ECF Grants $26,000 to Local Ministries and Organizations Fighting Hunger

Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia (ECF) grants $26,000 to local ministries and organizations fighting hunger. Funds were raised at 33rd Annual Atlanta Hunger Walk/Run.

On March 5, 2017, the ECF partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and local faith organizations for the 33rd Annual Hunger Walk/Run. More than 450 Episcopalians walked, ran, or volunteered for the Diocese of Atlanta, with 34 teams formed in support of ECF. Prior to the 5K walk/run, more than 120 youth and adults attended the Eucharist at nearby Emmaus House, celebrated by Father Ricardo Bailey, which featured a powerful sermon by ECF board member Clayton Harrington calling Episcopalians to “choose the hard way” of fighting against poverty and oppression.

“Each year the Episcopal community shows up to not only participate in the Hunger Walk/Run, but to raise funds to support those facing food insecurity in our community,” said Lindsey Hardegree, Executive Director for the Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia. “The need is great. More than 25 percent of Georgia children face food insecurity, and Georgia is seventh in the nation for senior citizens facing hunger. Funds raised by our parishes through the Hunger Walk/Run are granted back to our communities to help end hunger.”

The 2017 Hunger Walk/Run was an incredible success, and with the significant help of parishes around the Diocese, ECF has received nearly $26,000 to support local hunger-related ministries and organizations. ECF is dedicated to funding opportunities for Episcopal parishes to work with their local community and nonprofits to serve the poor and oppressed.

With that in mind, ECF will grant these funds to the following hunger-related ministries and organizations:

  • Action Ministries, who partners with multiple Episcopal parishes, will receive a grant of $10,000 to support their regional hunger initiatives in the Northwest (Rome area), Mountain (Gainesville area), Northeast (Athens-Clarke County area), and Piedmont (Covington area) Regions.
  • Community Helping Place will receive a grant of $4,000 for food costs at their food pantry which has been matched by a $4,000 gift from the parishioners of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church (Dahlonega).
  • Malachi’s Storehouse will receive a grant of $10,400 to underwrite the cost of chicken for their food pantry at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church (Dunwoody) for one year.
  • St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church (Decatur) will receive a grant of $1,329.19 towards purchasing a new refrigerator/freezer as a part of the expansion of their food pantry ministry to enable hot meal service.

Special thanks also go out to the top fundraising individuals:

  • Shirley Lee of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church (Atlanta)
  • Connie Bergeron of St. Catherine's Episcopal Church (Marietta)
  • Ashley Erwin of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church (Atlanta)
  • Veronica Ridenhour of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church (Morrow)
  • Zachary Thompson of Church of Our Saviour (Atlanta)

In addition, this year, Right Rev. Robert C. Wright issued a challenge for the Bishop’s Cup – the parish that raised the most funds for the Hunger Walk/Run would receive the coveted award trophy as well as a gift of $3,300 to be used for the parish’s outreach ministries. This year’s recipient of the Bishop’s Cup is St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church who raised $6,760! Special recognition goes to St. James Episcopal Church (Clayton) who came in a close second at $4,940 and to Church of Our Saviour, Christ Church (Norcross), and St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church who each raised more than $2,000 to help end hunger in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.

For more information about the Hunger Walk/Run, including how you can create a team to support the event in 2018, please contact Lindsey Hardegree at 404.601.5362 or LHardegree@episcopalatlanta.org.

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 million to promote thriving and spiritually strong individuals, families, and communities locally. Learn more at www.ecfimpact.org.

About The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta:
The Diocese of Atlanta was created in 1907 and serves the cities, towns, and communities in Middle and North Georgia. Led by the Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, it is comprised of 110 welcoming worship communities. Our purpose is to challenge ourselves and the world to love like Jesus as we worship joyfully, serve compassionately, and grow spiritually. Learn more at www.episcopalatlanta.org.


Emmaus House Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Emmaus House's 50-year anniversary gala “Forward from 50” is taking place on May 7. The event will feature special guests including Bishop Robert Wright and Dr. Beth-Sarah Wright, with bluegrass music by The Parson’s Pickers.  Click here to RVSP and see more event details.
 

