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A number of St. Philip’s staff clergy, affiliated clergy, delegates, spouses and partners, and other interested parties attended the 52nd Diocesan Convention in Phoenix in October.

An article by the Rev. Vicki Hesse describing her impressions of the Convention appears here. Raymond Dewey, newly elected member of the Diocesan Standing Committee, explains what the Standing Committee does here. Below are descriptions of workshops and impressions of those who attended them.

Annual Convention 2012Pre-Convention Workshops:
PC-1: Orientation to Convention — An overview of Diocesan Convention for those attending for the first time and perhaps answer questions for those returning to the convention experience.

Attending: Sally, James, Raymond, Bill, Melinda

PC-2: Canons, Resolutions and Budget — An overview of proposed canon changes, resolutions being presented and the proposed 2013 budget.

Attending: Beth, Raymond, James, Vicki, Bill, Melinda

PC-3: Candidate Forum — An opportunity to hear from the candidates for Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, and Diocesan Officer positions.

Attending: Ralph, Sally, Ray, James, Vicki, Anne, Beth, Bill, Melinda

Breakout Sessions:

Session 1:
W-1: Bishop’s Forum — Bishop Kirk Stevan Smith, Bishop of Arizona

W-2: Spiritual Practice: the narrow door to discovery and growth! — The Most Rev. Frank Griswold, Retired Presiding Bishop and Keynote Speaker

Bishop Griswold started by asking the question “How are we faithful to living out our Baptism?” He divided his answer into three segments, Prayer, Scripture, and Sacraments.

Scripture: He said the Bible is clear that the primary stance in pursuing our faith is listening. God is continually praying for us, speaking through our hearts. Prayer is God’s work within us. Prayer is energy that sometimes moves us to deed. He concluded this section by saying “Give yourself to the spirit within you — you will find yourself transfixed.”

Prayer is an openness to love in every part of our being. We should “hang out in silence and let God take over.”

Sacraments: Christ’s presence permeates the sacraments. Everything is potentially sacramental. Sacramental Reality is much larger than what we call the sacraments. We become elements of the sacraments by things we say or do (often without knowing.)
—Melinda Carrell

Convention sessionW-3: Best Practices of Stewardship Panel Discussion — Moderated by The Rev. Timothy Dombek, Canon to the Ordinary

A discussion about Stewardship that works.

Attending: John W., Raymond

W-4: Acts 8 Movement — The Rev. Susan Snook, Vicar of Church of the Nativity, Scottsdale, and The Rev. Megan Castellan, Chaplain at NAU, Flagstaff

Acts 8:26-39. You may recall this chapter of Acts, in which Philip encounters an Ethiopian eunuch. Philip proclaims the good news about Jesus to the eunuch and then baptizes him. In this workshop, we listened to the scripture three times. The workshop leaders, the Rev. Susan Snook and the Rev. Megan Castellan invited us pray, listen, and share in three successive iterations. Where is God leading us? What is being revealed about God’s dream for us? What does this scripture have to do with our parish, diocese, or world today?

The five or six groups of participants shared at each iteration. We heard about creative ways to *be* radical hospitality, learned about inspiring ideas of welcome and shared wake-up calls for noticing others. Truly the power of this approach (pray, listen, reflect) made the workshop insightful and imaginative. At the last session, we each shared “on camera” our response to, “I dream of a church that ________________.”

Inspired by Acts 8, how would you fill in that blank?

—The Rev. Vicki Hesse

W-5: Grant Writing 101 — Jack Hanstein, Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services

Learn how to write a successful grant application to organizations such as ERD, UTO, corporations, foundations and Government Agencies.  In today’s economy, almost every social ministry needs to know how to access funding outside of their traditional donor base.  New and innovative projects require special knowledge regarding the granting agencies and their priorities.  This workshop will provide practical guidelines and a 1-2-3 step process for writing successful grant applications.

Attending:__________________________________________

W-6: Doctrine of Discovery — The Rev. Dorothy Saucedo, the Rev. Vivian WinterChaser, and the Rev. Debra Royals, Native American Program Group

The Rev. Debra Royals, Grace St. Paul’s, and Reverends Dorothy Saucedo and Vivian Winterchaser, deacons from St Augustine’s, Tempe, presented this program. The Rev. Royals is Pascua Yaqui, the Rev. Saucedo is Navajo, and the Rev. Winterchaser is Lakota Sioux, and all are members of the Diocesan Native American Program Group.

