SUMMA Theological Debate Camp is Accepting Applications for the 2018 Session

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Camp is the cornerstone of SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society, which provides a way for high school students to build their faith through intellectual channels. Founded in the confidence that knowledge and reason are foundational to faith, SUMMA offers fun, friendship, and the opportunity for a deepened and more thoughtful faith.

Held on the campus of the School of Theology at the University of the South—one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States—SUMMA Camp is a college-like atmosphere with challenging lectures and stimulating seminar discussions.

Camp is open to high school students entering grades 9-12 in the fall of 2018, and offers a rich, uniquely meaningful experience, which includes:

  • Tools for thinking;
  • Knowledge of the Christian theological tradition;
  • Skills in public speaking and debate;
  • Cutting-edge engagement with topics such as religion and science, social ethics, and interfaith relations.

Camp is not all work, though! Laughter is resonant in the classrooms and dorms, and there is plenty of time for soccer, basketball, games, movies, and even bowling. Each day begins and ends with prayer and contemplative reflection. “Speaking truth in love” is a practice followed throughout camp.

ECF Grants $88,875 to Fight Poverty and Oppression Locally

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Atlanta, GA, April 17, 2018 — Today the Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia (ECF) announces it will grant $88,875 to five organizations that are lifting people from poverty and oppression in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. The grants – which go into effect this month – will be made to Appleton Episcopal Ministries, Emmaus House, St. Alban's Episcopal Church (Monroe), St. Margaret's Episcopal Church (Carrollton), and The Friendship Center of Atlanta at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church.

“Our purpose in the Diocese of Atlanta is to challenge ourselves and the world to love like Jesus,” said the Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. “With these extraordinary grants from ECF we are doing just that. Well done!”

ECF’s spring 2018 general grant recipients:
• Appleton Episcopal Ministries has received a grant of $33,874.50 to support outreach ministries in the Middle Georgia Convocation through the purchase of a 15-person van. This van will be utilized by programs at all parishes in the convocation, particularly the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Macon, Path to Shine afterschool programming, and other ministries with low-income students.
• Emmaus House has received a grant of $15,000 to support developing an extensive training program for the fellows of The Road Episcopal Service Corps to better equip them for ministry during their year of service, which will create a viable ministry leadership pipeline for future outreach ministries.
• The Friendship Center of Atlanta at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church has received a grant of $20,000 for start-up costs to offer a third program day at the Center. The Friendship Center has wanted to grow from two to three program days for many years, and its current need has grown as other nearby programs have closed down. This third program day not only allows for feeding program participants on a third day, but also to provide literacy and wellness programming for those who could not previously participate.
• St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Monroe has received a grant of $15,000 to purchase two hoop houses for the garden they maintain with the inmates at the Walton County jail. These hoop houses will create more yield from the garden, which supplies not only the jail’s kitchen but also the local free farmer’s market for the working poor, and also will extend the ability for the inmates and parishioners from St. Alban’s to garden when weather conditions are less than ideal.

ECF’s Q2 2018 Small Acts of Charity recipient:
• St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Carrollton has received a grant of $5,000 to start up their new Loads of Love laundry ministry with those in poverty in their local community. Through this ministry, the parishioners will visit local laundromats with both financial assistance and meals to help their West Georgia neighbors in need.

About ECF’s Grant Programs:
ECF awards General Grants twice a year and Small Acts of Charity (capped at $5,000) quarterly. Applications for the Q3 Small Acts of Charity are due June 15, 2018, and LOIs for Spring 2019 General Grants are due September 30, 2018. Those interested in applying for funding should visit ECFimpact.org/grants for information regarding both funding opportunities as well as links to the applications. Applicants are encouraged to contact Lindsey Hardegree with any questions they may have regarding eligibility or their applications.

About Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia :
Founded in 1982 as the Episcopal Charities Foundation, the Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia (ECF) provides funding, leadership, and resources to enable Episcopal parishes and nonprofit partners to lift up people facing poverty and oppression and to achieve significant, long-lasting impact in the Diocese of Atlanta. Since its inception, ECF has donated more than $4.4 million to promote thriving and spiritually strong individuals, families, and communities locally. Learn more at ECFimpact.org.

Diocese of Atlanta at General Convention: Part 1

Greetings from the Diocese of Atlanta deputation to General Convention!

Over the next couple of months, we will publish articles by some of our most experienced deputies. They will share their wealth of knowledge about the history and structure of General Convention, the legislative process and finally how this makes its way back to all of us in the pews, answering the question, “and this means what to me?” Join us on the journey by following along and keeping us in your prayers!

Beth King,
Deputation Chair

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The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church
July 5-13, 2018, Austin, Texas

By Angela Williamson, Lay Deputy

I get excited and energized during the buildup to General Convention and then going where Episcopalians from 109 dioceses that are in 17 countries worship, work, discuss issues and are together. It is the same for me for our Annual Council, which I hope that those of you who are elected to go feel, and for Province IV Synod meetings. We are a hierarchical denomination, as opposed to congregational, so this structure and polity is important to all of us because it affects the ways that we worship and live out our life together.

Schedule
July 3: Registration and committee meetings will begin
July 4: Addresses by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jenkins, president of the House of Deputies.
July 5: The first legislative day
July 13: Adjournment

Where did General Conventions come from?
It was established in our original constitution, which was written in 1789. It has grown to be the largest bicameral legislative body in the world.

