From Canon Andrea

Dear Colleagues in Ministry, 
Bishop Barry is away in the Holy Land, serving as Chair of the AFEDJ board, and he asked me to write this aurora message today. 
While much of our attention is focused on the bishop search and the larger transition that we are all experiencing together as a diocese, I want to draw your focus to the arc of clergy transitions in this diocese over the past five years. I arrived four years ago, and see from my 'insider/outsider' perspective that we are currently experiencing a tectonic shift in our clergy culture in this diocese. We have had a huge influx of new priests and deacons to this diocese: deacons and priests newly ordained, called, or assigned to congregations. 
18 out of 43 deacons are new to our diocese in the past five years. We have had 15 vocational deacons ordained in this diocese, plus three more who have moved here, enriching the diocese with new ministries and leadership. We have a total of 43 deacons who are licensed and/or canonically resident, which means that almost half of our current deacons are new in the past five years. Combined with the fact that two-thirds of our congregations have also called a new priest, we are experiencing a vast shift in our diocesan clergy culture.
42 out of 69 of our churches have called a new priest  to their congregation in the past five years, either discerning a call to the Priest-in-Charge, who is appointed by the bishop; or discerning and electing a Rector, the election then being approved by the bishop according to canon law.
Let's look at some of the dynamics and how we got here. 
As Canon to the Ordinary, I serve as the Transition Officer for the diocese. That means the bishop has assigned me to shepherd congregations of all sizes through their transition in calling a new priest. This process involves three primary groups of lay leaders: the Vestry, Profile Committee, and Applicant Review Committee. These groups work directly with me and our bishop's office staff support - and sometimes additionally with a consultant from the staff, such as the Rev. Betsey Monnot, or other consultants from our diocese such as the Rev. Jeanne Forte. 
These transitions last over a year, from the creating of these lay committees through to the election or appointment of the priest. Sometimes our transitions last longer, with the appointment of an interim priest to help the congregation shift from one priest to another, and identify their core mission. 
Critical to this discernment is the understanding that the work and life of the church is not on 'pause' when a priest leaves. Our mission as a church rests in our baptismal identity as the body of Christ, and is expressed in how we live out that mission in our particular context, with our unique gifts and graces as a congregation. Some (most!) of the leadership needed for this mission rests within the congregation itself: the laity hold enormous responsibility and gifts that must be identified in the discernment process. Leadership is also rightly held by the clergy leaders: deacons and priests who serve the congregation. Unique then, is the leadership and authority held by the priest called to that congregation as Rector or Priest in Charge. Even as we identity the gifts that our congregation has, our discernment process concurrently identifies the skills, gifts, and experiences that we hope our new priest would hold, and we remain open to the surprise that the Holy Spirit might have for us, too! 
In the past five years, from 2013 through today, we have experienced an unprecedented number of transitions in the priestly leadership of our congregations. Here are some numbers that might be interesting to you:
11 Rector elections
3 completed Priest-in-Charge to Rector elections
3 current Interim Rectors, with election to take place in the next 18 months
3 Priest-in-Charge to Rector discernment processes taking place now, in their earliest stages, with completion in the next 18 months
Total: 19 new Rector elections complete or in process
23 Priest-in-Charge call processes : this includes part time and full time, churches sharing one priest, both parishes and missions, some priests new to the diocese, and some priests relocating from one congregation to another. 
Six Assistant Clergy positions new in the past five years:  this includes Assistant Rector positions with full duties, some focused on youth and children's ministries or other specialized areas of focus. All of the positions were new to the congregations. We currently have five full time assistant clergy positions filled (or about to be) in this diocese, with one vacant during an extended discernment around budget and program, with one (and possibly two) additional positions when the congregation is ready. 
Add to that the influx of new deacons, and we have a new culture emerging in this diocese. 
What does this mean? In part, we can see some trends in the priests who are called to our diocese. Most significant in the life of the diocese, all of our discernment processes have affirmed the role of the diaconate as a full and equal order. That is a non-negotiable; and I assist our churches to understand and articulate that we want priests who are excited to work in partnership with deacons. Our priests are well educated, with life experience, academic degrees, and formation that is diverse and rich. Our congregations are calling younger priests who are under 35 years of age; more women as rectors, and we have an increase in priests who are in their first 'cure' or placement in a congregation. 
Now, more than ever in the history of this diocese, we have the opportunity to shape the clergy culture of our church. I see a group of priests - new to the diocese, established in ministry, and newly retired - who love Jesus, who live their lives in service to the church and to this diocese, and who are dedicated to the life of a priest: teaching, preaching, being pastorally present, and empowering the ministry of the baptized. I see a vibrant diaconate that is firmly established and ready to raise up a new generation of deacons. I see our laity engaged in healthy, faithful discernment to claim their own baptized ministry and in that context to call priests who are healthy and vibrant, who express clearly their love of God and the power of Christ to change lives, and who are excited to be here in this diocese. 
What are you doing to engage and shape this new culture? What do you need from the bishop's office that would help in this new adventure we are on together? We have the opportunity to create something new together, as we look to this new horizon: priests, deacons, and laity - baptized, ordained, and called together in this time of transition and renewal. All of this rests in the context of our discernment for a new bishop, and the new ministry that he or she will bring and call forth from us. 
My role as your canon is to stay connected, to resource, and provide support for your ministry in this place - to the best of my ability - creating teams to work together and share ministry, and to be faithful stewards of all God has given to us. I love this particular ministry, and pray that we continue to be blessed as we live and serve together in this beautiful diocese.

