This page contains Annual Reports to the 151st Diocesan Convention from various governing bodies and ministries of the Diocese.
Antiracism/ Racial Reconciliation
submitted by the Rev. Dr. Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew
In 2018 the Antiracism/Racial Reconciliation Team spent $1,732.83 for Canon John Crosswaite and Team member the Rev. Peter Williams to attend a Racial Reconciliation conference sponsored by The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, GA.
The Team continues to offer Antiracism Training, network within Province 2 and among parishes regarding antiracism and racial reconciliation ministries and opportunities, sponsor the CNY Antiracism Page on Facebook, and work with Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe and the Diocesan staff to address racism and its ongoing impact in the Diocese of Central New York, living into our baptismal covenant call to “…strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 305). We strive to see God at work in every person with whom we work, especially those who differ from us.
submitted by Ms. Joan Green
The funding was used for supplies, postage, and membership in a relevant professional organization.
Chaplains for Retired Clergy
submitted by the Rev. Thomas E. C. Margrave
Cards were sent to retired clergy by the chaplains for birthdays and save the date information for the luncheons with the Dementia Friendly Congregations workshops; the Chaplains helped with the coordination of these events.
Goals for the year included the annual luncheon for the retired clergy, spouses, and survivors. The Syracuse event attracted fewer people than hoped. Another goal was to maintain contact with the retired clergy, spouses, and survivors. This was primarily done through the mail. A further goal was to provide pastoral care assistance for the Bishop as needed; referrals from the diocesan office were followed up.
The Third Mark of Mission is to respond to human need through loving service. We have seen God at work in this ministry by its continued support by our Bishop and the Diocesan Board and by the work of connecting to the retired clergy, spouses, and survivors done by both the diocesan staff and the chaplains.
Commission on Ministry
submitted by the Rev. Dr. Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew
In 2018 the Commission on Ministry spent $1,500 on General Ordination Exams for two people.
Professional fees were $829.23.
The Discernment Teams had a retreat day at Christ the King Retreat House in Syracuse, which totaled $900.
A Ministry Discernment workshop was offered at the Ministry Fair at no expense to the Diocese.
A process for ordination to the priesthood was created and posted on the Diocesan website, a process for the vocational diaconate was begun, and formats for Ministry Discernment Day and Ordination Discernment Day were created. In addition, outlines for ordination process internships and clergy continuing education were begun, along with a restructuring of the COM.
In working to discern a sense of call to ministry among God’s people, to provide a thoughtful and organized structure for discernment and formation for ordination to the priesthood and vocational diaconate, and to support and continuing education of clergy in the Diocese of Central New York, the Commission on Ministry seeks to live into our Baptismal Covenant call to “…provide by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 305)
Companion Diocese Committee
submitted by the Rev. Deacon Charles N. Stewart
This diocesan committee continues to learn about, live, work and pray with our sisters and brothers in El Salvador, and most especially among the members of Iglesia Episcopal Anglicana de El Salvador (IAES). Hundreds of the parishioners in IAES have met some of the pilgrims from Central New York. In addition to the Mission of Miracles, more than one hundred people have experienced life in the churches, in the countryside, and in the street of El Salvador in the past fifteen years – some several times. Likewise, Central New York has received returning missionaries and Salvadoran clergy in close to a dozen parishes and at our convention. The message of changed lives is carried to our parishes by returning parish members, by sermons, through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and most importantly by personal testimony.
All are invited to be part of the ministry. We encourage all persons and parishes, most importantly, to pray the Prayer Cycle for the Companion Diocese, published on the Diocesan web site, on Facebook and on Twitter. Those who are able are invited to join a pilgrimage or mission trip. The gospel is spread by serving the poor and marginalized, but more so by openly demonstrating the need and offering opportunities. All ages and abilities can participate, bless and be blessed.
We are part of “The Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement.” The three pillars of the Jesus “house” are Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation and Justice, and Creation Care.
