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The Rev. Ron Southerland

October 19, 1942-October 8, 2010

The Rev. Ron SoutherlandThe Diocese of Georgia mourns the loss of the Rev. Ron Southerland who died, of complications from pulmonary fibrosis, at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon on October 8. A funeral mass is being planned for the Church of the Annunciation in Vidalia, October 16 at 3 p.m. (clergy vest in cassock, surplice and white stoles).

Born in Palatka, Florida in 1942, Ron spent his childhood in Macon. He was graduated from the University of Georgia in 1965 with a BS in Forestry, with a specialty in wildlife management. He worked as a an assistant county agent and a Forester with the US Forest Service. While working in Copperhill, Tennessee as a Safety Engineer for Mines, Ron responded to a call to ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church. In 1972, he graduated in the top 5 percent of his class in the St. Luke’s School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. He also received the Woods Leadership Award, which is the highest honor given by the school.

On graduation, he worked as priest in charge of two small congregations in Tennessee, before becoming the Rector of Trinity Church, Winchester, TN. While there, he became actively involved in the camp ministry of the Diocese of East Tennessee. The Bishop of East Tennessee at that time was the Rt. Rev. Bill Sanders who described Ron as, “bright, hard-working, imaginative—simply a very fine priest.” Ron left Tennessee to serve as the Executive Director of Day Spring Conference Center in Ellenton, Florida.

Family commitments led to Ron’s return to Georgia in 1986, where he worked as Director of Social Services at Baldwin County Hospital. At that time, Ron served as a bi-vocational priest, working during the week and serving three congregations St. Mary Magdalene, Louisville; Grace Church, Sandersville and Good Shepherd, Swainsboro; which formed The Congregation of the Holy Trinity with a single vestry. Louise Abbot recalls, “Years later when he only came to us on Thursday afternoon for a service and a gathering in our parish house, those of us who were regular attendants were small in number, but we formed a close tie to Ron and our meetings were full of trust and affection. I think he loved us; I know we loved him.”

Annunciation, VidaliaIn 1989, Ron accepted a call as rector of the Church of the Annunciation in Vidalia. He continued as the priest of that congregation through 2007. During that time, he led the church through a building campaign, establishing a new church building on the grounds. He also worked on an innovative approach to encouraging newcomers to the church, which he called Visitors Expected. Ron also served as the Dean of his Convocation, having some oversight responsibilities for the Diocese of Georgia. The Rt. Rev. Harry Shipps, who was Bishop of Georgia at the time Ron came into this Diocese said, “Fr. Ron was an old friend and I was so pleased when he accepted our call to serve in the Diocese of Georgia. The lovely church building in Vidalia is a monument to his ministry in Toombs County.”

The Rev. Ron SoutherlandSince his 2007 retirement, Ron has served as the priest in charge of Good Shepherd, Swainsboro. The loss of this gifted priest and humble servant of God is felt throughout his Diocese of Georgia family and beyond. The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase, 10th Bishop of Georgia remembers Ron as ”a gentle, loving soul.” He said, “Ron was a faithful and loving pastor who served his Lord and church with great dignity and care.”

He is survived by his son, Will, and daughter-in-law, Stephanie, and his cherished grandsons, Jackson and Andrew Southerland of Bradenton, Florida; his brother and sister-in-law, Dick and Sandra Southerland of Macon; his nephew Chris (Cindy) Southerland of Locust Grove, Georgia; his niece Sandy (Kerry) Keeton of Macon; and great-nieces Brittany, Kirsten, and Katie.

Those who wish may make memorial contributions to Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 621 W. Main Street, Swainsboro, Georgia 30401, the Church of the Annunciation, 1512 Meadows Lane, Vidalia 30474, or to the Episcopal Church of St. Mary Magdalene, 321 W. 7th Street, Louisville, Georgia 30434

May light perpetual shine upon him.


Clergy Conference Photos

The Rev. Liam Collins coming back from watching the sun rise over Honey Creek.

The Clergy Conference took up the theme of “Tending toward Growth” as the clergy entered into thoughtful discussion about how images of tending gardens and sheep from scripture illumine the task of being the Body of Christ.

The Rev. Canon Leigh Hall leads a session on Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

The Rev. Tony Powell adds to a discussion.

A working group considers how to support newly ordained clergy.

Bishop Benhase speaking with a group of priests about his hopes for placing newly ordained clergy in curacies with mentoring clergy.

A hawk behind Bishop’s Hall during the conference.


Fall Clergy Conference

Priest and Deacons are encouraged to attend the upcoming Clergy Conference devoted to congregational development. Called, “Tending Toward Growth,” the conference will work from scripture of plants and sheep to discover how those tended by good gardeners and good shepherds tend to grow and thrive. In terms of congregational development, the assumption is not numeric growth in terms of attendance, as in some settings faithful tending will result in spiritual growth within the congregation rather than growth in numbers attendance.

During the conference, clergy will learn how to use the Percept demographic data that can now be accessed at no charge to the parish through a Diocese of Georgia account. The demographic data is one important way to get to know the soil in which the growth of our congregations will occur. In and of itself, knowing your community’s demographics can be meaningless. But if getting to know your community leads to mission significant to that community, then it serves its purpose. The conference will therefore not simply show how to access the data, but how to use the information as a part of forging a common vision for ministry in your town. Clergy will leave with login information giving access to the account and the skill to create and use the reports available.

Follow Up From The Spring
At the spring clergy conference, a number of strategies and ideas were shared that could be taken back to congregations including asset mapping, appreciative inquiry, and even such basics as a different format for vestry meetings. All who have field tested these ideas in their congregations will also be asked to share those experiences.

Clergy Helping Clergy
We will use an hour and a half on Thursday to break those attending up into groups including: new rectors, interim ministry, small town ministry and others and will have some focused work to allow us to begin to network across the diocese more effectively.

The schedule for the conference is online here: Clergy Conference Schedule

The Clergy Conference begins Wednesday, October 6 at 2 p.m. with the Bishop’s time with clergy to answer questions and share from his perspective in his travels around the diocese. Priests and deacons will also be able to share their concerns with Bishop Benhase. The conference will continue until 3 p.m. Thursday, October 7, leaving plenty of time for all who will be traveling to Savannah to take part in the Planning for Tomorrow Conference being put on there by the Church Pension Fund. There will be a reception at St. Paul the Apostle on the corner of Abercorn and 34th at which Canon Mary Willoughby will go over insurance issues with interested clergy. This will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Register Now
The conference itself is free, though clergy must register with Honey Creek and pay the center for the cost of the rooms and meals. Contact Honey Creek now to reserve your room for this Clergy Conference (912) 265-9218.


Planning For Tomorrow Conference for Clergy

The Church Pension Group is offering a Planning For Tomorrow conference in Savannah at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Octber 8th and 9th. Registration is now available online at the link below:

This conference will  help active and retired clergy, and their spouses develop the life and financial planning skills they need to meet financial and other goals while they are working and in retirement. At a planning conference you can both hear presentations on pensions, Social Security, Medicare and personal financial concerns and meet privately with Senior members of the Church Pension Group staff to discuss your individual circumstances.

The conference follows immediately after our fall clergy conference at Honey Creek. CPG helps to underwrite the cost of attending conferces and will reimburse up to half of your cost for lodging and meals. There are no registration fees.