Emmaus House, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, provides education, opportunity, assistance, and advocacy in partnership with our neighbors in Peoplestown. Emmaus House seeks to empower people whose lives are affected by poverty, race inequities, and educational disparities.

In 1967, Father Austin Ford, an Episcopal priest and advocate for civil rights, moved into a dilapidated two-story home in Peoplestown along with two nuns and a seminary student. Father Ford garnered resources to benefit Peoplestown residents and established an after-school program, monthly transportation for family members of inmates to Reidsville State Prison, chapel services, hot meals, and a poverty rights office. He led efforts for welfare rights, neighborhood empowerment, and racial justice. Under Father Ford's leadership and with its subsequent executive directors, Emmaus House has evolved over the past 50 years into an important resource for the Peoplestown community. Since that time, the organization has focused on increasing its impact in client-responsive and measurable ways. You can learn more about Emmaus House here.


Bishop Wright Teaches COURSE: Courage in an Anxious World

During the weekend of May 16-18, 2017, the Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright will be leading a course at Sewanee University’s School of Theology on strategies between the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and today's leadership practice. With the church facing decreasing numbers, Rev. Wright will teach participants how to hold steady in the face of this anxiety as the church exists at the juncture between current reality and future possibilities. The goal of the course is to prepare participants to teach the principles of Adaptive Leadership as the foundations of discipleship and to the benefit of the Church.

Read full announcement here.


The Church of the Atonement Celebrates Easter With a Rebirth of its Own

As the Easter season nears its apex, one church is celebrating the occasion in more ways than one. Located in High Point, a wooded Sandy Springs neighborhood, the Church of the Atonement is going under a new name that comes with a resurrection for the 50-year-old church. After dwindling to a dozen worshipers a year ago, Highpoint Episcopal Community Church signifies a new beginning with new leadership that puts community above rule-making.

“We’re having a great rebirth,” said Ralph Edwards, a 40-year church member, after a recent Sunday service. “We got roots, and we also have buds.”

Read the full story here.  


SUMMA Theological Debate Camp at the University of the South

Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 session of SUMMA Debate Camp at the University of the South, July 18–26. This year, camp will feature keynote speaker Leah Libresco, contributing editor of America, and—as an undergraduate—a member of Yale University's Political Union (a debating society).

SUMMA is open to high school students of any faith entering grades 9-12 in the fall of 2017. SUMMA offers students a unique opportunity to explore faith through intellectual channels while making lifelong friends and having lots of fun on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country!

At SUMMA Camp, students learn valuable skills for debate, public speaking, and theological reflection. No previous debate experience or formal theological study is necessary. Campers have a true collegiate experience, but it's not all work! There is plenty of time left over for swimming, sports, movies, bowling, and lots of great summer fun!

"Speak the truth in love," as St. Paul admonished the Ephesians, is a practice followed throughout camp, as students are taught to approach difficult topics with reason and respect. At the beginning of camp, a resolution is introduced, and each student argues both sides of the issue.

For all students, the cost of SUMMA is partially defrayed through donations, grants, and an endowment. The cost to parents is $750, which includes room, all meals, and all materials.

A limited number of scholarships are available for students with demonstrated financial need.

For more information and to apply, visit summa.sewanee.edu.


Muslim Woman to Preach at Episcopal Service

ATLANTA - A Muslim woman is to preach Tuesday during a service in which Episcopal priests and deacons will reaffirm the vows first taken at their ordinations.

Soumaya Khalifah, executive director and founder of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta was chosen to preach by Atlanta’s Episcopal Bishop Robert C. Wright. Wright said he chose Khalifah because of her ongoing efforts to bridge the gaps between religions.

“Soumaya provides a wonderful example for how to share the love of God; the same God worshiped by all the world’s Christians, Jews and Muslims,” Wright said. “It is an example that has never been more needed.”

The renewal of vows service will be held Tuesday, April 11, at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Roswell beginning at 11 a.m. The service is open to the public.