Evangelism: As Ingrid Knudsen (Trinity, Watertown) said, we go there to show them “the love of Jesus.” We can see it in the eyes of the children in the parishes that we visit and where we sit on the floor and do VBS crafts. We can see the love that they have for us because they’ve met some from the USA who truly care for them as people.
If the children, youth and adults are changed by our partnership with them it seems we are more transformed. Recently Allison Duvall of Episcopal Migration Ministries asked for names of people she might ask to write testimonies. Immediately six young adults agreed to talk with her.
Not that long ago, Lynette Wilson wrote in Episcopal News Service about one of our youth pilgrimages in which she quoted Pilar Padrón (Zion, Rome), “Padrón first visited El Salvador when she was 16. She previously had visited the Dominican Republic, where her father was born. Still, she said, nothing prepared her for the poverty and the resiliency she witnessed. ‘It made me feel like I wanted to do more for them … It opened my eyes to suffering and showed me that there are ways that we can help,’ she said, adding that afterward she began to feel called to the priesthood and to the work of bridging the gaps between communities and countries. ‘It made me want to stand for something, for people, to lead communities of faith and teach the gospel.’” Pilar is now the Rev. Pilar Padrón Parnell and serves in the Diocese of Virginia.
Racial Reconciliation and Justice: Social justice and reconciliation become real concepts when they come off the pages that we – in our privilege – read in articles and books. We meet and even become friends with people who are profoundly marginalized by poverty and extreme underemployment, forced displacement caused by gang and government violence, and lack of rights for women and same sex couples. We meet and learn the stories from members of these marginalized groups.
Creation Care: Very few families have a reliable supply of running water and 97% of that water is polluted. El Salvador the second most deforested country in the western hemisphere. They are in a continuing legal battle to keep huge multinational mining companies from further polluting the country’s water supply. Our youth pilgrimages do have access to clean water but they learn what life is like for the vast majority of Salvadorans.
Your Companion Diocese Committee uses our budget to:
- Support the youth pilgrimages, covering about 20% of the participant’s costs.
- Provide support to human rights work in El Salvador
- Provide Prayer Books (Libro Oración Común)
- Hospitality for Bishop Alvarado at our convention
- Additional support for the Mission of Miracles
As we write this we are preparing for another youth pilgrimage in July led by the Rev. Jeanne Hansknecht and focusing on liberation theology. In 2018 a similar group attended seminars to learn about youth activism and changing the world.
submitted by the Rev. Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent
2018 was a full year for Congregational Development in the Diocese of Central New York. I met with many parishes, sometimes in the diocesan offices, but more often in their churches. I met with vestries to help them talk about the big questions they’re working with in parish life. I also traveled to preach in congregations about 3 Sundays per month.
While most of the parish conversations I engaged in focused on church growth and development, there were two exceptions. Both St. John’s, Whitesboro, and St. Mark’s, Clark Mills, asked me to walk with them in the process of closing. It was difficult, of course, at the same time, I felt the presence of God with all of us as we faithfully made difficult decisions.
In the beginning of 2018, I offered basic conflict resolution workshops throughout the diocese. Not only do those workshops provide basic skills to those who come, it’s also a chance for me to hear how conflict is manifesting itself in parishes and to form relationships so that we can be supportive.
I attended two TMC (Transition Ministry Conference) gatherings. Those are our regional gatherings in Diocesan Transition Ministers for the purposes of learning together, sharing information about clergy and parishes in search, and deepening relationships of trust, which is critical when clergy move from one diocese to another. In 2018, these conferences took place in Florida and Maryland. (I flew to the one in Florida and drove to Maryland)
Attended an event at Virginia Theological Seminary called “Caring for Clergy” – a national conversation about how the church can respond well when clergy are in a unhealthy call. I didn’t know what to expect from this gathering but I was delighted to discover a host of new resources for congregations and clergy. It was also helpful to hear how some of our colleagues have been able to be helpful and supportive to both clergy and congregations in the midst of significant conflict. In 2018 I also attended General Convention — which was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the church more deeply and more broadly, to develop relationships across the church, and to learn what is “out there” for resources for our parishes. I was thrilled to learn more about Evangelism initiatives, educational programs, and supports that the wider church offers.