Holy Week and Easter across the Diocese of Georgia in 2014 are documented in a photo album. Click this image for other photographs from this event.

The Diocesan Photo Albums
The Diocese of Georgia maintains an online set of photo albums on Picasa, one of the Google services. The images in these albums may be used without further permission by the churches of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, or diocesan congregations publicizing their mission and ministries. For all other usages, please submit a request to the diocesan office stating the desired usage. For more information on these albums, contact The Rev. Canon Frank Logue.

Churches in the Diocese of Georgia
This album contains photographs of the sixty-seven churches, three chapels, and one convent in the Diocese of Georgia. Clergy or others in charge of local churches are invited to submit photographs to substitute for those in this album to the e-mail address listed below. Requests for assistance from volunteer photographers to take replacement photographs may also be submitted to this address. Photographs posted as of December 31, 2010, were used to create a printed poster for distribution at the Convention in February, 2011. Additional copies of that poster are available from the diocesan office. This album will remain online as a visual resource for the Diocese, and new photographs may be added from time to time as circumstances warrant. Updated photograph files may be sent as attachments to this address: <gaepiscopalphotos[at]gmail[dot]com>. For more information on this project, contact the Rev. Canon Frank Logue.

Bishops of the Diocese of Georgia
Historic paintings and photographs of the Bishops of Georgia.

Honey Creek
Photographs of our diocesan camp and conference center at Honey Creek, located on the Georgia coast south of Brunswick.

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April 2014: Holy Week and Easter
Photographs from churches around the Diocese of Georgia from Holy Week and Easter, 2014.

January 2014: The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in Savannah
Photographs of the Diocese of Georgia’s delegation in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in Savannah.

December 2013: Christmas Day Eucharist for the Homeless
Photographs from a celebration of the Eucharist on Christmas Day for a homeless community in Savannah.

December 2013: Christmas across the Diocese
Photographs of Christmas events in churches across the Diocese.

November 2013: Special Convention
The Diocese of Georgia held a special convention in Dublin on November 16, 2013.

November 2013: Acolyte Festival
Photographs from the diocesan acolyte festival hosted by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Savannah on November 9-10, 2013.

October 2013: Clergy Conference
Photographs from the clergy conference held at Honey Creek from October 6-8, 2013.

September 2013: Ordination
Photographs from the ordination of the Rev. Deacon Leeann Drabenstott Culbreath at St. Anne’s, Tifton, on September 14, 2013, by the Rt. rev. Scott Anson Benhase.

August 2013: Summer Camps
A compilation of photographs from the 2013 summer camp season at Honey Creek.

June 2013: Ordinations
Photographs from the ordination of four deacons at St. Paul’s, Savannah, on June 22, 2013, by the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase.

June 2013: Mission Trip to El Pedregal
Photographs from a mission trip to El Pedregal in the Dominican Republic sponsored by Christ Church, Valdosta, from June 15-22, 2013.

June 2013: Vacation Bible Schools
Photographs from Vacation Bible Schools held in churches across the Diocese of Georgia.

March 2013: Holy Week and Easter
Photographs from churches around the Diocese of Georgia from Holy Week and Easter, 2013.

February 2013: Convention
Photographs from the 192nd Convention of the Diocese of Georgia in Tifton, hosted by St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.

December 2012: Ordination
Photographs from the ordination of the Rev. Charles Todd to the priesthood at St. Paul’s, Savannah, on December 30, 2012, by the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase.

December 2012: Lessons and Carols
Photographs from a service of Lessons and Carols in Darien on December 23, 2012.

November 2012: Ordination
Photographs from the ordination of the Rev. Deacon Karulynn Koelliker at St. Andrew’s, Darien, on November 28, 2012 by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase.

October 2012: Pet Blessings
Photographs from pet blessing services from across the Diocese of Georgia.

September 2012: Fall Gathering
Photographs from the Fall Gathering event at Honey Creek over the weekend of September 14-16, 2012.

July 2012: Summer Camp at Honey Creek
A compilation of photographs from all four summer camp sessions at Honey Creek during June and July, 2012.

July 2012: General Convention
Photographs from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, during July 5-12, 2012.

June 2012: Ordinations
Photographs from the ordination of The Rev. Deacon Lyle Andrews, The Rev. Deacon Cathy Henderson, The Rev. Deacon Kelsy Hutto, The Rev. Deacon Gary Jon Jackson, The Rev. Deacon Steve Larson, and The Rev. Deacon Charles Todd at Christ Episcopal Church, Savannah, GA, by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase on June 30, 2012.

June 2012: Vacation Bible Schools
Photographs from VBS sessions from across the diocese are being gathered in this album.

May 2012: Savannah Convocation Confirmation Service
Photographs from the joint confirmation service of the Savannah Convocation at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Savannah on May 12, 2012.

April 2012: Ordination
Photographs from the ordination of The Rev. Deacon Sally Shovar Byers to the Diaconate at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Moultrie on April 29, 2012, by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

April 2012: SW Convocation Confirmation Service
Photographs from the joint confirmation service of the Southwestern Convocation at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Thomasville on April 21, 2012.

April 2012: Acolyte Festival
Photographs from the diocesan acolyte festival held at St. Anne’s, Tifton, on April 14-15, 2012.

April 2012: Holy Week and Easter
Photographs of worship services and other events in churches across the Diocese of Georgia during Holy Week and Easter, April 1-8, 2012.

March 2012: New Beginnings #40
Photographs from New Beginnings #40, a youth event held at Honey Creek on March 9-12, 2012.

February 2012: Ordination
Photographs from the ordination of The Rev. Sierra Wilkinson to the Priesthood at Christ Church, Savannah Ga, on February 18, 2012, by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

February 2012: Exploration Trip
Photographs from an exploration trip to the Dominican Republic from February 8-21, 2012, to check out possible sites for mission trips. A journal of this trip is available here.

February 2012: Convention
Photographs from the 191st Convention of the Episocopal Diocese of Georgia on February 2-4, 2012, in Augusta, GA.

January 2012: Mission trip to El Carreton
This album contains photographs from the mission trip to El Carreton (near Bani) in the Dominican Republic from January 23-30, 2012, sponsored by the Southeastern Convocation.

January 2012: MLK Day Parade
This album contains photographs from the Diocese of Georgia’s participation in the annual parade in Savannah on January 16, 2012, in memory of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 2012: Mission trip to Azua, Dominican Republic
This album contains photographs from the mission trip to Azua in the Dominican Republic from January 15-20, 2012, sponsored by St. Patrick’s, Albany.

December 2011: Ordination
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Rev. David Rose to the Priesthood at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, GA, on December 18, 2011, by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

December 2011: Christ Church (Episcopal) in Savannah
This album contains photographs from the services held by Christ Church (Episcopal) in the historic building on Johnson Square in Savannah on December 18, 2011.

October 2011: “Grounded in God” Spirituality Retreat at Honey Creek
This album contains photos from the “Grounded in God” spirituality retreat held at Honey Creek during October 28-29, 2011.

October 2011: Pet Blessings
This album contains photographs from several pet blessing services at churches across the diocese.

October 2011: Clergy Conference
This album contains photographs from the Fall 2011 clergy conference at Honey Creek on October 2-5, 2011.