Khalifa, born in Alexandria, Egypt, said she long wanted to share the rich complexities of her Muslim religion and background with fellow Americans of different faiths. But she never imagined her first
experience doing so would be after the horrific events of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Today the Islamic Speakers Bureau she founded in 2001, reaches thousands of people, focusing on education and debunking negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.

Among Khalifah’s accomplishments is a 16-part television series on AIB TV that she hosted titled "Meet Your Muslim Neighbors.” Khalifah’s work and life story was featured in the book "50 Green Card Stories" and in the New York Times.

Khalifa holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Houston and a master's degree in human resources from Georgia State University. She and her husband Mohamed have 3 children: Dr. Yousuf Khalifa, Mr. Osama Khalifa and Ms. Yosra Khalifa. Soumaya and Mohamed have been residents of Georgia since 1988.

Tuesday’s is not the first time this Episcopal service has featured a preacher from another religion.  In 2015, Wright arranged to have the renewal service held at The Temple, a Reform synagogue on Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. The preacher for that service was The Temple’s senior Rabbi Peter S. Berg.


Shereetha Jackson Involved in Upcoming Dismantling Racism Ventures

Shereetha Jackson is a member of the Commission for Dismantling Racism and a Fellow for the Commission in the Justice Ministry Education Program at Auburn Seminary and the following are three of the upcoming ventures with which she is involved:

Legacy Project
The Legacy Project is an idea based on 3C's (Concept, Collaboration, and Connection) which, ideally, will lead to the biggest C of all--Change for the better. Currently, Sheeretha has partnered with Posts for Peace and Justice to develop a two day workshop targeting youth and young adults within the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, other interfaith communities, and local nonprofits. She is a Fellow for the Commission (under the Justice Ministry Education program at Auburn Seminary) and the Youth Ministry Coordinator for Church of the Epiphany.

FTE Christian Leadership Forum
Sheeretha Jackson recently received the news that she has been selected to join over 50 other young adult leaders at the Forum for Theological Exploration's (FTE) Christian Leadership Forum May 31-June 3 in Atlanta, GA. During this time she will engage with leaders from diverse communities and organizations from across the US and Canada, while also exchanging ideas and connecting with a community of peers.

This year’s theme is “Lead Change for Good.” Below are some of the featured speakers and workshop leaders for the event:

  • René August, The Warehouse, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Heber Brown, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Ched Myers, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, Oak View, California
  • Alexia Salvatierra, Hope Lutheran Church, Hollywood, California
  • Janet Wolf, Children's Defense Fund, Nashville, Tennessee
  • And many more!

Lift Every Voice
This will be an opportunity for Shereetha Jackson to share the Dismantling Racism Youth Curriculum that Commissions on Youth and Dismantling Racism are currently developing. LEV is a three-year ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina for youth and young adults, a ministry designed to revisit the historical truths of slavery and the Civil Rights movement in North Carolina and Apartheid in South Africa.
The event will be held July 21-July 25. To read more about this, click here.

To learn more about the Commission for Dismantling Racism, click here.


Experience Monastic Tradition for The Triduum and Easter

Experience Monastic Tradition for The Triduum and Easter with The Order of Saint Helena Sisters

For those wishing silent retreat time and a monastic experience of Holy Week, call the Episcopal Convent of Saint Helena in North Augusta SC and reserve a guesthouse room for the nights of April 13 – 15.

Please see the convent schedule of special Holy Week services at www.osh.org.
Make a reservation through the website or contact our Guest Registrar with questions at guests@osh.org or 803-426-1616 (M-F, 9-5).

We’d love to share the Triduumquiet and Easter bells with you.


A New Approach to Dismantling Racism Training

Beginning in 2017, the Commission will be working even harder to encourage as much diversity as possible in each training session. Though we will continue the current practice of asking parishes to host a training day, we will limit the number of persons who can participate in each session from any given parish to seven. We have made this change so as many parishioners from around the diocese as possible experience the richness of getting out of their home parishes and enjoying the blessings of making their circle a bit wider.

