General eNewsletter | September 13, 2023


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A Conversation with Bishop Jacob Owensby

Convention keynote speaker reflects on hope, connection

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana and chancellor of Sewanee, The University of the South. The author of six books, with a manuscript underway, Bishop Owensby also writes a popular blog.

Before attending the School of Theology at Sewanee, Owensby earned a Ph.D. at Emory University and was an associate professor of philosophy at Jacksonville University. He and Bishop Paula are tablemates at House of Bishops’ meetings, where he says he has developed “immense respect and affection” for her.

In August, Bishop Owensby and Nancy Bryan of Canticle Communications sat down via Zoom to talk about his upcoming visit to the Diocese of Chicago, when he will be the keynote speaker at diocesan convention, and how he thinks about Bishop Paula’s convention theme of “hope and connection.” The transcript of their conversation has been edited for clarity.

I’d love to start out by asking about when you have been to the Diocese of Chicago. Is there a story about a previous visit there that comes to mind as you think about being back in the diocese this fall?

Oh, yeah. My very last visit was for Bishop Paula’s ordination and consecration, and that was really so uplifting. Just the whole thing. To join in the celebration of her finally becoming bishop, it just did my heart good. The energy in that liturgy made me kind of envious, to tell you the truth, for what can happen at a liturgy. And it makes me anticipate a great good time at convention.

Read more.

Confirmations and Receptions

at St. James Cathedral

Saturday, October 21 at 11 am

Bishop Paula Clark will preside over a service of confirmation and reception at St. James Cathedral on Saturday, October 21 at 11 am. All congregations in the diocese are welcome to participate. Please note: candidates are required to attend a pre-service meeting with Bishop Clark at 10 am.

Congregations presenting candidates should contact Karin Gutierrez for details.

Episcopal Evangelism Grants Available

Applications due to the Bishop's office by October 9

Episcopal institutions are invited to apply for evangelism grants to support ministries, resources, and gatherings that minister across barriers. The grant application, criteria, requirements, budget information, and more are available online.


Please note: this grant application requires Bishop Clark's approval; preliminary applications should be submitted via email by October 9.

Vitality Grant Applications Available in English and Spanish

Application deadline is October 12

The Congregations Commission is now accepting applications for 2024 vitality grants. All congregations, regardless of parish or mission status, may apply for a grant.

Grants are intended to help congregations become more faithful, healthy, and effective, and priority is given to congregations with demonstrated financial need. A commitment to attend the College for Congregational Development is a prerequisite for receiving a grant.

Applications are available in English and Spanish on the diocesan website and are due by 5 pm on October 12. For more information please view the application, and contact Louisa McKellaston with questions. 

Applications Open for General Convention Official Youth Presence 2024

Deadline to apply is November 17

Episcopal teens ages 16 to 19 are invited to apply to become part of the 81st General Convention’s Official Youth Presence at the 81st General Convention scheduled for June 20-28 in Louisville, Kentucky. The application deadline is November 17.

Members of the Official Youth Presence have seat and voice in the House of Deputies. Up to two youth from each of the church’s nine provinces will be selected to participate. The Episcopal Church budget covers travel, lodging, and meals for those attending orientation and General Convention.


Applications and nomination forms in English and Spanish can be found online, as well as additional criteria and information for potential applicants.

New Sales Tax Exemption Certificate

The Sales Tax Exemption Certificate for the Diocese of Chicago was recently updated and is valid until September 1, 2028. Please download and save the new version for your congregation's records.

For more information and resources, visit the Tax and Audit page of the website.

Diocesan Convention News

2023 Diocesan Convention

November 17-18 at Westin Chicago Lombard

After three years of virtual conventions, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago will gather in person on November 17 and 18 at the Westin Chicago Lombard for the 186th Diocesan Convention.

Convention is the annual business meeting of the diocese, during which we elect leaders, consider resolutions and hear reports from across the diocese and the wider church. This year, we will also have opportunities for worship, connection, and learning. Watch for more information on the convention schedule coming soon.

Convention Registration is Open

Register by September 30 for best rate

Registration for the 2023 Diocesan Convention is now open. An early bird registration rate of $100 per person will be available through September 30. Beginning October 1, the cost of attendance will be $150 per person. Advanced registration will close on October 31, after which only onsite registration at a cost of $200 per person will be available. Register for convention.

A limited number of scholarships for the cost of registration are available. Scholarships may be requested by emailing Crystal Plummer.

