal church in El Pedregal, and gave a stole decorated with thumbprints of the village children to Padre Carlos. The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, the mission team leader, also received one of the stoles decorated by the village children.

On Friday, June 24th, the team left El Pedregal by bus to travel to Santo Domingo. They arrived in time to see part of the capital city and to eat supper in local restaurants. On Saturday morning, June 25th, they rode busses to the airport for their flight back to Orlando.

For photographs from this mission trip, check here (summary set), here (part 1 of an extended set), and here (part 2 of an extended set). For a detailed daily journal from this trip, check here.

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Deacon Susan Gahagan (at far right) with deacons from the United States and the Dominican Republic on the steps of San Esteban in San Pedro de Marcoris. To see other photos from her trip, click the picture above.


Report of the Exploration Trip for Deacons, May 28 – June 7, 2011

The Rev. Deacon Susan Gahagan, a member of the clergy of St. Paul’s, Savannah, participated in a cross-cultural field experience for deacons sponsored by the Association for Episcopal Deacons and the Deacons of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic. She joined a group of 11 other deacons at the Bishop Kellogg Conference Center in San Pedro de Marcoris for several days to learn about the ministry of deacons in the Dominican Republic, and was then assigned as a partner with a Dominican deacon to work and live for several days in that deacon’s home community and to share in that local ministry. After she returned home, she wrote the report below. More information about her trip is available from the Association of Episcopal Deacons here.

A Latin Experience

I received an e-mail from AED (Association for Episcopal Deacons) on December 23, 2010, telling about A Latin Experience for 12 US deacons and 12 deacons from the Dominican Republic to be paired up for an immersion experience in Latin culture. Having been to the DR last September, I wanted to go back. After sending an e-mail to a member of last fall’s team who was out of town for the holiday and getting back a response, “haven’t you registered yet?” I did register on Christmas Day at 9:00 a.m. Now for those who know me, they know that I always, by the Grace of God, have my needs met, but there has never been an excess of money in my life. The fact that I had the money for registration on Christmas Day was a sign to me. I stepped out on faith that the airline ticket would somehow happen. And it did!

I flew to Santo Domingo on Saturday, May 28th. After a missed meeting at the airport I finally found Deacon Bob Snow (somehow two people wearing collars could not find each other) and my ride to San Pedro de Macoris Retreat Center where I could relax and meet the other participants. We all turned in early that night.

Passing the Peace in St. Stephen's. To see other photos from this trip, click the picture above.

Sunday morning we attended mass at St Stephen’s on the grounds of the retreat center vested. The group picture was taken on the steps before the procession began. Deacon Snow had told us to bring at least an alb and stole. Dominicans like to have visiting clergy vest. Some of us did participate in the service reading the gospel both in English and Spanish and at the table. I read the gospel in English. It was also good to see one of the seminarians we had met last fall, Lorenzo, who was assigned to St Stephen’s.

Sunday afternoon we began our introduction to the culture and ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic. The first class of deacons have been ordained about five years. They talked to us about the process and what they have and are doing in their ministry. They had some hurdles to leap because there was no process for them to follow. Deacon Snow (Neb) and Sr Priscilla (Southern Ohio) were both deacons when they went to the DR.

The staff at the retreat center fed and cared for us well. We ate a lot of rice, beans and wonderful fresh fruit.

The Rt. Rev. Julio Holguin, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

Monday morning we had an invasion of men in purple. One of our participants was recently retired bishop of Western NY, Michael Garrison, who has moved to Western Florida. He is an AED board member. Bishop Julio Holguin of DR, Assisting Bishop Bill Skilton, and retired DR Bishop Taliaferro Isaac were also present. Each of the Dominican Bishops added to our knowledge of Latin American Culture and the Church, Spirituality in Latin America, Evangelizing of Latins, Latino/Hispanic Ministries of the Episcopal Church and the Latin America Family. Along with the bishops we had Dean Ashton Brooks from Epiphany Cathedral and Dean Napoleon Brito from the seminary as speakers. By evening we had information whirling around in our heads trying to understand. Dean Brito had brought his guitar and we enjoyed the evening singing.