Therefore, parishes will continue to be asked to host a day's training and to provide the morning refreshments and lunch when they host. We will work diligently to keep the enrollment in a training day around 21 with no more than seven people coming from any individual parish. We hope that getting good participation from the churches located in the same convocation may come from outside of the particular convocation of the hosting parish. We want to make the training days as accessible as possible in 2017.

Also, we intend to schedule enough sessions so that all of the needs that exist for search committees, vestry members, and others to receive the required day of training will be met in a timely fashion.

If you have a question about this message, please email kayma53@att.net.

Learn more about Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism here.


An Invitation to a Diocesan-Wide Book Study for 2017

The Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism is inviting all parishes in our diocese to read Living Into God's Dream: Dismantling Racism in America. This volume, which is edited by Catherine Meeks, consists of essays from her and six other contributors, including Bishop Robert Wright. It is designed to be read individually or in a group. It has a study guide included in it, which will help to facilitate the discussion of the book.

The contributors hope that Living Into God's Dream will help foster new and more robust conversations on race during 2017 than we have had in the past. They believe that it is necessary for us to have a new conversation on race, one that acknowledges past gains as well as the current challenges that face us. This book is intended to help in that regard, and all parishes are encouraged to read and discuss it between Epiphany and Pentecost, if possible. However, if that time frame does not work well, parishes are asked to read and discuss it before the end of 2017. Please let us know of your plans for using the book when you have determined what you will be able to do.

Feel free to contact us for further information or if there is any way in which we can help you with your Dismantling Racism activities: kayma53@att.net.

To order a copy from Church Publishing, please click here.


Episcopal Hispanic Congregation Growth Sparks Innovation and Concerns

By Don Plummer

ATLANTA - Episcopal Bishop Robert C Wright on Thursday discussed the issues raised by the rapid growth of Episcopal Hispanic congregations in Georgia as a guest on the Georgia Public Broadcasting network morning radio program On Second Thought, hosted by Celeste Headlee.

Wright, whose diocese incorporates middle and north Georgia, said Hispanic congregations are the fastest-growing ministries among the 114 worshiping communities of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. From 10 in 2012, Hispanic congregations now total 14 with the addition this year of congregations in Athens and Rome, Wright said. 

To meet the needs of Hispanic worshiping communities Wright in 2014, founded Centro de Educación Teológica para Latinos (CETLA), the Theological Education Center for Latinos. The two-year course prepares Hispanic lay leaders for ministry. Two graduates of the first class are now well on their way to ordination as Episcopal priests, Wright said.

Along with the growth of congregations have come new pastoral concerns, Wright said. Most recently members of Hispanic parishes have expressed fear and uncertainty about whether they will be detained by immigration authorities. In response, Wright said he has instructed priests serving Hispanic congregations to contact their members and offer resources, including home communion for those afraid to drive to their church.

“Even those who are legal residents fear getting caught up in immigration raids,” Wright said. “We must be sources of comfort and support during these uncertain times.”

Wright addressed these same concerns Wednesday during a panel discussion at Berry College, in Rome, GA. During the event attended by some 150 students and local residents, Wright said he believes that immigration reform must be both effective and compassionate.

The panel discussion entitled Immigration: Facts, Fears and Faith also included Berry Government and International Studies Professor Kirsten Taylor, Atlanta immigration attorney Elisabeth Mienkwic of the Baldwin Law Firm and Selina Yilmaz a freshman student originally from Turkey. The event was moderated by Nicolette Correy a senior Sociology major and vice president of the Northwest Georgia Canterbury Club, which hosted the event.

Following their presentations, Wright and other panelists fielded questions from audience members. Questions ranged from concerns about the responsibilities of members of faith communities to respond to the human suffering caused by deportations to worries that our borders have become too porous, allowing terrorists to easily infiltrate and attack our communities.

“As a Navy veteran, I can assure you that no one is more concerned with the security of our nation, Wright said. “However, I believe we can have strong borders and still be compassionate to families who have been here for years.”