Delegate Certification Due September 30

Delegates must be certified to have voice and vote at convention. Delegate certifications are due by September 30 and can be completed online:

Hotel Registration
Group rate available until October 25

block of rooms at the Westin Chicago Lombard is available with a discounted rate of $149/night until October 25. Reservations may be made online. For more information, contact the Westin at 630.719.8000. Reserve a room.
Nominations Due September 30

Nominations for positions to be elected by the 2023 Diocesan Convention may be submitted to the Secretary of Convention by email or by mailing the nomination form to the diocesan office.

The following positions will be elected to these bodies:
  • Standing Committee
  • One clergy, one lay to a three-year term
  • One clergy, one lay to a one-year term
  • Bishop and Trustees
  • One clergy, three lay to a three-year term
  • The Cathedral Chapter
  • One clergy or lay person to a three-year term
  • One clergy or lay person to a two-year term
  • One clergy or lay person to a one-year term

The deadline to submit a nomination is September 30. A “Meet the Candidates” forum will be held on November 11 on Zoom. To learn more about each position, visit the convention webpage to download the Call for Nominations in English or Spanish.

Resolutions Due September 30

Resolutions to be considered at the 2023 Diocesan Convention may be submitted to the Secretary of Convention by emailing [email protected]. To learn how to write a resolution and see an example, visit the convention webpage to download the Call for Resolutions in English or Spanish. The deadline to submit resolutions is September 30.


Convention is our biggest event of the year and it requires the help of volunteers, who assist with registration, host workshops, and more. Use the online form to register as a volunteer. (Please note, volunteers must pay the registration fee in order to attend convention.)

Call for Convention Memorials

As is our tradition, we will remember those who have died in the last year in the convention necrology. Please submit the names of those in your congregation who have died since the 2022 Diocesan Convention to the Secretary of Convention by All Saints' Day, November 1. 

Learning Opportunities

Tell Me the Truth About Racism Fall Cohorts

Online and in-person opportunities

Fall training cohorts for Tell Me the Truth About Racism "core stories" training will convene beginning September 20 (from 11 am -1 pm Central) and September 21 (from 7 - 9 pm Central). An in-person core stories training will be held November 9 to 11 in Hampton, Virginia. Learn more and register.

Coming in 2024: a new module focused on creation care stories will be available in the Epiphany season. The core training will be a prerequisite for the new module. Contact Jen Holt Enriquez and Will Bouvel for more information.

Faith-Based Investors and the Climate Crisis

Virtual conversation with CPG September 20

On Wednesday, September 20, The Church Pension Group (CPG) will host a virtual conversation entitled, Global Faith-Based Investors and the Climate Crisis, from noon to 1 pm Central. Register online.

Spiritual Care Visitor Training in September

Bishop Anderson House retreats on September 23 & 30

Bishop Anderson House will offer two sessions of its Spiritual Care Visitor Training program this fall, with in-person retreats on September 23 at Grace Lutheran Church in LaGrange, and September 30 at Bishop Anderson House in Chicago

For 2023, thanks to a generous foundation grant, the only cost to participate will be the $50 non-refundable application fee (a savings of $325). The deadline to apply is mid-September. Learn more and apply online. For more information contact Kim Lessner, registrar, at 312-563-4825 or by email.  

Conversations on the Partner's Path with Dr. Roz Nichols

October 2 at 6 pm Central

Spouses of Episcopal clergy are invited to participate in Conversations on the Partner's Path, an online gathering space for spouses of Episcopal clergy. On October 2, the online gathering will feature the Rev. Dr. Roz Nichols speaking about sabbath-keeping. Register to participate.

The Hunger Paradox: ECW Fall Forum

October 4, 11, and 18 

The Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Chicago (ECW) Fall Forum will be a three-part Zoom series addressing the hunger paradox. Beginning October 4 and held over three consecutive Wednesday evenings at 7 pm, the series will address the scope of food insecurity in the United States and share examples of sustainable gardening for individuals, churches, and feeding programs.

The program fee is $15 for all three sessions. Learn more and register on Eventbrite.

The Fate of Food by Amanda Little is recommended reading for the event. The first thirty-five people to submit receipts will be reimbursed for the cost of the book (see details on Eventbrite). Email Diane Edwards, event chair with questions.

