Our latest Camp Fire update is available here.
From the Rev. Anne Clarke

Facilitating this year's Pre-Convention Gathering

Bishop Barry invited Anne Clarke to write this month's Aurora.

As we've journeyed through the past few months' lectionary, I've enjoyed the chance to preach and hear again the very human pattern of the disciples' learning as it's depicted in the Gospel of Mark. Or rather, their pattern of trying to learn: Over and over, Jesus explains about the cross and resurrection, and the disciples miss the point, and Jesus teaches them some more. I found myself wondering about the disciples a lot this year, and particularly what it must have been like to walk that road with Jesus, clearly not knowing all that was ahead of them. They were disciples because they walked the road with Jesus, because they were so immersed with him, witnessing and participating in the work of healing, and teaching, and learning.
It's been a great joy to walk this path of discipleship with all of you over the past three and a half years, and I'm grateful to Bishop Barry for offering me this space to share some of the things I've learned from and with you during that time, and what those learnings might have to teach us as we continue this journey of discipleship together as a diocese.
First of all, it is a great gift that we are not in this work of ministry alone, and my greatest hope is that we will continue to practice seeking out relationship and connection with each other, even (or especially) when things get difficult. One of the privileges of this position has been to witness many, many moments of people exclaiming, tearfully or joyfully, "I thought I was the only one!" Whether connecting two people asking the same questions about the future of their children's ministry, or seeing a group sigh in relief when they realize that they are in the company of others who can talk compassionately and intelligently about mental health challenges their youth are experiencing, or facilitating a workshop to talk about ways to shift our outreach ministries to take into account the dignity of those being served, it has been a wonderful part of my work to help create more spaces where we can share our struggles, listen to God's call, and learn together. But I hope that discovering our commonalities will become less surprising and more of a practice that we intentionally cultivate, especially for emerging leaders.
Our opportunities to build and sustain relationships with each other are, I think, best seen as an investment in our collective resilience, capacity, and adaptability in a world that is changing fast and sometimes in scary ways. There are times when life feels too chaotic to invest in anything, and the work of relationship does not always feel terribly efficient. But a disciple working in a silo or a small echo chamber, without the richness of diverse connections and honest conversation, is not a healthy disciple. In an isolated environment, most of us become more prone to abuse or tolerating abusive behavior, to burnout, and to becoming resistant to our natural ability to learn and evolve. There are plenty of places in this world to burn ourselves out, but we have the advantage of being a part of a tradition that encourages us to try, to learn, to invest in ourselves and our communities alongside other imperfect and beloved disciples.
We have grown some great spaces for connecting and learning together over the past years. Some of these have become traditions that I hope will continue: an annual retreat for children's and youth ministers, the intergenerational Pathways program, and the pre-convention gatherings. There are other clear, spoken needs, including education for various lay ministries, and deeper conversations around racial reconciliation.
It is hard to ask for this investment of time and energy in formation and relationship, especially in a world that often feels frantic and where time feels scarce. I think we are all still living into that challenge, experimenting with new ways of doing things that are responsive to our changed and changing realities. In my journeys with many of you, though, I've found that deciding to do difficult and crucial work together, and then looking for the formation tools that we need to do that work, builds up a stronger and more sustainable leadership community, one in which the questions of time and energy become secondary.
By far, the most committed and easiest-to-gather team that I have worked with in these past few years has been the Pathways leadership team. Despite the fact that the primary leaders have been busy college and high school students, the work of creating something deeply meaningful together, something that sustains us and equips each person involved for the work and challenges of the rest of their lives, something that links the strength of our faith tradition with the work of racial reconciliation and environmental justice, has led to a sustainable leadership community. I have seen this pattern repeated in everything from children's ministry to outreach, and I think it invites us into the way of learning that the disciples passed down to us in Mark's Gospel story: We're meant to keep trying out new, even difficult things together on this journey of faith, because Jesus is with us, teaching us and guiding us.
It has been joyful to walk with all of you as the Lifelong Christian Formation Coordinator for our diocese. I am grateful for my relationships with each of you, and I am glad that I will still be a part of this community of disciples here in Northern California.

Thank you for joining us at the 2018 Diocesan Convention

Our LEVN Smock Flock volunteers helped Convention run smoothly!