Tuesday morning dawned with morning devotions and another wonderful meal prepared by the staff at San Pedro de Macoris Retreat Center. They fed and cared for us well. After breakfast more talks on “Understanding Latinos and their Needs,” “Roman Catholic Church Influence on Latinos” and finally “The Gringos Among Us” and “Understanding Latinos Through Mission Trips” by three of the Dominican missionaries, Deacon Bob and Ellen Snow and Karen Carroll. Tuesday afternoon our heads had absorbed all our seats could endure and we were off to see some unique and historical caves near San Pedro. The only unwelcome guests on that trip were the mosquitoes we encountered at the caves.

School children in Buen Pastor. Click this image to see other photos from this trip.

Wednesday morning found us going to Buen Pastor for morning devotions and visiting the church, school and clinic run by Sisters of the Transfiguration. The children sang for us in the church after our devotions. In each of the schools we visited, the children wanted to be greeted by the Americans and pose to have their picture taken. They were fascinated by the cameras that would show them their picture. We visited Angelina school and church, Consuelo church and school and then back to the retreat center for lunch. In the afternoon we visited Sante Fe Church and School. We had also visited what is to be a bakery and vocational learning experience for members of the community. They have the building and equipment, but are waiting for the power company to run the 220 voltage line for the ovens. Several members of our group expressed their feelings related to the attitude of the power company. Back on the grounds of the retreat center, we visited a health clinic and AIDS program run by an American doctor missionary and his wife.

A computer lab in a Dominican Episcopal school. Click this image to see other photos from this trip.

Thursday morning we left the retreat center after breakfast and traveled to the church at Santo Thomas where we celebrated the Ascension Mass along with a mission group from Charleston, SC, who were preparing to travel home. We traveled on to Boca Chica and visited San Jose Church, School and Bishop Isaac Home for Seniors. I had visited this site last fall. Since that time they have been able through generous donations to furnish the third floor at the Hogar (home) and are constructing the third floor of the school building. The Dominican government requires two things of the schools run by the church: 1) they must have a basketball court; and 2) they must have a computer lab. That evening we traveled to the dormitories at the Diocesan House and a tour of the Colonial Zone including the oldest American cathedral (Roman Catholic), museums and, of course, shops.

Friday morning we visited Epiphany Cathedral (Episcopal) and the Diocesan Seminary. The seminarians were preparing to leave and return to their weekend assignments but it was good to see several seminarians we had met and worked with last fall. Upon returning to the Diocesan House, we were picked up by our host family for the weekend. I went back to Boca Chica where I stayed at the Hogar. The quiet evening was a welcome rest after a very busy week.

Saturday morning I met my hostess, Susanna, at 7:30 for a bus trip to Santo Domingo and her formation classes at the seminary. The deacons in formation and the part-time seminarians attend classes at the seminary on Saturday taught by the seminary professors. There were two other US deacons accompanying their hostess to class. After class we all, deacons and hostesses, went to some shops in the colonial zone. We treated our hostesses to pizza before we returned to the bus station for the ride to our various destinations.

After a siesta we attended a Bible Study held on the lawn of the San Jose Church. After the study everyone went inside for a time of singing together. Susanna and I did the altar guild duties for Sunday. She seemed surprised as she filled the vessels that I knew how to set the credence table. She did not understand that what she and the congregation did at San Jose was part of a much larger church that spanned not only countries but languages. After that I went back to the hogar to rest and prepare for Sunday.

Santo Tomas.