Ecumenical Workshop for Lay and Ordained Preachers

Saturday, October 14 in Dubuque, Iowa

Lay and ordained preachers in the Diocese of Chicago are invited to participate in Nourishing the Preaching Life: A Fellowship of Preachers, a free, one-day workshop hosted by St. John's Episcopal Church in Dubuque, Iowa.

Learn more and register.

Weaving Our Gifts: A Conference of Catechists

Streaming October 27-28 at All Saints', Chicago

On October 27 and 28, the annual conference of the Center for Children and Theology, Weaving Our Gifts: A Conference of Catechists, will livestream conference keynotes.

The keynote speaker, the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, will address the place of children in the changing church landscape, and the intersection of children’s faith formation and bias and racism in the country and our churches. 

All Saints', Chicago is a satellite livestream host and invites catechists from around the diocese to attend. Contact Polly Tangora for more information.

Around the Diocese

Poetry Reading at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

September 13 at 7 pm

On September 13 at 7 pm, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in DeKalb will host an event called "Wonderment: Five DeKalb Poets Read Poems of Wonder and Awe." The poets, all DeKalb residents, are John Bradley, Rebecca Parfitt, Joseph Gastiger, and Susan Azar Porterfield, and host Marilyn Cleland.

The event is free and light refreshments will be offered. A free-will offering will be collected for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Mosaic Players Present "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche"

September 24 at St. Martin's, Des Plaines

On September 24 at 2 pm, St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Des Plaines will host the Mosaic Players performance of Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche. The play, a satire of women's roles in the 1950s, will be followed by a Q&A with the cast. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Clergy Spouse/Partner Network Gatherings and Retreat

The Clergy Spouse/Partner Network of the Diocese of Chicago invites all spouses and partners of Episcopal clergy to dinner gatherings across on September 14 in Geneva and October 19 in Plainfield at 6:30 pm. Please register at Clergy Spouse/Partner Dining Series.

Clergy Spouse/Partner Retreat:
September 29 - October 2
This fall the Clergy Spouse/Partner Network will host a retreat from September 29 to October 2, at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock. Learn more and register or donate to support the retreat.

Blessing of the Animals and Pet CPR

October 7 and 14 at St. Martin's, Des Plaines

St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Des Plaines will host its annual Blessing of the Animals on October 7 at noon. The event will include raffle prizes and animal adoptions from Heartland Animal Shelter.

On October 14 from noon to 3 pm, St. Martin's will offer a pet CPR course. The course will address when and how to perform CPR on small, medium and large dogs and cats and other first aid techniques. Register to attend.

Episcopal Charities Autumn Soirée

Friday, October 27

Episcopal Charities will host an Autumn Soirée Fall Fundraiser on October 27 at Epiphany Center for the Arts in Chicago – formerly Church of the Epiphany.

The festive event begins at 7 pm, with a short program and "paddle-raise" at 8 pm, followed by food and dancing until midnight. Tickets are available at a range of prices. Learn more and reserve tickets.

Free Spanish-Language Sing-Along Groups on Zoom

On the first and third Thursdays of the month, Sounds Good Choir and AgeGuide host free Spanish-language Zoom sing-alongs led by Juan Dies of Sones de Mexico Ensemble.

Open to residents of the collar counties (Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, DuPage, Will, and Kankakee) the sing-alongs are offered for people with dementia and their caregivers (11 to 11:50 am) and for anyone over age 60 (noon to 12:50 pm). There will be technical support and each session will have a theme. Learn more and register.

Sounds Good Choir was founded by Deacon Sandy Siegel Miller and her husband, Jonathan Miller in 2016. Their Good Memories Choir was featured in Thrive! magazine in 2019.

Job Openings

New this week: Parish Administrator at St. Mark's, Evanston.

Visit the website for a full list of clergy openings and lay employee openings


2024 Province V Synod and Big Provincial Gathering

April 26 - 27 in South Bend, IN

Save the dates for the 2024 Province V Synod and Big Provincial Gathering, April 26-27 in South Bend, Indiana. The Province V Synod meeting will be held on Friday afternoon. The meeting is open to all and required for synod deputies and bishops.

On April 27, workshops will be offered "ministry fair-style." Those interested in presenting a 60-minute workshop can apply online.

Fall Publication Schedule

From September through June we publish both a general email newsletter and Leadership News, a publication for lay leaders and clergy in the Diocese of Chicago, on alternate Wednesdays.

The deadline to submit items to be included is noon on the Tuesday before publication. Please send news about your congregation's ministry, mission and events to Jen Boyle-Tucker
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