Can You Help? SE Gwinnett Cooperative Ministries Food Shelves Nearly Empty


From the Co-op:



Dear Friends and Family,

As you know, I am very conservative in posting that we are in an emergency situation. What the world calls emergency, we choose to call OPPORTUNITY. For we work for the Lord and He is faithful and true in His care. We do not fear, as we know that He will never allow us to be abandoned.

I seek to stay in closeness to Him and take His lead as to when to send a cry for help. And it is that time.

If not for a precious donor, who gave generously on Monday, we would be operating this week without any financial assistance. And praise God for one of our supporting churches who sent emergency relief to help us with Summer Manna expenses.

We are grateful that we have church coverage for the final weeks of Summer Manna Delivery. However, in addition to delivery, we have also been distributing extra weekly food to families with children that are not on a Summer Manna route. Summer Hunger is REAL and active in our community. This extra distribution has cost approximately $20,000. We are honored to help these parents. We have 2 weeks left.

Ivy sends weekly FB updates regarding our FOOD needs. Right now we are SLAMMED with food requests. We are asking for additional emergency donations asap. In particular of the following items:

-All Beans both canned and dried (please note this does not include green beans)
-Meat – Beef, Tuna, Salmon

-Spaghetti Pasta
-Pancake Mix

-Potatoes, white and sweet
-Mixed Vegetables
-Creamed Corn


-Spaghetti Sauce
-Mac n Cheese
-Soups – Vegetable, Tomato, Beef
-Side Mixes – Pasta and Stuffing

Non Food:
Feminine Products –
Razors and Shaving Cream
Detergent – Laundry and Dish
Pull Ups – Size 5 and 6

These are the most pressing. Ivy has walked through and identified the above listed items. However, please note that we are low on other items as well.

We will accept donations:
Mon 10a-12p and 3p-7p
Tues 10a-12p
Wed 10a-2p
Thurs 10a-12p
Fri 10a-2p
Sat 10a-12p

God gave me this verse this afternoon when anxiety started to creep in:

“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say:
Here am I”
Isaiah 58:9

Serving Christ,
Laura, Ivy, Becky, and our beloved army of volunteers.

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Reading Camp Photos

Reading Camp

Please enjoy viewing the Photo Book “Reading Camp at Snellville 2015” just made with Picaboo.

To view the Reading Camp at Snellville project, click here.

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Two Preschool Summer Camps Planned for July

preschool_logoSt. Matthew’s Preschool held one summer camp in June and will be holding 2 more summer camps this summer. Children who will be a rising 2 year old (2 by Sept. 1st) through rising 1st grade are welcome to attend.

The cost is $100/camp. A $25 discount will be given if you sign up for more than one camp! Children will attend camp from 9:30-1:00.


Camp 2: July 13-17-Wild West

Camp 3: July 20-24-If you give a…..(based on the books by Laura Numeroff)

If you are interested in signing up your child for camp, forms are available on the Preschool bulletin board. All forms and payments can be placed in the Preschool mailbox located in the Church Office.

****Children who are not current students at St. Matthew’s Preschool will need to fill out a medical authorization form****

Check out our website at

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A Note From Bonnie

To my dear, dear friends at St. Matthew’s:

Bonnie's QuiltThank you all for such an amazing send off:

**The gift basket from the Preschool is already being used to help me pamper myself. They are such an incredible group of ladies. If your children attend the Preschool you are truly blessed.

**The Wednesdays With the Word ladies provided a beautiful lunch and a gift I will cherish forever. I miss Wednesday mornings and all the laughter and hugs.

**In a total backwards flip, the volunteers that have helped me through the years, not only took me to lunch but also helped fund our Disney trip with the grandchildren. I’m the one that should have been thanking THEM for always being around to lend a hand and making sure things ran smoothly in the church office.

**I have always been in awe of the Knit, Purl, & Pray ladies that gather twice a month to make prayer shawls. I never have enough time to do what I love to do. In my new “semi-retired” status, they gave me a huge basket filled to the brim with beautiful yarn. I can’t wait to dig in and start crocheting again.

**Hanging from my porch are the three gorgeous plants from the Flower Guild. I admire them every day as I think of this special group of ladies.

**The Vestry gave me something that has great meaning to me, and I will always think of St. Matthew’s with a warm heart as I grow in faith as a new Episcopalian. The dinner was a true highlight in my life, and I thank you all.

*Words cannot express how thankful I am for the beautiful quilt (Thank you Terri and Kira, for putting it together.) that I received from the congregation. I have read your messages several times, and it makes me smile. I have it hanging in my living room for all to admire. The financial gift was totally overwhelming and a huge surprise.

More than anything, I want you all to know how blessed I was to be your parish administrator. You are a wonderful group of people, and I thank God for each and every one of you.

God bless you and the congregation of St. Matthew’s.


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Reflections on Christ Walk

Reflections on Christ Walk, a 40-day Spiritual Fitness Program

For 6 weeks after Easter, a group of St. Matthew’s parishioners and friends met at the farm of Susan and Jim Jung in Conyers each Saturday morning for fellowship, education, and walking as part of Christ Walk, a 40-day spiritual fitness program. As a physician and mental health practitioner, I have been aware for many years of the profound physical and emotional benefits of walking. The experience of Christ Walk has shown me that walking can also be a powerful tool for spiritual growth, which is fundamental to health and wellness.

The Christ Walk is described in a book entitled Christ Walk by Anna F. Courie, a registered nurse and EFM graduate who started the first Christ Walk in 2006 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hampton, Virginia. Having worked as a Health Promotions Coordinator and designing walking programs for the military, she realized the benefits of walking with intention and purpose and was called to create and start the program.

