Invitation into transformation: Vestry and Bishop’s Committee Day 2016

“It was an amazing experience… I feel transformed,” was the response of one of the more than 200 people who crowded the conference and meeting spaces of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, for Vestry and Bishop’s Committee Day on Saturday, January 30. The diocesan-sponsored, annual event — combined with the “Equipping the Beloved Community” training day — offered a feast of opportunities to learn and grow in ministry. Headlining the day was Mary Parmer, congregational development consultant/coach and Director of the Gathering of Leaders and creator and developer of INVITE-WELCOME-CONNECT, born out of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas Newcomer Project.  During two workshops and her keynote address, Mary invited congregational leaders to consider the importance of personal invitation, welcoming folks, hearing their stories, recognizing their gifts, and then connecting them to ministries. Invitation — along with diversity, collaboration and community embeddedness — is one of the four vitality practices that Bishop Marc has identified for building Beloved Community.

The midday gathering also featured worship and a convivial lunch, in which participants from congregations around the diocese shared their experiences and made new friends. During the rest of the day, they expanded their ministry toolkit and deepened their skills through workshops in Eucharistic ministry and visiting, vestry leadership, adult formation and Lenten practices, lector training and more. “Exceptionally and professionally well presented,” “I was completely unaware of what was provided for clergy and volunteers in the Church, this clarified a great deal,” and  “Enjoyed it far more than I anticipated!” were some of the comments from participants. Diocesan-wide “Equipping the Beloved Community” training events are offered three times per year at rotating locations; the next one will be hosted at St. Paul’s, Burlingame on Saturday, May 14. 

Photos by the Rev. Cn. Julia McCray-Goldsmith and the Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams