Monday, July 07, 2008

From Wayne Schwab

Pastors and lay leaders . . . empower the laity,
God’s primary agents
of mission in today’s world

Improve your leadership
Deepen your spirituality
Make the Sunday to Monday connection for every member
Meet new colleagues

Member Mission Leadership Institute
October 6-11, 2008

From this 4-plus day event, starting with dinner on October 6 and ending with breakfast on October 11, you will come away with a wholly new way for your congregation and all of its members to understand mission and what it means to be “on mission.”

You will leave better equipped to lead your congregation and its members to embrace more fully what it really means to live as a Christian every day.

Spiritual Life Center at Greenwich, New York
(45 minutes from the Albany Airport)
Registration: $100
Up to 50% travel reimbursement
Space is limited. Register by September 15, 2008

For information:, click “Training”
or 518-561-1184

Monday, June 30, 2008


Dear Blog friends:

It is with great joy that I announce that the Rev. Robert (Bob) Honeychurch has been named as the new Program Officer who will be serving the small church through the Episcopal Church Center.

Bob Honeychurch currently serves as rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Fremont, California. In addition, he is an Adjunct Instructor in Parish Leadership at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley.

Prior to coming to St. James’ in 2001, he and his wife, the Rev. Sylvia Sweeney, served as co-rectors of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho from 1992-2001. During that time he also served for two years as a Regional Missioner for the Diocese of Idaho, serving with the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. He also served twice as an interim pastor at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Idaho Falls.

A native of Montana, Honeychurch began his ordained ministry in 1984. He served as co-vicar of two mission churches in the Diocese of Montana – St. Luke’s in Libby, and Holy Trinity in Troy – from 1984 to 1992.

Honeychurch received a B.S. degree in Education from Montana State University in 1979, an M.Div. from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 1984, and a D.Min in Congregational Development from Seabury-Western in 1999.

Honeychurch will begin his ministry at the Church Center, working out of the Omaha regional office, on September 1, 2008. Part of his portfolio will include administering and posting to this blog. There will therefore be a hiatus in postings, but they will resume in early September. If you have any ideas or suggestions in the meantime, Honeychurch can be reached at

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Evangelism Staff Position!


Position: Program Officer: Evangelism and Congregational Life
Evangelism Focus

Date: March 31, 2008

Closing Date: May 2, 2008

Contact: Delphine de Ternay, Human Resource Generalist

The Center for Evangelism and Congregational Life groups together those activities that support dioceses, organizations and congregations to effect Church growth and vitality. The purpose of this work is to further God’s mission by serving and equipping the people of the Episcopal Church.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

With in the Center, the Program Officer focusing on Evangelism is responsible for serving and equipping Episcopal dioceses and congregations as they seek to proclaim Jesus’ message of reconciling love in today’s rapidly changing social context. An approach that includes assisting current Episcopalians to become aware of how God is acting in their lives and equipping them with the ability and desire to articulate this experience is crucial.

The position includes the development of resources, creating and maintaining web sites, planning and implementing trainings and conferences, and speaking at Diocesan and Provincial events. Building collaborative working relationships with existing networks, groups, organizations, committees of General Convention and institutions currently focusing on Evangelism, plus facilitating the formation of new networks where needed are priorities.

This position is based in New York and travel is estimated at 25%-50%.

QUALIFICATIONS To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required for this position and not necessarily the skills you bring to the position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


A Bachelor’s degree and theological education/training (advanced degree preferred)--ordination not necessary
Thorough knowledge of the Episcopal Church
Willingness/ability to preach at worship services when requested
A heartfelt understanding of Evangelism and the ability to articulate that understanding.
Willingness to collaborate with colleagues with in and across Christian denominations
Effective written, oral and interpersonal skills
Computer literacy

Preferred Job Requirements:
Experience in program development
Bilingual Spanish-English preferred but not mandatory

To apply, submit a cover letter with salary requirements and a resume to and indicate in the subject line “Staff Officer: Publications & Communications”.
Please, no telephone inquiries. Qualified applicants will be contacted.

Salary is commensurate with experience and provides a generous benefits package. Episcopal Church Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively seeks applications from members of protected groups.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Position Open!



Date: March 19, 2008

Closing Date: April 18, 2008

Contact: Vivian Harrison, Human Resources Manager

The Center for Evangelism and Congregational Life groups together those activities that support dioceses, organizations and congregations to effect Church growth and vitality. The purpose of this work is to further God’s mission by serving and equipping the people of the Episcopal Church.

Within the Center, the Associate Program Officer focusing on Small and Specialized Congregations is responsible for serving and equipping congregations and worshipping communities that are small (those with an Average Sunday Attendance of 70 or less), specialized with regards to setting (including urban and rural settings) and structure (including total/local collaborative ministry, clusters, mergers, and emerging communities.)

Essential responsibilities: The development of resources for these congregations, creating and maintaining web sites, planning and implementing trainings and conferences, and speaking at Diocesan and Provincial events. Priorities include engaging in building collaborative working relationships with existing networks, groups, organizations, committees of General Convention and institutions currently serving small and specialized congregations; and facilitating the formation of new networks where needed.

Qualifications: A Bachelor’s degree and theological education/training (advanced degree preferred); thorough knowledge of the Episcopal Church; an ability to articulate a thorough understanding of Evangelism; experience in multiple congregations and a contextual understandings of congregational development theory; willingness/ability to preach at worship services when requested; willingness to collaborate with colleagues across denominations; effective written, oral and interpersonal skills; computer literacy. Preferred qualifications: experience in program development; English-Spanish fluency.

This position is based in the regional office in Omaha, Nebraska and travel is estimated at 25% - 50%.

Salary is commensurate with experience and includes a generous benefits package. EOE, m/f/d/v encouraged to apply.

To apply, submit a cover letter with salary requirements, a resume and a list of three professional references to and indicate in the subject line: Associate Program Officer, Small and Specialized Congregations.

Please, no telephone inquiries. Qualified applicants will be contacted.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Episcopal Church Center Job Postings

Due to the reorganization and the creation of new jobs at the Episcopal Church Center, there are currently several job openings. Some are up on the site now, some will be posted soon (including the Small and Specialized Congregations position--my previous post which I hope to upload by 3/19), and several more in the future. Some are located in New York, some in Omaha, others in Washington DC, Atlanta, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
If you are interested in a new way of serving God in the Episcopal Church, visit for more information.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Easter Sermon from the Archbishop of New Zealand

The Most Rev. David Moxon, Archbishop of New Zealand, has contributed an Easter sermon for the Sermons That Work series.
(See below and at .)

Many thanks to Archbishop Moxon for generously accepting the invitation to submit a sermon, and to the editor of this site, Sarah Johnson, Deputy for Congregational Development at the Episcopal Church Center, for her creative work.

March 23, 2008 - Easter Day - Year A [RCL]
By the Most Rev. David Moxon
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Acts: 10 34-43; Matthew 28: 1-10 The arrest, trial, torture, and crucifixion of Jesus occupy the largest single incident in any one of the four gospels. This incident has been the most widely depicted of everything in Jesus’ life. Every detail of this grisly process seems to have been carefully recorded by the evangelists. The heart-rending details of the final suffering of the Son of God reveal how deep God’s empathy is for the pain and sin of the world and how far the divine love will go to redeem them. Evil in so many forms – political, religious, psychological, and spiritual – poured itself out completely in this event. Yet all these forces exhausted themselves without finally exhausting the faith, hope, and love of God in what happened. In a way, the forces of evil, as powerful as they are, were finally put in their place, exposed as ultimately unreal, and finally overcome in resurrection. The resurrection is the place in human history where evil, injustice, and prejudice are transfigured into justice, goodness, and enlightenment.
However, the details of the resurrection itself are not recorded in Matthew’s account, neither is there an attempt to record them in the other three gospels. What we have are various accounts of the results and fruits of the resurrection, but not any attempt to describe how it happened. This is because no one was present. No one could have anticipated it; the event itself didn’t fit into any of the known categories of knowledge or understanding.
What we have is an event without comparison. You can understand something scientifically today only if you can compare it with something else or with some sort of pattern that already exists. With the resurrection this is not possible: we have an utterly unique, mind-blowing, heart-changing, spirit-restoring mystery of God. The resurrection cannot finally be assessed by human method.
However, various attempts have been made to explain what happened. Here are four of the most common explanations.
It has been suggested that Jesus didn’t really die; instead, he recovered in the tomb, rolled the stone away, and walked out. But this does not square with the known facts we have about the way he died. The Romans knew how to kill people, particularly politically prominent people. A spear was used to impale Christ’s side to make death certain.
Another version of the above explanation is that Christ was offered a highly sedative drug, mixed in the wine that was presented to his lips on a sponge. There were drugs in the Middle East capable of this effect and would have given the impression of death for a time. However, even if this were the case, the use of the spear, preceded by many lashings, would have made him unable to remove the stone or to recover within three days.
It has been suggested that the disciples were lying about the resurrection appearances. This is most unlikely, given that the disciples were not expecting an immediate resurrection in the first place, and they themselves were prepared to meet similar deaths for the Risen Christ in the years that followed. Whatever else the disciples were, they show remarkable courage and integrity. Why spend the whole of your life on something you knew to be untrue? This is how Luke, that careful recorder, summarizes their position in today’s reading from Acts:
“We are witnesses of everything that he did in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem. Then they put him to death by nailing him to a cross. But God raised him from death three days later and caused him to appear, not to everyone, but only to the witnesses that God had already chosen.”
The fourth suggested theory is that the resurrection appearances were grief-induced hallucinations. It is true that some people in deep grief do have a sense of the deceased loved one being present. However, this sense fades over time, whereas experiences of the Risen Christ remain tangible and widespread. Further, hallucinations produced by grief have never resulted in anything like the Christian mission in the world. With the resurrection, there seems to be something much more world-changing and transformative going on.
So what are we left with? None of the above explanations are convincing. In fact, there is no proof either way, in the scientific sense, for or against the resurrection of Christ. In the end, a belief in Easter is a decision of the mind and the heart. It is a choice. You can believe the witnesses who say that something remarkable occurred that has gone on recreating the world ever since by the triumph of life over death, of love over hate, of light over darkness. Or you can believe that the witnesses were mistaken and that life and death, love and hate, light and darkness are evenly matched and that there is no ultimate power for good that is stronger than death.
In the end it is very simple: you either choose to have faith, or you don’t. But the decision you make about Easter will profoundly affect the way you live and other choices you make for the rest of your life. I choose to walk in an Easter light and to live by an Easter faith because I know it brings abundant life and makes intuitive sense even in the middle of death, hatred, and darkness.
The movie “The Body” is a drama about archaeologist who discovers what he believes to be the bones of Jesus in Jerusalem. For much of the story the evidence builds toward a belief that this probably is the body of Jesus and that the idea of resurrection is unreal. At the end of the film, however, it becomes clear that the bones are not those of Jesus. Early in the story, a Jesuit delegate from the Vatican who was sent to investigate the issue says, when thinking about the meaning and reality of the risen Christ:
“I believe that Jesus Christ is God because I spoke to Him this morning in my prayers. And I've known that He was God since I was a boy. He has always been my best friend even though I haven't always been His. In Him, I have peace.”
But how do we speak with the Risen Christ? Through sharing in his banquet where he is present in a communion of bread and wine; by breathing in his Spirit in contemplative prayer; by reading and hearing his thoughts, parables, and visions in the gospels. Christ becomes living bread, life-giving breath, and living word in these ways.
Because the New Testament does not try to explain the mechanics of the Resurrection, neither do we: it cannot be explained. We can only stand under its grace and let it understand us as an unrepeatable miracle of love. Love is its only meaning because love is the only survivor, because God is love all the way through. The only people to whom the Risen Christ appeared were people who loved him – as Luke says, “to the witnesses that God had already chosen.”
The Resurrection, therefore, is made visible and possible for those who experienced it because of the love that was in them, because God is love and because God loved the world so much that he gave Christ to these people in a new and living way. With them, if you believe that love is stronger than death, then you can believe in Easter. We see this in a passage from the book With Roots and Wings by Jay McDaniel, as he describes Thomas Merton’s view of resurrection:
“Christianity may or may not make sense to you, the reader, but perhaps resurrection can make sense. It is a process of being reborn, moment-to-moment, in a freedom that is wise in its sensitivity to the interconnectedness of all things, compassionate in its empathy for all living beings, and centred in the very mystery of God. We understand resurrection when we taste a freedom and freshness that lies in the very depths of our lives. From my perspective as a Christian, this freedom and freshness is the living Christ, the resurrected One. ‘He’ does not have a body that is located in space and time. ‘He’ is more like the wind, or our own breathing, or the sky. The resurrected One is the very freshness of God, the very freedom of Holy Wisdom, as a centre that is within us and beyond us, ever-present yet ever-new. There is a freshness and freedom in the very centre of things. In this freshness and freedom, we find our roots and wings.”
Christ did not raise himself from the death-dealing hatred that killed him; God raised Christ by divine love, in and through the heart love of the disciples, so that the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from death may be divine love alive in us. By this amazing grace we can say:
“I believe that Jesus Christ is God because I spoke to Him this morning in my prayers. And I've known that He was God since I was a boy. He has always been my best friend even though I haven't always been His. In Him, I have peace.”
-- Archbishop David Moxon is the Anglican Archbishop of the seven New Zealand dioceses of the Anglican Church in Aoteoroa, New Zealand, and Polynesia. This co-presiding role is shared with the Archbishop of Aotearoa and the Archbishop of Polynesia. Archbishop David is also the Diocesan Bishop of Waikato, a diocese that occupies a third of the North Island of New Zealand, a position he has held since 1993.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Update on ordering from Abingdon

From Linda Brindle:

Abingdon is a wholesaler, and does not sell directly to churches or individuals. Maybe you could add a note to your blog telling customers that they will need to order the books from a local Christian bookstore or on line bookstore.,, or purchase from the Episcopal bookstore at 815 2nd ave.

Hope this helps!

Linda J. Brindle
Abingdon Press
Northeast Area Sales Representative

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Books for Small Membership Congregations

Ministry in the Small Membership Church: A Book Series Offered by Abingdon Press

Returning to the office this morning there was a catalog and note from Linda Brindle of Abingdon Press highlighting the book series focusing on ministry in the small membership church.

The current offerings are as follows:

Worshiping in the Small Membership Church (Robin Knowles Wallace)

Christian Education in the Small Membership Church (Karen B. Tye)

Administration in the Small Membership Church (John H. Tyson)

Spiritual Leadership in the Small Membership Church (David Canada)

Pastoral Care in the Small Membership Church (James L. Killen, Jr)

Evangelism in the Small Membership Church (Royal Speidel)

For more information visit or call 1.800.251.3320

If you would like to offer a review or a comment on one of these books, please click on the comments link below and post your impression. You may do so anonymously.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Greetings from Quito!

Your small church pal is here on her first official meeting with the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. Why Quito you might ask? Because Quito is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Ecuador, one of dioceses located outside the 50 United States. We are indeed an international church, and it has been an enormous privaledge to learn about the ministry and mission of our (small) church brothers and sisters in Christ in this beautiful part of the world.

(For example, today we travelled to different parts of the diocese to work and/or visit various sites. My group toured a primary school that stole my heart--teachers paid the minimum--$200 per month--overseeing 2-3 grades, and parents spending a huge percentage of their income to afford the $56 per month tuition to give their children the gift of a quality education. It is clear that supplies are very limited, yet it is also clear that the teachers understand their work as their ministry. I'm so moved by the entire situation that I can't help but want to help, maybe by trying to find a companion school in the US that could help with used back packs and supplies, or ???)

Obviously my new position is taking heaps of time, but I very much would like to keep the blog fresh and informative. During the search period for a new small church staff person who I envision eventually adminstering this blog, I would very much appreciate hearing about any small church stories or resources you wish to share. Simply send by email, and I will credit you in the posting if you wish. And I'll continue to post what I come across on a weekly (probably Tuesdays) basis.

Blessings, and adios :-)


Friday, January 18, 2008

Big News for Me!!! :-)

From Episcopal News Service

Directors named for three new Mission Centers

Experienced priests will lead Advocacy, Mission Leadership, Evangelism and Congregational Life work based at Episcopal Church Center.