In 2018 I attended the College for Congregational Development Olympia and Rochester. In Olympia, I completed by second year of course work, passed my test, turned in my assignments and became an official graduate of the program. The following month, in Rochester, I served my year as a “trainer intern” so that I could become a full-fledged trainer. The Diocese of Rochester has been very generous with us and our participation in the College. Normally, trainers get paid for their work during the College, but as a way of us supporting that work from our diocese, they get this trainer for free. In 2019, I was a trainer for the new weekend-class format for the College in Rochester and I’ll also train for them in the summer of 2019.
On long-term goal I have had is to develop a team of Congregational Development Consultants/Facilitators. Ideally, I’d like all of our consultants to be trained with CCD, but there are some folks in our diocese with comparable experience that can serve in that role. One of the first steps in reaching that goal was to invite a handful of leaders in our diocese to be trained with the CCD. Eight from our diocese attended in 2018. Nine more will begin training in 2019. I’ve also begun meeting regularly with these folks in order to continue our learning together and develop ways to bring the wisdom from the College to our congregations.
Each year, I try to hold two intentional focuses for my role as Canon for Transition and Congregational Development:
2017: Learn the job (just had one focus that year!)
2018: Learn the job and begin to address stewardship
2019: Engaging in and supporting our Diocesan Visioning process and Develop our diocesan stewardship support for parishes (also beginning to consider supporting parishes in developing competencies around Evangelism)
2020: Engaging in and supporting our Diocesan Visioning Process (future focus areas will grow from that work)
submitted by Ms. Meredith Kadet Sanderson
Diocesan communications and public relations activities strengthen the diocesan community and create opportunities for new relationships with the people God is calling into our community. Communications resources equip small parishes to do the same in their unique context.
Significant accomplishments in the years 2018 & 2019 include (through October 7, 2019):
- Organize and support public ministry events; generate significant positive church wide and local media coverage about the Episcopal Church, with emphasis on God’s love as moral authority and church’s pastoral presence. Activities include: ashes-to-go (Ash Wednesday 2018/9), marching in CNY Pride (June 2018/9), Lights for Liberty vigil re: migrant detention camps with Bishop Duncan-Probe as featured speaker (July 2019), blessing of service dogs with Clear Path for Veterans (Oct 2018), response to gun violence (support of young people’s March for Our Lives (April 2018)), prayer service for separated migrant families (June 2018).
- Support churchwide and diocesan relationships, and inspire ministries through website, reporting, written and video storytelling (see Learning Communities reflections and Glimpsing God videos from our 150th Convention), bishop’s video messages and live Facebook events (including online bible studies for Lent and Advent with Bishop Duncan-Probe), weekly newsletter and other email marketing, print media, social media and more.
- Promote parish activities around key holidays/events (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday) in cost-effective manner through social media & website.
- Provide one-on-one consultation and support to parish leaders on communications strategy and tools.
- Offer in-depth training on newsletter best practices at PEACE conference for parish administrators (open to all parish communicators)
- Offer Communications 101 training to clergy in new calls at October 2019 AIM (Adventures in Ministry) meeting
- Design and build (as of October 2019) two church websites for parishes and on-track to complete 4-5 total websites in 2019.
In 2019, our weekly email newsletter, the Messenger, was honored to receive an Award of Merit for General Excellence: Best Periodical at the 2019 Polly Bond Awards for Excellence in Church Communications. The awards are juried by Episcopal Communicators, a churchwide professional organization. Our communications director was invited to teach an intensive half-day workshop on newsletters at the 2019 Episcopal Communicators conference.
submitted by the Rev. John R. Martinichio
Convention was held a the Holiday Inn and was well attended and education was held on Evangelism and storytelling. For full details see the
Journal of the 150th Diocesan Convention (2018).