Several walking routes and Biblical journeys of Christ and his disciples were referenced in the introduction of the book, with each journey having a different distance, goal, and spiritual purpose. We were encouraged to set our goals for distance and a spiritual purpose, to walk every day, and to record our distance, spiritual thoughts, and feelings each day. We were given the flexibility to substitute the walking with other physical activities, as desired, and the book started each day of the journey with Biblical scriptures of encouragement.

Walking with spiritual intention allowed me the time and opportunity to actively ponder my relationship with God in my daily life, not just during church or a daily prayer ritual, but in my words and actions with my family, my patients, and my friends. “Was I truly walking the walk” ? (No pun intended) The weekly meetings at the Jung farm allowed us to encourage and support one another and reflect on our activities during the week.

The natural beauty of the Jung Farm and the surrounding farmland stimulated all my senses as I walked and brought forth prayers of praise and thanksgiving for the simple wonders of creation and the healing powers of nature. On subsequent walks, I set personal and professional goals and used my time to converse with God and to ask for His guidance and blessings. There were some days that I could not walk and felt guilty, but on resuming my walk and focusing on God’s love and grace, I knew that He was still walking with me.

Quiet time for “listening” to God is obtained by many through the practice of meditation. All of the major religions of the world have some form of meditation to quiet the mind and facilitate spiritual enlightenment. As Christians, we are taught to “be still and quiet” in order the “hear” the Holy Spirit. Simply speaking, we pray and “talk” to God, while with meditation, we are quiet and “listen” to God. There are many who have mastered the art of walking meditation, which focuses on coordinating the breath with the paces of walking. I am more comfortable, however, meditating while I am still and seated, focusing on my breathing and a simple phrase or mantra.

The Christ Walk Program was an opportunity for me to strengthen my relationship with God through intentional walk with prayer and meditation. It was also an opportunity to fellowship with others and to improve my physical fitness. Since the official six-week period of Christ Walk has ended, I have continued my walk due to the benefits I have felt. I hope that this Christ Walk was the first of many, and I invite all of you to join us for the next Christ Walk.

Flora D. Cox, M.D.

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Blood Drive Scheduled for July 12

Red Cross Blood Drive

Sunday, July 12, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

This blood drive is in honor of Ellanor Young, niece of Levi and Amanda Livermont and grand-daughter of Jack and Pam Denton, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in August of 2014.  She is cancer free and has 2+ years of treatment, needing various blood products along the way.  Please consider this easy form of giving in her name.  Sign up will be available online soon.  Contact Amanda Livermont if you are interested at 678-491-7457.


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Clergy News

Nancee 2015Dearest Ones,

Many of you have heard me say, “It takes a village to raise a child and a world to raise a priest.” As I approach ordination into the Sacred Order of Priests and transition into my first call, I wanted to express my gratitude for the fertile soil that St. Matthew’s continues to be in my formation. St. Matthew’s is where my family has shed tears of sorrow and tears of joy; it is the place my children and I call our church home. As I find my way in Charlotte and among the beautiful people of St. John’s, I find myself still connected to the memories and love of St. Matthew’s. As the Holy Spirit draws me into the wider church, please know I remain connected to St. Matthew’s. “God be with you till we meet again; ‘neath bright wings protecting hide you, daily manna still provide you: God be with you till we meet again,” (Wonder, Love, and Praise Hymnal, # 801).

With love and joy,
Nancee Cekuta

Editor’s Note: Nancee was ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests on Saturday, June 20 at the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta. St. Matthew’s was her home parish throughout her discernment process and seminary.  She was called as Curate to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, NC upon completion of seminary in May 2015.


Christopher Szarke

Father Christopher Szarke received his certificate as a Board Certified Chaplain at the Association of Professional Chaplains Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, June 6th. This is the highest professional certification for healthcare chaplains. He was also elected to a three-year term as secretary for the Assembly of Episcopal Healthcare Chaplains (AEHC), a 300+ member national organization.

He was St. Matthew’s seminarian through Candler School of Theology from August 2010 through May 2013 under the mentorship of Father Doug Coil and his faculty advisor, Bishop Keith Whitmore. Father Christopher was ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 22, 2013 and presented by Althea and Mallard Benton of St. Matthew’s, his confessor Mother Ceci Duke, and his spiritual director Barbara D. Meinert. Ordination to priesthood was on the Feast of St. Thomas, December 21, 2013, when he was presented by Father Doug, Ivy and Colin Monteith, and his father, Jim Szarke, at the Cathedral of St. Philip. His first Mass was at St. Matthew’s on Sunday, December 22, 2013, with Mother Debbie Metzgar Shew participating.

Father Christopher recently resigned from his positions as chaplain at Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, New York; chaplain and director of spiritual care at Cortland Regional Medical Center, Cortland; and associate priest at St. John’s, Ithaca.

He will begin his new position as rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Belfast, Maine on July 7th with first Sunday liturgies on Sunday, July 12th. St. Margaret’s has 203 active members in the bay town of less than 7,000 people. It is the only Episcopal parish in the county and significant ministries include working with men who have been recently imprisoned and with women healing from domestic violence.

He writes, “St. Matthew’s continues to shape my ministry. You welcomed, prayed, loved, provided financial support, and taught me through seminary. Your continued prayers are appreciated. You will always be in my prayers and have a special connection to St. Margaret’s. Thank you for all you share.”

New contact information:

Father Christopher Szarke
St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church
95 Court Street
Belfast, ME 04915
St. Margaret’s:

Belfast, Maine:Watch

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