Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Is carrying the water of life weighing you down? Or could you just use a little break? The Louisville Institute: Sabbatical Grants for Pastoral Leaders Program may provide the respite you need.
The Sabbatical Grants for Pastoral Leaders Program, administered by the Louisville Institute, awards grants to pastors and other religious leaders in the U.S. and Canada seeking time for study, reflection, retreat, and rest for the renewal of their vocations. The program will award up to sixty grants for eight-week ($10,000) and twelve-week ($15,000) sabbaticals. Recipients must be released from all pastoral duties during the entire grant period. The program is open to Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy, church staff members, denominational and diocesan staff, and others employed full-time in recognized positions of pastoral leadership, ordained and lay. The application deadline is September 15, 2006. Visit the web site listed below for more information.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sharing Stories: Church Vitality

"The fastest growing Episcopal Church in Nevada"
The Rev. Ed. Lovelady, Rector
All Saints’ Parish began with a worship service in the home of The Rev. Duncan McCoy on August 29, 1960 and was organized as a mission on December 12th. The letter of institution from Bishop William G. Wright, Bishop of the Missionary District of Nevada, reads that the new mission is “to have primary responsibility for churching the area of Las Vegas west of Rancho Road and North of West Charleston.”
The first church building was completed in 1961 and worship began in the new church without pews; each family brought folding chairs and the children sat on rugs on the floor. By 1963 Church school enrollment was 135, and increased by 1966 to 160 and the average Sunday church attendance was 80.
On April 11, 1969 All Saints’ was approved for parish status and in September The Rev. Donald Cole was installed as All Saints’ first rector. By 1974, All Saints’ was recognized as the fastest growing Episcopal Church in Nevada and All Saints’ Day school opened in October of that year, with an initial enrollment of 12 students.
In 1981 a joint project with Christ Church established a food pantry. Fellowship grew with the membership and an annual custom of “Alls Fair” and “Oktoberfest” celebrations still draw members and guests from all over the valley.
A new worship space was completed and dedicated by Bishop Steward C. Zabriskie on September 15, 1996, and a custom-built organ was installed and dedicated in 1999.
The parish had some difficult years and declined in membership and ministry and is now in full recovery, claiming once again the title of “the fastest growing Episcopal Church in Nevada.” Outreach programs continue, with the food pantry in its 25th year and the relationship with a neighboring middle school growing in new ways each year.
The congregation represents the full diversity of the Las Vegas valley in the geographic diversity of its membership, and the broad spectrum of ethnic, economic, and church backgrounds.
Holy Child Filipino Church began at All Saints’ in 2003, and this year became a Ministry of the parish with the full membership joining All Saints’ parish. They continue to have worship and fellowship appropriate to their culture and tradition and have their members in leadership roles of the parish.
All Saints’ Day School is now a Day Care, Preschool, and Kindergarten, with 80 children, age 3 to 6 enrolled.
The area Bishop Wright gave to All Saints’ care now has a population greater than the entire Las Vegas valley in 1960. The growing city population challenged the parish to adopt a philosophy of “keeping the doors open” to whomever comes in, and offering welcome and hospitality; good music, liturgy, and preaching. New member incorporation is a high priority to keep up with growth, as well as a growing Christian education and Youth ministry. Advertising is key in this “high tech” world where seekers are more likely to do an Internet search than read the yellow pages. A significant challenge is in the area of ethnic ministries, with an active and growing Filipino congregation whose goal is to grow into an independent parish, and to reach out to the neighborhood that has become predominately Spanish speaking.
Each week presents new opportunities for ministry and mission. The parish mission statement “To know Christ and make Christ known” is a reminder of the challenge to remain faithful to seek God’s guidance, and to be open to new ways of encountering others in the name of Christ.
All Saints’ Parish is located at 4201 West Washington Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89107, and on the web at

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

International, Interdenominational Training Event: Auckland New Zealand

An Invitation from
Archbishop Brown Turei,
Archbishop David Moxon, and
Archbishop Jabez Bryce of
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia
the Rev. Charles Fulton,
Director of Congregational Development of the Episcopal Church, USA
FEBRUARY 14-17, 2007

You are invited to a once in a lifetime, international, ecumenical seminar.