This year's Diocesan Convention was a joy, although bittersweet, with it being Bishop Barry's last "normal" convention, but we are very grateful for our time together! The Episcopal Relief and Development presentation provided very pertinent information for our diocese, considering the recent fires in our region. 

Please remember the call of Lura Steele, Program Officer for ERD -- for each church to send Kati Braak a list of services they can provide and what they need. We will be sharing the ERD presentation, as well as other media from #norcaldc18 in the coming days.
Clergy Quiet Day - Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Bishop's Ranch

Please mark your calendar for Clergy Quiet Day, Thursday, Dec, 6 at the Bishop's Ranch. Registration information is forthcoming!
2019 Annual Enrollment - Nov. 16 deadline for active employees

Active employees and retirees in our Diocese - note the important dates listed below:

2019 Retiree Annual Enrollment
October 15 - December 7, 2018

2019 Active Employee Annual Enrollment
October 29 - November 16, 2018

2019 Pre-65 Retiree Annual Enrollment
October 29 - November 16, 2018

This year, the Church Pension Group has provided a Member Education webinar. We encourage all Medical Trust Members to watch this webinar to learn about the 2019 Annual Enrollment. Learn more about 2019 Annual Enrollment.

For questions, please contact our Benefits Coordinator and Accounting Specialist, Elizabeth Vang, via email at
Bishop's visitation schedule
  • Nov. 18 - Grace, St. Helena 
  • Dec. 2 - Faith, Cameron Park 
  • Dec. 9 - St. James, Lincoln 
  • Dec. 16 - Our Saviour, Placerville
The Bishop's full 2018 visitation schedule is available here.
Volunteer Prayer Resident: The Bishop's Ranch, Healdsburg

The Prayer Resident leads morning and evening prayers in the Chapel of St. George at
The Bishop's Ranch.  Our daily prayers are offered as part of the world-wide circle of prayer, and in support of the Ranch's mission, staff, volunteers, and the chapel worshiping community. The Prayer Resident offers daily prayers in a hospitable manner, welcoming all who attend. He/she works collegially with the Ranch staff, and is flexible in accommodating the needs of various groups using the Chapel as part of their program at the Ranch.

This is a one  month position, great for sabbatical/writers/contemplatives. Room/board is provided . There is some availability for the latter half of 2019. Learn more about this position at the Bishop's Ranch website.
Life planning workshop in Carmichael - Saturday, Nov. 17


We plan for so much in life: birthday parties, vacations, and weddings. But, we often put off planning for the really important things in life, like planning for a time when we are not able to plan for ourselves or our loved ones.

Join St. Michael's, Carmichael, and the Episcopal Foundation of Northern California on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a life planning  workshop, where you will learn about wills and trusts, long tern hospice care, durable power of attorney, and more.  You will walk away with a guide that includes samples of important documents and resources to assist you with planning.

The suggested donation is $15. Please RSVP to or call the church office at 916-488-3550.
Celebrations of New Ministry - Nov. 30 and Dec. 13

The Celebration of New Ministry for the Rev. Annie Mertz, Rector at St. Paul's, Benicia, will be F riday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at the church. Reception to follow. Clergy - red stoles.

The Celebration of New Ministry for the Rev. Paul Colbert, Priest-in-Charge at Trinity, Sutter Creek, will be Thursday, Dec. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the church. 
From the wider Church

Episcopal Church
The application process for a 2019 Young Adult and Campus Ministry grant is now open and continues through Nov. 19.  Episcopal ministries (or ecumenical ministries with an Episcopal presence) with dreams of launching a ministry or program for young adults are invited to apply for an Episcopal Church Young Adult and Campus Ministry grant. Eligible applicants include dioceses, congregations, or college/university ministries that are currently engaging in or seeking new relationships with young adults on and off college campuses. Grant information and applications are  available online

Other news:

Southern California Episcopalians respond to wildfires

American Cathedral in Paris honors 'Great War' soldiers, rededicates battle memorial

Maryland diocese brings recovery into the open

Albany bishop rejects General Convention compromise on gay marriage, refuses to allow rites
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Making Disciples, Raising Up Saints & Transforming Communities for Christ