September 2019
From Bishop Megan
Dear Friends in Christ,

Earbuds and headphones are ubiquitous today and like the old nursery rhyme we can “...have music wherever we go.” But some studies suggest we enjoy our music so loudly that we can damage our hearing and our smart phones can become as much of a barrier to human connection as they are a boon to texting. It may actually affect our ability to hear and listen.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Let anyone with ears to hear listen” and “Pay attention to what you hear.” (Mark 4:23-24). While Jesus is referring to listening, then attending to his teaching (a practice in which we engage when praying the Daily Office), we are also called to attend to the words of our neighbor. Attending, or listening, to each other helps fulfill our baptismal promise to love one another and can, in that connection, stave off isolation.

On my journeys around our diocese I have the privilege of hearing many different stories: personal ones and parts of a congregation’s history. As I listen, I find that the church becomes populated with people, events and life; almost like a hologram. In my mind’s eye I can see the bustle in the kitchen as the hungry are fed; I witness a big celebration for Christmas, I imagine the sound of contained chaos from a youth group lock-in. And, sitting quietly in a pew, I know there are other stories of soft sorrow and comfort that have been shared in that place. Attending to these stories; listening to the deep tales of our lives, are how our world gets filled, not by images on a screen, but by living, feeling persons.

Hearing, truly listening, is a silent gift that sounds between two people like a great bell. We don’t hear the tone with our ears, but we can feel the hum of its vibration in our bones during important conversations. Listening to that hum is one of the habits of a practicing believer – we bequeath our love of neighbor by the gift of single-minded attention to their words. A hospitable coffee hour will include some yummy food, but real conversation and listening to our guest are the best menu we can offer. 

While good listening is learned, some people just have a gift for it. My challenge for each one of you this month is to look around the places you inhabit; your Vestry, a volunteer gathering, or the camping chairs at a soccer game, and find The Listener. The Listener is the person who seems to have a gift for getting folks to share their story – a knack for hearing and seeing who a person really is. It may be a child, it may be an elder, or it might be the sexton. Also, I challenge you to discuss the practice of truly listening with your leadership team at church. For disciples, this practice will always have the component of listening to God in Scripture and worship, along with one on one interactions.

Then, together as a group, commit to asking God where he is calling each individual to become The Listener. Try listening at church, getting coffee, or at the dog park. Ask God to open your eyes (and ears) to the person who needs to be heard, then, see what God does with this spiritual experiment. I believe we will hear more than personal stories. I believe we will hear the active presence of God reverberating in our midst; we will hear the sound of Jesus footsteps as he goes ahead of us into our neighborhoods, already finding the lost and restoring what is broken. We will listen and hear the Good News of God echoing in the world around us.

We are, each of us, in the service of God, who is the True Listener, the Holy Spirit who hears the cry of God’s people and has answered by sending the Son, God incarnate, who breaks through our isolation and walks alongside us. Thanks be to God who hears our cry, opens our ears, and calls us to listen.

In Christ,
Follow Bishop Megan on Facebook!
Bishop Megan now has an official page on Facebook! You can follow her for important messages and to see where Bishop Megan is travelling around the diocese. Here is the full link: www.facebook.com/BishopMeganTraquair

We'd also like to share that Bishop Megan was featured as a recently consecrated alum in the Bexley-Seabury Seminary summer magazine (scroll to page eight). Enjoy!
FROM THE OFFICE OF THE BISHOP
Nominations are needed; clergy can help
Nominations for members of the Board of Trustees, Standing Committee and General Convention Deputies are open until Sept. 13. Please keep in mind that General Convention deputies get their flight, rooming (ONLY when lodging at double), and meals paid for by the diocese.

As clergy, you have a unique role in this diocese and in your parish of lifting up the laity in areas of ministry. You know your lay people in a way that others do not.

The diocese has also expressed a keen interest in increasing the number of lay leaders involved in our governance.   As stated in Canon 16.1.1.4 regarding the Board of Trustees, “Of the elected and appointed members it is a goal that five shall be members of the clergy and that ten shall be members of the laity.”

Take a few minutes and look out across your congregation, who do you see that could do the work as a member of any of these governing boards or deputations? Does someone have a gift when it comes to understanding mission, policy and strategic plan ? Is there another that really functions well in making decisions in a team? Who in your church shows a prophetic vision for understanding the direction the Church should take? Encourage them to fill out a nomination form , but don't stop there. Help them do it and gather the materials they need to forward their candidacy. Raise them up for the good of our diocese and for the good of the Church.  Remember, the deadline is Sept. 13.