October 2011: The Ordination of a Priest
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Al Crumpton on October 1, 2011, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick, GA, by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

September 2011: The Ordination of a Priest
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Walter Palmer Hobgood, Jr., on September 24, 2011, at Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta, GA, by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

September 2011: The Ordination of a Priest
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Abigail White Moon on September 6, 2011, at St. John’s Episcoal Church in Tallahassee, FL, by The Right Reverend Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida, on behalf of The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

August 2011: The Ordination of a Priest
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Remington Slone on August 20, 2011, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Savannah by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

July 2011: Happening #87
Photographs from Happening #87, a diocesan youth event at Honey Creek during the weekend of July 29-31, 2011.

Summer Camps 2011
This album contains photos from all four camp sessions during June and July, 2011. These camp sessions are represented in this album in a sequence that tells the story of camp life and activities from arrival to departure. An extensive set of photographs from each day of every camp session is available in this Facebook set, accessible to anyone (you do not have to be a member of Facebook to see these photos):

Vacation Bible Schools
The season for Vacation Bible Schools has begun. This album contains an initial set of VBS photographs from the summer of 2010, and new 2011 VBS photographs from Episcopal churches throughout the diocese are being added. Clergy and other responsible individuals may contribute photographs to be considered for use in this album by sending them as e-mail attachments to this address: <gaepiscopalphotos[at]gmail[dot]com>. For more information on this project, contact the Rev. Canon Frank Logue.

June 2011: Mission Trip to El Pedregal, Dominican Republic
This album contains a summary set of 400 photos from a mission trip to El Pedregal in the Dominican Republic sponsored by Christ Church, Valdosta, from June 18-25, 2011. For additional photos of this trip in greater detail, go here (set 1 of 2) and here (set 2 of 2).

May 2011: The Ordination of a Deacon
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Deacon Harry Jenkins on May 21st at St. Francis of the Islands Episcopal Church in Savannah by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

May 2011: The Ordination of a Deacon
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Deacon Barry Crow on May 14th at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Albany by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

April 2011: Holy Week and Easter
This album contains photographs from several churches in the Diocese of Georgia taken during Holy Week and Easter, 2011. Additional photographs are being added periodically. To submit one or more photographs for consideration as additions to this album, please email the photograph files as attachments here.

April 2011: The Ordination of a Priest
This album contains a set of photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Marcia McRae on April 16th at Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

April 2011: Exploration Trip to the Dominican Republic
The Rev. Jay Weldon (St. Patrick’s, Albany) and The Rev. Lonnie Lacy (St. Anne’s, Tifton) made a brief trip to Azua in the Dominican Republic from April 5-7, 2011, to update information for future mission work in that area. A summary report from this trip is available here.

April 2011: Home Town Mission
Photographs from a Home Town Mission activity sponsored by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Savannah on April 2-3, 2011.

March 2011: Acolyte Festival
This album contains photographs from a diocesan acolyte festival held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Augusta during March 19-20, 2011.

March 2011: The Ordination of a Priest
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Robert F. Polglase on March 6th at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Augusta by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

February 2011: Vocare #20
This album contains photographs from Vocare #20, a gathering of college-age young adults at Rock Eagle Conference Center, Eatonton, GA, during February 25-27, 2011. Vocare is a joint ministry of the Diocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Georgia.

February 2011: Exploration Trip to the Dominican Republic
This album holds a set of photographs from the sites visited by members of an exploration team exploring potential mission sites in the Dominican Republic during February 22-28, 2011. A daily journal of this trip is available here. A summary report of this trip is available here.

February 2011: Diocesan Convention
This album holds a set of photographs from the 190th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

January 2011: The Ordination of a Deacon
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Deacon Carolyn Murdoch on January 29th at Holy Savior Episcopal Church in Martinez by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

January 2011: MLK Day March
Clergy and laity from the Diocese of Georgia marched in the annual parade in Savannah in memory of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 2011: The Ordination of a Priest
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Iané Sastre on January 15th at King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

October 2010: Mission Trip To Azua, Dominican Republic
This album contains photographs from a mission trip organized by St. Patrick’s, Albany, to the city of Azua in the Dominican Republic. A summary report from this mission trip is available here.

September 2010: Mission Trip To Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
This album contains photographs from a mission trip organized by St. Paul’s, Savannah, to the Episcopal seminary in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.

September 2010: The Ordination of a Deacon
This album contains photographs from the ordination of The Reverend Deacon Nancy A. Sartin on September 11th at Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

August 2010: Ordinations of Deacons and Priests
This album contains photographs from the ordinations of three deacons on August 20th and four priests on August 21st at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Savannah by The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop of Georgia.

June-July 2010: Summer Camps at Honey Creek
Young people came to Honey Creek to enjoy the summer camp program.

June 2010: Mission Trip to El Pedregal, Dominican Republic
The Rev. Tar Drazdowski and Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, led the ninth mission trip from the Diocese of Georgia to El Pedregal, a village near the city of Jarabacoa, home of the Episcopal Camp for our companion Diocese of the Dominican Republic. In addition to the album linked above, more detailed photograph collections documenting this mission trip are available here and here. A summary report from this mission trip is available here.

June 2010: Planning Meeting
A meeting of church representatives at All Saints, Thomasville, to help determine priorities for the development of the Diocese. This meeting was one of several led by consultant Royster Hedgepeth in various locations throughout the Diocese as part of a process that will culminate in a report to the Diocesan Convention in February, 2011.

March 2010: Lay Ministers’ Conference at Honey Creek
The Rev. Dr. James Lemler was the main presenter for this conference.

February 2010: Diocesan Convention
The Diocese of Georgia met in convention in Savannah. This was Bishop Benhase’s first diocesan convention.

January 2010: Consecration
Bishop Benhase’s consecration as the 10th Bishop of Georgia. There are also photo albums of the consecration rehearsal supper and the consecration rehearsal.

December 2009: Honey Creek
Bishop Louttit’s farewell Eucharist at Honey Creek as diocesan bishop.

December 2009: Jekyll Island
Bishop Louttit’s retirement banquet at the Conference Center on Jekyll Island.

September 2009: Diocesan Convention
The convention of the Diocese of Georgia to elect the tenth Bishop of Georgia.

August 2009: Walkabout
The nominees for the tenth Bishop of Georgia on the night of the Walkabout held at St. Paul’s Church in Albany.

February 2009: Diocesan Convention
The Diocese of Georgia met in convention in Albany. This was Bishop Louttit’s final convention as diocesan bishop.

February 2007: Diocesan Convention
The Diocese of Georgia met in convention in Valdosta.

February 2006: Diocesan Convention
The Diocese of Georgia met in convention in Savannah.

February 2005: Diocesan Convention
The Diocese of Georgia met in convention in Augusta.

Bishop Benhase consecration

Bishop Benhase with the presiding bishop and other bishops participating in his consecration.