Colleagues from the Episcopal Church Congregational Development Office have joined in partnership with the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia in offering a four day seminar as a gift to all who have a passion for sharing the Good News.

The invitation to attend this seminar is broadly extended to all who share a commitment to the ministry of bringing people to Christ.

The first three days specifically address the concerns of leaders in parishes, dioceses, and judicatories.

The Saturday session is a Laity and Clergy Festival Day for the full parish membership, with numerous workshop options.

Items of particular interest to Aotearoa/New Zealand with wide applicability elsewhere, include:
 The Changing Culture in Which We Live
 Congregational Life Cycle
 Generational Diversity: Reaching the Oral, Literate and Electronic Cultures
 Dynamic Multi-Sensory Worship
 Leading Congregations Through Change, Decisions, and Conflict
 Using the Media for the Mission of Reaching People
 Welcoming Guests and Incorporating Newcomers
 And more

The seminar presenters are an ecumenical team of clergy and laity whose expertise is congregational health and leadership development. They draw from years of experience presenting the renowned seminars:
Start Up!Start Over! Congregational Development Seminar, USA
Upward Bound – Leading Congregations Through Change, Decisions, and Conflict, USA International Multi-Media in Worship Symposium, Ulsan, Korea

While their experience is based primarily on work in the U.S., the sessions have international relevance and applicability. It is hoped that participants will attend from around the world, including Aotearoa/New Zealand, Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States. This is a unique opportunity to participate in an international gathering of expertise and commitment to sharing the Word of Christ. There will be time to intentionally reflect about the cultural relevance of each topic presented.

As an expression of their commitment to sharing their work and passion, the presenting team is offering their time and expertise at no cost. The Episcopal Church USA is covering the cost of bringing the team to Aotearoa/New Zealand. The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia is providing their on site hospitality and is underwriting the meeting coordination costs.

Visit for full registration materials, or click on the link on the right side of this page.

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Katrina Recovery Trip Opportunity

Katrina Recovery Work
Sheila Vossler

We passed miles and miles of devastation, emptiness, debris piles, cars upside down, barges tossed onto the land and across US 90, broken and missing homes with only cement pads showing, oak trees dressed in closet contents 40 feet up in the branches and mini memorials to lives lost to the storm. Then we saw the sign....."Camp Coast Care ....It's all about Hope and Love" and we knew this was where we would find both and give both . It was May and we came to the Gulf Coast to join this very well organized group who clean up, rebuild and restore. The Episcopal and Lutheran churches have made a long term commitment here and will supply a sleeping cot and 3 good hot meals a day to those who come to volunteer. See the website .

The work is varied. Can you use a computer, pound nails, serve food, interview hurting people with sensitivity, scrub floors, install tile, drive a truck, clean bathrooms, string electric wiring, help cook meals, hand out tools, install a sink, lift wallboard, be a gofer, be a team leader for construction? Skilled workers would be wonderful but all hands do the work of God and come away tired but refreshed by the Holy Spirit. Joy springs forth out of destruction and despair. There is much to learn from those we help. Lessons of faith, perseverance, thankfulness, and hope. This is truly God's work of renewal in the world, one home, one person, one life at a time.

We are going again. In truth, we cannot stay away. We will arrive November 11, 2006. Not all of our team need to arrive or leave on the same day. Join us and you will be renewed and enriched. Check out the website above and e-mail me with questions and your itinerary. I will make sure you are met at the Gulfport/Biloxi Airport and transported to the camp. Alternatively you may fly into New Orleans and rent a car for the 75 mile drive to camp. I feel called to bring many workers to the vineyard and also to transport a fist full of checks made out to Camp Coast Care to continue the work. One way or the other, won't you join us?

Contact: Sheila Vossler

Monday, August 14, 2006

Location, Location, Location...

Small Episcopal Churches: Geographic Distribution

Where are the greatest number of small Episcopal Churches located? While one may intuitively think of small church as synonymous with rural country location, in the Episcopal Church this is simply not true. Surprisingly, a review of the 2004 Parochial Report finds that the Diocese of New York has the greatest number of small churches! Second to New York is the Diocese of Albany, and third is South Dakota.