Yours in Christ,

Nominations reopened for diocesan offices

Looking to be in a position to affect change in the diocese? There's still time to nominate yourself or someone you know for the Standing Committee or the Board of Trustees. Both clergy and lay positions are available. 

Elective Offices to be Filled: 
Standing Committee: 2 clergy (four-year term and one-year term) 
Standing Committee: 2 lay (four-year term and two-year term) 
Board of Trustees: Either clergy or lay (2 three-year terms)

Want to learn more? You can visit the  nomination section of our website, or e-mail convention@norcalepiscopal.org

The due date for filing nominations during the second filing time is Oct. 24. 
Diocesan Convention Offering

At General Convention this year, Bishops and Delegates voted Yes on A052 - Reconciliation with Cuba. Cuba had been a Diocese of the Episcopal Church, but was kicked out following the Bay of Pigs. The Cuban Church suffered under Communist Rule. This year, Cuba was welcomed back as a Diocese of The Episcopal Church.

During their time separated from the larger church, Cuba didn't have access to the Church Pension Fund. If every member of our churches gave $1, the pension for Cuba could be brought to standard. Bishop Beisner is asking each congregation to take up an offering in honor of Cuba and to bring that offering to Diocesan Convention. Please make out checks to EDNC and write in the memo line "Cuba". Bring your Church's offering to the Diocesan Convention Eucharist.

Bishop invites retired clergy to lunch - Nov. 29

The next retired clergy lunch with the bishop is Thursday, Nov. 29, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., graciously hosted by All Saints, Sacramento. There is no cost to invitees, but we do ask that you reserve in advance and let us know of any dietary restrictions (see below for reservation info).

Please let Jacqi Seppi ( jacqi@norcalepiscopal.org) know that you plan to attend. Please contact Christine ( leighta@mcn.org) with any questions or concerns.
Bishop's visitation schedule
  • Oct. 21 - All Saints', Sacramento 
  • Oct. 28 - Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento
  • Nov. 18 - Grace, St. Helena 
The Bishop's full 2018 visitation schedule is available here.
Impact of U.S. Aid Cuts on The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

In early September, the United States government announced it would cut $25 million in direct aid to support hospitals affiliated with the East Jerusalem Hospital Network.

The Diocese of Jerusalem has 30 humanitarian institutions, including the Ahli Arab Hospital and the Princess Basma Center, both of which are a part of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. These institutions provide critical services to children and families. With these cuts in aid, this will exhaust the financial commitments that the Diocese of Jerusalem has made to its institutions. 