Visitations Calendar

September 2014 – July 2015


6          12:00  p.m.    SE Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting, Christ Church, St Marys

7          10:00a.m.   Christ Church, St. Marys

            4:00   p.m.   Good Shepherd, Pennick

12        12:00  p.m.    Dean’s Lunch Meeting, St. Luke’s, Hawkinsville

12-13   TBA                Diocesan Council Meeting, St. Luke’s, Hawkinsville

13        12:00  p.m.    Central Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting,

St. Luke’s, Hawkinsville

14        10:00            a.m.   St. Luke’s, Hawkinsville

15-25   TBA                HOB’s Fall Meeting, Taiwan

26-27  TBA                Consecration of the Bishop Co-Adjuter, Jackson, MS

28       10:00            a.m.   King of Peace, Kingsland

             3:00  p.m.   St. Mark’s, Woodbine

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

29-30 TBA                Fall Clergy Conference, Honey Creek



5          10:00            a.m.   St. Philip’s, Hinesville

6-8      TBA                VTS Fall Convocation, Alexandria, VA

10        12:00  p.m.    Examining Chaplain’s Meeting, St. Anne’s, Tifton

10-11   TBA                SC & COM Meeting, St Anne’s Tifton

11         12:00  p.m.    Diocesan Youth & Family Event, St Anne’s, Tifton

12        10:00a.m.   St. Anne’s, Tifton

15-17   TBA                Sewanee Board of Trustees Annual Meeting, Sewanee, TN

18        12:00 p.m.    SW Convocational Clericus Lunch Meeting, Christ Church, Valdosta

19        10:00a.m.   Christ Church, Valdosta

24       5:30   p.m.   Calvary, Americus, 150th Anniversary, Evensong

26       9:00   a.m.   St. James’, Quitman

            11:30 a.m.   St. Barnabas’, Valdosta

3:00    p.m.    EDAT Celebration, TBA, Thomasville

31-Nov.2                    Syracuse Parent’s Weekend, New York



6-8     TBA               Diocesan Convention, Jekyll Island Convention Center

9          8:30  a.m.   St. Richard’s, Jekyll Island

11         11:00  a.m.    Cannon Chapel, Emory University, Atlanta

13        7:00    p.m.    National Cathedral Earthquake Restoration Fundraiser,

St. Peter’s, Savannah

15        12:00  p.m.    Albany Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting, St. Patrick’s, Albany

16        11:00 a.m.   Holy Trinity, Blakely

18-21  TBA                Province IV Bishops Meeting, Camp Wead, Diocese of Florida

22       5:00   p.m.   Trinity, Harlem

23       9:00   a.m.   Good Shepherd, Augusta

            11:15  a.m.   Good Shepherd, Augusta

            4:00   p.m.   Holy Cross, Thomson

24        12:00 p.m.     Augusta Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting,

Good Shepherd, Augusta

25       8:00  a.m.   Episcopal Day School, Augusta

30       9:30   a.m.   St. George’s, Savannah (Advent 1)



7          10:30 a.m.   St. Patrick’s, Pooler (Advent 2)

14        10:30 a.m.   All Saints’, Thomasville (Advent 3)

21        10:00            a.m.   St. Michael’s, Waynesboro (Advent 4)

24       7:00  p.m.   Holy Nativity, St. Simons Island (Christmas Eve)



4          10:00            a.m.   St. Luke’s, Rincon (Christmas 2)

9          12:00  p.m.    Dean’s Lunch Meeting, St. Peter’s, Savannah

9-10    TBA                Diocesan Council Meeting, St. Peter’s, Savannah

11        10:00            a.m.   St. Peter’s, Savannah (1st Sunday after the Epiphany)

11-16   TBA                Conflict Management Workshop, Honey Creek

18       10:00a.m.   St. Augustine’s, Augusta (2nd Sunday after the Epiphany)

            4:00p.m.     Atonement, Augusta

19                                Parade March, Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observed

21        10:00  a.m.    EYCS Annual Meeting, TBA

25       10:00a.m.   Trinity, Statesboro (3rd Sunday after the Epiphany)



1          10:45 a.m.   St. Patrick’s, Albany (4th Sunday after the Epiphany)

8         10:00a.m.   Our Savior, Martinez (5th Sunday after the Epiphany)

14        12:00 p.m.     SE Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting, Christ Church, SSI

15        9:15    a.m.   Christ Church, St. Simons Island (Last Epiphany)

            11:15  a.m.   Christ Church, St. Simons Island

18                                Ash Wednesday

21        12:00  p.m.    SW Convocation Clergy Lunch Meeting, St. Barnabas, Valdosta

22       10:00a.m.   St. Thomas, Thomasville



1          10:00a.m.   Christ Church, Dublin (Lent 2)

6          12:00  p.m.    Examining Chaplain’s Lunch Meeting, St. Elizabeth’s,

Richmond Hill

6-7      TBA                SC & COM Meeting, St. Elizabeth’s, Richmond Hill

8         10:00            a.m.   St. Elizabeth’s, Richmond Hill (Lent 3)

12-18  TBA                HOB’s Spring Meeting, Kanuga Conference Center, NC

17                                Diocesan Office Closed – St. Patrick’s Day

21        12:00 p.m.     Central Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting, Annunciation, Vidalia

22       10:00            a.m.   Annunciation, Vidalia (Lent 5)

            3:00   p.m.   St. Thomas Aquinas, Baxley

29       10:00            a.m.   Christ the King, Valdosta (Palm Sunday)

31        11:00  a.m.    Chrism Mass, TBA



2          7:00 p.m.     St. Alban’s, Augusta (Maundy Thursday)

3          TBA               St. Alban’s, Augusta (Good Friday)

4          8:00  p.m.   St. Thomas’, Savannah (Easter Vigil)

5          10:30 a.m.   Christ Church, Savannah (Easter Day)

12        10:00            a.m.   St. Matthew’s, Savannah (Easter 2)

18        12:00 p.m.     Augusta Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting, St. Paul’s, Augusta

19        10:00a.m.   St. Paul’s, Augusta (Easter 3)

4:00   p.m.   St. Mary Magdalene, Louisville

21        5:30   p.m.   Episcopal Campus Ministry, Georgia Southern, Statesboro

24–25 TBA                ECW Annual Conference, TBA, Savannah

26       10:00a.m.   St. Paul’s, Savannah (Easter 4)

            3:00   p.m.   St. Bartholomew’s, Burroughs



3          10:15a.m.    St. Mark’s, Brunswick (Easter 5)

            4:00 p.m.    St. Athanasius, Brunswick

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

4-5      TBA                Spring Clergy Conference, Honey Creek

9-11     TBA                Mary Grace’s Graduation, New York

14        7:00   p.m.   St. Michael’s, Savannah (Ascension Day)

17        10:00a.m.   Holy Comforter, Martinez (Easter 7)

22        12:00  p.m.    Dean’s Lunch Meeting, St. Paul’s, Albany

22-23  TBA                Diocesan Council Meeting, St. Paul’s, Albany

23        12:00  p.m.    Albany Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting, St. Paul’s, Albany

24       10:00a.m.   St. Paul’s, Albany (Pentecost)

            4:00   p.m.   Good Shepherd, Thomasville

25-29  TBA                Bishop on Retreat, Mendham, New Jersey

31        9:00   a.m.   St. Cyprian’s, Darien

            11:15  a.m.   St. Andrew’s, Darien



7          9:00   a.m.   Worship on the Water, Lake Blackshear

            11:00 a.m.   Christ Church, Cordele

            4:00   p.m.   St. Matthew’s, Fitzgerald

13        12:00 p.m.     Central Convocation Clericus Lunch Meeting, Trinity, Cochran

14        10:00            a.m.   Trinity, Cochran

21        10:00a.m.   St. Andrew’s, Douglas

                                    Father’s Day

24 – July 4                General Convention, Salt Lake City, Utah



1-4                               General Convention, Salt Lake City, Utah



Saints of Georgia

Originally compiled by the Right Reverend Henry I. Louttit, 9th Bishop of Georgia
First edition, June 1998, Revised: June 1999, January 2004
Deaconess Byllesby added by Bishop Scott Anson Benhase April 2012

Note: Two calendar days in Lesser Feasts and Fasts are of particular importance in the history of the Diocese of Georgia. They are the Feast of John and Charles Wesley, and the Feast of Thomas Bray. Both of those tend to fall in Lent, not a good time for a major celebration in the parish.