Fr Sanchez came for me at 7 a.m. and we were off to St Thomas with his son, Victor, driving. As we traveled we passed the winter home for the New York Mets, Florida Marlins and the Yankees. When we entered St Thomas and began vesting there were only about five or six people in church. I participated in the service as the deacon at the table. Sitting behind the altar facing the open outside door I saw people passing the church in the street stop in front of the door, bow and cross themselves, then go on down the street. How often in the US do people even pay any attention that they have passed a church on the street? By the time we got to communion there were about 40 people in the church. After the service Fr Sanchez and I unvested and the ladies brought us juice to drink. As soon as the service and attendance was recorded and the money counted, we were off again.

Back at San Jose we vested about 9:45. There we were joined by Susanna and Ricardo, a full time dentist and part time seminarian assigned to San Jose whom I had met on the previous trip. When Latinos pass the peace it is a real social event. They do not stop until they have greeted every person in the church. It is a joyful event of laughing, hugging and even some dancing. The children, especially the little girls, wanted to be greeted by this strange deacon. Most of the time I was greeting two children at a time, one under each arm. All of the people were so warm, open and friendly. Neither of the churches I served in had communion rails. The people formed a line down the main isle receiving from the priest and then moving to me, the deacon, with the chalice. The vast majority presented the host for intinction, meaning I had poured much too much wine for the hundred people present.

Deacon Gahagan received a certificate of participation in the 'Latin Experience' trip.

After the service I rode the bus back to Santo Domingo with Ricardo. His son picked us up with the car and they delivered me to the Snow’s. Soon after I arrived we went to the Diocesan House to begin preparations for the dinner Sunday evening with the US guests and hosts of the diocese. In between I had time for a wonderful time of sharing with Ellen Snow. At the dinner each of the US participants was given a framed certificate from the diocese and a green stole with the Diocesan Seal on it made by one of the seminarians, who makes vestments to supplement his income while he is in seminary. I have a beautiful dalmatic and stole he made after our last trip.

Monday we went to the market in pouring rain and flooded streets. For a minute I thought I was back in Savannah with the flooded streets from rain. We also spent some time with Deacon Snow reflecting on our experiences. It is his hope that this is just the first of such trips.

Tuesday morning early we began to return to our various destinations; Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida, Louisiana, California, Oregon, Georgia and Vancouver, B.C., with our experiences whirling in our heads. From the e-mails that have been circulating since our return, we are still processing our experiences.

Note: In addition to participating in this trip, Deacon Gahagan was also a member of the team from St. Paul’s Savannah that was in Santo Domingo in September, 2010, to work with Episcopal seminiarians on a service music project. She had the opportunity to visit a home for the elderly operated by the Diocese of the Dominican Republic and to distribute letters of greeting from the youth of St. Paul’s. A report of that mission trip with links to an online album with photographs is available here.

– – – – –

Report of the Exploration Trip in April 5-7, 2011

Padre Jesús Mosquea with some of the members of his three congregations in Azua.

During April 5-7, 2011, The Rev. Jay Weldon (St. Patrick’s, Albany) and The Rev. Lonnie Lacy (St. Anne’s, Tifton), conducted an exploration trip to examine potential mission work sites in Azua in the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Azua has a population of 85,000 and is near the southern coast about 60 miles west of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Azua had been visited by the Diocese of Georgia’s exploration team in February, 2010, and a mission team lead by Fr. Weldon worked there in October, 2010. A report and online photo album from the October 2010 mission trip is available here.

They flew from Atlanta to Santo Domingo on Delta #599 on April 5. After landing at the Santo Domingo airport, they rented a car and drove to Azua. They stayed one night in the Hotel Ramon, the same facility used by the October 2010 mission team. While in Azua, they met with Padre Jesús Mosquea, the local Episcopal priest, and visited the three Episcopal congregations in the area to determine their needs for future mission work. They ate their meals in Padre Ramon’s house. Identified needs included continuing the construction of the unfinished building of The Church of the Reconciliation to a state where services can be held inside the building; finishing construction on the two houses that were worked on by the October 2010 mission team; constructing a house for a woman with 10 children, all of whom currently live in a shack made of flattened metal cans; and constructing outhouses to replace the flimsy outdoor bathroom facilities currently in use in some areas. An outhouse could be built for approximately US$100, and the church and house construction projects could be completed for approximately US$12,000.

