Everyone was equipped, and nobody was hungry

“Really amazing, so many tools that felt immediately applicable,” was the response of just one of the over 100 who participated in the Saturday, August 29, Equipping the Beloved Community event, generously hosted by St. Clement’s, Berkeley. People from 25 DioCal congregations took part, drawn together by the promise of 10 different workshops in practical ministry skills ranging from Eucharistic Ministry to Conflict Management to the Spirituality of Youth.

Equipping the Beloved Community is a three-times-a-year program of the Diocese of California — offered in collaboration with DioCal deaneries — which makes the best of local and national teaching available to everyone who attends. The keynote speaker for this ministry equipping event was Jenifer Gamber. Gamber is the nationally-recognized author of resources for teen faith development including the popular My faith, my life Confirmation curriculum, and Call on me: a prayer book for young people.

The choice of workshops and keynote speaker was the fruit of conversations among Alameda Deanery leaders, facilitated by deanery president Krista Fregoso. They expressed a preference for content that would develop Christian formation and parochial leadership skills. St. Clement’s offered to host on behalf of their own deanery, and provided welcome, space, childcare, and perhaps the most generous lunch ever served at an Equipping the Beloved Community event. “Awesome spread you provided,” observed one participant. But just as nourishing as the lunch was the richness of conversation and the instructed Eucharist: “loved the service and review of what and why we do what we do at Christ’s Table,” observed one communicant.

Why spend a whole Saturday at an Equipping the Beloved Community event? “It gave us a common framework to make better Vestry decisions for our parish,” was the response that spoke for the experience of many. The next Equipping the Beloved Community training event will be at Grace Cathedral on Saturday, January 30. That Equipping event will be combined with the annual Vestry/Bishop’s Committee Day training for congregational leadership. Mary Parmer will offer the keynote address and workshops on parochial welcome based on the “Invite-Welcome-Connect” initiative of the Diocese of Texas. Registration will open in November; watch DioBytes for details.