Continuing to reorganize the Episcopal Church Center staff to achieve new levels of service and collaboration, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named directors for three of four new churchwide Centers for Mission.
Director for the new Advocacy Center is the Rev. Canon Brian J. Grieves, who has led Peace and Justice Ministries at the Church Center since 1988. Concurrently, Grieves will serve as interim director of mission, the Presiding Bishop said, until completion of the search for a successor to the Rev. James Lemler, who has accepted a new position as priest-in-charge of Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Rev. Suzanne E. Watson, the Church Center's staff officer for congregational development, will lead its new Center for Evangelism and Congregational Life, and the Rev. Margaret Rollins Rose, the Church Center's director of women's ministries, is director for the new Center for Mission Leadership, the Presiding Bishop said.
Announced January 10, the appointments are the result of a two-month search process that invited applicants from across the church's 110 dioceses to seek leaders for the new Mission Centers, all of which are based at the Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Ave., New York City.
The search for the fourth center director, that for Partnerships, remains open.
In announcing the appointments, the Presiding Bishop expressed her appreciation to the new directors for their willingness to serve, and her gratitude for their many gifts and skills.
"We are grateful for all the individuals, internal and external, who applied for these positions," said Linda E. Watt, the Episcopal Church's chief operating officer. "Once again, we are reminded of the wealth of talent, commitment, and expertise with which the Episcopal Church Center is blessed."
Watt added that the work of each director includes an emphasis upon effective on-site management rather than travel away from the Church Center, as well as close relationships with lay and clergy leaders around the Church.
"I am delighted to accept the Presiding Bishop's invitation to inaugurate the new Center for Advocacy," Grieves said. "This will be a challenging but very exciting task. I am enormously grateful for the opportunity.
"We live in a fractured and divided world, and the role of the Church as prophet and healer is central to the mission of God's reconciling work in the world," Grieves added.
Grieves joined the Church Center staff in 1988 and has served three Presiding Bishops as the Episcopal Church's director of Peace and Justice Ministries, an extensive portfolio that includes the work of the Office of Government Relations, and social and economic justice, among other initiatives. Grieves was in 1989 named secretary of the international Anglican Peace and Justice Network and continues in that position.
Before beginning work at the Church Center, Grieves was for 10 years a member of the staff of the Diocese of Hawaii where he also served several congregations. He holds degrees from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California, and the University of Hawaii.
In a letter of application for her new work with evangelism and congregational life, Watson wrote: "Seeing the hurt and unmet spiritual hunger of the world today creates in me a strong call to action.... Strengthening congregations' ability to be aware of their part in the greater whole and equipping them with resources to live out their call is my ministry focus."
"I am both humbled and honored by the Presiding Bishop's and the Nominating Committee's selection," Watson said of her new appointment. "My prayer is that God will abundantly bless the dedicated and gifted Mission Center team as we -- in partnership with dioceses, provinces, networks and organizations -- seek to serve God's people. May we together strive to experience, grow in and share Jesus' transformative love in our rapidly changing and spiritually hungry world."
Since joining the Church Center staff in 2006, Watson has specialized in ministries of churches in small communities. She is concurrently priest associate at Christ and Holy Trinity Parish in Westport, Connecticut.
Watson has also served congregations in New Zealand and the Diocese of El Camino Real, California, and was prior to her ordination in 2002 a manager of healthcare programs in Templeton and San Diego, California.
Moving into her new role in Mission Leadership, Rose noted that "empowering and equipping people to claim their leadership in the church, their communities and beyond" has been central throughout her 25 years of ordained ministry. "My gift is helping people imagine possibilities and act on them."
"I am excited to tap the creative energy offered by the four Centers for Mission," Rose said in accepting her appointment to direct the Center for Mission Leadership and its portfolio including theological education, leadership development, and the support and training of missionaries.
"Building on the strong foundation of ongoing work, the fluid matrix of the Centers offers opportunities for collaborative work in developing tools and resources for the whole church," Rose added. "In my new role, I bring the conviction that strong leadership in the church requires a diversity of voices whose conviction to God's reconciling justice empowers us to live out our baptismal call."
Since beginning work in 2003 as director of women's ministries, Rose has worked to launch large initiatives including the work of the Anglican Women's Empowerment organization and its close ties with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Rose previously served congregations in Atlanta and the Boston-based Diocese of Massachusetts. While rector of Atlanta's St. Dunstan's Church, Rose worked in leading an Industrial Areas Campaign, the founding of an after-school program for elementary children, an extensive capital campaign. In Boston, she was founding director of the Jubilee Senior Action Center. She holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College.
Each of the new directors now begins work in shaping the staffing and program of their respective new centers in close collaboration with the Presiding Bishop and other senior managers at the Church Center

Monday, January 07, 2008

Software recommendation?

Greetings small church bloggers!
I had a call today from a vicar who would like to track membership, attendance, and giving trends on his computer. Do you track your congregation's statistics electronically? If so, which program do you use? Would you recommend it? Why, or why not?
He's going to check back to the blog for answers, so please, even if you've never posted a reply, I encourage you to overcome your shyness and help this vicar out...
And, Happy New Year :-)