News Posts

St. Julian’s Cuts Ribbon for Starting Over Program

Bishop Rob Wright on Friday cut the ribbon at a ceremony opening the newly expanded home for Starting Over, a ministry of St. Julian’s Episcopal Church offering a safe space for children to have court-ordered visits with non-custodial parents. Bishop Wright said he was “overjoyed” by the work of the Douglasville parish before he and program founder Diane Campbell cut the ceremonial ribbon. “My happy meter is overjoyed right now,” Wright said.

“I’m so happy for this. It is adding value to the county, city, and state. I love a group that has a clear eye for purpose. This is making a difference in the world.” Campbell said Starting Over has proven to be a very needed program in Douglas County.

“This is part of our life. We have gotten a lot of support for this program,” Campbell said. “It is very special to see it have a beautiful home in our church.”

The new space, made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Episcopal Community Foundation of Middle and North Georgia and other donations, will allow more no-cost visits between parents and children.

Introducing New Center for Racial Healing Board Member The Rev. Matt Heyd

The Absalom Jones for Racial Healing Executive Director Catherine Meeks met with The Rev. Matt Heyd, Rector of Church of the Heavenly Rest NYC, to introduce Matt as the newest board member. They discuss the board, plans to nationalize it, and what they are excited about for the future of their partnership.

“Life in the last couple of years has been so distracting. It’s important to keep sharing the story of why the work of racial healing is important and why this work is central to our faith and the life of the parish.”, said Matt in response to Dr. Meeks’s question on what are the challenges of doing the work of racial healing.

‘I have to say that Heavenly rest is modeling how you take up the work of racial healing, and I am grateful for real partnership.“, said Dr. Meeks of her excitement for Matt joining the board.

Introducing the Good News Podcast

Good News Podcast Pilot Episode

Welcome to the pilot episode of the Good News Podcast! The Good News Podcast’s purpose is to share the Good News taking shape in The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. It is a ministry of the Office of Congregational Vitality in partnership with the Office of Communications and Digital Evangelism in the diocese. Sally Ulrey, Missioner for Congregational Vitality and Ministry Development is the host of the podcast. Easton Davis, Canon for Communications and Digital Evangelism, is the producer.

In each episode, Sally sits down with people from across the diocese to hear their stories of how Jesus is at work in their community. These are stories of transformation and how The Spirit moves in and changes lives. These are stories of Good News and Faith.

In the pilot episode, Sally talks with The Rev. Bonnie Underwood and The Rev. Barbara Windom, clergy from All Saints’ Warner Robins. They share the story of how deep listening to the needs of the community helped launch a new ministry, and how their food pantry now provides additional services for those experiencing homelessness and home insecurity, helping them obtain replacement identification.  They share the story of how it started, and the stories of the people they’ve been able to walk alongside as fellow neighbors.

For People Celebrates 100th Episode

For People Centennial | Part 1 of 2

In this episode, Melissa and Bishop Wright look back on the journey to the 100th episode. They discuss how it started, innovation along the way, and reflect on six excerpts from For People special guests. Excerpts included are from Barbara Brown Taylor, Diana Butler Bass, Sheffield Hale, Dr. Gregoy Ellison II, The Rev. Natosha Reid Rice, and Bishop Will Willimon. The episode will be available at 5am ET on April 29th.

Since its launch in March 2020, the podcast has been downloaded more than 120,000 times for an average of 1,100 downloads per episode.

In each episode Bishop Wright and occasional special guests include listeners in conversations at the crossroads of faith and life, exploring the challenges of living in an ever-changing world. For People with Bishop Rob Wright and his weekly blog, For Faith, draw inspiration from the life of Jesus to answer 21st-century questions.

Since its inception, the series has continued adapting to the new realities of life and how people experience community, family, and faith. People from more than 4,200 cities in 102 countries have responded by listening and subscribing.

An Online Discussion with Dr. Meeks and The Rev. Matt Heyd on New Partnerships

The Rev. Matt Heyd has recently joined the board of the Center for Racial Healing. Matt is the Rector of The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest located in New York City. Dr. Meeks and Matt will discuss the new partnerships and their vision for nationalizing the Center for Racial Healing Board. Join Dr. Meeks and Matt for an online conversation on April 28th at 3pm ET. You can watch the conversation live on Facebook 

St. Benedict’s Interdisciplinary STEAM Director Selected to Present at GA Tech

St. Benedict’s Episcopal School (STBS) is excited to share its Interdisciplinary STEAM Director, Christopher Scandrett, was selected to present at Georgia Tech’s Annual STEAM Leadership Conference. During this year’s event, held virtually the week of March 14, 2022, STEAM leaders shared an inspiring array of experiences to build and engage K12 STEAM education leaders across the country.

“I am very excited to present at Georgia Tech’s STEAM Leadership Conference to showcase St. Benedict’s dedication to STEAM learning and DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging)”, stated STBS Interdisciplinary STEAM Director Christopher Scandrett. “Current research and statistics correlate effective STEAM education with higher-paying jobs and the potential to close the racial and gender pay gap in America. Additionally, creating spaces for minorities, girls, and kids with diverse abilities to engage in STEAM learning has proven to increase their sense of belonging and put them on a path to success in the classroom and beyond.”

