Executive Council retreat 2015

On Wednesday, January 28, the Executive Council of the Diocese of California went on its annual retreat at The Bishop’s Ranch in Healsberg. The retreat offers Executive Council members the opportunity to create and strengthen working relationships as well as serves as an introduction for new members — and a refresher for returning members. Executive Council members serve three-year terms, and are elected from their deanery, Diocesan Convention, or are appointed by the bishop. 

The work of the retreat began after dinner on Wednesday evening with introductions: Joe Jennings facilitated an exercise where members shared information about their lives, beliefs, and hopes. Jennings also led the group in competing to see which of two teams was most comfortable naming the congregations of the diocese. By the end of the evening every congregation’s name had been said aloud.

Thursday morning, January 29, the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett, chair, and the Rev. Chip Larrimore, vice-chair, led sessions introducing Executive Council and the body’s norms for meetings and membership. To prepare members of the Executive Council for serving as the Board of Trustees for the Diocese of California, Tom Ferguson, CFO, and Bob McCaskill, treasurer, gave an overview of diocesan finances. 

After lunch — and a long, restful break — the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop, presented to the council on leadership development and his hopes for how the council will be a stronger leadership presence in the diocese. The Rev. Canon Stefani Schatz, using the five pillars of the Beloved Community vision, wondered with the council how the council may serve as the forum for long-range planning this year. Council members broke from one body into groups of four to brainstorm ideas and hopes.

After lunch the council reflected on ways that the diocesan budgeting process might be more responsive, and Christopher Hayes, chancellor, presented on the legal roles and ramifications of board membership. Just before dinner Bishop Andrus talked about his vision of working with civic entities to ensure essential housing — housing for the middle class and people in service jobs, near where they work. After dinner council members played parlor games to have some fun and build a sense of camaraderie.

Friday morning, after breakfast, the council had its January meeting. The minutes are not yet available. The retreat ended with Eucharist in the chapel, observing the transferred feast of Timothy, Titus, and Silas. The Executive Council meets the third Tuesday of every month at Grace Cathedral.

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