The Most Reverend Michael Curry, our presiding bishop, leads the House of Bishops, and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings is the elected leader of the House of Deputies. Between conventions, our life together is administered from our church headquarters located in New York City. 

Where do proposed resolutions and canons come from?
There are four types:A, B, C, and D, which are so designated by their origin:
A:  Interim bodies (standing commissions, task forces, and the Executive Council), 
B:  Bishops,
C:  Provinces and dioceses,
D:  Deputies.

What happens to them?
General Convention committees study proposed resolutions and canons, debate them, and at times modify them. Resolutions and canons come out of their assigned committees, read on the floor of the House of Deputies or the House of Bishops with either the recommendation that they be passed, failed, or modified.The debate on each one follows. At times, no debate emerges after the reading, and the vote is immediately taken.

What follows?
It goes to the other house, the one where it did not originate, and that house does the same thing.It votes to either pass, fail, or modify it. A resolution or canon has to pass both legislative bodies in the exact, word for word, format to be passed by GC, the whole body.

How do people, like you or me, become deputies?
After every General Convention, the triennial meeting cycle begins anew.
– Parishioners—that’s you and me—elect people to their vestries.
– Vestries, along with parish rectors and priests, select people to be delegates (people who represent the parish in their deliberations) to their annual councils.
– The delegates elect their diocese’s General Convention deputies (people who vote based on their knowledge and consciences): four clergy and four lay people in addition to four alternates in each order. 
– Deputies work on preparatory responsibilities and then go to General Convention. 

What do deputies do?
Deputies have the responsibility of attending its provinces’ meetings, called synods, which meet before General Conventions.  Ours, Province IV, meets twice, once the year before and once the year of General Convention. Deputies attend the House of Deputies plenary sessions where they listen to addresses and debates, and vote. About one third of the deputies work on committees. They network and attend dinners, such as seminary ones and their diocese’s. They caucus frequently within their deputation. During the legislative days’ business break times, they can visit with one another and peruse the exhibits. There are a lot of them and they fall into two categories: ministry and marketing.

And what better networking can there be than at worship when prayers are offered, the word is heard in Bible readings and through preachers, and beautiful music is sung and heard. I find the worship superb and very meaningful.  

What is the typical General Convention work day like?
Worship, legislative sessions, workshops, adjournment. Evening legislative sessions happen toward the end of General Convention as resolutions and canons come out of committees. (Sounds like our GA legislative process, doesn’t it?) Committees will meet at various times that could be from early morning to night.
 
What can you do?
Follow the happenings via the Virtual Binder by typing https://www.general convention.org. Click "Legislative Information" and then click "Virtual Binder." It is already live with a small amount of information under "Resolutions" and "Constitution and Canons". The content will grow exponentially leading up to and during General Convention.

Pray for the deliberations that the Holy Spirit will fill the hearts, minds, and work of every deputy.

May God bless you in whatever way you contribute to our wonderful Episcopal Church.

Your deputies to General Convention
Elected at 2016 Annual Council

Clergy
The Very Rev. Mary Demler, St. James’,         
The Very Rev. Sam Candler, St. Philip’s,     
The Rev. Sharon Hiers, Epiphany,                    
The Rev. Jeff Jackson, St. Margaret’s,              

 

Convocation
Georgia Mountains
Mid Atlanta
East Atlanta
West Georgia

Lay   
Ms. Beth King, Deputation Chair, St. Philip’s      
Ms. Angela Williamson, St. Martin’s            
Mr. John Andrews, Grace Calvary      
Mr. Bruce Garner, All Saints                   

 

Convocation
Mid Atlanta
North Atlanta
Georgia Mountains
Mid Atlanta


Your alternates

Clergy
The Rev. Cynthia Parks, Grace                       
The Rev. Patricia Templeton, St. Dunstan’s    
The Rev. Deacon Arthur Villarreal, Christ        

 

Convocation
Georgia Mountains
North Atlanta
Macon

Lay
Mr. Raz Schreiber, St. Bartholomew’s       
Ms. LaFawn Gilliam, St. Luke’s                          
Mr. Les Callahan, St. Anne’s                         

 

Convocation
East Atlanta
Mid Atlanta
North Atlanta


Creation Story Quilts at St. James, Marietta

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Last summer we began planning the first unit of study - Creation- for the upcoming year in children’s Christian Education at St. James, Marietta. An idea began to form after a discussion with St. James parishioners Cari Edwards and Alice Heilker, both experienced quilters. The children, with the ladies’ help, would design and make a series of quilted wall hangings, one for each day of creation.  

Last fall, as the children were immersed in Bible study of creation, they were also busy pondering, planning, and implementing our project.  Everyone had a voice in the design, in what living things would be included, and in preparing the pieces.  Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Heilker, along with quilters at nearby Red Hen Fabrics, spent the winter appliqueing, quilting and hemming the wall hangings.  The children’s names and the applicable Bible verses were added to each panel, and the wall hangings were finished!

On Sunday, April 8th, the lovely completed hangings were presented to our parish family by our proud children, blessed by Father Roger and Fr. Daron, and will soon take a place of honor in our Christian Education wing.