Education for Ministry (EfM)
submitted by Ms. Peg Coleman
The activities sponsored through the Education for Ministry (EfM) program for 2018 included:
- EfM Mentor Training (3 days, 18-contact hours) with 11 mentors, 8 from DCNY. The training was held at St Margaret’s House in New Hartford. Mentors paid registration fees totaling $3,090, and $348 of the DCNY budget funds were allocated to minimize costs to mentors.
- EfM Graduation/Reunion event was held at St. John’s Ithaca. Bishop DeDe presided with Mtr. Megan Castellan at Eucharist with approximately 40 alumni, mentors, and participants of the EfM program, as well as approximately 10 parishioners of St John’s who attended or assisted with set up or clean-up. Grateful thanks are due to: Michael Clarkson for preparing the service program; Sherry Smart and Melissa Gallison for assistance with mailing postcard invitations; AnnMarie Hautaniemi for printing the service bulletins; Melissa for setting up a crowdfunding campaign for a retirement gift for longtime EfM mentor and past coordinator, Jim Johnson. No fee was charged to participants, and $676 was allocated from the DCNY budget to cover costs of catering.
- The EfM texts and informational materials were exhibited at convention and Learning Community Initiative events. For convention, $347 was allocated from the DCNY budget to cover costs of the exhibit table and a night’s lodging for the coordinator and a participant who set up the exhibit and answered questions at both days of convention. In addition, a slide show highlighting the 2018 Graduation/Reunion event was presented at convention by the coordinator. Grateful thanks are due to Sherry Smart and Lloyd Hall who assisted at the exhibit table, as well as to all who signed up with interest in EfM or EfM Online.
- Partial scholarships for 9 participants in three EfM groups were allocated ($1,080) to cover up to 1/3 the costs of the program’s annual fee ($375). Individuals and parishes contributed the remaining portion of the fee.
The goal of engaging EfM alumni and supporting new and continuing mentors and participants in the EfM program activities in DCNY was fully met in 2018.
The goal to form an EfM Online group including 6-8 DCNY parishioners was not met in 2018. However, the coordinator participated in a second EfM Online training in 2019 and is working to form an EfM Online group fully or partially formed from the diocese. Note that for 2019, the program is using the familiar platform Zoom for weekly online videoconferences, increasing ease of access and engagement for online community formation.
Another goal for 2018 that was not fully met was to expand the numbers of EfM groups meeting face-to-face in the diocese. Sadly, one group disbanded, and only three are continuing into 2019.
God at Work in EfM
DCNY has supported the EfM program (now requiring a $2,750 annual partnership fee with the University of the South in Sewanee, TN) since 1978! Participating in 36 weeks of intense study and reflection each year for 4 years is honored by Bishop DeDe and the diocese at the annual Graduation Reunion event. Most parishes invite their EfM graduates to witness or present homilies on Sunday mornings, and some offer EfM Sunday programs to engage others in the parish to consider committing to a year of the program. Some choose to take a year off or move away and continue with an EfM group in another diocese or with an EfM Online group.
I see God breathing new life into each participant of the DCNY groups, as well as the mentors and the coordinator, as we continue to wrestle with challenging material and difficult times. Relationships deepen as we build our theological libraries year by year, practice theological reflection, and discover God’s call through participating in this phenomenal Christian formation program in DCNY. God not only is working in DCNY, but has assisted more than 100,000 people around the world in discovering and nurturing their call to Christian service through this unique distance learning program since 1975.
Episcopal Relief & Development
submitted by the Rev. Deacon Shelly Banner
A Report on the Networking Meeting
Episcopal Relief and Development: Working Together for Lasting Change
After the customary welcome and introductory opening remarks, President and CEO of Episcopal Relief and Development Dr. Robert Radtke took care to reveal the newly designed logo for the agency and delivered the keynote address on the progress made toward completion of the current five year plan, which continues until 2021. This five year a plan maintains three focus areas: Women, Children, and Climate. In order to progress in each of these areas, Episcopal Relief and Development has developed an asset-based community development operation for each sub-group throughout the entire organization.
