Are you interested in a daytime EFM class?

We at Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA, are looking for a few good men and women who would be interested in an Education for Ministry (EfM) class that meets during the day. 

If you would like to explore your spirituality and develop your personal theology and are unable to attend a night class, email or call Dianne Olson at dolson42668@gmail.com or 770-851-2472, or Ellen Lewis at elewis3000@yahoo.com or 678-546-0844. If there is enough interest (we need at least 6 people) in a day class, we will get started on forming one.

So, if you have any interest, please let us know so we can get to work!

Elements of a Contemplative Reformation: Contemplative Summer School

As part of the ongoing framework, Elements of a Contemplative Reformation, Grace Episcopal Church will offer a three-session Contemplative Summer School.  On Sunday evenings, June 24, July 22, and August 19, we will gather from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall. Together, we will explore core elements of contemplative spirituality as well as ways that our practice can nurture and encourage a compassionate embodiment of Christ's love in the world today.

Participants are encouraged to purchase and read the five key books, which will help contribute to the ongoing conversation all Summer. Key texts from Richard Rohr, Phileena Heuertz, Tilden Edwards, Margaret Benefiel, and John Main will shape our discussions and reflections. Fr. Stuart will lead each conversation, connecting our conversations in the diocese with ongoing global conversations in contemplative studies.  


These Summer School sessions will also serve as a foundation to further work in the Fall with three workshops, featuring the Rev. Dr. Tilden Edwards and the Rev. Dr. Sharon Hiers, the Rev. Dr. Margaret Benefiel and the Rev. Sarah Fisher, and Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM and the Rev. Brian Sullivan.  

Episcopal Asset Map: New Look and Enhanced Powers

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Episcopal Relief and Development has launched a new, improved version of the Asset Map. In addition to collecting information about worshiping communities, schools and ministries of The Episcopal Church, site enhancements empower Episcopalians to better share information about their communities. Anyone can add information to the site, but once added information goes through an approval process before it's published. The site collects information and stories (videos and news/blogs) about Episcopal Communities organized around Dioceses and Networks. Go here to check out the map: episcopalassetmap.org

All churches, ministries and schools in the Diocese of Atlanta are listed. Please check your listing at: episcopalassetmap.org/dioceses/diocese-atlanta.  Make sure that the name, address, services and general information is current and add information about any unlisted resources you may have. 

There are several reasons why this is a valuable tool.

During Disasters
With disaster preparedness and resources listed and up-to-date, it is easy to locate what's needed to help others.

Reaching Out
The site’s robust search engine optimization makes it come up high in Google's rankings for those who are searching for a church, ministry or school. 

Sharing Information
See what other churches, ministries and schools are doing and be sure to share yours!

If you need any assistance with updates or access to the site, please feel free to reach out to Diocesan Asset Map Coordinator Don Plummer, dplummer@episcopalatlanta.org.


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.


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). 


Diocese of Cape Coast Confirms Official Diocesan Relationship

The following resolution was unanimously passed at the Diocese of Atlanta’s Annual Council which met in Gainesville, GA on November 10-11, 2017:

Resolved, that the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta enter into a Companion Diocese Relationship with the Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast in Ghana in West Africa, and that the relationship last for three years, commencing with the approval of such a relationship by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Cape Coast at their quarterly meeting in December 2017.

 

Subsequently, on Monday, December 4, 2017, we received this notice from the Bishop of Cape Coast, The Right Rev. Victor Atta-Baffoe:

I am pleased to inform you that your [resolution] was read to the Standing Committee at its meeting on November 30, and was received with great joy and affection. We are so grateful. We will hold you in prayer as we journey together in Christian faith and charity. Please be assured that we are holding you all in our prayers and remembering you in our celebration of the Eucharist. We are delighted in the good work God is up to among us!

 

2018 Pilgrimage to Cape Coast
We are planning the next pilgrimage of members of the Diocese of Atlanta to Cape Coast.  The dates will be May 18-25, 2018. Please click here to be considered for this year’s trip. Deadline for applications is January 31, 2018. 

Contact The Rev. Dr. Sharon Hiers (sharon@epiphany.org) if you have any questions or would like to receive more information.



Vestry Essentials

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The Vocational Vestry
When we think of vestry service as a vocation, we transform ourselves from a group of leaders performing important tasks to an invigorated, fulfilled and transformed group that in turn enlivens the congregation and the community at large. In The Vocational Vestry, Alissa Newton provides three ways to start this process.

Five Things Every Vestry Member Should Know
Are you a new vestry member or a long-time veteran? In Five Things Every Vestry Member Should Know, ECF President Donald Romanik shares ideas based on his experience and observations as a vestry member and warden that will speak to you, no matter where you are on your vestry journey.