The Annual Emmaus House Gala

You’re Invited to Celebrate the Spirit of Emmaus House

Join special guests Bishop Robert Wright and Dr. Beth-Sarah Wright for a music-filled evening as we celebrate the hard work our neighbors and dedicated partners have done for Peoplestown. This year, we are offering a unique pre-event VIP experience, which includes a distillery tour and chef’s tasting of Oyster Co’s signature fresh and chargrilled oyster.  

For more information, contact Melissa Brogdon, melissabrogdon@emmaushouse.org.

Date and Time
Sunday, April 29, 2018
5–6 pm Distillery Tour and Chef's Tasting
6–8 pm Gala

Location
The Stave Room
199 Armour Drive Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30324
View Map


News from Day 1: Kimberly S. Jackson to Preach

News from “Day 1”® 
The national weekly ecumenical radio program produced by the Alliance for Christian Media
Contact: Peter Wallace, 404-815-0258, pwallace@day1.org
Or Ethel Ware Carter, 404-418-6770, ewcarter@day1.org 

The Rev. Kimberly S. Jackson, Associate Rector for Adult Formation and Service Ministry at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Atlanta, is the featured preacher, May 6, on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program also accessible online at Day1.org.  

A graduate of Furman University, Jackson earned her M.Div. at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She is a public theologian who advocates for women and children’s issues and to end the death penalty. She formerly served as chaplain at the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center serving Atlanta University Center communities.

“Quack Like a Duck: Singing in the Rain,” Jackson’s sermon for May 6, is drawn from Psalm 98. “I recognize that as individuals, our lives can be very complicated and hard: there’s disappointment, grief, illness, and loss,” she says. “So, it makes sense that during rainy days — during difficult times —  the temptation is to clam up, to take a vow of silence and not have anything at all to say about or to our God.” 

The program includes interviews with Jackson conducted by Wallace, who is also executive producer. 

“Day 1” has been broadcast every week for 73 years, formerly as “The Protestant Hour.” Featuring outstanding preachers from the mainline denominations, “Day 1” is currently distributed to more than 200 radio stations across America and overseas. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media, based in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, call toll free 888-411-Day-1 or check the program’s website, http://day1.org.

Bishop Wright joined "Closer Look" to discuss the Death Penalty

 Credit Emilia Brock/WABE

Credit Emilia Brock/WABE

Bishop Robert Wright joined WABE’s "Closer Look" to discuss the Death Penalty with Rose Scott. Fast forward to 39:58 to hear them discuss the new book Bishop Wright co-authored “A Case For Life.” Bishop Wright also shared his stories about his time ministering in Georgia prisons. 

You can also listen to the audio recording on WABE's website


A Case for Life: Justice, Mercy, and the Death Penalty
Within the new book five authors make compelling arguments against the death penalty from their perspectives. Their personal experiences with both victims and perpetrators provide a moral case for ending state-sponsored killing.

The book’s contributors:

  • The Rt.Rev. Robert Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
  • Stephen B. Bright, Attorney at Law, Southern Center for Human Rights
  • Susan Casey, Attorney at Law, Appeals Attorney for Kelly Gissendaner
  • The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas
  • Justice Norman S. Fletcher, Retired Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Purchase Online or at the Cathedral Bookstore (directions).


Clergy and laity from our diocese renew vows at Ebenezer Baptist Church

Our clergy and laity gathered this week for their Renewal of Vows in the sanctuary of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his father and grandfather preached.

Bishop Robert C. Wright sought permission to use the site because of its connection to the civil rights movement leader and the recognition of the humanity of all Americans.

 Ebenezer Baptist Church

Ebenezer Baptist Church

“Being that we are all Georgians now, and that Martin’s and Coretta’s earthly remains are laying just outside, it seems good to stop here and remember, and maybe even borrow some of their resolve for service,” Wright said, motioning toward the site outside the church where King and his wife are buried. “More than that, I invited you here because there are three important ideas that are easy to illustrate in this space. They are simple but eternal ideas. They are possibility, pain and power.”

Wright said the small sanctuary that launched King to the international stage is a powerful symbol of possibility.

“The local parish is still the hope of the world. If that sounds like too much to say, look around. This is a totally average parish. Still, from this place a soul was equipped to confront pharaohs, mobilize people and call a nation to its better self,” Wright said.

Since his ordination in 2012, Wright has focused renewal services on the diocese’s relationship with other denominations and religions and its mission to the world. Services have been held in a homeless shelter, a Jewish synagogue and at a parish church where a Muslim preached, and when held at the diocese’s Cathedral of St. Philip, the services have featured a choir from a women’s prison, preachers from other denominations and, once, a foot washing.

Ebenezer Baptist Church, a national historic site not normally used for services, was opened to the diocese by Ebenezer Baptist’s current pastor, the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, Wright’s friend and fellow advocate for social justice.

Wright called for clergy and laity to actively seek new possibilities for sharing Jesus’ message in the world.

“When we renew our vows today perhaps what needs renewing is not our intention to be faithful to our respective vows. Perhaps what needs renewing is our sense of possibility,” Wright said. “Maybe what is needed is for us to grasp again a God-sized sense of what is possible.

Standing behind King’s pulpit, adjacent to the organ where King’s mother was shot and killed, Wright said holding the service at Ebenezer highlighted current faith issues, such as gun violence.