Although not financially unlimited, Esther Cohen, Chief Operating Officer, presented the overall sources for the organizations capital, broken down into percentages. 60% of the budget comes from individual donors, 14% comes from Dioceses, 16% from bequests, and estate settlements. The remainder is funds from corporations and foundations, including 2% from USAID. However, she was quick to say that the current evaluation by Charity Navigator, a measuring agency rates Episcopal Relief and Development 4 stars ( an A rating) for effective use of monies toward the people the agency seeks to serve. Out of every dollar, 91 cents is used for mission and less than 10% is used for operational expenses. She also highlighted that Episcopal Relief and Development work to heal a hurting world is guided by the principles of compassion, dignity, and generosity. This high efficiency is only possible through an army of volunteers at every level: local, Diocesan Asset Map Coordinators, Diocesan Disaster Teams and Diocesan Coordinators, all of who train, and then stand at the ready for whenever a call comes forth. The volunteer factor allows Episcopal Relief and Development to have sustainable resources and is key toward unlocking abundance.
Tara Plummer and Katie Mears oversee the U.S. Disaster Relief program, utilizing Diocesan Asset maps to develop more successful disaster responses, particularly for disaster-vulnerable groups.
As part of the U.S. Disaster Preparedness initiative, Episcopal Relief and Development is building a database of volunteers who are ready and willing to respond with a great variety of skills in the event of a disaster. When churches or Dioceses around the nation are affected by disaster, Diocesan Disaster Coordinators will post opportunities to respond. If there is no coordinator, individuals can sign up on the Episcopal Relief and Development digital platform to be connected to these opportunities.
The attendees at this conference were given the opportunity to visit an on-going recovery effort from the Disaster Relief response to Hurricane Harvey (2017). U.S. damage was inflicted in the extreme in Louisiana and Texas, but the area of Pearland TX sustained the most damage.
The sight is Rosamunde, about 45 miles west of Houston, where the homes of the entire community were flooded, anywhere between 5 feet and 8 feet deep. Anything standing in the aftermath of the hurricane was growing toxic mold and mildew. Clothing, food stuffs, furnishings in the homes and vehicles were impossible to reclaim. This area was settled by approximately 5o families of Cambodian refugees, and with the exception of 2 families, everyone claims Cambodian ancestry. As we were touring the village, during working hours, we got to see only a few people. However signs of asset based recovery and resiliency could be seen everywhere. Through the Diocesan Relief Coordinators, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and local volunteers, the community is well into recovery mode. All demolition is completed and toxic materials have been removed. More than half of the houses are built again, only this time, with the aid of architectural engineers, procured through Episcopal Relief and Development, all the new structures are raised in a hyper-pier and post foundation, sitting 5 feet to 7 feet in elevation (think of a cottage on stilts). Wonderful stories of individual stamina and recovery were told, each on buoyed by the work of Episcopal Relief and Development and each a witness to the combination of faith-driven volunteerism, loving neighbor as yourself, engaging in community, sharing resources and living out our baptismal vows. This is clearly a shining example of the motto of Episcopal Relief and Development: working together for lasting change. The families of Rosamunde are changed forever, and the hearts and souls of all the workers are changed, (Sometime, please ask me about Mr. Johnny, Mrs. Pauley and the original Honduran settlers.)
Commencing mid -summer, Episcopal Relief and Development will roll out initial plans for a new campaign called One Thousand Days of Love. This intends to raise funds to better enable the future success of children age 5 and under. This campaign is global in focus, targeting both the U.S. and throughout the world, that more families would be poised to enable more children to reach their full potential. The first effort will go out as a matching grant; every donation gets double the impact through a matching fund. On September 4, there will be a full launch, along with a subordinate campaign, called One Thousand Acts of Love. Prayerfully, with hope, these individual Acts of Love from individuals, parishes and Dioceses will raise 30,000,000.
