From the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase
10th Bishop of Georgia

Dear People of the Diocese of Georgia:

Linked below you will find a document that spells out the priorities and framework for our Campaign for Congregational Development. This is a result of 14 months of listening, interacting, and praying with the clergy and lay leaders of our Diocese. The process that helped us arrive here has been truly from the ground up. Hundreds of leaders in the Diocese shared their hopes and dreams for our future. As our consultant, Royster Hedgepeth, collected all the data and shared it with Diocesan Council, three clear priorities stood out from all the others:

  • Congregational Growth & Development,
  • Clergy & Lay Leader Development, and
  • Leadership Formation of Youth & Young Adults.

Around each of these three priorities, the Diocesan Council, the Diocesan Staff, and I have crafted three strategic goals to accomplish these priorities. These strategic goals, we believe, will directly address the priorities and help us fulfill them.

Our Camp & Conference Center, Honey Creek, can be an important strategic asset in fulfilling our goals. Having a strong and vibrant Honey Creek will make accomplishing these goals so much easier. The Honey Creek Commission and the Diocesan Staff are working in partnership with our new Executive Director, Dade Brantley, to bring Honey Creek to solvency by changing the operational paradigm and making long-needed repairs to the facilities. The great response we have had to date to the bond sale has begun to buy us the time to get Honey Creek operationally stable. A successful campaign will allow us to make the long-term changes and improvements to Honey Creek.

So, in the PDF file online here ( Campaign Priorities and Framework PDF ) you will find laid out Nine Strategic Goals-three each for the three priorities. When we add Honey Creek, then we have Ten Strategic Goals. Over this summer and into the fall, I, along with the Diocesan Staff and Dr Hedgepeth, will work to develop the leadership structure described in the attached document. We will also continue to hone the potential list for the Campaign’s major donors. In addition, we will work on foundation grants that would help us jump-start some of the strategies spelled out in the document.

We have begun what will be at least a five-year journey with this Campaign. We all are going to need the virtues of persistence and grace. When you were searching for the 10th Bishop of Georgia, the clergy and lay leaders of the Diocese said they wanted someone who would be a “game-changer.” I heard that clearly. We cannot keep on doing what we always have done and expect different results. This Campaign is about our collective transformation into being a diocese that looks like Jesus and one that is unambiguously responsive to him in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

My hunch is none of us is completely ready for this journey. Neither were the disciples on the shore of Galilee. But they did follow. And so will we.