“What I want to point out here is, this place knows pain. It’s in the walls and the wood,” he said. “And if you’ll acknowledge that, then maybe in the spirit of fellowship, you could acknowledge your own pain in this place. Or at least pledge to.

“Why? Because to renew our vows without acknowledging pain, sorrow and profound disappointment as we endeavor to be faithful is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.”

Wright urged those at the service to breathe in the sanctuary’s history for their spiritual renewal.

“If anything gets renewed today, let it be our ability to stay curious even in our pain recognizing that God uses everything for learning and for the benefit of the world,” he said. “If anything gets renewed today, let it be our courage to be foolish for a God who makes life out of death, light out of darkness, and turns the cowering into conquerors.”

Read the original ENS article by Don Plummer here.


Trinity Church Wall Street

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On the day the nation will mark 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Trinity Church Wall Street is offering a new video curriculum on the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry for use by individuals or in group education settings. The curriculum has two sections: three special talks given at Trinity Church by experts on Civil Rights era letters and an interview segment featuring Trinity’s Director of Justice and Reconciliation, Winnie Varghese, in conversation with civil rights icon and public theologian Ruby Sales. This curriculum is offered to all free of charge and may be viewed online or downloaded at www.trinitywallstreet.org/mlk.

MLK50: Commemorative Bell Ringing

On April 4, all eyes will turn to Memphis, Tennessee to remember one of the world's greatest tragedies and a legacy left by our nation's greatest peacemaker, Dr. King. We are asking you to join us in tolling your church or campus bell 39 times to honor the number of years Dr. King dwelled on this earth and to pay homage to his legacy. This is a simple, yet meaningful way for our nation to acknowledge the loss but more importantly the great contributions Dr. King gave to the world stage. Since the news rippled across the country, the bells will first ring at the National Civil Rights Museum and The King Center at 7:01 p.m. EDT.

Bells will chime in the City of Memphis at:

  • 7:03 p.m. EDT

  • 7:05 p.m. EDT nationally

  • 7:07 p.m. EDT internationally

MLK50: Where Do We Go Here? is the theme for the National Civil Rights Museum's commemoration and was inspired by the title of Dr. King's final book as well as the title of the speech he delivered August 16, 1967, at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The King Center has also planned a series of events to mark this historic year with the theme MLK50 Forward: Together We Win with Love for Humanity. For more information on The King Center's events please visit MLK50Forward.org.

While many will be with us in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4 to help us reflect on this solemn moment, our organizations want the nation to recognize this seminal anniversary and connect the past to the present. Please join us in this solemn reflection by contacting Ms. Tarrin McGhee at tarrin@piquepr.com or Carmen Coya at ccoya@thekingcenter.org. You can also register directly at mlk50.civilrightsmuseum.org.

Loving Like Jesus in Difficult Times | The #schoolsafetymovement

 

We face divisive issues as a nation today, and certain circumstances can be even more difficult for our youth who are still developing ways to process the conflicting voices they hear through social media, news, family, and friends.

For many of our youth, there’s a great sense of urgency to act in light of the recent violence in Parkland, Florida and the brutal deaths of 17 students and faculty and injuries to 14 others. Youth survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are leading a rising chorus of young voices demanding real changes to address the issue of their safety. Many of our children are fearful, with a deep need both to talk and to take action to address their fears.

Jesus teaches us to not be afraid: he is always with us, loving us and guiding us. By his example, he teaches us to begin with love: to love our neighbors, to respect the dignity of every human being, and to lovingly act as his hands and feet in the world. With God’s help, we can open our own hearts and encourage everyone we encounter to set aside their preconceived notions and listen to one another, have civil discourse, and find common goals in order to work together through these difficult and challenging problems. Each week in Episcopal and Anglican churches around the world, people from every party, every opinion, and every experience come together around one common table. We all outstretch our hands and receive the same body and blood of Christ no matter what. The table is our common ground, Jesus is our common food, and we must meet one another there now more than ever.

The safety of our children is not a partisan issue. We need to find better ways to protect our children in school where they should be safe to learn and free from fear. Thanks be to God that we are blessed with the God-given gifts that will enable us to make meaningful strides in solving complex issues. When we come together in community to strive for justice and peace, while respecting the dignity of every human being, change happens.

Have conversations with your children. Encourage your youth ministers to create safe spaces for dialogue about guns and safety. Let us use this time, as we deal with this most recent tragedy, to learn how to deal with difficult issues while loving like Jesus.

Here are some of the upcoming events that your youth may speak to you about, as they strive to deal with taking action to address the tragedy in Parkland, Florida.

Just the Facts 

March for our Lives: This is a grassroots movement led by the surviving teenagers of Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School. The purpose of the organization is to raise awareness of both public/school safety and gun issues. You can read the purpose statement of March for our Lives
here.

March 14: Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, and allies to take part in a National School Walkout for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 killed in Parkland, Fl, at 10 a.m.

March 24:  Student organizers, including those from Parkland, Fl, are planning March for our Lives, a march in Washington, D.C. to call for school safety and gun control. There is a march scheduled for Atlanta and many major U.S. cities on the same day. Many young adults of our Diocese have organized to march in support of the #schoolsafetymovement. This movement, centered around school safety, was started by our young adults a week after the shooting. If you feel called to march with them, you can register as a marcher here.