Click here for the Diocesan Convention nominations page.
Diocesan Convention guest speaker is Mary Parmer
Bishop Megan Traquair has selected Mary Parmer as Diocesan Convention's guest speaker for her ability to teach and inspire connection.

Born and raised in the deep South, Mary Parmer is a congregational development consultant/coach, speaker, and retreat leader living in Sewanee, Tennessee. She serves as Director of INVITE WELCOME CONNECT, a transformational ministry of evangelism and hospitality now housed at the Beecken Center, School of Theology, University of the South. Mary is the past Director of the Gathering of Leaders, a national leadership gathering of young Episcopal clergy. 

Mary has served as a Lay Deputy to the the past four General Conventions of The Episcopal Church, and she currently serves on the Task Force on Clergy Leadership Formation in Small Churches (GC 2015-A045). Mary holds a degree in Religious Studies from St. Edwards University in Austin and formerly served as Director of Adult Ministries & Evangelism, St. Stephen’s, Beaumont. She has two grown children and six young grandchildren, builds stone labyrinths, and spends her time away from the office hiking and reading memoirs.  Learn more about Mary on her website.

Diocesan Convention is Nov. 7-9 in Sacramento. Early registration is now open until Sept. 27; you may register via this link: bit.ly/DioConRegistration
Bishop Megan's visitation schedule
  • Sept. 29: St. John's, Petaluma
  • Oct. 6: St. James, Lincoln 
  • Oct. 13: St. Patrick's, Kenwood
  • Oct. 20: St. Luke's, Galt

See more visitation dates here.
NEWS AND EVENTS IN AND BEYOND OUR DIOCESE
Bishop Megan meets with retired clergy
Bishop Megan met with retired clergy and their spouses on Friday, Aug. 30 at St. George's, Carmichael. The afternoon started off with Holy Eucharist and ended with lunch.

Reflecting upon the gathering, Bishop Megan said, "We had a wonderful time having lunch together and wish to thank our gracious hosts at St. George’s, Carmichael. What a pleasure to meet and get to know so many of our retired clergy and their spouses and it's good to know that the widowed spouses of the clergy are also included.

I was struck by how very active the retired clergy of this diocese are, in that they continually provide supply to the many pulpits throughout our diocese. We need them and I'm grateful for both their pulpit ministry and their ministry of presence."
"I am also grateful for the chaplain of this group (pictured above), the Rev. Dr. Christine Leigh-Taylor, and her organization. This meal together is a way for retired clergy to create collegial relationships and to fellowship with their bishop and each other. I am so glad to have the opportunity to spend this time with those who have served so graciously."
St. Luke's, Auburn welcomes the Rev. Brian Rebholtz as Rector
There was great joy as the clergy gathered together after the service. Pictured from L to R are: The Rev. Patricia Park, the Rev. Jana Branson, the Rt. Rev. Megan M. Traquair, the Rev. Brian Rebholtz, and the Rev. Bill Hefti.
Bishop Megan instituted the Rev. Brian Rebholtz as rector at  St. Luke's, Auburn on Aug. 31. It was a joyful celebration of their journey together. Rev. Brian was first their Priest-in-Charge and was recently elected their Rector.

Bishop Megan noted that the liturgy for the Renewal of Ministry with the Welcoming of a New Rector from Enriching Our Worship 4, was especially rich as it used important symbols such as: the Lectern Bible presented at the readings, a prayer book brought at the Prayers of the People, and Eucharistic gifts offered at the Great Thanksgiving, as reminders to the Rector of his work among the people. She also mentioned that the reading of the Letter of Institution was significant, as it was "issued in the first year of my consecration."
St. Mary's, Napa says a fond goodbye to their Interim Rector
On Sunday, Sept. 1, St Mary's, Napa prayed the Farewell Liturgy for Interim Ministry with their Interim Rector, the Rev. Vanessa Glass. She had been with them during their search for a new rector and they recognized her as having been a faithful steward of her pastoral call. After accepting the close of her pastoral relationship with them, the congregation prayed this prayer together:

Gracious God, be with Vanessa as she leaves. Grant that all of us, by drawing ever nearer to you, may always be close to each other in the communion of your saints. All this we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, or Lord. Amen.
Christ Church, Eureka, begins 9 month celebration of church's 150th anniversary
Join Christ Church, Eureka, at the many events occurring in the next nine months as they celebrate their 150th anniversary. Kicking off their celebration, Don Brown will give a presentation on the Holy Cross on Saturday, Sept 14 at 3 p.m. and will guest preach on Sunday, Sept, 15 at the 8 and 10:30 a.m. services.