On the afternoon of April 6th, they returned to Santo Domingo and stayed one night in the Hotel Mercure before boarding their Delta #598 flight back to Atlanta on April 7th.

An online album with photographs from this trip is available here. Videos from this trip are currently being prepared, and links to those videos will be posted here as soon as they are ready for use.

For additional information on this trip, contact The Rev. Jay Weldon or The Rev. Lonnie Lacy.

– – – – –

Report of the Exploration Trip in February 22-28, 2011

The unfinished high school building in Carreton, near the city of Bani west of Santo Domingo.

During February 22-28, 2011, the Diocese of Georgia conducted an exploration trip to examine potential mission work sites in the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. The exploration team included ten clergy and lay members from five congregations within the Diocese of Georgia: The Rev. Sam Buice, St. Peter’s (Savannah); The Rev. Ted Clarkson and Allison Clarkson, St. Andrew’s and St. Cyprian’s (Darien); The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Christ Church (Valdosta); Julius Ariail, Christ Church (Valdosta); Dorothy Cunningham, St. Cyprian’s (Darien); Karulynn Koelliker, St. Andrew’s (Darien); Fred Richter, Trinity (Statesboro); and Dave and Judy Sweeterman, St. Peter’s (Savannah). They flew from Orlando to Santo Domingo on February 22nd, and stayed four nights in the Hotel Mercure in Santo Domingo. During the day, they rode in a chartered bus to visit sites, returning to the hotel each night. At the diocesan camp, they stayed in camp lodging rooms for two nights and returned in a chartered van to the Santo Domingo airport on February 28th for their flight back to Orlando. While based in Santo Domingo, they ate in commercial restaurants or in Dominican Episcopal church or school facilities. At the diocesan camp, their meals were prepared by the camp’s kitchen staff and served in the camp’s dining hall. A daily journal of their trip with a link to an online photograph album is available here.

Sites visited were the following (in alphabetical order, city name first, church name and facility type second, link to photographs of this location third):

Angelina – Santiago Apostol (church and school | photos here)

Bani – La Transfiguratíon (church and school | photos here)

Bonao – San Juan Bautista (church and education center, along with a fire station and two prospective church sites | photos here)

Carreton – San Antonio de Padua (church and unfinished school | photos here)

Doñana – (unfinished church | photos here)

Gautier – San Tomas (church, unfinished social services building | photos here)

Haina – San Marcos (church and school | photos here)

Jarabacoa (El Pedregal) – Campomento Monte de la Transfiguratíon (church, school, camp & conference center | photos here)

San Francisco de Macorís – Buen Samaritano (day care center | photos here)

San Pedro de Macorís – Bishop Kellogg Center (conference center and medical clinic | photos here); Buen Pastor (church, school and medical clinic | photos here); Santa Cruz (church and school | photos here)

Santana – San Matias (church and school | photos here)

Santo Domingo – Epifanía (cathedral | photos here); San Andrés (church, school, clinic, mission team dormitory facility | photos here); San Pablo y San Pedro (unfinished church | photos here); Sagrada Familia (church and school | photos here)

The team had two productive meetings with The Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguín, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, to learn about his priorities for integrating the work of mission teams in the development of the Dominican church. The team members were also greatly assisted by The Rev. Deacon Bob Snow and Ellen Snow, two missionaries who work on Bishop Holguín’s staff to coordinate the work of mission teams in the Dominican Republic. Deacon Bob Snow traveled with the team as a guide and translator for four days, and Ellen Snow for three days.