Vestry Covenants
Does your church leadership team have a vestrycovenant? In Vestry Covenants, Susan Pinkerton explains why a covenant, created and implemented together, is an essential tool for building trust and fostering community among team members.

Top 10
In Top Ten Resources for Vestry Members, Brendon Hunter lists foundational tools and resources that will greatly benefit any new or returning vestry member, and serve as a handy reference while learning about church leadership and serving on the vestry.

If you find this issue of Vestry Papers helpful to your work and ministry, please subscribe to ECF Vital Practices for upcoming issues, blogs and more. We look to you all for new ideas and stories so we can continue to offer church leaders practical resources and tools to respond to the changing needs of the Church. If you have a story to share, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

To learn more about ECF and our programs, please visit our website.

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Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing Video

The Diocese of Atlanta is proud to be home to a new resource for the worldwide Episcopal Church. Located at the Atlanta University Center among Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta campuses on the Westside of Atlanta, the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing will provide parishes and dioceses around the world with the support to address racism head-on through racial reconciliation and healing. The resource and training center is housed in what was known as the historic Absalom Jones Episcopal Center and Chapel building. The creation of the Center aligns with The Episcopal Church and our Diocese’s commitment to reach across the borders and boundaries that divide the human family of God.

Learn more at http://www.centerforracialhealing.org/


We Challenge Ourselves: 111th Annual Council

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How will you challenge yourself to love like Jesus? Representatives from our diocese’s 114 worshiping communities were asked that at the 111th Annual Council, hosted by the Northeast Georgia Convocation, Nov. 10-11 at First Baptist Church in Gainesville. In his speech to attendees, our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, put forth ideas for how to go about living into this part of our diocesan purpose statement.

“We must look at every tradition and convention we have adopted as ministry groups, vestries, individual churches and clergy and ask ourselves and one another, does our current practice and reality square with what Jesus actually said? What he taught? How he loved?” Bishop Wright said.

Council began with Holy Eucharist. The Rt. Rev. Daniel G.P. Gutiérrez, bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, was guest preacher and the Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright celebrated. After the service, the 111th Annual Council convened to determine new members of diocesan leadership groups and consider four resolutions to help establish and strengthen partnerships and raise awareness about important issues.

New Leadership
Standing Committee
Lay: Tracie Jenkins
Clergy: Lauren Holder

Mikell Board of Governors
Andrew Gordon
Julie Gordon

Sewanee Trustee
Tammy Pallot

Resolutions Passed

  • R17-1 Establish a Companion Diocese relationship with the Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast, Ghana
     
  • R17-2 Reunification of the Episcopal Church in Cuba with the Episcopal Church

  • R17-3 HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education

  • R17-4 Strong recommendation parishes and worshiping communities of the Diocese of Atlanta post the Georgia Anti-Trafficking Poster

After Council, activities concluded for the day, and attendees had the opportunity to participate in a service project. Partnering with Rise Against Hunger, our Council delegates worked together with a goal to feed 30,000 people.

Attendees also had the opportunity to sample BBQ from around our diocese at the Episcopal Community Foundation’s BBQ Competition. The winning teams won cash prizes for parish outreach. The winners included the following:

  • First place: The St. Elizabeth Holy Smokers, winning $5,000
  • Second place: The Smokin' Cats from St. Catherine's, winning $2,500
  • Third place: BBQ Is A Noun from St. Bartholomew's, winning $1,500

Reflections

This year’s Council theme echos our diocesan purpose statement, “We challenge ourselves…” Attendees reflected on the ways in which we challenge ourselves in our daily lives. Bishop Wright challenged attendees to find new ways to love like Jesus.

 “If we’re going to love like Jesus, we’re going to have to tell our real stories. Be curious rather than defensive. Forget perfection. Try new things. Acknowledge loss. Be more courageous. Reach deeper. Laugh from our bellies. Talk less. Sing louder. And trust God more. So there it is, “nos desafiamos a amar como Jesús.” We challenge ourselves to love like Jesus.” Bishop Wright said.

Bishop’s Cross Recipients

The first Bishop’s Crosses were awarded to two members of each convocation - one lay and one clergy - who embody the diocesan purpose statement. Recipients were nominated and recommended to the Bishop. The crosses were made from the Dogwood tree by Andy Schuyler, a member of St. Patrick’s parish.