Archbishop Suheil, Archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, asks that American Episcopalians consider a reoccurring contribution to the Diocese of Jerusalem to help support these vital needs. To make a contribution or to learn more about the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, please visit the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem website here.

To read more from Archbishop Suheil regarding these cuts and about the institutions the Diocese of Jerusalem supports  click here .
New with our clergy 

The Rev. Amy Denney Zuniga celebrated her two year anniversary at Grace, St. Helena, on Sept. 17, complete with chocolate cake!

The Rev. Paul Colbert has been announced as the new Priest-in-Charge at Trinity, Sutter Creek.  The Rev. Paul's first Sunday was Sept. 30.

The Rev. Karen Freeman has been announced as the new Priest-in-Charge at Grace, Fairfield. The Rev. Karen's first day was Oct. 7. 

The Rev. Mary Hudak will be celebrating her five year anniversary at St. Michael's, Carmichael, with a dinner on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. The donation for the dinner is $35 and will go to benefit the River City Food Bank and The Center at St. Matthew's. For questions or to RSVP, call the church office at 916-448-3550 or email vestrystmichaels@gmail.com. Please RSVP by Thursday, Oct. 11.
Ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests, Friday, Oct. 19 & 26

Friday, Oct. 19, at  7 p.m., Thomas Robert Gartin will be ordained into the Sacred Order of Priests at St. Augustine's, Rocklin,  1800 Wildcat Blvd.  A reception will follow. Clergy are invited to vest -- red stoles, please.

Friday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. Grant McNeill Bakewell will be ordained into the Sacred Order of Priests at Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, 2620 Capitol Ave. A reception will follow. Clergy are invited to vest -- red stoles, please.
CDSP Alumni Convocation and Eucharist - Thursday, Oct. 11

The annual Church Divinity School of the Pacific Alumni Convocation and Eucharist takes place at All Saints Chapel in Berkeley on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 5:45 p.m. All alumni are invited to attend. The Rev. Dr. Tim Vivian '88, priest-in-charge of St. Paul's, Bakersfield, and professor emeritus of Religious Studies at CSU, Bakersfield, will receive an honorary degree at the service. 

The Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin, a CDSP trustee, will preach, and the Rt. Rev. Tom Breidenthal '81, also a trustee, will preside. Following the service, dinner will be served in Denniston Commons.
Please register here. The deadline to RSVP for dinner is  Monday, Oct. 8. Please contact  Jamie Nelson at  jnelson@cdsp.edu , 510-204-0733, for questions.
Healing - Thank God! Conference at Trinity Cathedral, Nov. 2-3

Life is our greatest adventure. Live it to the full. Become whole. Participate in healing through forgiveness, gratitude, grief, loss and an encounter with God. Give yourself the time to listen and pray. We have speakers who have come to the hard times and found a way through. There is a way for you, too.

The conference will be Friday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. and is sponsored by members of the International Order of St. Luke the Physician, which is made up of clergy, health professionals, and people who feel called to make Jesus' Ministry of Healing a regular part of their vocation. The featured speaker is the Rev. Canon Lynell Walker.  

For more information, email elbawhite@yahoo.com. Scholarships available for those who need them. The cost to attend is $35 and includes lunch on Saturday. You can register on Eventbrite here
Life planning workshop in Carmichael - Saturday, Nov. 17


So you have a will, but do you have all your ducks in a row?

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 by Nov. 9 to  rhonda@stmichaelscarmichael.org or call the church office at 916-488-3550.
From the wider Church

Episcopal Church
The following is a true copy of a Resolution adopted by the House of Deputies of the 79th General Convention at its meeting on July 5 - July 13, 2018 in Austin, Texas, at which a quorum was present and voting.

Resolved, That the House of Deputies of the 79th General Convention express our gratitude for the public witness of Bishops United Against Gun Violence through the organization of the marches at the 78th and 79th General Conventions...  Read the full resolution here.

More news are available through the Episcopal News Service.
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