In 2009, in Resolution D035, the General Convention “repudiate[d] and renounce[d] the Doctrine of Discovery as fundamentally opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our understanding of the inherent rights that individuals and peoples have received from God, and that this declaration be proclaimed among our churches and shared with the United Nations and all the nations and peoples located within The Episcopal Church’s boundaries.” The resolution also called upon “each diocese within the Episcopal Church be encouraged to reflect upon its own history, in light of these actions.” This program was designed to start this process within the Diocese of Arizona.

After opening with prayer, we watched part of a video, entitled We Are Here, produced and with interviews by Native American church leaders, including the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, former Bishop of Navajoland and now the National Indigenous Bishop of Canada, to speak about the Doctrine of Discovery, what it meant, and what the repudiation means. We were also provided a handout which covered this material as well.

The phrase “Doctrine of Discovery” covers a series of act by colonizers from the West over the past 500 years, beginning with the discovery of uninhabited land. Beginning with the discovery of Iceland, whoever discovered the land had the right of discover, meaning they owned the land and could rule and exploit it. This right was then extended to cover newly discovered lands which were inhabited because indigenous peoples weren’t civilized; in particular, they didn’t have the Church. This gave the discovering countries right to treat the indigenous peoples the same as animals or other products of the land.

This attitude also persisted into missionary work. Native Elders recognized scripture matched what they knew of a creator God. But missionaries preached western civilization instead of word of God. To be considered real Christians, native peoples were told they must become western in thinking, dressing, and speech.

After the video, the presenters told some of their stories. Rev. Saucedo’s story about being punished as a small child for speaking Navajo at boarding school was particularly moving, especially as at the same time she realized she was hearing God calling her.

The repudiation is important because the Doctrine is interwoven into many federal and state statutes and case law, the Declaration of Independence, and even the Constitution of the Episcopal Church. It led to taking away the land, languages, culture, and children of indigenous peoples here and around the world. It continues to impact such diverse areas as the blocking of salmon rivers, the protection of sacred sites, and global warming’s effect on native villages.

The Rev. Royals told us there are 22 federally recognized tribes in Arizona, but asked how many of us have Native Americans in our congregations or work with them. Only 3 folks in group of around 25 raised their hand. She asked us to invite her or the other presenters to come to our churches to speak and to work with them to find ways to include Native Americans in our congregations.

All in all a very informative program and one I’d like to see presented at St Philip’s.

—The Rev. Leah Sandwell-Weiss

W-7: Accessibility for Church Facilities — Tim O’Malley, Clerke of the Works for the Diocese, and Dr. Charlotte Shepard, Disability Program Group Member

This workshop focused on making churches architecturally accessible for people with disabilities. Organized around a powerpoint presentation and numerous handouts, the material covered key areas of accessibility for church property, featuring many photos of what the presenters refer to as “examples of excellence” found in quite a few of our churches. For example, in its church parking lot, St. Anthony on the Desert has “an accessible route,” configured to reduce the risk of danger associated with passing behind parked vehicles. Such a route starts from the adjacent access lane of an accessible parking space, continues through the parking lot — in front of cars — and leads to an accessible entrance to the church. Participant questions mostly dealt with approximate costs for various projects, funding sources for help with costs, and using online faith-based accessibility guidelines — Episcopal (2008) http://www.ecbf.org/pdf/accessguide3.pdf and United Methodist (2010 with ADA links) http://www.umdisabilityministries.org/download/audit2.pdf being the most comprehensive and helpful.

—The Rev. Anne Strong

W-8: Social Media for Dynamic and Engaged Parish Communications — Nicole Krug, Director of Media and Communications, and Robert Krug, St. John the Baptist, Glendale

Are you reaching current and potential parishioners by leveraging the fast growing social media universe? We’ll show the basics of the most popular social media platforms and how to use them to grow and communicate with your congregation.

This workshop highlighted the importance of engaging in social media as a means of bringing the gospel and the ministry of the church to diverse populations including youth, young adults, and even older adults. Many approaches were offered, including Facebook with groups, pages, events, and ads. Twitter was also introduced as a way to create brief “live” news feeds that invite subscribers into deepening their connections to the church.