NE Georgia Convocation
Lay nominee: John Andrews
Clergy nominee: Mary Demmler

Chattahoochee Valley Convocation:
Lay nominee: Martin McCann
Clergy nominee: Sandy McCann

North Atlanta Convocation
Lay nominee: Dr. May C. Brown
Clergy nominee: Ruth Pattison

SW Convocation
Lay nominee: Angela Mankin
Clergy nominee: Hazel Glover

Mid-Atlanta Convocation
Lay nominee: Tahir Murray
Clergy nominee: Mary Wetzel

East Atlanta Convocation:
Lay nominee:  Claudia Fedarko
Clergy nominee: Jenna Strizak

NW GA Convocation
Lay nominee: Lola Thomas
Clergy nominee: Janice Bracken Wright

Middle Georgia Convocation
Lay nominee: Julie Groce
Clergy nominee: Ben Wells

Northeast Metro Convocation
Lay nominee: Luis Ramos
Clergy nominee Nancy Yancey

Marietta Convocation
Lay nominee: Stephanie Timm
Clergy nominee: Lesley Ann Drake

 

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The Rev. Herschel Atkinson Honored

The Rev. Herschel Atkinson received a standing ovation from Council as Bishop Wright thanked him for his many years of service as Secretary of Council and announced that a scholarship at the Sewanee School of Theology is being created in his honor.

Contribution made payable to The School of Theology with a notation "Herschel Atkinson Scholarship" should be sent to:

Sukey Byerly
The School of Theology
335 Tennessee Ave
Sewanee, TN 37383

Donations may also be made through the Sewanee website. Be sure to complete the In Honor Of line near the bottom of the On-Line Giving Form. 

Annual Council Photos

View the photo slideshow to see more photos and highlights from the 111th Annual Council.


Bishops Visit Diocese to Dedicate New Resource for The Episcopal Church

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The Diocese of Atlanta is proud to be home to a new resource for the worldwide Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop The Most Rev. Michael Curry was on hand for the Oct. 11 ribbon cutting for the new Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing.

Located at the Atlanta University Center among Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta campuses on the Westside of Atlanta, the center will provide parishes and dioceses around the world with the support to address racism head-on through racial reconciliation and healing. The resource and training center is housed in what was known as the historic Absalom Jones Episcopal Center and Chapel building. The creation of the Center aligns with The Episcopal Church and our Diocese’s commitment to reach across the borders and boundaries that divide the human family of God.

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“We shall either learn to live together as brothers and sisters, or we will perish together as fools. The choice is ours, chaos or community,” said Presiding Bishop Curry echoing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “This center really does seek to address the polarities and divisions occasioned by our racial history, but also the polarities and divisions that are either directly or indirectly related to that.”

“I thank you and your Bishop together for what you are doing here in Atlanta that is typified by this Center,” Curry said. “I thank God for that leadership because we need it. Not only in our church but we need it in our country.”

Dr. Catherine Meeks is the founding executive director of the Center and chair of the former Diocese of Atlanta’s Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism. The Center will replace and expand upon the work of the Commission within the Diocese of Atlanta. It will provide training and help bring energy and enthusiasm to the work of racial reconciliation.

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She hopes that people from parishes across the country and world will visit the center to begin the work of learning how to create brave spaces in their own communities. The idea is to foster environments where people can feel comfortable talking about their experiences with race – both good and bad. Meeks says that it is only through conversations and learning about our history and acknowledging our own prejudices that we can discern and decide how we want to shape our present and future together.

The Center will suggest book studies, film screenings, and planning pilgrimages to sites that are historically significant within the context of racial reconciliation. Among the first events to take place at the Center will be a gathering of people from Southeastern dioceses in January. Following that, representatives from all of the Church’s 99 dioceses will be invited to Atlanta in the spring.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony our bishop, The. Rt. Rev. Rob Wright, spoke frankly about the importance of addressing racism as Christians and Episcopalians.

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“The Episcopal Church lent the institution of slavery its support, justification, and after slavery was abolished, continued to support segregation and discrimination. These are the facts,” he said. “In the words of Rabbi Heschel, however, we gather here to say some are guilty, but all are responsible. So, we repent of our complicity in systems of slavery and repression, and to commit ourselves to opposing the sin of racism in our personal and public lives, and to strive for the ongoing creation of the Beloved Community.”

That community is a vision Dr. King spoke about in which racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. As Episcopalians, we can undertake this work through the lens of living into our baptismal promise. Also on hand for the celebration was Bishop Victor Atta-Baffoe, Bishop of Cape Coast in the Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast.

To read more about work being undertaken at the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing and across the Diocese of Atlanta, pre-order your 2017-2018 edition of Pathways magazine today. Issues will be delivered in late-November.