April 20: A growing movement titled National School Walkout is being called for by Connecticut students that live near Sandy Hook Elementary school, the location of a mass school shooting in 2012 where 20 students and 6 staff members were killed. The plan calls for high school students to walk out on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. No time has been specified.

Stay Connected

With God’s Love and Peace, The Rev. Bonnie Underwood and The Rev. Ashley Lytle in collaboration with the Offices of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Diocese of Atlanta

 

Chaplain Brings Years of Service to First Episcopal Position with the Georgia Army National Guard

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The Rev. Paul McCabe, from Marietta, Ga, just became the first Episcopal Chaplain for the state’s Army National Guard, who swore him in at the Clay National Guard Center chapel in late February. McCabe brings with him a faith in God fostered through many years of service.

After two years serving in the U.S. Navy, McCabe joined the Fulton County Police Department for over a decade, but it was a friend who took his own life after leaving the military and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder that inspired McCabe to join the National Guard.

“His death definitely got me thinking about entering the service,” said McCabe in a Defense Visual Information Distribution Service post. “The current challenge of our Soldiers dealing with the effects of deployment is a priority.”

Read full story here.

Grace Member Art Show

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In the words of Joan Chittister, “Each of us is here to participate in the creativity of God by adding something of ourselves to creation.” It is in this spirit that Grace Church is happy to announce the 2018 Member Art Show. This parish tradition provides a great way to celebrate the artist within each of us.

The show, which will run through May 6, will feature a variety of artistic mediums, possibilities include paintings, mixed media, photography, and fabric and 3D art to include ceramics, glass, metal, sculpture and woodwork. Some pieces may be offered for sale. Any inquiries for purchase of an art piece should be handled directly between the artist and the prospective buyer.

Please join us for coffee and dessert at the opening reception on Wednesday, March 21 from 6:30 - 7:30 PM. All are welcome.

Contact arts@gracechurchgainesville.org with questions.

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Girata to Preach on "Day 1" Radio

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The Rev. Dr. Christopher Girata, rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Tex., is the featured preacher for Palm Sunday and Easter, March 25 and April 1, on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program also accessible online at Day1.org. 

Girata came to Saint Michael and All Angels in 2016. Before that he was rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis, Tenn., and earlier, associate rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Ala. A graduate of Stetson University, Deland, Fla., Girata earned an M. Th. from Emory University, an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Duke University.  

“Parade of Grace,” Girata’s sermon for March 25,  is drawn from Mark 11:1-11, the story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem celebrated on Palm Sunday. “In every way, this parade mocked the ways in which the leaders of the day put their power on display,” he says. “And in every way, Jesus would be pointing to the true power of God, a true power that is found in humility, in vulnerability, and in grace.”

“Get Up and Live,” his sermon for Easter Day, is based on John 20:1-18, which tells of  Mary Magdalene’s finding the tomb empty and her encounter with the risen Jesus.  “And my friends, we are just like Mary,” he says. “We want our world to be predictable, to be secure and certain and stable, but when we allow ourselves to live into the security we think we want, we miss what is right in front of us, the truth that we really need.”

The programs include interviews with Girata conducted by Wallace, who is also executive producer. 

“Day 1” has been broadcast every week for 73 years, formerly as “The Protestant Hour.” Featuring outstanding preachers from the mainline denominations, “Day 1” is currently distributed to more than 200 radio stations across America and overseas. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media, based in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, call toll free 888-411-Day-1 or check the program’s website, http://day1.org.

A Moral Case for Life

We must ask ourselves to do what is right even when it is difficult. On February 15, Bishop Wright joined special guests – among them faith leaders, lawyers, and a retired Georgia Supreme Court justice – for a discussion on the death penalty in our country.

During this discussion, Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun from Louisiana provided her perspective from the front lines advocating for the abolition of the death penalty since 1981. She shared how seeing her first execution, “set her soul on fire, a fire that burns in me still.” The author of the international best-selling book, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty, also spoke about her privilege growing up in this country and the need to wake up to injustice.

The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, also spoke on how Catholics are opposing the death penalty. “Once you begin to justify the taking of a human life, you really are on a slippery slope,” he said.

 
 From left to right: Justice Norman Fletcher, Susan Casey, Sister Helen Prejean, and The Most Rev. Wilton D. Gregory

From left to right: Justice Norman Fletcher, Susan Casey, Sister Helen Prejean, and The Most Rev. Wilton D. Gregory

During the discussion, Susan Casey, appeals attorney for Kelly Gissendaner and Justice Norman S. Fletcher, retired chief justice, Supreme Court of Georgia discussed their very different roles in the Gissendaner case. Casey was her defense attorney, and Justice Fletcher was on the state Supreme Court when it unanimously upheld her conviction. Gissendaner’s execution was controversial for many reasons, particularly becasue she commissioned the crime, but did not do the act. While in prison, Gissendaner sought rehabilitation and converted to Christianity and even earned a theology degree. While the death penalty is supposed to be reserved for the “worst of the worst” says Justice Fletcher, most times sentences are handed down unfairly.