To learn more about the Diocese of Atlanta's Hispanic ministry click here.

Don Plummer is media and community relations coordinator for the Diocese of Atlanta.


St. Martin's Episcopal School Named "Top Workplace" by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA, GA – Mar. 27, 2017 – Brookhaven-based St. Martin’s Episcopal School has been awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Atlanta Journal Constitution. This is the second year running for the pre-school through 8th grade school to receive this honor. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by Workplace Dynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.

After being nominated, Elementary School Principal Dr. Mary McPherson provided Workplace Dynamics with an email listing of the entire St. Martin’s staff for the third-party administrator to send the survey and analyze the results. A 35 percent response rate was required, and St. Martin’s employees responded at 93 percent.

“We have always placed a high value on our faculty and staff here at St. Martin’s, and it’s great to have this workplace study to validate what our own annual employee surveys have been telling us for years,” said St. Martin’s Headmaster Dr. James Hamner. “We work hard to foster a collegial environment where our teachers and faculty feel empowered to make suggestions and lead our charge to provide a quality education of the whole person in a loving, Christian atmosphere, which fosters lifelong learning. We are pleased to be among this impressive group of Atlanta workplaces for the second year in a row.”

The AJC and its survey administrator, Workplace Dynamics, have found a common theme among Top Workplace honorees showing these workplaces invest as much in their employees' well-being as they do in tangible perks, and the biggest reward for these companies can be measured in satisfied customers.

“The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits.” says Doug Claffey, CEO of Workplace Dynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together. Claffey adds, “Without this sense of connection, an organization doesn’t have a shot at being named a Top Workplace.”
###

About St. Martin’s
St. Martin’s Episcopal School was established in 1959 and offers education for more than 600 students in pre-school through eighth grade.  St. Martin’s is dedicated to providing a quality education of the whole person in a loving, Christian atmosphere, which fosters lifelong learning.

About Workplace Dynamics, LLC
Headquartered in Exton, PA, Workplace Dynamics specializes in employee feedback surveys and workplace improvement. This year alone, more than two million employees in over 6,000 organizations will participate in the Top Workplaces™ campaign—a program it conducts in partnership with more than 40 prestigious media partners across the United States. Workplace Dynamics also provides consulting services to improve employee engagement and organizational health. Workplace Dynamics is a founding B Corporation member, a coalition of organizations that are leading a global movement to redefine success in business by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.


ECF Announces Spring 2017 General Grant Recipients

Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia Grants $70,000 to Fight Poverty and Oppression Locally

ECF Announces Four Local Grantees During Its Spring General Grant Cycle

Atlanta, GA, March 24, 2017 — Today the Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia (ECF) announces it will grant $70,000 to four 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 Crossroads Ministries, Inc.; Emmaus House; the Housing Initiative of North Fulton, Inc./HomeStretch; and Lost-n-Found Youth.

“These grants demonstrate ECF’s commitment to support Episcopal parishes and their nonprofit partners in the Diocese of Atlanta that combat issues related to poverty and oppression, while providing Episcopalians with opportunities for spiritual growth through compassionate service,” said Lindsey Hardegree, executive director of ECF.  “This funding from ECF will be used as a catalyst for significant, sustainable ministries and partnerships across middle and north Georgia and will change the lives of individuals, families, and communities long-term.”

ECF’s spring 2017 general grant recipients:

  • Crossroads Community Ministries, Inc. (CCM) will receive a grant of $20,000 towards starting its Crossroads Connect job readiness program, which will create a pathway to stable and sustainable futures for CCM guests by providing access to computers, resume assistance, interview coaching, and classes on teamwork, time management, and financial planning. In partnership with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, SafeHouse Outreach, New Hope Enterprises, and Top Job Hospitality, CCM is able to provide a foundation for guests who spend their days struggling to survive on the streets to lift themselves out of poverty through employment.
     
  • Emmaus House will receive a grant of $25,000 to fund the start-up of its new Parent Café program. This program, based on the principles of adult learning and family support, will assist parents and their families to manage stress, acquire leadership skills, and form healthy, supportive relationships with their neighbors, institutions, and the community at large. The Parent Café program will be a partnership between D.H. Stanton Elementary School and Emmaus House, a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.
     