The Diocese of Atlanta Launches Pathways Magazine

We are pleased to announce that the 2017-18 issue of Pathways magazine is now available for pre-order. This award-winning publication shares inspiring stories of people that are challenging themselves to love like Jesus. Magazines will be delivered in late November.


Prayer is A Prelude: A Letter from Bishop Wright on Las Vegas

Prayer is a prelude.

Good Evening Brothers and Sisters, in the aftermath of the horror of Las Vegas, I am heartened to know that you’re gathered to remember and pray for the souls of those who have died, including Mr. Paddock. I am heartened that you have gathered to comfort one another with the comfort we find in Christ Jesus. Were I not traveling today, I would be blessed to be with you. Holy Scripture reminds us that we are to “…rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Tonight we weep. Tonight is an important part of what makes us human. Even
though Las Vegas is more than fifteen hundred miles away from Georgia, we are nevertheless connected with the men and women struck down and the loved ones the left behind by our ability to empathize and have compassion.

So, we pray. We reach to God in familiar words to remember the dead and send our positive psychic and spiritual energy to those still in shock and who will grieve for years to come. But let us remember also, Jesus was a man of prayer and of action. Prayer, for us, is a prelude to action. Prayer with no corresponding action is a useless and vain exercise. Most importantly, prayer without action is not the faith Jesus practiced!

My sincere prayer is that the lives of those killed in Las Vegas will not be in vain. I still have the audacity to believe that America is a great country! I still believe we can accomplish great things together. I believe we can affirm the Second Amendment, protect the rights of hunters and sportsman and enact common-sense gun laws and put into practice intelligent safety measures.

This is not a partisan sentiment. Morgues and cemeteries are not divided by political affiliation. And families do not cry red or blue tears. This is about coming to the realization that moments of silence and prayer will not, of themselves, make our culture safer. What will make our culture safer is ordinary people like you and I, from every political stripe, finding the courage to act.

Jesus often asked men and women he encountered, “What do you want?” As you are gathered to pray and remember tonight, I put his question to all of us, What do you want? I want an America where we are less afraid and more neighborly. An America where it is more difficult to get a semi-automatic weapon or high capacity magazines than it is to get a pack of Sudafed or Nasonex. I want an America where special interests like the NRA don’t control our elected officials with campaign donations and render them spineless.

I want an America where law enforcement officers are better equipped to keep us safe than criminals are equipped to do us harm. These are not Democratic dreams or Republican dreams, this is an American dream that can save us from our present American nightmare. What makes these kinds of dreams a reality is when you and I, by prayer and strengthened by the Sacraments and our fellowship together, take seriously the words our post Communion prayer:

“…Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart"

You are always in my thoughts and prayers, please let me be in yours.

Your brother and bishop,

Robert C Wright


Heart & Soul Annual Barbecue at Holy Family Church a Huge Success in Spite of Hurricane Irma

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Holy Family Church in Jasper held its Annual Barbecue September 23rd despite damages to the church's outdoor Pavilion! Hurricane Irma came through Jasper a week before the annual event and did major damage to the church roof and to the Pavilion which normally housed part of the event.

The barbecue was moved inside to the Church's Conference Center. Holy Family's volunteers delivered over 100 barbecue lunches to local businesses and served dinner to 200, all to make a difference in local charities like ACES, CARES, Good Samaritan, Boys and Girls Club and Angels on Horseback. Each of these agencies fulfills an important role in their community!

100% of the proceeds will go to these charities! The Resource Ministry will continue the Heart & Soul fundraising theme this year by securing a booth in the upcoming Holiday Market on November 17th & 18th, 2017 at Chattahoochee Tech in Jasper! Please plan to stop by and see the beautiful and artistic creations of church members and supporters. 


Diocesan Youth Worker Gathering

From September 18-20, the Office of Youth Ministry of our diocese was given the honor of hosting the annual gathering of Diocesan Youth Ministers. Almost 40 dioceses were presenting for the 3 days of networking, formation, and continuing education. On the last day of the Conference, Bishop Wright led a discussion on Adaptive Leadership and Youth Missioner Easton Davis introduced our new Beloved Community: Dismantling Racism Youth Curriculum.  


Grace-Calvary and Clarkesville FUMC Volunteers Ramp Up Service to Community

It seems a simple concept. Easy access from a home to the outside world. When a disability interferes, this simple exercise can prove to be a frustrating impediment. Thanks to a faithful group of community volunteers, led by Ray Rowell of Clarkesville, this challenge is being addressed – one ramp at a time. 

