In the 1970s and 80s as the diocese of El Camino Real was being founded, people said (quoting from ECR's little brown book): “We believe the Bishop should be ultimately accountable for the program of the diocese. By program, we mean such things as Christian education, social ministries, stewardship, evangelism, college work, youth work, and other aspects of the mission work of the diocese.”
I included this in my 2010 convention address, noting that the bishop was basically responsible for all the challenging developmental work of creating a thriving church. But it was also said in those early days that, “Decision making and program implementation of action in the structure should be at the lowest possible level of organization; i.e., decision making should be as close to the parish level as possible.”
While I don’t think at that time people could see exactly how congregational and diocesan ministry could work in concert effectively (there were few models to help), we have been blessed in this diocese with success in organizational change on a large scale. It has been a process over years, but indeed, we have joined the energy of the bishop with local ministry in order to create a thriving diocese. It has required discipline and hard work (and will require more), but we have developed more of a loop of resources and energy, rather than a unidirectional, upward flow from local churches to the impersonal “diocese.”
On that early list of things for which the bishop would be responsible, but for which decisions and implementation would take place at the lowest level, was youth ministry. Our greatest anxiety as church in the post-Christian age can be summed in four words: get kids in here! And indeed, a church without kids is bereft in so many ways. When there are no kids a congregation -- and a diocese -- is deprived of several generations of wisdom, energy, humor, vitality and mind-stretching insight about our rapidly changing world. We are reminded even more of our mortality and it is “in our face” that the church for which we have worked so hard in our lives may die with us. We need all generations to continue to build a thriving and vital Episcopal Church.
Bishop Mary awaits her next drop into the dunk tank at last year’s diocesan convention at St. Andrew’s in Saratoga. More than $1,300 was raised in 20 minutes for Sierra Service Program (SSP) scholarships.
I am quite sure our readers know the presence of youth matters to me and that I am accustomed to serving in congregational settings with a strong youth presence. I’m pleased to say that several of our congregations and our diocesan youth mission trips have grown noticeably in the number of youth who participate. I commend the leadership who have financially and physically supported these efforts.
I am well aware that children and youth ministry is labor intensive: it requires vision, heart, planning, the capacity for sleep deprivation and a tolerance for LOUD music. One must be willing to eat food off the typical adult diet – and have deep and rich theological conversations . . . sometimes all at the same time.
Although one of the most endearing aspects of the teen years is the immortal and independent mindset, it may just be that they could use a few adults in their lives besides their parents and teachers. Maybe that's you . . .
Some of our leaders have decided to create an occasion for networking and sharing around youth ministry: a children and youth leaders’ summit on October 18 in Salinas. There is passion and heart among us for this generation! There will not be a dunk tank at this event, but if you wish to join other congregational leaders for some time together to talk, share, and brainstorm about youth ministry, please join in! I’ll be present for part of the day, assuring the presence and energy of the bishop, but you need to be there too. So, if you want to grow the presence of youth in your church, come, make decisions and discover ways to implement them!
See below for all the details of this important event. Thank you to Jennifer Suttie and The Rev. Katherine Doar for gathering us and leading us into greater vitality and richness as a diocese!
Bishop Mary and diocesan leaders announce the dunk tank fundraiser for SSP Scholarships at last year's convention.
Bishop’s Youth Leader Summit to be Held October 18
Clergy, staff and volunteers invited to join creative workshop
Enjoy a day of sharing and brainstorming with youth leaders from the diocese at the Bishop’s Children & Youth Leader Summit, to be held Saturday, October 18 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salinas. Bishop Mary will kick off this creative workshop, designed for all who work with children and youth in churches across El Camino Real. Networking and practical “how-to” tips for engaging young people will highlight the summit; we’ll gather at 9:30 a.m. and begin at 10 am, lasting until 3:30 p.m.
In her message above, Bishop Mary calls us together to form a cohesive, supportive community. Whether you're a volunteer or staff member, clergy or lay person, this one-day summit will connect you with the community who’s doing this important work throughout the diocese. You’ll gain practical how-to tips for engaging and ministering to youth of all ages. It’s a rewarding day of sharing, worship, and growth.
We encourage participants to bring a “show and tell” of something that has worked for children or youth in your church, to share ideas and inspire fellow participants. Lunch is included. Join Bishop Mary on October 18 at St. Paul’s and be refreshed and inspired – personally, emotionally and spiritually. Online registration can be found by clicking here. For more information, e-mail Jennifer Suttie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in Serving on a Diocesan Committee? Nominations Due Oct. 8
It's time to begin considering candidates to nominate for open positions on diocesan committees and commissions. Please think prayerfully about whether you or someone you know might have gifts to offer serving on diocesan committees and commissions. Positions are open for election at the upcoming 34th Annual Diocesan Convention, which is being held at Sherwood Hall in Salinas on November 14-15. To view the open positions and their descriptions, along with links to Application for Candidacy forms, click here.
Reminder: Convention Resolutions Due September 15
An important reminder for those attending our 34th annual diocesan convention on November 14-15: all resolutions other than those arising from the business of convention, the Bishop’s address or the report of any Diocesan body, must be filed with the Secretary of Convention at least 60 days prior to the Convention.
To comply with this rule, the deadline for submission of resolutions for consideration at this year’s convention is Monday, September 15.Please email a copy of all resolution(s) dated no later than Sept. 14 to the following:
Applications Now Accepted for 2015 Roanridge Trust Award Grants
Applications are now accepted for the 2015 Roanridge Trust Award Grants, awarded annually for creative models for leadership development, training and ministries in small towns and rural communities across the Episcopal Church.
Dioceses, congregations and Episcopal related organizations and institutions are invited to apply for the grants which generally range from $5000 to $20,000. Application deadline is October 31. For more information, an application and instructions, click here. Although previous recipients are eligible to apply, priority is given to new applications. The 2015 grants will be announced on November 17.
2014 Jubilee Ministry Grants Now Accepting Applications
Applications for Episcopal Church 2014 Jubilee Ministry grants that address domestic poverty are now being accepted in two categories: Program Development Grant and Program Impact Grants.
One Program Development Grant, up to $35,000, will be awarded to a new or existing ministry that can demonstrate a new or re-visioned strategy and methodology to make an impact both locally and beyond. Ten to 20 Program Impact Grants, ranging from $750 to $1,500 each, will be awarded to initiatives that make a positive and measurable impact in the lives of those in need.
Deadline is September 30; to download the application form and learn more about Jubilee Ministries, click here.
St. Jude's Event News
Sept. 14: Youth Share Summer Experiences
On Sunday, September 14, from 9:15 - 10:15 a.m. in the Parish Hall at St. Jude's, Cupertino youth from the parish will share their summer experiences. Emmy Kepner and Marion Lynch will describe their week in El Salvador with teenagers from this diocese. They met and spent time with five El Salvadoran youth in discussions, visits to Archbishop Romero’s assassination site and a three-day retreat, chaperoned by St. Jude's Howard and Jan Hill. Laura Bryson spent time in Oregon at the Sierra Service Project as a counselor to youths working on projects to benefit the community there. She will tell of her experiences. Childcare provided. Visit Newsletter 1 of 54:123456NextLast