—The Rev. Greg Foraker

W-9: Good Governance — Dan Packard, Law Office of Daniel A. Packard, P.C., Diocesan Counsel

The convention session on governance was led by Daniel Packard, an attorney and senior consultant to the Episcopal Church Foundation. His topics included the importance of good governance to ministry, the sources of good governance, and issues such as conflict of interest that need to be carefully and intentionally assessed within a church.

Much of Packard’s information centered around the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act regarding legal obligations of non-profit organizations. Particular areas of discussion were legal compliance and disclosure, effective governance, strong financial oversight, and responsible fundraising.

He provided copies of several documents including “Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice” and an accompanying workbook. These handouts contain valuable information in a ready-to-use format and should be made available to all vestry members and staff for reading and discussion.

—James Humphreys

Session 2:
W-1:
Diocesan Children’s Licensing Program — Nancy Shumaker, Canon for Children’s Ministries

Directing and guiding an effective Children’s Ministries program is a calling and a ministry that has a lasting effect on the children and families they serve. People are frequently asked to run a children’s ministry program in a church without any training, a defining job description, or a vision for the program. The Children’s Ministries Licensing Program is the Diocese’s first formal step in changing the misconception that the only thing involved in children’s ministries is Sunday School. This workshop will give you an overview of the program, as well as a chance to hear from some of the newly licensed Children’s Ministries graduates about how this program benefited them and enhanced their ministries.
Attending:__________________________________________

W-2: Spiritual Practice: the narrow door to discovery and growth! — The Most Rev. Frank Griswold, Retired Presiding Bishop and Keynote Speaker
(report appears in Session 1)

W-3: 2012 General Convention Report — General Convention Deputies and Bishop Smith

The Deputies and Bishop Smith will summarize and discuss what happened at General Convention, which took place this summer in Indianapolis.

Attending: John K., Melinda, Bill

W-4: Thrift Stores That Fund Ministries Panel Discussion — Moderated by Jack Hanstein, Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services

There were three presentations from different parishes that had thrift shops. All had facilities on the church property and therefore didn’t pay rent. All grew out of rummage sales.

The “Gold Mine” shop in Cave Creek seems to be the most successful; they are 30 years old and took a number of years to establish themselves. They gross approximately $170,000 per year. They have a paid manger and one half-time paid person plus about 20 volunteers. They take up about 1836 sq. ft. in a separate building on the church property. They are open Wednesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All their profits now go to outreach and 70% stays in the community.

Specifics: All items must be cleaned … stained blankets, towels, etc., go to animal rescue … other stained items go to a rag merchant … medical equipment goes to the Kiwanis lending closet … they collect toiletries for food bank/Primavera … they concentrate on a different charity each month and the name is posted … they have job descriptions and those wishing to volunteer need to fill out an application and get approved. Attitude makes all the difference, the volunteers can’t be condescending/patronizing or there just to get first dibs on items. They have volunteer specialists that take on a department and often scout the retail stores for pricing guides information.

The thrift shop in Sun City is only a few years old. They are in a small rural community and are only open 4 hours on Saturdays; they are planning on opening 3 additional hours on Friday. They have grossed a total of $77,000 in the 2.5 years that they have been open. The shop is all volunteer run and they take donations and have a work day for about 3 hours on Tuesday. They say that advertising is important. They occupy 2900 sq. ft. in a part of their church building. They had the equipment left over from their annual rummage sale so their only opening expense was signage and advertising. The Goodwill picks up what they don’t sell.

St. Mark’s in Mesa started “Mark Downs” with a 5-person committee a few years ago — one of those members had thrift store experience. They are located in about 1000 sq. ft. in an unused classroom in their church. They had the great good fortune of having all their equipment and opening stock donated by a Muslim family that was closing their apparel store. They are open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. plus the second and fourth Tuesdays for Church members. They grossed $38,000 this past year. The sense of community among volunteers was a plus and the exposure to the wider community (they are easily visible) brought in new members. They have a person dedicated to putting some of the donated items on eBay and Craig’s List.

Some suggestions:
Make use of Craig’s List and Facebook, advertise
A rented or purchased portable classroom module on the property is a possibility
Providing help to clean out closets after a spouse had died is a great service.
Don’t take furniture — it takes up too much space.