The Very Rev. Dr. Don Brown, former Dean of Trinity Cathedral, will discuss the close relationship between the way we speak of atonement and how it tacitly can be used to justify child abuse. This conversation will offer helpful insights and perspectives for us as we continue with our plans to reach out to children, specifically those who have had adverse childhood experiences. Don Brown will also share a little bit about how Christ Church, Eureka, has been formative for him and his vocation.

See what Christ Church, Eureka, has planned for their anniversary events here.

Also, Christ Church recently replaced their steeple cross on the roof of their church that had fallen off last year. See the short video they created of the process here.
International Day of Peace events in St. Helena & Sebastopol
On Saturday, Sept. 21, 6 - 8 p.m. at Grace, St. Helena , there will be a talk on the Central America refugee crisis. Learn more and register for this free event here.
On Sunday, Sept. 22, 4 - 6:30 p.m. at St. Stephen's, Sebastopol, there will be an interfaith service and presentation on how to take action for peace. Learn more about this free event here.
Episcopal Men's Conference: Sept. 21 at Trinity Cathedral
Join the National Brotherhood of St. Andrew for an Episcopal Men's Conference, where topics will include:

  • Serving our veterans: How can we assist those who have served our country?
  • Social action panel: Combating human trafficking; Helping the homeless; Kairos: Serving those in Priso
  • Camp Fire update: What is going on there, and how can we help?
  • Brotherhood of St. Andrew: Who we are, and what we do?

The guest speaker is Tom Welch, executive director of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, who will speak on men's ministry in the digital age. Parking is $5 at the garage across the street from the cathedral.

When: Saturday, Sept. 21, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Trinity Cathedral, 2620 Capital Ave., Sacramento, CA 95816 
Registration: $20, includes lunch and continental breakfast. Register here or at the door.
Contact: Robert Shonk at 916-599-1218
Gourmet fundraising dinner to honor immigrants: Sept. 27 in Healdsburg
Come enjoy "Cocina Mexicana," an elegant three course feast of Mexican regional dishes paired with fine Sonoma County wine. All the proceeds from this support St. Paul's Spanish language congregation and honor Mexicans and all immigrants in this troubled time of anti-immigrant sentiment.

When: Friday, Sept. 27, 6:30 - 9 p.m.
Where: Iglesia San Pablo Episcopal, 209 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Cost: $60, can be purchased at St. Paul's, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Contact: Bo Simons, bosimons1234@gmail.com, 707-508-6202 
Center for Bible Study course on Paul's prison epistles: Begins Oct. 1 in Antelope
The Center for Bible Study in Antelope is offering a course this fall on Paul's prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon). The course will be taught by Professor Brian Lucas, a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, who taught this course several times at William Jessup University.

Recommended reading before taking the course: Tom Wright: Paul for Everyone, The Prison Epistles, Louisville,Ky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

When: Eight Tuesday nights beginning Oct. 1, 7-8:30 p.m.
Where: St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 7850 Watt Ave. Antelope, CA, 95843
Cost: Suggested donation of $50
Contact: Rev. Peter Rodgers, (916) 337-5319; peterrodg@gmail.com
Study with CALL this fall
CALL Logo
Do you love to learn? Would you like an opportunity to engage in studying online? 

Our diocese has established a partnership with the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership, part of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, which will allow lay and clergy members of our diocese to enroll in online courses at a discounted rate.

For the fall term, available courses include: 
  • Anglican Bible – Scriptural Conversation and Formation
  • The Diaconate
  • The Gospels
  • The Way of Jesus
  • Social Issues and the Church’s Response: Understanding the Needs, Concerns, and Hopes of the World
  • Mentoring for the Diaconate 
  • Financial Management for Parishes

Whether you are working on a new Lay Ministry license or are looking for a continuing education opportunity, CALL may have a course that is right for you.

Visit their website for more details, and if you want to register, please email the Rev. Betsey Monnot at betsey@norcalepiscopal.org for information about receiving the discount. The fall term begins on Sept. 16. Registration is open now!
Roanridge Trust Grants available for clergy and laity in small and rural communities
Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Roanridge Trust Grant Awards. Dioceses, congregations and Episcopal Church related organizations and institutions are invited to apply.
 
Offered annually, Roanridge Trust Grants are used for the "training of town and country ministry and rural Christian workers” of The Episcopal Church. They support creative models of leadership development and training of the laity and clergy in small towns and rural communities across The Episcopal Church. Awards generally range from $5,000 to $20,000. Learn more here.