I would like to suggest that the following days might be celebrated on a regular basis in your parish at a mid-week service, if you already have one scheduled. You may, therefore, observe the feast on the given day if you wish, or you may move it to any day in the week in which the feast falls when you already have the people gathered.

  • Sir Thomas Bray – April 14th transferred
  • Deaconess Ruth Byllesby – April 25th
  • John and Charles Wesley- May 13th transferred
  • Anson Dodge – June 18th
  • Albert Rhett Stuart – July 8th
  • Brother Jimmy Lawrence – September 3rd
  • Deaconess Alexander – September 24th
  • Bartholomew Zouberbuhler – October 22
  • Bland Tucker – November 19th

If I were trying to encourage people to have some sense of the Communion of Saints, I would suggest using these dates plus a selection chosen from those in the Prayer Book calendar, so that perhaps twice a month you had a Eucharist focused around a special person, followed by a meal. For instance, you might observe April 25th, the Feast of St. Mark, not only as St. Mark’s Day but remembering all the evangelists.

Celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, May 21st (or its eve). Celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on June 24th, on which you could observe not only John but also all the Old Testament forbearers of the faith. In July, it seems right to do a major celebration in thanksgiving for our country in relationship to July 4th. In August, it’s the Feast of St. Mary. September, you could choose either Holy Cross Day or the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. In October, the Feast of St. Francis seems widely observed. November, of course, you have the Feast of All Saints, which the Prayer Book expects to be observed on its day as well as on the following Sunday. Naturally, one would want to adapt this list to the interest in the local community, certainly including the feast of the title or patron saint.

Few parishes are going to be able to use all the entries in the Prayer Book calendar and the propers for Lesser Feasts and Fasts. On the other hand, for people almost to have no sense of the glorious company of saints from all ages and peoples, and with a great diversity of gifts, is to impoverish them. I believe most communities could work towards at least one celebration a month on a festal day. This would normally mean a meal, but it can be a very simple meal of soup and sandwiches. This is also an opportunity if you have younger people in the congregation to involve them in doing or taking part in liturgy in a way that is particularly age appropriate.


(Propers: Lesser Feasts and Fasts)

Book of Common Prayer, February 15th (Lent is not a good time for parish observance)
Diocese of Georgia Calendar, April 22, or closest weekday service

Sir Thomas Bray is in our Prayer Book calendar because he was the most imaginative developer of support in England for the struggling congregations of Anglicans in the British Colonies.

The Rev. Thomas Bray (icon written by Louise Shipps)

For most of his life, he was rector of St. Botolph-Without-the-Walls, in London. The Bishop of London, who was responsible for the colonies, sent him to Maryland as his commissary (ambassador or representative). In his two-and-a-half month tour, Thomas Bray encouraged priests and lay folk alike, but he saw the terrible shortage of pastors and books—Bibles and Prayer Books. On his return to England, he founded the SPG, the Society for the Proclamation of the Gospel, to provide priests with stipends for churches in the colonies. The SPG provided clergy for Christ Church, Savannah, and St. Paul’s, Augusta. The society also provided a great Jewish convert, Joseph Ottolenghe, as a catechist to work with African slaves. He then founded the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SPCK), to provide books. The SPCK is still the largest producer of theological books in the English language, though they are not sold in the United States. Today, there is a branch of the SPCK in the U.S. that works to provide Christian books in Lakota and Spanish, and provides books for seminary libraries throughout the world.

Thomas Bray was one of those great parish priests, who was faithful, not only in the ministry of his parish where he was very creative in social ministries and in preaching the Gospel, but also to God’s ministry to the whole world.

Among concerns of Thomas Bray was work to relieve people in prison, particularly debtors, who had ended up in jail. He developed a group of friends who ministered with beef and beer meals in the prisons on Sundays. A young James Oglethorpe joined him in this work. Sir Thomas Bray suggested the idea of a colony where people could have a new chance at life. This was the germ of the idea of General Oglethorpe’s Georgia. It is important to note that, though Thomas Bray died before Georgia was founded, the charter reflects his Christian utopian vision held by tolerant Anglicans of the 18th century. The Puritans were not the only committed Christians involved in founding colonies to better anticipate and work for the coming kingdom of Christ. Georgia was founded as a place where there would be no slaves, lawyers, and no accumulation of land (wealth) beyond 150 acres per family. The charter, as originally designed, also tolerated Christians of all churches and in the first year of the life of the colony they were wise to include tolerance of our forebears of the faith, as Jewish settlers arrived founding the second synagogue in the colonies. Christian idealism in the original charter was lost when Georgia became a royal colony.

Sir Thomas Bray, a parish priest who only left his parish for a two-and-a-half month tour of Maryland, provided a support system that was used by God, not only to plant the Episcopal Church in the United States of America but to build our communion as the second most widespread family of Christians in the world.

Give thanks for those supporting the founding of churches in our state. Pray that our Lord will be served by us, both in imaginative work for those in trouble in our communities and in our support for ministry in his name in other parts of the world.


April 25th

Collect: Almighty God, who chose your servant Ruth Ellis Byllesby to serve the poor, feed the hungry, and clothe your children: give us the grace to pattern our lives after the shining example of Blessed Ruth, that we may spread the Gospel by helping those in need, with humility and the heart of a servant, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Epistle: Phillippians 2:1-7 (8-10)
Psalm: 112
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Deaconess Ruth Byllesby (icon written by Sr. Ellen Francis, OSH)

Deaconess Ruth Byllesby served Christ Church from 1927 to 1943. Born in 1865 in Erie, Pennsylvania, one of six children and the daughter of an Episcopal priest, she found her calling in the Deaconess Movement of the Episcopal Church. At the time, Deaconesses were “set apart,” for work in the church including education, serving the poor, and caring for the sick. Trained at St. Faith’s School for Deaconesses in New York, she had worked at various churches in the North for 25 years before coming to Augusta.

Deaconess Byllesby had visited Augusta several times with her family during the winter months, which was a common practice at the time among residents of the Northern states who would vacation in Augusta to escape harsh winters. During those visits she became acquainted with the Harrisburg neighborhood and Christ Church. Two of her cousins were interested in outreach ministries and endowed a fund for outreach (known then as “settlement work”) with their cousin, Ruth Byllesby in charge. The Deaconess was to choose where she would serve, and she chose Christ Church.