  • Housing Initiative of North Fulton, Inc./HomeStretch will receive $10,000 in operational support towards housing a family for a year in their Supportive Housing Program which helps families move from homelessness to stability. This program covers costs associated with utilities, repairs, and specific client services such as life skills education, mentoring, and dedicated case management. HomeStretch and St. David’s Episcopal Church have partnered for eight years with financial assistance for the Supportive Housing Program as well as volunteer support through board service, fundraising events, and direct service with clients as mentors and assisting in property upkeep.
     
  • Lost-n-Found Youth will receive $15,000 towards funding a new Youth Drop-In Center in Midtown Atlanta which will increase their capacity for homeless LGBTQ youths and open up their current location for revenue-generating opportunities. Lost-n-Found Youth’s internship program with The Road, a program of the Episcopal Service Corps of Atlanta, brings a social justice view and a spiritual connection to their services, allowing youth who may have previously felt rejected by their church to reconnect with religion or spirituality, and their partnership with All Saints’ Episcopal Church facilitates volunteer leadership, especially among the parish’s GALAS (Gays and Lesbians for All Saints’) group.

In recent years, ECF has shifted its grant-making focus to encourage larger, more impactful grants. “Each of our grantees this cycle has unique relationships with Episcopal worshipping communities that address the needs of those less fortunate,” said Lindsey Hardegree. ECF awards General Grants twice a year and Small Acts of Charity (capped at $5,000) quarterly. LOIs for the Fall 2017 Cycle for General Grants are due March 31, 2017. Those interested in applying for funding should visit http://ecfatlanta.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.


Candler to Preach on Day 1

The Very Rev. Sam Candler, dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, is the featured preacher Easter Day, April 16, on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program also accessible online at Day1.org

Candler has been Dean of the Cathedral since October 1998. He was raised on a farm in Coweta County, Ga. He received his B.A. from Occidental College in Los Angeles. He graduated from Yale University Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, its Episcopal component, where he serves on the board of trustees. Candler has served churches in Marietta and Cumming, Ga. and in Summerville, S. C. Before coming to the Cathedral of St. Philip, he was dean of Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, S. C., from 1993-1998.   

An amateur pianist, Candler had intended to become a jazz musician before he was called into the priesthood. He is a frequent teacher and preacher in the United States. He speaks regularly on the role of religion in matters of science and environmental sustainability. He is active in Atlanta's interfaith community and helped develop the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta.
“The Tomb Is a Tunnel,” Candler’s sermon for Easter Day is drawn from John 20:1-18. Candler describes a trip to Israel that featured exploration of tunnels, ancient and new. He says, “I am telling you all this, I am describing those rocky tunnels to you on Easter morning, because being in those tunnels felt like being in a rocky tomb.” 
The program includes interviews with Candler conducted by Wallace, who is also executive producer.  

“Day 1” has been broadcast every week for 72 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.  


Ghana Pilgrimage

Photograph provided by: The Rev. Dr. Sharon Hiers

Photograph provided by: The Rev. Dr. Sharon Hiers

At the beginning of Lent, 10 members of the Diocese of Atlanta made a pilgrimage across the Atlantic Ocean to Ghana.

“We’re going to further our work in dismantling racism, and this gives us the opportunity to understand the full loop in our work of racial reconciliation,” said Easton Davis, Missioner for Youth and Young Adults and one of the pilgrims, before embarking. “[We want to] make connections and see the tangible location, face-to-face and understand the history even more by being in conversation with the local people. We want to have a better understanding of the significance that these places [hold for] the country of Ghana and the impact it has on our own country’s history.”

Ghana was a major departure point for the Colonial slave trade. Slave ships left West Africa from there destined for the Americas.