Things to consider: as a Diocese do we want to seek a Disaster Coordinator? Do we want to create a Diocesan –wide plan around specific ACT of Love to contribute to 1,000 Days of Love? Shall we encourage global mission work through a Gifts of Life ministry fair? There are at least a hundred other possibilities. How is it that we shall wisely use out talents, that in the final accounting it will be said “Well done, good and faithful servant,”?
submitted by the Rev. Deacon Pat Kinney
Global Mission funds were granted to parishes engaged in ministries that reflected some long standing relationships with the world’s neediest people and some new international ministries. While some of the grant funds were given to parishes who have applied previous years, we were also able to support several new parishes who applied to Global Missions for the first time this year. God is at work in the affirmation by the diocese for parish commitments and generosity to third world needs. By doubling each parish’s contribution, the diocese supports their ministry in real, tangible financial support.
Mission of Miracles
submitted by Mr. Jim O’Neill
In February of 2018 The Mission of Miracles consisting of 26 people from CNY left for our yearly medical campaign with our companion diocese in El Salvador where we joined up with 22 Salvadoran team members. With us we brought medical supplies and medicine to use during our week in country. What doesn’t get used remains there allowing the program to remain sustainable throughout the year.
During our time there we visited 5 villages around the country traveling 1 1/12 to 2 hrs each way. The group consists of 5 areas that we provide health care to people who might not get it if not for the ministry. In medical we saw 535 patients doing regular checkups plus provide testing for diabetes and kidney disease, plus doing EKG’s on certain patients and giving meds as needed including prescriptions. We had a nutritionist who counseled and taught how to stay healthy.
Our dental team had 169 patients come through. This program has seen great improvement over the years in the overall health of people. The dentist is payed in part by a stipend from our diocese.
Our vision team were able to help the vision of 337 people, giving eye exams
and providing readers and prescription glasses.
Pastoral care allowed 24 people to unburden some of the anguish in their lives without shame.
Overall we had a successful week reaching out in this ministry in answering the call of Jesus to help those who are sometime neglected. Watching as this incredible group of people taking time from there lives to help others is a witness of the Holy Spirit guiding their hearts and hands. Looking into the eyes of a small child or in the face of the elderly you sense Jesus is looking at you and is pleased. We have always said we come home feeling like we got more from this ministry than we gave. It is the power of God, I am sure.
submitted by the Rev. Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent
2018 began with the re-formation of a diocesan Stewardship Committee, co-led by the Rev. Elizabeth Ewing (Christ Church, Binghamton), and Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent. The newly re-formed committee met by zoom about every-other month. In August and September we offered “Stewardship as a Spiritual Practice” workshops in five locations across the diocese that were well-attended. The first part of the event was talking about the spirituality of stewardship, while the second part of the workshop was learning about the many stewardship resources that are available to congregations.
I believe there are more and more people accessing TENS in our diocese, which is a wonderful resource. I’ve gotten many inquiries about that.
Peter Koeppel, of the Stewardship committee, has been writing regular pieces on Stewardship for the Messenger, with the hope that parishes will pick it up and share it.
This spring, we endeavored to offer “Year-Round Stewardship” workshops, but sadly, all but two were canceled for low registrations. We’re still working on what we can learn from this.
I think it’s time for a home-base gathering with the Stewardship committee so that we can come together in person and do some of the deep work of big-picture planning and visioning. It’s important that this meeting happen after the diocesan visioning process is well underway so that the Stewardship committee can be guided by the Vision, Rule of Life, and Mission Statement of the diocese.
No one this year took us up on the offer to use the funding provided to go to the TENS conference but I’m hopeful that having planted that seed this year, next year someone(s) will be able to go.
The Stewardship committee, moving into the future, will look forward to developing a deeper, more intentional relationship with the Finance Committee of the Board. I’ve asked for some funding so that we can have a longer, lunch-included, meeting together to continue to develop relationships and dream together about how best to support our diocesan vision and congregations.