Deaconess Byllesby was so concerned with the conditions in the mill village of Harrisburg that she chose to spend the rest of her career at Christ Church to better the conditions among the residents there. Shortly after coming to Christ Church the Great Depression hit Augusta and the demand for her services grew. Harrisburg had always been a poor neighborhood dependent on the local textile mills, and the Depression did not make things easier. The Deaconess moved into the Christ Church rectory, which adjoined the church, and quickly renamed it as “Neighborhood House.” Residents of the Harrisburg neighborhood came to know the Neighborhood House as the place you went to for help.

The Deaconess helped many a family through the Depression. She provided coal, food, and milk money for neighborhood children. She supervised Sunday School at Christ Church to over 200 children every Sunday. She started a young mothers club, and was particularly concerned that girls receive a strong education. She was also a relentless advocate for child labor legislation to protect the children of Harrisburg. Her services were available to anyone. Her only requirement for receiving aid was that you join and/or become active in a church of your choice.

The Reverend Harry Maloney, Rector of Christ Church in 1978, wrote the following:
“I am amazed how she changed people and became a lasting influence in their lives. I am told she shared all she had of material wealth whatever that amounted to, with the people she ministered to but also she gave of herself so willingly and with so much love. It was this great love and compassion for people that caused her to be remembered.”

Her legacy of helping the poor, hungry and the lost is a shining example to all who came after her, bringing the consolation of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit to Harrisburg and Augusta.

John and Charles Wesley

(Propers: Lesser Feasts and Fasts)

BCP Calendar, March 3rd (Lent is not a good time for parish observance)
Diocese of Georgia Calendar, week of May 13th

The Revs. John and Charles Wesley

John’s father was a priest in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England. At Oxford, John, as an undergraduate, became convinced the Book of Common Prayer contained the discipline necessary to nurture a Christian into holiness. He gathered other students around him and they followed directions of the Prayer Book about daily Morning and Evening Prayer, fasting on Fridays, and making their communion weekly. John’s group was derisively called “Methodist” because they were so methodical following the rules or method of the Book of Common Prayer. John read theology at university and was ordained in the Church of England.

Seeking a position from which he could preach to non-Christians, he obtained appointment by the Society For the Proclamation of the Gospel to be a priest in the Colony of Georgia. He intended to be a missionary to Native Americans, but when he arrived in Savannah there was no priest or English-speaking pastor in the colony. Thus, the people of Savannah (and the SPG?) saw him as the rector of Christ Church. In Savannah, he preached in German to the Salzburgers, befriended the Jewish community, regularly led worship in German, Italian, and French for various groups of settlers, and worked hard to build up the parish church. At Christ Church on Sunday, he expected everybody to be present three times, following the design of the Book of Common Prayer. He scheduled Morning Prayer at 5 a.m., Ante-Communion (or, when the people would agree, Communion) and the Litany at 11 a.m., and Evening Prayer and the Catechism at 3 p.m.

John’s energy and dedication cannot be questioned. During his short ministry at Christ Church, the first Sunday School of any denomination was formed so that children and adults could learn to read and know the stories of the Bible. For the parish of Christ Church, John produced the first hymnal used in the Church of England (in Anglicanism). However, John, at this stage of his life, was not gifted with “people skills” and he made some serious pastoral mistakes. In the Royal Court in Charleston, the vestry brought charges against John for having people sing hymns of man’s composition—in the 18th century, most Anglicans only sang metrical psalms. Rather than face charges in court, John fled back to England.

The Revs. Charles and John Wesley (icon written by Louise Shipps)

Charles Wesley followed his brother to Oxford and also read theology. After being ordained, he obtained a position as General Oglethorpe’s clerk (secretary). He thus was a “bi-vocational” or non-stipendiary priest in the 18th century. Accompanying General Oglethorpe to Frederica on St. Simons Island, he served in his free time as chaplain to the military community, and out of his work there, grew Christ Church, Frederica. After he returned to England, his brother John, the only priest in the colony, would come down on horseback to hold services in Frederica, visiting other outlying settlements in the colony on his way.

The next part of the story is much better known. On the return voyage to England, John found support and prayer with a group of Moravian Christians. In London, as a young priest who had messed up his first position, had never had a chance to preach to the Indians, and who was a fugitive from a warrant in the Royal Court, John continued to keep the Prayer Book discipline. However, he was very discouraged. On Wednesdays, he attended a Moravian Bible study and prayer session, and it was in one of these that “his heart was strangely warmed.” At that moment he knew he was forgiven and that God could use him. Through friends, John became interested in an attempt by some church members to reach new dwellers in the rapidly growing towns caused by the Industrial Revolution. A traditionalist and conservative, it was very hard for John to change. His struggle about preaching outside of a church building and outside of the regular schedule and worship of the church is recorded in his diaries. John and Charles Wesley are important to Christian history for a number of different reasons, including being two of the great sources and creators of English hymnody. But twice in the history of the Church, the Church has lost a whole segment of the population because the culture changed. And both times, God raised up people who realized the Gospel — God’s love working for human beings—had not changed but the environment had. In such a way St. Francis and his brothers (friars) reclaimed the new town dwellers uprooted from the rural farms by the growth of crafts and commerce in the 12th century. In the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution meant that towns, which for almost a millennium had contained no more than fifty people, suddenly had a thousand people. Of course, churches were built to hold fifty and had been around for a long time—six or seven hundred years in many places. The service time had been set before anyone could remember, but now the industrialized mills were running at that time, so the new folk in town could not come. This was the world into which John and Charles were called to preach. They gave their lives to preaching the Gospel to the unchurched population produced by the Industrial Revolution. Some secular historians credit the Methodist movement with giving hope to the urban poor, thereby preventing a parallel in England to the bloody French Revolution. John organized his converts into classes (similar to Cursillo Reunion Groups), where people prayed, studied scripture, and took care of one another. He urged and directed them to go to their local (Church of England) parish church to make their communions. But the local Church of England parishes seldom arranged for the services at a time when they could come, and almost never allowed John, Charles, their friends or followers to preach within their walls. Socially, this was the beginning of a new middle class, an opportunity and encouragement for a person to work one’s way out of poverty. The Wesley—members of the Church of England—preached the Gospel outside the church walls, when the church structure could not see the harvest God had provided.

To preach to the tens of thousands of unchurched, John called on his fellow pastors of the Church of England. But few wanted to give up the security and comfort of the gracious religion of the landed gentry. At the same time, John remembered being the only English-speaking pastor in the whole colony of Georgia (there was a German-speaking pastor among the Salzburgers). He knew that the situation was similar in many of the British colonies. Both Oxford and Cambridge were founded to train priests. However, by the 18th century, Oxford and Cambridge graduates did not want to go and camp out in the greenbrier jungles in Georgia when good church jobs could be had. Few volunteered. People converted by the Wesleyan revival volunteered, but they were not “seminary” graduates! John tried all of his life to get the church to ordain people willing to serve, but our church could not hear him. Despite the stodginess of the church, which could not see the harvest God had placed on its doorstep, John remained loyal. On his deathbed, he said, “Do not leave the church. We are here to revive it, not divide it.” However, in desperation, as no bishop would ordain ministers for the colonies, John as a presbyter (following a Roman Catholic doctrine of the time) ordained converts and sent them. These folks were called “circuit riders.” One of the great missionary stories of all time, they converted the American frontier. But don’t be too hard on the Oxford graduates, the average age of death of a circuit rider was 32—it was a “killer job.”