On their 9-day trip, the pilgrims visited several historically significant locations. The pilgrimage began on Ash Wednesday, at the Anglican Cathedral of St. Cyprian in Kumasi, where bishop Wright preached and the Most Rev. Daniel Yinka Sarfo, Archbishop and Primate of the Province of West Africa and bishop of Kumasi, presided. One of the stops was Cape Coast Castle, where slaves were held in the dungeons before being sold and then sent away on ships at the ports connected to the castle.

For one of our pilgrims, The Rev. Canon C. John Thompson-Quartey, Canon for Ministry of the Bishop’s Staff, the pilgrimage was one back home. Originally from Ghana, he left some 35 years ago. He was co-leader of this pilgrimage along with the Rev. Dr. Sharon Hiers, a daughter of South Carolina.

Before the trip, Thompson-Quartey wrote that he was full of so many emotions, acknowledging that no matter one’s race or background there are things to reconcile about our ancestors’ roles and place in history and the slave trade. He wrote, “As a native Ghanaian, I am keenly aware of the role my ancestors played in selling off Africans to the Europeans who coordinated the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.”

“I have returned to Ghana on several occasions for visits with family and friends, but this pilgrimage is different. Among the bishop’s entourage will be African-Americans and Anglo-Americans who are seeking to build the bridge of reconciliation by walking the paths that were once trodden by the shackled men, women and children of Africa, being led to a strange and foreign land.”

In choosing to go on a trip like this, the pilgrims were able to have experiences they could share with people here, back home, Davis said.

A pilgrimage like this gets a person more deeply connected to the work that we are doing right now, and that work is to continue to dismantle racism, and that work will never be finished, Davis said. “Racism is still very much alive in our country.”

While on their pilgrimage, they also had communion with our Anglican brothers and sisters at Christ Church Cathedral of Cape Coast and met with Bishop Torto of the Diocese of Accra. Clergy also had the opportunity to meet with students at the St. Nicholas Seminary.

Pilgrims included Ieasha Barrow, Executive Ministry Coordinator and Assistant to the Bishops and the Canon for Ministry; Abel Betances, young adult and Director of Youth Ministries at St. Clement’s; Easton Davis, Missioner for Youth and Young Adults; Ann Fowler, Director of Education Services Emmaus House; The Rev. Dr. Sharon Hiers, Senior Associate Rector at Church of the Epiphany; Janet Livingston, Diocesan Coordinator for Episcopal Relief and Development; the Rev. Canon George M. Maxwell, Jr., Vicar of the Cathedral of St. Philip; the Rev. Canon C. John Thompson-Quartey, Canon for Ministry of the Bishop’s Staff, the Venerable Janet Tidwell, ArchDeacon; and Bishop Rob Wright.

To see more pictures from the pilgrimage, please visit the Diocese of Atlanta Facebook page and Bishop Rob Wright’s Twitter from Feb. 26 to March 5.

Our Ghana pilgrims were honored to meet Sister Aba this afternoon. 15 years ago she, along with the Diocese of Kumasi, started an eye clinic that currently assists 70,000 people a year. The light of Christ shines brightly in this incredible woman.
Source: EDA Facebook Page on March 1
Credit: Easton Davis

Our Ghana pilgrims took the morning off to visit Kakum National Park.
Source: EDA Facebook Page on March 4
Credit: Easton Davis

This afternoon, our Ghana pilgrims visited the Cape Coast Castle. This castle is where slaves were held in the dungeon before being sold at market.
Source: EDA Facebook Page on March 3
Credit: Easton Davis

Today, our Ghana pilgrims set foot in the river where slaves received their last bath before heading to the market. The pilgrims prayed together before, during, and after their time in the river.
Source: EDA Facebook Page on March 2
Credit: Easton Davis


One Final Act of Love

“If we don't bear witness to the burial of children in our neighborhood, in our county, in our state, I don't know who will.”

Father Joshua Case is bearing witness to the death of Georgia’s children. The priest at Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs has buried 24 of Fulton County’s children in the last 10 months, often standing alone by their graves because no one showed up. In light of his work with these modern-day Holy Innocents, Father Case asks Georgians for one thing.