When Small Churches are grouped by Province, Province IV (which includes the Diocese of Alabama, Atlanta, Central Florida, Central Gulf Coast, East Carolina, East Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Lexington, Louisiana, Mississippi,, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, Tennessee, Upper South Carolina, West Tennessee, and Western North Carolina) contains the greatest number. Province III ( Bethlehem, Central Pennsylvania, Delaware, Easton, Maryland, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Southern Virginia,, Southwestern Virginia, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia) is second, and Province II (Albany, Central New York, Churches in Europe, Haiti, Long Island, New Jersey, New York, Newark, Rochester,, Virgin Islands, and Western New York) is third. Nearly half of all small Episcopal Churches are located with in these three Provinces.

This information is relevant because it dispels some of the misconceptions and common myths surrounding the small church. By defining the locations of our small churches by fact rather than intuition, we are better able to identify and address small church issues. Therefore, in looking over the diocesan and provincial distribution, what new avenues for small church development are suggested?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Adapting To Change: Creative Funding Suggestions for Small Church Outreach

The post below if from The Rev. Steve Kelsey, Missioner to the Greater Hartford Regional Ministry (GHRM). The GHRM is a cluster of churches located in Hartford, Connecticut (Northeastern United States). The church about which he writes, and seeks assistance, is one that is located in an area of rapidly changing demographics, and the church is adapting to that change. Interestingly, the ability to adapt to change is one of the congregational characteristics found in growing small churches.

The purpose of sharing the Rev. Kelsey's GHRM appeal is twofold. First, I am certain they would welcome contributions, but it also invites the opportunity for other small churches (including clusters) to share creative ways that they have been able to fund outreach ministries.
Faithfully in Christ, in whose body and mission we are all united,

We have had an interesting experience this Spring and early Summer, at St. James', Hartford. Now, we need your help.

In early June, we faced at once the closing of the Headstart program which used our Parish Hall, and word that the Bishop's Fund for Children in our Diocese had decided not to fund our after-school literacy program for children, after years of support.

We started immediately to meet with local, neighborhood leaders and parents, as these two losses within one week would hit the young families of the south end of Hartford very hard ... and we have, today, signed a contract with a local resident of our neighborhood who will be starting her own business, running a pre-school program out of our facilities, starting in the early Fall !!! Great community organizing, we think!

Now, we turn to how to resurrect the "CHILD" ("Children's Hour in Learning and Discovery") program at St. James'. This is the afterschool literacy program we have been supporting for a number of years now. The good folks at St. John's, West Hartford, encouraged us to explore further how we might advance this program, and out of those conversations, St. James' has initiated a program advancing "English as a Second Language" and "Spanish as a Second Language" courses, which will begin this September.

Meanwhile, the parents of those attending our CHILD program have pulled together to urge us to find a way to continue to offer the CHILD program, despite the sudden withdrawal of funding from the Bishop's Fund for Children. A group has been meeting to explore what it would take to make this happen, and today, we have met to clarify what this would entail.

We have the local leadership lined up, and most of the tutors and other leaders. St. James' is ready to provide the space and other on site support. What we need, plainly, is funding to pay for the one paid staff member needed to pull the program together.

BOTTOM LINE: we need to raise $10,000 within the next month ... and we will be able to resurrect the program.

We believe this is doable -- but we need your help.

We have until August 17th to get an indication that we have a lead on that money, and if we have that sense, we are prepared to "step into the breach" and work to make this happen. We have people locally looking at different possibilities, and we think they will be productive. But we need more help!

If you can help us in any way, or have any suggestions as to where we might go to raise such money, as a one-time, emergency support, we are convinced that we can use the next year to explore and develop other sources of support and keep this vital program alive.

If you can help us with even a nominal contribution, or have any suggestions as to where we might look for support, please contact Louise Loomis at and let her know, before August 17th.

Thanks so much for any support you can give us, and please keep us in your prayers,


Steve Kelsey, Missioner
Greater Hartford Regional Ministry
12 Rector Street
East Hartford, CT 06108
(860) 559-0347