We give thanks to the devotion of the circuit riders in the colonies, and the itinerant preachers of the Gospel throughout the British Isles, who converted through their love of the Gospel a new people for Christ and a new culture that was on the Church’s doorstep. And we give thanks to God for giving us leaders with the vision of John and Charles Wesley, who see what God is doing in his world, and *ray that God will give us the vision to see the mission he has set before us, and the strength to minister in new ways under his direction.

The Rev. Anson G.P. Dodge, Jr.

(Propers: For a Missionary II, LFF)

Diocese of Georgia Calendar, week of June 17th

The outline of Anson Dodge’s life is well portrayed in Eugenia Price’s historical novel, The Beloved Invader.

The Rev. Anson Dodge (icon written by Louise Shipps)

The young son of a wealthy New York City family, he was sent south after the civil war to see the condition of the family’s timber property on St. Simons Island. He was so horrified by the Union Army’s treatment of the building of Christ Church, St. Simons, that on his return to New York he entered General Theological Seminary from whence he returned to spend his life pastoring and rebuilding Christ Church, Frederica, as a religious community, in addition to rebuilding its building.

What is not so clear from the novel is his energy in riding out from St. Simons preaching to all he could gather, regardless of race, and forming them into congregations. His foundations clearly stand out in the old list of the Diocese of Georgia, because he was deeply affected by the Latin and Greek fathers of the early Church, (the first 4 centuries).

Thus, he dedicated his new congregations to St. Ignatius, St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, St. Perpetua, St. Athanasius, as well as to the Messiah, Transfiguration, and St. Andrew, names still common today. He founded six chapels along the Satilla River. He worked as far inland as Waycross, founding the Church of St. Ambrose there.

His family fortune allowed him to financially underwrite a priest to serve some of these congregations and assist him in his work. He also restored life at what is now Christ Church, St. Marys, St. Andrew’s, Darien, (which had been burnt to the ground), and St. Mark’s, Brunswick.

Lovely Lane Chapel, now at Epworth, the Methodist Conference Center, is the church he built for the mill workers in St. Simon’s Village. His concern for the church led him to build a dorm still in use at General Theological Seminary in New York City, and a cathedral in India, which was destroyed in the India-Pakistan war.

Mr. Dodge was always a pastor. His concern for people in trouble was a great witness to God’s compassion. His last work was to found an orphanage in his home for boys. That work goes on as an endowment helping young men through the Episcopal Youth and Children’s Service of our diocese.

Pray for leaders in our congregations, lay and ordained, whose vision of God’s call to ministry reaches beyond the local scene and who have compassion to reach out in Jesus’ name to any person who is hurt or lost.

Albert Rhett Stuart
(Propers: For the Unity of the Church, Book of Occasional Services)

Diocese of Georgia Calendar, week of July 8th

The Rt. Rev. Albert Rhett Stuart

After a distinguished ministry as a priest, as rector of the Church of the Resurrection Greenwood, South Carolina, as rector of St. Michael’s, Charleston, then as dean of Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans, Father Albert Rhett Stuart was elected the sixth bishop of Georgia. He came to Georgia concerned about building a church gathered around God’s altar that lived its sacramental heritage from the Book of Common Prayer. He, for many, was an icon of Christ’s presence. He attracted young priests as he moved towards having a priest for every congregation. However, another issue arose before the whole church out of the Gospel, which involved the inclusion of all people in God’s church. In the early years of the twentieth century, Georgia, by law, had strictly separated black and white folk. Despite protests, the church had followed suit. For the first 110 years of the Church here in Georgia, most congregations had communicants of both races. In 1947, under the leadership of Dr. Bland Tucker of Christ Church, Savannah, African-American congregations had once again been given representation in the diocesan convention, their presence there having been suspended in 1907. Housing and meals were complicated for the convention in a legally segregated state, but now the issue of reintegration of congregations went before the church and society. I remember a very large man in cope and miter leaning against the outside of the pulpit of the small church that seated 40 people in Statesboro, Georgia, and saying, “This is a free country. You can belong to any kind of church you wish, but the Episcopal Church has never asked anyone why they were coming to the church. We are not starting asking people now. This church is open to anyone who wishes to worship.” That was before the Federal Civil Rights Act was passed. Not all of our members agreed, but Bishop Stuart stood on the Gospel. He was a leader in helping society face integration. He was often seen on the TV’s news as the only white leader publicly speaking for integration in Savannah as public facilities were integrated. For this, he took much abuse and some threats. A man of great personal conviction, he was seen by many priests and lay people of Georgia as a “Moses,” leading us to a deeper relationship with God known in Jesus Christ. He caused many people to have an understanding that the Episcopal Church was given special gifts by God to share in Christ’s name, giving us confidence that, though we were a small part of the population, we mattered in God’s ministry. He was committed to adult Christian education and built the Honey Creek Conference Center, which is a lasting memorial to his vision of an adult church at work ministering in Christ’s name. Of course, it was also a wonderful facility for our young people and children.

One personal story from our current bishop: I had begun my ministry at Trinity Church, Statesboro. After a couple of years, St. Mary’s Church in Middlesboro, Kentucky, called me as their rector. They wined and dined Jan and me and showed us all the opportunities for ministry in the area. Upon returning to Statesboro, the phone rang, I answered, and a voice said, “Henry, this is the Holy Spirit, the answer is, ‘No’,” and the phone line went dead. I knew the voice was that of the bishop, but never doubted that they were the words of the Holy Spirit. I said, “No thank you,” to the lovely people of Kentucky and continued to be blessed by God through his people in Georgia. I have often wished for such clear direction in other difficult decisions.

Bishop Stuart is still a model for me of God’s patient love reaching out to others at the same time as he patiently works for justice in society.

Pray that we may stand with integrity for justice in our world but always with compassion for sinners, including perpetrators of injustice.

Brother Jimmy Lawrence

Brother Jimmy Lawrence
(Propers: For a Pastor I, LFF)

Diocese of Georgia Calendar, week of September 3rd

Doctor Lawrence came to be rector of Calvary, Americus, in 1904. He was a bachelor who had many connections in New York City. He immediately set about sharing the Gospel anywhere people would listen. He would get on the train, and go to the next stop, get off and gather people to hear the Gospel. He was a friend and image of God’s love to many who were or became active in other churches. But besides seeing significant growth in the membership at Calvary in Americus, he founded churches in Pennington (the log chapel is now in a historical reconstruction of a village at the gates to Andersonville), in Vienna (Prince of Peace Episcopal Church’s building is now a civic concert hall and auditorium standing next to the school), in Cordele (Christ Church), and in Blakely (Holy Trinity where oaks he planted have grown to an impressive size and now shade the lawn). He started congregations in Cuthbert, Dawson, and Benevolence. He served for 47 years as rector of Calvary and archdeacon for missions in the west of our diocese! Upon his retirement, he intended to be vicar of his beloved St. James’, Pennington, but God called him into his heavenly kingdom.

His kindness and concern for people are still a living memory for Sumter County.

Pray for people to offer themselves to the ordained ministry of priests to serve as pastors in our congregations.