When the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, after a four-year pause, it tried to raise the bar for which crimes would qualify as being eligible for the death penalty. The intent was to reserve it only for “the most heinous” crimes, with fewer people being considered for execution. Fletcher says the issue of these protections is that they offer a false sense of fairness and aren’t applied consistently.

This forum was followed by a reception and book signing of A Case for Life: Justice, Mercy, and the Death Penalty by some of the book’s authors.

 
 Justice Norman Fletcher and Susan Casey

Justice Norman Fletcher and Susan Casey

Watch the video recording of the panel discussion and Q&A below.

A Case for Life: Justice, Mercy, and the Death Penalty
Within the new book five authors make compelling arguments against the death penalty from their own perspectives. Their personal experiences with both victims and perpetrators provide a moral case for ending state-sponsored killing.

The book’s contributors:

  • The Rt.Rev. Robert Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
  • Stephen B. Bright, Attorney at Law, Southern Center for Human Rights
  • Susan Casey, Attorney at Law, Appeals Attorney for Kelly Gissendaner
  • The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas
  • Justice Norman S. Fletcher, Retired Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Purchase Online or at the Cathedral Bookstore (directions).

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Building a Case for Life

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By Don Plummer

Written from their personal experiences with both the victims and perpetrators of murder, the authors of A Case for Life: Justice, Mercy and the Death Penalty share intimate details of the experiences that led them to conclude executions do not provide a safer society nor closure for the surviving victims of terrible crimes.

Episcopal Bishop Robert C. Wright says for much of his life he rarely thought about the death penalty. “I heard the announcements of executions on the news or read them in the paper, but I was indifferent, or, whatever the word for indifferent to indifference is.” Wright regularly visited prisoners over the decades of his ministry, but says it took becoming bishop of a diocese that includes the town where people are executed in his state to change his perspective. “Jackson is a city in The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Jackson is where people I know, love, and serve alongside live. Jackson - where we kill people in Georgia - is one of the places I promised to be the chief pastor!” As bishop, Wright has become an outspoken opponent of executions - attending vigils prior to each execution, conducting communion services on death row and voicing his opposition to elected officials.  “‘The thing is, Jesus taught compassion for victim and perpetrator. Opposition to the death penalty does not mean lack of compassion for the pain and suffering of the victims or their families.”

Photo was taken at the Death Penalty Discussion and Book Signing event at Holy Innocents' on 2/15/18

Attorney Stephen Bright shares a perspective of the death penalty gained over three decades as an attorney. In addition to the hundreds of cases he has defended on appeal, Bright has three times taken death penalty appeals to the United States Supreme Court. In each case, the Supreme Court reversed the defendants’ convictions and death sentences. Rather than being reserved for the worst cases, Bright contends the death penalty is most often visited upon those with the worst life conditions. “Virtually all of the people selected for execution are poor. (A)bout half – are members of racial minorities, and the overwhelming majority of them are sentenced to death for crimes against white victims. Some are innocent. Many have significant intellectual disabilities or severe mental illnesses.” Bright shares chilling examples of the death penalty’s fatal flaws. “Poor legal representation contributes to innocent people being condemned to death.  Since 1976, 156 people sentenced to death have later been exonerated; some were on death rows for over 30 years before being released. Some people have been executed who are now known to be innocent.”

Attorney Susan Casey recounts her emotionally harrowing experience representing Kelly Gissendaner, the only woman executed in Georgia since the 1940s. “Initially, Kelly could not face what she had done. During the years that followed, however, she changed. With the support and encouragement of a devoted pastoral counselor and chaplain, Kelly confronted the terrible truth, reckoning with and accepting responsibility for her role in Doug’s murder.” Over her years in prison Gissendaner became a valued counselor and role-model for other women prisoners. Her developing faith also inspired her jailers and fellow inmates. But Casey says none of that mattered when it came time for Georgia’s clemency board to decide her fate. Casey recalls being present just after midnight on September 30, 2015 when Gissendaner was executed. She watched through her tears holding her hand over her heart as her client accepted full responsibility for her involvement in her husband Doug’s murder and died singing “Amazing Grace” as she was given the lethal injection.

Episcopal Bishop C. Andrew Doyle of the Diocese of Texas tells the story of the journey taken by members of a parish after their beloved pastor and his wife and son were murdered. Doyle recalls his horror upon learning that Episcopal Priest Israel Ahimbisibwe; his wife, Dorcus; and their five-year-old son, Israel Jr., had been murdered. A horror that was compounded when he learned that Isaac, one of the couple’s two other sons, had killed them. But, instead of seeking vengeance, those who knew and loved the Ahimbisibwes best reflected their pastor’s commitment to peace and reconciliation developed during his work amid the violence, brokenness, divisions, and massacres of his homeland Uganda’s civil war. “Isaac escaped execution and received life in prison because of the efforts of the many parishioners and friends who took on Isaac’s case. Their efforts ensured that Isaac’s name was not added to the 537 names of individuals executed by the state of Texas since 1976.”

Photo was taken at the Death Penalty Discussion and Book Signing event at Holy Innocents' on 2/15/18

Retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher journey to rejecting “the machinery of death” slowly grew after more than two decades of frequently voting against death penalty appeals. “My decision is a result of my long journey dealing and living with the flawed death penalty process for 25 years.  And it came about after much thought and prayer.”