Scandrett’s presentation highlighted the research-based benefits for minorities, underserved groups, and children with disabilities (or diverse abilities) by incorporating and integrating STEAM into the educational curriculum. During his talk, he shared new research findings that indicate that the implementation of STEAM content into academic curriculum correlates to heightened classroom engagement of scholars with conditions such as ADHD and reading disorders, an increase of minority groups’ test scores, and an increase in the general sense of belonging to most scholars.

In 2020, St. Benedict’s received a Goizueta Grant totaling $500,000 to fully fund an integrated STEAM program with state-of-the-art technologies and an interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist. STEAM integration is now fully incorporated in every classroom at St. Benedict’s, beginning in preschool through eighth grade. The program also benefits the wider community, offering STEAM-focused summer camps that expose resources that may not otherwise be available to them.

“STEAM integration has engaged our St. B’s students in more active learning and increased opportunities for collaboration and critical thinking,” stated STBS Academic Chair Angela McKenzie. “I see our students as problem solvers now who are going to tackle a problem or challenge with perseverance and creativity. ”

For information on St. Benedict’s Episcopal School’s STEAM program or to schedule a shadow day, please get in touch with Kirsten Perdue, Director of Enrollment Management, at admissions@stbs.org.

New School for Lay Ministry

The Office of Congregational Vitality is pleased to announce the School for Lay Ministry!

The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church charge each diocese to “make provision for the affirmation and development of the ministry of all baptized persons, including: (a) Assistance in understanding that all baptized persons are called to minister in Christ’s name, to identify their gifts with the help of the Church and to serve Christ’s mission at all times and in all places. (b) Assistance in understanding that all baptized persons are called to sustain their ministries through commitment to life-long Christian formation.”  To that end, the School for Ministry for the Formation of All the Baptized was born.

The new FAB (Formation for All the Baptized) School for Ministry will support the formation and licensure process for those lay ministries. To be licensed as one of these types of lay ministers requires participation in a discernment process, endorsement of clergy and vestry, formation classes, meeting with the Commission on Ministry, and a commissioning service. Licensure means that the person can serve not only in their sponsoring parish, but also potentially in other parishes in the Diocese who would benefit from those ministries. Read more in the Constitution and Canons. Read more about the competencies and formation requirements for these licensed ministries here.

Support from the Community of Faith
Licensed lay ministers are identified by and supported by their communities of faith, and need the endorsement of the member of the clergy exercising oversight, along with the support of the Vestry. This includes a commitment on the part of the clergy sponsors to be in intentional conversation once a week during the 5 week discernment process, using a conversation guide created for that purpose.

Discernment
Those identified by and recommended by their communities of faith who are interested in being licensed for a particular lay ministry will first participate in a 5 week discernment cohort on Zoom to identify their gifts for ministry, listen for God’s activity in their lives, and discern their next steps in their vocational calling.  Included in this discernment is 5 weeks of conversation with their clergy sponsors using a conversation guide created for that purpose. The last session of the cohort will include a meeting with the Commission on Ministry to share their story of discernment.  The Commission on Ministry helps discern avenues for the expression and support of the ministry of all the baptized, lay and ordained. This cohort will start after Easter on April 27th.

Formation
The path for formation will depend on the licensure track the lay minister is pursuing.  The Diocese of Atlanta has partnered with Bexley-Seabury Seminary to provide formation for most ministry tracks through their Pathways program for licensure.  The Diocese has also partnered with the Community of Hope International to provide pastoral care training. These classes will generally take place in the Fall of 2022. Read more about the formation requirements for each licensed lay ministry here.

Recommendation of the Commission on Ministry
Discerners will meet again with the Commission on Ministry to share what they learned in their formation.  At the recommendation of the Commission, the Bishop may decide to license these lay ministers for ministry throughout the Diocese.

Commissioning
Those who have completed the process will be commissioned by the Bishop in a Diocesan service in the late fall/winter of 2022, and begin their licensed lay ministries in the Diocese.

Easter Message 2022 | You Can’t Kill God

…The outrageous fact of Easter, you can’t kill God! Easter throws her arms around us and whispers God is not dead, God is still alive!…

-Bishop Rob Wright

Easter Vigil with Good Shepherd and St. Simon’s

Join Good Shepherd Covington and St. Simon’s Conyers for The Great Vigil of Easter at 6pm ET on April 16, Holy Saturday. Through their partnership with one another and The Offices of Communications of The Diocese of Atlanta, the service was filmed in two locations and includes incredible music and liturgy. You can watch on YouTube and Facebook.

Download the service bulletin here.

Join us for Easter

We are The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. We are 117 worshiping communities of The Episcopal Church in Middle and North Georgia that are a part of the Anglican Communion. Our purpose: We challenge ourselves and the world to love like Jesus as we worship joyfully, serve compassionately, and grow spiritually.

We are over 50,000 Christians that believe in living out the Gospel message of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives. We benefit from the leadership of women at the highest level. We welcome and affirm all orientations and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We believe in the justice of the Gospel and that racial reconciliation is necessary and important work. Some call us progressive, but we call it loving like Jesus.

Come experience the wonder and love of God during Holy Week and on Easter. Wherever you are, we invite you to join 1 of our 117 worshipping communities across our diocese. In a broken world, we are 117 communities that welcome all of God’s children. Find a community near you.

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