Deaconess Anna E.B. Alexander
(Propers: For Education, OS)

Diocese of Georgia Calendar, week of Sept. 24th

Deaconess Alexander (icon written by Louise Shipps)

Born circa 1865, Deaconess Alexander was the first African-American set aside as a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1907. She founded Good Shepherd Church in rural Glynn County’s Pennick community where she taught children to read – by tradition, from the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible—in a one-room schoolhouse. The school was later expanded to two rooms with a loft where Anna lived. She ministered in Pennick for 53 years, leaving a legacy of love and devotion still felt in Glynn County. Her love and concern for all children helped make summer camps possible for young white members of the diocese. To honor her, these youngsters built a cabin at the old diocesan camp center, Camp Reese. Deaconess Alexander served in difficult times, however. The diocese segregated her congregations in 1907 and African-American congregations were not invited to another diocesan convention until 1947. Similarly, it was only in the 1950s that a woman set aside as a deaconess was recognized as being in deacon’s orders. However, her witness – wearing the distinctive dress of a deaconess, traveling by foot from Brunswick through Darien to Pennick, showing care and love for all whom she met—represents the best in Christian witness.

Pray for those who are faithful in small things with small groups and through their love embody Christ for many. Pray for women and men to be raised up to continue Christ’s mission and outreach in Georgia.

Click here to download a Letter written by Deaconess Alexander to Mrs. Taylor of Brunswick, Georgia October 1937

Bartholomew Zouberbuhler

(Propers: For a Pastor II, LFF)
(d. in 1776, buried in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah)

Diocese of Georgia Calendar, week of October 22nd

Mr. Zouberbuhler was appointed on November 1st, (All Saints’ Day), 1745, by the SPG, to be pastor of Christ Church, Savannah. Ordained by the Bishop of London, Bartholomew was the son of a native Swiss pastor who had originally served congregations of Swiss Protestants in the colony of South Carolina and then had become pastor of an Anglican parish there. Bartholomew, believing himself called to the ministry, made the long trip across the ocean to be ordained by the Bishop of London.

The trustees of the Colony of Georgia, charged pastor Zouberbuhler to minister to the French and German inhabitants of Georgia in their own languages according to the ceremonies of the Prayer Book! In 1748, of the 613 inhabitants of Savannah, 225 were members of Christ Church and 388 were dissenters of all sorts (Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Lutheran, etc.) Of the 225 members, only 63 made their communions. In 1750, Christ Church moved, under pastor Zouberbuhler, into its first building. It had met in the courthouse until then. The Rev. Bartholomew Zouberbuhler recorded in his journal that many Negroes decently joined in our services.

Pastor Zouberbuhler was a very hard worker. He walked the streets of the community of Savannah. He led worship in outlying villages and in Frederica. He managed finally to get the promised church that had been planned when Oglethorpe laid out the colony, actually built and open for worship. He cared for those that were hurting or in trouble. His health was not good and he asked at several times during years of ministry to be replaced as the pastor in the colony. In the records of the SPG in London are letters from the vestry of Christ Church urging that he not be relieved and asking that he continue as pastor. He did not see things moving as quickly and as well as he would like, but the congregation loved him and grew under him. The roots of Episcopal worship really began to be established. They proved to be deep and able to survive some pretty tough times in the revolutionary days that followed.

Mr. Zouberbuhler’s concern was not only for Christians of other languages and church traditions who had settled in Georgia, but for all the inhabitants, including the Negro slaves from Africa. He included Negroes in the worship at Christ Church and there baptized the first African slave to be baptized in the colony.

He begged the SPG and other friends in England to provide money to employ a catechist for African slaves. Mr. Joseph Ottolenghe was appointed and came to Georgia and talked to slaves about Christianity (catechized them). Of course, this was a difficult job, because first, one had to convince their owners to give you access and time with their slaves in order that they might be taught about God’s love and the stories of his love acting for us in scripture. Ottolenghe held meetings on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, with prayer and scripture reading preceding the gathering, and the group learned the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Prayer Book Catechism. Many slave-masters would not give him time with their slaves, but St. Bartholomew’s, Burroughs, was built by his converts on Wild Heron Plantation in south Chatham County. The great Ogeechee Mission started from his work. It was scattered by the Civil War. Some of its dispersed converts were the nucleus of St. Cyprian’s, Darien, and St. Athanasius’, Brunswick, as well as St. Stephen’s in Savannah. When Mr. Zouberbuhler died, he left a sizable portion of his estate as a trust to be used to employ qualified teachers “to teach Anglican Christianity to Negroes.”

The Episcopal Church in Georgia was touched by the presence of three of the greatest change agents in the history of the Church. All three belonged to the Anglican Church in the 18th century. John Wesley served as rector of Christ Church, and Charles Wesley, as a non-stipendiary priest, established worship on St. Simons, and George Whitfield was rector of Christ Church. However, as much as George Whitfield changed the face of American Christianity in preaching “the great awakening,” and as much as John Wesley changed the face of American Christianity and the world with the Evangelical commitment to share the Gospel with people of other classes and colors, not one of these three was particularly effective in their ministry in Georgia. It was Bartholomew Zouberbuhler, born of German-speaking parents, who was the first great pastor in the Episcopal tradition in Georgia.

Pray that, as many people, known and unknown, have worked and stayed faithful to preserve and present the good news about Jesus in Georgia, so we may have the patience and the loving concern for others. These were the gifts from a deep commitment to Jesus that Bartholomew Zouberbuhler used in the building up of the Church in our area.

Pray for faithful, patient and outgoing pastors.

Dr. F. Bland Tucker

(Propers: For the Ministry II, OS)

Diocese of Georgia Calendar, week of November 13th

Dr. Tucker came from a distinguished family of servants to the Episcopal Church in Virginia. His oldest brother was a great Presiding Bishop of our Church, having served as a missionary in Japan. Dr. Tucker was the eleventh child. He was a great servant of Christ here in Georgia as rector of Christ Church, our mother congregation, in the very difficult time of integration. It was he who led our 1947 convention to once again admit African-American congregations as full participants.

Dr. Tucker was a gentleman whose demeanor glowed with Christ’s compassion. Not only was he a great pastor to anyone in need but a hymn writer who has blessed the whole English-speaking world. In The Hymnal 1982, only two eighteenth century hymn writers—Charles Wesley (who served us also as a priest in Georgia), and Isaac Watts, (a Congregationalist)—have more hymns.

Even in his eighties, he was a keen wordsmith, reworking many of our favorite hymns to avoid phrases that seem to some folk to exclude them—but doing it in such a way that enriched the hymn for everyone, rather than substituting mundane words, or “government-ese.”

His knowledge of English and other languages allowed him to enrich our prayer life by translating great hymns written in Greek, Latin, and German, into rich, singing English. It would be appropriate to pray in his words, using Hymn 121, 302, or 477.

Pray for poets, artists, and musicians to help the Church show forth the Gospel to the people of the third Christian millennium.

An article from Christ Church’s Columns newsletter, published at the time of his death, gives insightful glimpses into the character of F. Bland Tucker: Parish Priest Goes to Heavenly Rest.


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)


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Phone (912) 236-4279
Fax (912)236-2007

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Diocesan Calendar

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