Training & Resources
submitted by Ms. Kathy Dengler and the Rev. Bridget McManus
The Lay Preaching Program prepares committed lay Episcopalians to be licensed as preachers by the Bishop. The program began in 2015 and has licensed more than a dozen preachers. It is a two year program. Each school year consists of four in-person class days and a program of reading and written reflection, as well as regular preaching under the direction of a mentor in a local congregation. There are 5 students in the 2018- 2020 cohort. We owe the success of the program to the preachers who have mentored our students, the ones who give our Master Classes, and the dedication of the students. It’s a privilege to serve with them.
The 2018 Ministry Fair offered 19 different workshops over the day long gathering. Topics included: Dismantling Racism, Invitational Evangelism, Growing Youth Groups, Poetry and Faith, Prayer, Website creation, Centering Prayer and Healing, Focusing of Faith Enacted in Ministry, and many more. Dr. Catherine Meeks, Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, GA was our keynote speaker. Dr. Meeks also led a workshop: The Beloved Community: Dismantling Racism.
submitted by the Rev. Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent
Transition Ministry is helping priests and parishes find each other, in a good “fit” when they are called to new partnerships in ministry.
Goals I’ve had:
- Continue helping parishes and clergy through transition times. At any given time, we have around 25 parishes in some kind of transition. Some are making due with supply priests and hoping for something more steady and permanent. Some are transitioning from full-time to half-time clergy, or other similar shifts. Some parishes are doing the hard work of discerning whether to close, merge, yoke, or do ministry in another way. Some parishes are making strides with intentional interim ministers, and some are in more traditional searches. I do continue to support these parishes through visits, phone calls, emails, and just general checking in. Sometimes I lead worship or preach. Sometimes I lead vestry or parish meetings. Sometimes I meet with wardens.
- To have fewer parishes with no clergy or only occasional supply clergy.We have fewer vacancies now! The few chronic vacancies we’ve had are now being served on a regular basis by supply priests. One of those places has decided that instead of one clergy person coming occasionally, they really like having different folks in.
- To go to one networking event to promote the Episcopal Diocese of CNY and to get to know talented clergy who we might want to recruit. In 2018, I went to General Convention and made a lot of connections that are still continuing to bear fruit. In 2019, I attended FORMA in Indianapolis — one reason was to network and meet people.
- To re-create a program for clergy in new calls. We’ve done that! I’ll be submitting a budget request for our new AIM (Adventured in Ministry) group that is going strong! (I meet God in those gatherings every time we meet. There’s a beautiful spirit of collegiality, curiosity, support, and trust there.)
I attend two Regional Transition Conferences a year. In 2018, we met in Florida and in Virginia. In 2019: Salt Lake City (for a national gathering), and in Maryland. In 2020, we’ll meet in Florida and probably Maryland or Virginia. At those conferences, not only do we share priests and congregations who are searching, but we also share best practices, and engage in continuing education as well. It’s also a very important time to develop and deepen relationships, as trust and honesty between Diocesan Transition Ministers is critical when doing background checks on clergy.
There is also money in our budget for background checks. When parishes are searching, they reimburse us for that expense. But for clergy who are seeking a License to Officiate, we pay that cost. It helps us populate our supply list, which is a huge help to all our parishes.
submitted by Ms. Kristen Blum
In 2018, we held our annual skating overnight in January at St. Paul’s in downtown Syracuse, had Happening #69 in April at Casowasco Retreat Center, had a semi-formal dance, the Bishop’s Ball, in June at St. James’ in Skaneateles, had New Beginnings in July at White Eagle Conference Center, had a summer youth picnic in August at Cayuga Nature Center, and had Happening #70 in October at Casowasco. I also attended a youth workers conference in September in Kansas City, Missouri. We did not have our winter retreat in February due to low registration numbers.
This year Tory Blum and I focused a lot on our involvement in the Happening program and really felt the connections the youth were making with themselves, their peers, and God in this sacred and open and loving space.