Executive Council retreats, begins new work

The Executive Council of the Diocese of California went on its annual retreat to The Bishop’s Ranch on Wednesday, January 15 to Friday, January 17. The annual retreat is a time to orient new members to their duties as members of Executive Council as well as remind continuing members. The agenda also included healthy doses of fun and relaxation to enjoy the Ranch, its surrounding area, and to build community among the members of Executive Council.

Introductions this year took the form of a game, where each member was asked to tell the whole group (divided into two teams) two truths about themselves and one lie. Points were awarded to teams based on how quickly the lie was detected. After introductions, Bishop Marc set the tone for the retreat and his vision for the year of 2014: how to make the Diocese of California more invitational, rather than simply welcoming.

Thursday’s schedule was a very full day, full of information for members, who were regularly directed to their handbook for information on their responsibilities. Members of staff gave short presentations on their working group’s goals for the year and often shared ways that members of Executive Council could help, from sharing information about planned giving to encouraging members of their congregations to subscribe to DioBytes

One of the three main responsibilities of the Executive Council is the role of Board of Directors of the corporation. Significant portions of time were spent explaining the legal responsibilities of a board, as well as explaining the various parts of the diocese’s finances. One suggestion that emerged from the meeting was that next year’s narrative budget include a flowchart of how the budget is formed between March and October every year.

In the late afternoon the Rev. Cn. Stefani Schatz and Joe Jennings of St. Stephen’s, Belvedere, made an in-depth presentation about the congregations in the diocese. Executive Council heard about congregational finances and Sunday attendance. These are important metrics, even as the church begins measuring how congregations are changing the world around them and the noticing numbers of ministry interactions congregations have.

After dinner the evening wound down with parlor games and social time. Friday morning’s retreat agenda was very light and included the Executive Council’s monthly meeting, much of which was held in executive session. The retreat concluded with Bishop Marc preaching on the Confession of St. Peter at a concluding Eucharist. Executive Council Chair Matthew Burt led a capella music, both paperless and from the hymnal, and Executive Council Vice-Chair the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillet presided.