Methodically building his case against the death penalty, Fletcher ticks off misunderstandings about executing murders: it doesn’t deter crime, it is outrageously expensive, it is not fairly and consistently applied. “Most importantly to me and to many others—including the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall—the death penalty is morally indefensible.”



 

The book also includes a resources section listing death penalty organizations, faith community statements, and further readings on the death penalty readers can use in arriving at their own conclusions about the death penalty.

 
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A Case for Life: Justice, Mercy and the Death Penalty
By Stephen Bright, Susan Casey, C Andrew Doyle, Norman Fletcher and Robert C. Wright,

Atlanta, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta Press, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-9983131-4-6
Softcover, 5” x 8”, 76 pages, List Price $11.95 

Purchase on-line or in-store at the Cathedral Bookstore (directions). 


The V. Rev. Allen Pruitt to Preach on "Day 1" Radio

News from “Day 1”® 
The V. Rev. Allen Pruitt, rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in LaGrange, GA, is the featured preacher for the fourth Sunday in Lent, March 11, on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program also accessible online at Day1.org.  

Pruitt has served as rector of St. Mark’s since 2010. He is also dean of the Chattahoochee Valley Convocation in the Diocese of Atlanta. Earlier he served as assistant rector at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Great Falls, Va. A graduate of Shorter College in Rome, Ga., Pruitt earned his M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. 

“There Is Enough,” Pruitt’s sermon for March 11, is drawn from the story in Numbers 21:4-9 of the serpents plaguing the complaining Israelites in the wilderness. “We are afraid there isn’t enough, that there isn’t going to be enough,” he says. “As if the God who brought the world into being couldn’t provide food enough for the people.”

The program includes interviews with Pruitt conducted by Wallace, who is also executive producer. 

“Day 1” has been broadcast every week for 73 years, formerly as “The Protestant Hour.” Featuring outstanding preachers from the mainline denominations, “Day 1” is currently distributed to more than 220 radio stations across America and overseas. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media, based in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, call toll free 888-411-Day-1 or check the program’s website, http://day1.org.

ECF Grants Small Acts of Charity Grants for First Quarter of 2018

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The Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia (ECF) announces two Small Acts of Charity grants to Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit (Cumming) and Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Metro Atlanta, Inc. in partnership with St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church (Smyrna).

“This quarter each of our Small Acts of Charity support strong parish-based ministry efforts that have been active for many years,” said Lindsey Hardegree, Executive Director for ECF. “Our financial assistance is able to stretch far due to the long-term dedication of Episcopalians in each of these parishes who have carefully stewarded their resources and relationships to make a difference with the poor and oppressed in their communities.”

ECF’s Q1 Small Acts of Charity 2018 recipients:

  • Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit will receive a grant of $4,990 to support Wendy’s Place Pantry Ministry, which provides non-food items to members of the community who are on a fixed income, have no or reduced employment, or other financial limitations. This effort not only helps maintain the dignity of daily life by providing toilet paper, toothpaste, and other basic necessities that are not covered by food assistance programs, but also creates a robust service opportunity for the Church of the Holy Spirit community.
     
  • Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Metro Atlanta, in partnership with St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church (Smyrna), has been offered a $5,000 challenge grant to support the house that will be built by the Cobb Interfaith Habitat Coalition (CIHC). With rising costs for building materials and land, ECF will match any new funds raised towards this build by March 31, 2018 (up to $5,000). ECF hopes that this incentive will encourage others in the community to support the increased expenses for St. Catherine’s build.

About ECF’s Grant Programs:
ECF awards General Grants twice a year and Small Acts of Charity (capped at $5,000) quarterly. Applications for the Q2 Small Acts of Charity are due March 15, 2018, and General Grant Letters of Intent for Fall 2018 are due March 31, 2018. Those interested in applying for funding should visit ECFimpact.org/grants for information regarding both funding opportunities as well as links to the applications. Applicants are encouraged to contact Lindsey Hardegree with any questions they may have regarding eligibility or their applications.

A Journey to A Sacred Place

On October 28, 2017, the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing made a pilgrimage to honor 56 martyrs who were lynched in Clarke County, Georgia. The day’s activities included a Liturgy for Martyrs at Chestnut Grove Baptist Church where the Rev. Naomi Tutu preached. Following the service was a screening of the documentary film 13th, as well as a tour of the Chestnut Grove School (founded in 1887) and the cemetery containing graves of slaves.

The Center, which opened in October 2017, offers a model of prayerful education that forms and reforms individual and collective action: a defined curriculum, thoughtful training, pilgrimages, and dialogue. Guided by faith and led by intention, the Center will continue its important work until our work is no longer needed. We seek the beloved community and the rewards of living life in that community - free of racism.