Read the full story here


Emory Round Table

In February, Professor Gregory Ellison— an Associate Professor of Pastoral Care at Emory University—and I, hosted our fourth Round Table event at the University. The Round Table is a space for unlikely partners to build community, share wisdom, and face hard questions over hearty family-style meals.

In a cultural milieu of constant contact and social media interaction, we sense the need to cultivate a space that allows for slowed down and embodied engagement. Instead of the echo chambers of Facebook, or the frenzy of a Twitter feed, we take the time to sit with challenging questions over a shared meal. We laugh and cry. We take some things very seriously, but we do not take ourselves too seriously.

The Round Table has struck a chord at Emory. We had seventy people with us in February, representing all of the schools at Emory except one, and we were honored to host Morehouse undergraduates. The theme was “Love,” and we asked our dinner guests to recall a time when an experience with a loved one changed the way you see the world. We wondered, what does it mean to love the skin you are in? In March our theme will be a one-word question, “March?” What is our role in social activism? What is a social activist? Is there time for rest? Am I an activist?

We are excited about the response to the Round Table, and the Diocesan commitment (our commitment!) to be present on the campus of Emory University is allowing for the creation of a space that suggests a few things: that fellowship across difference is possible, that challenging questions are welcome, and that God wants us to see each other, listen to each other, and grow up in love.

Written by The Reverend Zachary R. Thompson, Rector of The Church of Our Saviour and Episcopal Campus Missioner at Emory


ECF Accepting LOIs for Fall General Grants until March 31

The Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia is currently accepting Letters of Intent (LOIs) for our Fall General Grants - the deadline is March 31, 2017!

ECF (formerly Episcopal Charities Foundation) partners with Episcopal communities to serve the poor and oppressed throughout Middle and North Georgia. In recent years, ECF has shifted its grantmaking focus to encourage larger, more impactful grants, and our process is aimed at helping Episcopal parishes and their nonprofit partners create proposals that seek to engage in deeper work in their local communities.

Those interested in applying for funding should visit www.ecfatlanta.org/general-grants for instructions and the link to the LOI form. Applicants are encouraged to contact Executive Director Lindsey Hardegree with any questions they may have regarding eligibility or their applications at LHardegree@episcopalatlanta.org.


Four Weeks to Apply for 2017 EFC Fellowship

The Episcopal Church Foundation invites all lay and ordained scholars and ministers to apply for the 2017 ECF Fellowship. The deadline for applications is March 11, and Fellows are those who are making a significant impact on our Church. We ask that all who are applying to consider these things we find crucial to having a successful application. Scholars and ministry leaders who incorporate lay leadership into their work must be able to describe how they will be developing the next generation of leaders for the Episcopal Church. We encourage all who apply to start early in the process. The applications will require significant time and effort to be strong enough for this highly competitive grant. We award three to four grants of up to $15,000. 

Read the full announcement here.


Higginbotham Part of The New Contemplative Exchange

Fr. Stuart Higginbotham, of Grace Church, Gainesville, has recently been invited to participate in The New Contemplatives Exchange, a global network for contemplative studies and practice. This invitation comes from Thomas Keating (Contemplative Outreach), Tilden Edwards (The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation), Richard Rohr (The Center for Action and Contemplation), and Laurence Freeman (The World Community for Christian Meditation). Stuart and seventeen other contemplative scholars and practitioners from around the world -- all in their 30s and 40s -- will join the four Founders at St. Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, CO, in mid-August.  The overall vision of The New Contemplative Exchange is to "awaken a larger embrace and expansion of Christian contemplative understanding and practice as the vital grounding of Christian life, with openness to collaboration with all streams of contemplative wisdom, in response to the urgent social and spiritual needs of our time."  

Fr. Stuart hopes that the ongoing work of the Exchangers, with published articles, books, and gatherings, can help foster a dialogue and network within the Diocese of Atlanta as well.  There are early plans for gatherings in our Diocese for those who would find it helpful, challenging, and encouraging to have a fellowship of clergy and laity focused on exploring the ways contemplative practices ground our ministry and life.  More information should be forthcoming.