—Beth Brouillette

W-5: Communication Basics — Nicole Krug, Director of Media and Communications
What kind of communications is your church providing to your members and the surrounding community? Whether you have a newsletter sent via mail, a web site, or more, you need to keep your congregation informed and be able to let guests know what you have to offer. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds! This workshop will show you how to move forward from what you are doing now.
Attending:__________________________________________

W-6: From Age-ing to Sage-ing — The Rev. Judith Turberg, Vicar of St. Peter’s, Casa Grande

From Age-ing to Sage-ing® is an interfaith program of the Spiritual Eldering Institute whose purpose is to provide a model of elderhood that is grounded in ongoing, spiritual growth into the later years of life. Whether you are a retired person, someone in midlife, or a younger person wanting a better vision of your future, this program can provide you with tools and techniques to further develop your spiritual understanding and be in a better position to achieve your vision.

Attending: Brigid, Ralph, Vicki

W-7: Entering into a Conversation with Scripture — The Rev. Carmen Guerrero, Canon for Multicultural Ministries, and the Rev. Matt Marino, Canon for Youth and Young Adult Ministries

They started with a story about five men giving talks, all assumed to be in their 50s–70s. One stood out, and they went up to him to find out why he was so energetic. He said he was 90 years old and for 40 years he has read the Bible for one hour a day and then lived by what he read. I thought a nice beginning. I enjoyed this session. Had principles for reading the Bible. Pray what you read and then apply it to your life. They gave out a sheet of “10 Suggestions for Getting More From the Bible.” Would like to share that with anyone. Talked about “The Wedding at Cana” — what did we learn from it. It was said the only people who knew Jesus had changed water to wine were the servants. So something to said about that. I later told the Rev. Guerrero that I have always thought when I read this story that Jesus wants us to have fun. His very first miracle was helping people to enjoy themselves. So when I have a party at my house and we are drinking wine, I know Jesus would approve. She liked it.

—Sally Gunderman

W-8: The Neely Fellows Project — The Rev. Megan Traquair and Dan Packard, Neely Fellows Project Board

This workshop described how young adults could receive funding from the Neely Foundation to develop service/mission projects.

The Diocese has received a $1 million grant to fund young adult leaders in a “Graduate Program of Christian Discipleship.” Modeled after the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius Grants,” this program supports recent college graduates to equip them with skills, resources, mentoring, and support that they might need to do Christ’s work in the world. Each one- or two-year program will be unique to each applicant. The Neely Foundation funds this program, as it does the Youth Ministry Apprentice program, and will be administered uniquely for each applicant over the one or two years requested.

The four presenters enthusiastically shared how the Diocese is seeking new college graduates in which to invest — as part of realizing God’s dream. They shared how deep the support will be — at the applicant’s initiative — in the area of education (provided through CDSP), funding, mentoring, resources, and encouragement. The foundation eagerly awaits young adults to apply for the program. If you know any new college graduates who are passionate about realizing God’s dream, please contact the Rev. Megan Traquair or Dan Packard at the Neely Fellows Project Board for more information.

—The Rev. Vicki Hesse

W-9: 5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations — The Rev. Stewart McDonald, Vicar of St. Raphael’s, Benson and Trinity Church, Willcox

Vibrant, growing, fruitful congregations repeat and deepen certain fundamental activities, seeking to perform them with excellence:  Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. These edgy words focus us on the appropriate work that helps us fulfill the mission of church. Congregations offer the invitation and welcome of Christ, provide worship that connects us to God and to one another, offer opportunities for people to grow in Christ by learning in the community, relieve suffering and improve the conditions of people in need through service and mission, and teach people to give of themselves.

Attending: James, Raymond

In summary:
Glad I went to this. Got an overview. They said not just all about business. We can have fun also. It is important to know how you were elected. Represent your church. There are 402 delegates and 177 visitors. Good time to talk to people you do not know. I did just that. Talked to a Native American. Told her I have been here in Tucson for 16 years and have never spoked to one. She is the first one. She said she is thinking about coming to churches. Said great idea. Also talk with women from the St. Baranbas in the Desert. And three men from St. Paul’s Episcopal Sudanese Church. So I did try to get around. And I did have FUN besides the business.

—Sally Gunderman

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