The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, the Chair of the Companion Diocese Commision of the Diocese of Georgia and a member of this exploration team, wrote this statement to summarize this trip:

“The February 2011 Exploration Trip to the Dominican Republic was productive and successful. The team traveled throughout the Dominican Republic taking in the beautiful countryside while looking for possible mission sites. In both urban and rural areas, opportunities and mission sites are plentiful, and the team members were made keenly aware of how much work needs to be done. One site in particular, Carreton, located in the rolling countryside west of Santo Domingo near the city of Bani, particularly interested the team members. No public high school is available in this area, and one of Bishop Holguín’s top priorities is the completion of a church-supported secondary school here so that local high school students do not have to leave their home community while completing this important part of their education. What the team observed in Carreton is an excellent example of how the churches in the Dominican Republic are looking for partners to help them build their Church with its extensive set of educational programs and social services. Successful partnerships are formed when church communities share their resources and build buildings and relationships.”

For more information on this trip, contact The Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Chair of the Companion Diocese Commission and Assistant Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta GA; or The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon for Congregational Ministries, Diocese of Georgia.

 

Register for Convention 2013

Early registration is now open for the 192nd Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. All clergy, delegates and alternates registering before December 31 will save $5 per person. The theme of the convention comes from our mission to build up the Bodyof Christ and our mission to go out into the world in evangelism and service. When this inward discipleship is combined with outward love and service, the church is stronger than with either form of mission alone.

Conference Prices
$80 Voting delegates, alternates and clergy ($85 after Dec. 31)
$65 Retired Clergy, Guests, spouses ($70 after Dec. 31)
$45 Students ($50 after Dec. 31)
$30 Seminarians ($35 after Dec. 31)
$45 Exhibitors (per person with $25 per table)
  
Register Now Online

Clergy and Spouses Registration

Delegate and Alternate Registration

 

Register for Convention Now & Save

     

Early registration is now open for the 192nd Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. All clergy, delegates and alternates registering before December 31 will save $5 per person. The theme of the convention comes from our mission to build up the Bodyof Christ and our mission to go out into the world in evangelism and service. When this inward discipleship is combined with outward love and service, the church is stronger than with either form of mission alone.

Conference Prices
$80 Voting delegates, alternates and clergy ($85 after Dec. 31)
$65 Retired Clergy, Guests, spouses ($70 after Dec. 31)
$45 Students ($50 after Dec. 31)
$30 Seminarians ($35 after Dec. 31)

$45 Exhibitors (per person with $25 per table)


Register Now Online

Clergy and Spouses Registration
Delegate and Alternate Registration
Guests, Students and Seminarian Registration
Exhibitor Registration

Reserve a Room
We will stay in three hotels with a range of prices from $70-90 per night. Book your room early to lock in the accommodations of your choice. Complete information on the conference hotels is online here: Convention Accommodations
 

Honey Creek in the Black Six Months Straight


For the second consecutive quarter, our camp and conference center at Honey Creek has operated in the black. The very modest profit reveals that the operation was able to cover its costs from its earned revenue while donations to the center were used for needed enhancements. “No bond proceeds have been used to cover operations,” notes Executive Director Dade Brantley, “those funds all went to restructuring the longterm debt and making capital repairs and improvements to the facilities.”

“At this time last year, we were well on our way to a six-figure deficit for the year,” said Mary Willoughby, Canon for Administration. “So far this year we are break even on operations while maintaining a modest reserve for improvements…it’s amazing, it really is.”

The target for breaking even remains 2013, but the operations remain ahead of schedule for the turnaround of the camp. A key difference from 2011 to 2012 has been the increased usage of the conference center by parishes and the Diocese as a whole. Continued support of Honey Creek by using its facilities is essential to meet the goal of a self-sufficient operation.

One new initiative in 2012 has been the Hundred for Honey Creek. This donor-initiated fundraiser calls on those who could not take part in the Bond Sale to consider a monthly donation of $100 to Honey Creek. These undesignated gifts play a central role in the financial stability of the center on a month to month basis. So far, 10 of the anticipated 100 total donors in the program have stepped forward to provide $1,000 per month. Contact Executive Director Dade Brantley at Honey Creek, 912-265-9218 and say, “I want to be one of the Hundred For Honey Creek”.

 

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