Disclaimer: this post is about work specifically related to our diocese in Central Pennsylvania. Knowing that many of you who enjoy this blog are not from here, bear with me this week as we follow this organizational rabbit trail. Take what is edifying or applicable to your own place and leave what isn’t. And come back again! Thank you for being part of our blog community.
Parts and pieces. The parts and pieces of a diocese- most of them moving, some of them old and running like a top, some of them under construction, and some, yet, just emerging. This week has been one in which I’ve been working on several parts, here and there, and I am beginning to get a sense of it all working together. It’s exciting.
The standard parts and pieces- Council of Trustees, Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, Diocesan Staff- these are becoming better organized and processes are being honed and roles and functions clearly articulated.
Our biggest programmatic piece, The Stevenson School for Ministry with its subsets of ministry of Youth and Children, licensed lay ministries, worker priest and deacons programs as well as classes for lay formation… it’s all coming together with increased student participation, advanced software for distance learning, and a fabulous faculty. Other programmatic pieces- Refugee Resource Ministry, the Social Justice Network, Integrity, Episcopal Church Women, Daughters of the King, and the Addiction and Recovery Network, to name a few, are doing great, kingdom-building work and through the newly established Council of Trustee Liaison program, are better connected than ever.
We have special, creative ministry projects taking shape- In the Southern and the Susquehanna Convocations we are planning for two missional curacies- two, two-year full-time collaborative programs- to train the newly ordained and encourage new models of being Church. Our five-month old Mission Church of the Resurrection in Mount Carmel is gaining strength with devoted lay leadership. The Mission Resource Team project is in the capable hands of Project Manager Mr. (soon to be The Rev. Deacon) Michael Nailor, and we are excited to begin training missioners in the Southern Convocation (our beta testing site) in the areas of Finance, Stewardship, Transition Ministry and Evangelism/Community Engagement to resource our neighbor parishes.
The Task Force for Eliminating Racism is launching their work in three venues: a class at the Stevenson School in “Becoming the Beloved Community,” a training session for the diocesan staff, and a large-scale intensive training for 40 diocesan members through the People’s Institute. This is the first phase of critical work in the reconciling and restoring work of addressing systemic, institutional racism. Our diocese supported this substantial initiative at our last convention.
There are three small groups working very hard on three large study projects: one to explore the opportunities for the Cathedral and Pro-Cathedral, one to study “Sacramental Access” (the means by which congregations without priests and in rural places can continue to receive sacramental nurture) and another to work up a handbook for Clergy.
The Episcopal Home, a mission project of the diocese, is enjoying an organizational renaissance having completed strategic plans in marketing and finance with gifted consultants, a newly enhanced board and a new President, The Rev. Rebecca Myers.
A partnership between the Stevenson School and the Office of the Canon for Congregational Life and Mission under the moniker “The Academy for Missional Formation” has produced seven different leadership training days this year (one in each convocation) that are tailor-made to suit the learning needs of each area.
Our Design Team, a creative group made up of 12 people (lay and clergy, staff, Standing Committee, Council of Trustee and At-Large members) continue to work with the significant data generated at Convention last October that named personal , parish and convocational desires, yearnings, passions and dreams. That material will be presented back to each regional area at the spring Convocation meetings for continued development.
And the staff is making their way around the diocese in each of the seven Convocations in“Staff in Residence” days this year.
If you look at our website, (www.diocesecpa.org) you can find information about these and other projects that make up the fabric of our diocese, communicated in our newly designed site and with supporting communications tools (also recently re-figured)- the Diocesan Digest and the Clergy Digest.
We have a lot of balls in the air!
All of these pieces and parts fit into our geographic area of Central Pennsylvania including the life and ministry of 12,000 or so Episcopalians.
And, they all fit together in the profile of a diocese that is engaged, responsive and looking to the future.
There is still more work to do, the continued work of integrating all of the parts and pieces so that one group’s effort supports and enhances the work of another’s, and so it all makes sense. Kingdom Sense. We are doing any and all of this, after all, to the Glory of God and in response to our call to join the Jesus Movement.
It’s good to see it all on one page.
What do you think?
note: the blog will be on hiatus next week as I travel to the House of Bishops in Houston, TX. Please come back on March 26 for the next post.