Church leaders charged to make disciples at 2019 Leadership Day

image above: Leaders from St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Liverpool and St. James’ Episcopal Church, Pulaski in conversation at our 2019 all-parish Leadership Day. Held last Saturday, March 23rd in the DoubleTree Hotel in East Syracuse, the event drew 129 people from 45 parishes in the Diocese. More photos available on Facebook.

“It’s your turn to hear these words spoken from Jesus directly to you,” Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe told the vestry members, clergy, and other church leaders assembled for the diocese’s all-parish Leadership Day. She was referring to the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Rev. Toppie Bates (St. James’, Skaneateles) listens as Ernestine Patterson (Grace Church, Syracuse) describes her church during a “congregational identity” discernment exercise at Leadership Day.

“God loves you, and fiercely wants you to use your life to spread the joy of Christ to the world,” Bishop Duncan-Probe preached. And no church leader or member needs to be anxious about this call. “You have everything you need…to do what God is calling you to do,” she continued. “Not because you’re all ‘it,’ but because God is. You have nothing that you’re lacking to live for Jesus, except to do it.”

The activities and presentations offered throughout the day equipped church leaders to respond to Jesus’ commission. Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe and Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent, diocesan canon for transition and congregational development, led a crash course on the key beliefs and behaviors that characterize the “shared learning mindset” of a great leader. They shared how this mindset is essential to our ongoing diocesan visioning process, then led conversations to help church leaders engage the new vision statement, “A healed world where every soul is sacred,” by sharing stories of when we’ve seen God at work, and when we’ve been at our best in the Church.

Sharing stories: John Gillmeister of St. Stephen’s, New Hartford and Kate Didonato of Grace & Holy Spirit, Cortland.

Rounding out the day, diocesan vice-chancellor Martha Berry and diocesan treasurer the Rev. Steve White reviewed the basics of “Safe Church for your church finances,” reminding leaders that trustworthiness with money and responsibility is no less important than trustworthiness with pastoral concerns and confidences. After lunch, the Rev. Paul Frolick and diocesan communications director Meredith Kadet Sanderson led an exercise designed to help church leaders discern a congregational identity. They emphasized that “knowing who we are,” is the starting point for great communications, preparing us to share with our neighbors our particular embodiment of the Good News.

Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe’s sermon from Leadership Day and all slides and handouts for the day may be found below. 

Bishop Duncan-Probe’s Sermon

Leadership Day included the first of three diocese-wide services of Holy Eucharist with Renewal of Vows and Blessing of the Oils. Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe gave the sermon:

Handouts and Resources

Diocesan Visioning

Presenters: The Rt. Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe, Bishop of Central New York and The Rev. Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent, canon for transition and congregational development for the Diocese of Central New York

Financial and Fiduciary Responsibilities of a Vestry—What All Church Leaders Need to Know

Presenter: Ms. Martha Berry, Esq., vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Central New York and the Rev. Steve White, treasurer of the Diocese of Central New York

Marketing Your Congregation from Deep Gladness

Presenters: The Rev. Paul Frolick, rector of St. Matthew’s, Liverpool and Ms. Meredith Kadet Sanderson, director of communications for the Diocese of Central New York

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