"We cannot get well racially, in the United States of America, until we tell the truth. Until we own the truth. Lynching is a part of our history, a part of our truth. We keep on trying to get to justice without doing the work." – Dr. Catherine Meeks

The Center is an inter-generational, faith-based organization providing curriculum, activities and experiences for those engaging in the daily work of dismantling prejudice and ending systemic racism. Learn more about this important work

Meet The Rev. Canon George K. Neequaye

Meet The Rev. Canon George K. Neequaye (“Father George” or simply “George”).  The Venerable Dr. George Kotei Neequaye arrived in Atlanta on January 22nd as an initial step in a broader relationship established by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta with Ghana.  A few months ago, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta established a sister relationship with the Diocese of Cape Coast, one of Ghana’s Anglican dioceses.  This initiative, under the leadership of Bishop Robert C. Wright, is already creating exciting experiences and opportunities for all Episcopalians in the Diocese to interact with Father George and to learn more about Ghana. To this end, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta has partnered with the Candler School of Theology in hosting Father George as a Visiting Scholar during his sabbatical in Atlanta, which will help jumpstart the Diocese’s global mission with Ghana.  Adds Father George: “I will like to make a lifetime connection between [the Diocese] and my Church and the people of Ghana.”

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Highpoint Episcopal Community Church (“HECC”) is honored to serve as the host church and home-away-from-home for Father George during his stay in Atlanta. Thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of Canon Lang Lowrey, Father George is residing in a newly constructed, residential apartment (which George longingly refers to as his “flat”) located in a former classroom of HECC. George quickly settled into to his flat and life in America.  To help him ease into his new situation, George spent his first two nights in the nearby Sandy Springs home of a long-time HECC couple before moving into his flat.  During his first week in Atlanta, in addition to his orientation and research at the Candler School of Theology, George has led Adult Formation at HECC, preached at HECC’s Holy Eucharist, joined its popular Monday Supper Group, enjoyed a tour of the Atlanta History Center and an evening of entertainment at the Shakespeare Theatre.  The Rev. Ruth Pattison is serving as the liaison for Father George with the Diocese, where she is coordinating his schedule among interested Diocese churches to make certain that everyone knows of his schedule and availability to teach and preach . . . and just hang out. A member of HECC is serving as the tour coordinator for George to ensure that he will visit many of the sights of metro Atlanta and experience its vibrant sports and entertainment scenes, while another member has provided an automobile to meet George’s daily transportation needs.  Says George:  “I will be in Atlanta as part of my continuing scholarship. But if possible, I will love to explore the tourist attractions in Atlanta and elsewhere. As you know, ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.’” Many other members of HECC have contributed their time, food and furnishings to his flat to make George’s stay in Atlanta memorable.

Dr. Neequaye has traveled to Atlanta as a Visiting Scholar on sabbatical from his hometown of Accra, Ghana so that he can study and research at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. During his seven-month stay in Atlanta, Dr. Neequaye will continue his research in moral philosophy, with an emphasis in African traditional ethics and Christian ethics, areas in which he is a well-known expert in his field of study.  He also intends to complete writing his current two books, which explore these and other subject areas.  Father George comments that the quietness of his flat is an excellent place for him to study, read and write.

Father George has pastored numerous churches in Ghana, has been a member of many important religious committees and has served in leadership positions in the Anglican Diocese of Accra. He teaches African Traditional Ethics, Christian ethics, African Traditional Religion, Liturgics and Worship at the Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, where he has been the Vice President, Dean of Students, Chaplain and currently, the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Father George is also the Archdeacon of Accra Northeast and Chaplain of Christ Church, University of Ghana, Legon.  He is on leave from his 350-member church in Accra.

George is married to Esther, who works for Delta Airlines in Accra.  He is hopeful that Esther will be able to visit him once or twice in Atlanta.  George and Esther are the proud parents of two sons, George S. and Alan, and one daughter. Sharlene. George S. is 26 years old and is working toward his master’s degree in Parsons School of Design and Technology, New York. According to Father George, their oldest son is an IT guy, who might also visit Father George while he is in Atlanta.  The second son, Alan, is 24 years old and sings gospel music in churches, which is his passion. Alan completed his degree in Business Administration last year and is now working to complete his National Service in Accra. Alan wants to go into interior design.  Daughter Sharlene is 13 years old.

Why is Father George’s research important?  Why does his work deserve our support?  Simply stated, Dr. Neequaye will establish a lifetime connection between the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, the Candler School of Theology, and the people of Ghana.  Community work and education will be his focus. While in Atlanta, Dr. Neequaye will teach others about the true meaning of racial reconciliation.   Through his community teachings and discussions, Father George will be part of the Diocese’s larger initiative to connect the United States to Ghana, where slave castles (dreary dungeons for the recently captured Africans) dotting its coastline served as the point of departure for many slaves destined for the British colonies in America. Over 40% of African slaves reaching the British colonies before the American Revolution passed through South Carolina and almost all of these slaves entered the colonies through the Port of Charleston, before being sold in Charleston's active slave markets. Dr. Neequaye teaches modern-day racial reconciliation and responsibility, explaining that the stain of slavery is a collective responsibility, shared by the Ghana kings and slave merchants, who captured and sold Africans to the British and Dutch slave traders, who, in turn, sold these enslaved peoples to the plantation owners living primarily in our Southern states. In addition to his scholarship, research, writing, and teaching, Dr. Neequaye’s trip to Atlanta could be aptly labeled as a journey to explore how a Ghanaian connection might help our own community lead the way to more racial reconciliation, harmony, and healing in the African American community.  His teachings will benefit young and old alike in Atlanta and its environs.

Concludes Father George: “I’m sure I am in for a great treat of my life!  I promise to do whatever I am asked to do to support [the] ministry [of the Diocese] and in Candler.”