Eight volunteers from Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church and Clarkesville First United Methodist Church, on Aug. 29, dedicated a day to construct a 16-foot ramp for a Martin resident. An early start to the day to beat the summer heat found the group at the site unloading “boxes” that make up the framework of the ramp, along with deck boards that had been cut and assembled off site, said Walton Smith of Clarkesville, working with the Grace-Calvary group. “The group has a trailer that contains the tools and equipment of a mobile workshop,” Smith said. “All of this is set up near where the ramp is to be built. The only thing required on-site is one power outlet.” 

A first priority is to connect the landing portion of the ramp to the home. “This is normally the slowest part of the onsite work,” Smith said. The landing is attached to the house and supported by 4x4’s, the ramp is attached to it, sloping at 5 degrees down to ground level. The 4x4 posts are either put into post holes or placed into heavy concrete footings. The landing and ramp boxes are then attached to the house and the posts with nails, bolts and screws. As each box is put into place, pre-cut deck boards are nailed and screwed down to it. Then 2x4’s are attached to the posts to enclose the ramp in a strong, protective railing. Finally, a top board is attached over the top rail and the posts, thus tying the whole structure together. The main Martin ramp needed two additional small ramps in order to be useful. “A short ramp, also at 5 degrees of incline, was built at the house entry and another where the walkway met the driveway so as to permit easier transitions by a wheelchair," Smith said. 

Rowell has four ramp projects in the pipeline, with the next scheduled construction day set for September in Homer. This ministry is an example of what can be started by one person, said Father Sam Buice, rector of Grace-Calvary. Ray Rowell began building ramps in the area many years ago, Buice said.

“He has built this ministry and can know that it will be here long after he stops building ramps himself,” he said. “The group that has formed around him is equally committed to this work. As a person who spent three months in a wheelchair myself, I can say, first-hand how important a ramp can be and what it means to have someone build one for you.”

For more information, email sueandrayrowell@windstream.net to be placed on the mailing list for notices of upcoming volunteer opportunities. 

Photos: Walton Smith


Michael Battle to preach on 'Day 1' October 8

Michael Battle to preach on ‘Day 1’
Director of Desmond Tutu Center and professor at General Theological Seminary

The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Battle, Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society and director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York City, is the featured preacher Oct. 8 on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program also accessible as a podcast and online at Day1.org. Day 1 is heard in the Atlanta area on WSB News 95.5 and 750 a.m. on Sunday morning at 7:05. 

A graduate of Duke University, Battle received a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Duke. Before coming to General Theological Seminary he served churches in North Carolina, California, and South Africa, and in other seminaries. He is the author of numerous books including his latest “Heaven on Earth: God’s Call to Community in the Book of Revelation.”

Battle’s sermon “God’s Kind of Apocalypse” is drawn from the parable of the wicked tenants found in Matthew 21: 33-46. “Jesus tells parables for a purpose,” he says. “Jesus tells parables to invite us into God’s point of view instead of our limited one.” 

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

“Day 1” has been broadcast every week for over 72 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 and via various podcast platforms. 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.  

News from “Day 1”® 
The national weekly ecumenical radio program produced by the Alliance for Christian Media
Contact: Peter Wallace, 404-815-0258pwallace@day1.org
              Ethel Ware Carter, 404-815-0258, ext. 2230ewcarter@day1.org
 


Help Those Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the lives of millions of people in Texas and Louisiana. Hear from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on ways to help those impacted.

Long ago the prophet Malachi taught that we are all children of God by virtue of our creation by the same God. "Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us," he asked (2:10). Jesus taught the same thing when he told a story about a Good Samaritan. We are indeed all the children of God. And if we are all God's children, then we are all brothers and sisters.

In our recent days, we have watched and witnessed the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  Our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana need our help.

As our fellow Episcopalians minister to those in need they need our help not just now or in the short term, but for the long haul. Our support of Episcopal Relief & Development is a tangible, practical, effective and reliable way to do that, keep in your prayers for the people in Texas and Louisiana whose lives have been forever changed by Hurricane Harvey.

Episcopal Relief & Development reminds us not to send food, clothing or other items because affected dioceses have limited or no capacity to receive, store or distribute goods. It is more efficient and better for the local economy to make a donation.

Together we are the human family of God and our efforts in times like these truly help bring God's love and ours to our sisters and brothers in great need.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church

Hear more from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
 
 

 
 
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Diocesan Tubing Trip

On August 5th, close to 200 youth tubed the river in Helen, Ga. After tubing, they enjoyed lunch and Eucharist at Church of the Resurrection. It was an incredible day filled with fellowship, laughter, and worship. View the video below for highlights from the tubing trip.