Congregational Support Monthly Newsletter
November  2019
Welcome to the new Congregational Support Monthly Newsletter. The newsletter will include updates on clergy events, transitions, and idea-sharing to spread the good news of God’s love in your congregation and will greatly reduce the emails coming from my office! You’ll also see occasional surveys to help me to gather information in order to provide learning and services you need. Enjoy!

Blessings for the work!

The Rev. Canon Claire Woodley
First Tuesday Event
(But it’s the Second Tuesday this December!)

December 10, 2019
10:00am - 1:00pm
"The current landscape of religion and spirituality in America - and the role of contemplative renewal in the church" Led by Adam Bucko and Michael Sniffen. We will lead a conversation about latest statistics and trends in American spirituality and propose some tools, methodologies and experiences that can be used in the parish to meet the spiritual needs and deepen the faith commitments of upcoming generations.

We will include lectio divina as part of the 12:15 mass and show a model of contemplative eucharist which can be used for a weekday parish service.

There will be the hour-long contemplative service that night at the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Tuesday December 10 at 7:30pm) and everyone is welcome to come and experience it.

Hold A St. Nicholas Event at Your Parish
Parents of many styles and flavors are looking for ways to dial back the commercialism and build up the spiritual in their Christmas celebrations. Many are two and three generations away from a meaningful church connection and don’t like the whole Santa of commercialism that makes super-consumers of their children, but aren’t sure what to do. Good for them that we have the best news around!

We can lend a hand by holding a St. Nicholas event on the weekend closest to the Feast of St. Nicholas, December 6th. This is a low threshold event that makes it easy for people to come into your space. Start with a Giving Tree festooned with paper decorations each with an idea of how they can do a service project as a family for people outside their home to love their neighbors, and to love God through loving them. Add in a visit from St. Nicholas telling his stories, Nicholas cookie decoration, mitre making, music and you have an event that families will appreciate. Find these ideas and more at:

Please Welcome to our clericus:

Lauren McLeavey to St. Stephen’s, Port Washington! Send a note:
Ian Wetmore to St. James, St James! Send a note:
The next cohort of Renewal Works is forming now.
Register by December 6 for the January 10th orientation. at the Mercer School followed by an online Spiritual Life Inventory, and four meetings at your parish led by an in-house facilitator with a group of nine or more, including the Rector. Get the conversation going or accelerate what is already started with Renewal Works.

For more information and go here: To sign up go to the Process page. Cost is $500 per parish. Scholarship help available.
Follow up to Anxiety in Church Systems
with Richard Blackburn
Many of you expressed appreciation for Fall Clergy Day and a desire for the slides that Richard Blackburn of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center presented at Convention. He does not share slides however he is sending us the outline of the talk that will provide the refresher that we all wish to have at hand in working with our congregations.

As Richard expressed, buried historic anxiety in church systems is characterized by reactive behaviors in the present. Sometimes those behaviors arise in unpredictable and destructive ways and consume large amounts of energy, capacity, and hope, and still do not address the underlying issues that lay in wait for the next explosion. In Peter Steinke’s list of 13 Causes of Anxiety in church systems, he states that (not surprisingly) sexual and financial misconduct tops the list. Perhaps you have had such explosions or intractable ill-will in your parish and would like to begin to address them. Our cistern and brethren Lutherans have two documents that I recommend that may give you insight into what may be negatively charging your church family system.

The first is a list of warning signs of financial misconduct here:

The second document is a PDF download book Healing in Congregations in the Aftermath of Sexual Misconduct by Clergy. To see if the anxiety in your system is linked to misconduct issues take a look at Chapter 13: Understanding Congregational Dynamics for behaviors indicative of misconduct. Behaviors for sexual and financial misconduct are frequently the same .

One last thing to remember is that alcoholism/addiction is almost always a co-efficient in sexual and financial misconduct. Entering or working in a church system that is in reaction to alcoholism/addiction can be powerful, destructive and baffling. While you can read about alcoholism and its behaviors, there is nothing quite like the empowerment of a live Al-anon group to help you see what you see, know what you know, and call it by its right name. The support, wisdom and love you will find in the rooms will have an extraordinary positive spiritual impact on your ministry. I can’t recommend it enough. If anyone asks who your qualifier is (the person/people who has brought you to the rooms) our congregations all have members suffering with this particular kind of bondage. Growing in knowing the right kind of help to extend will change the dynamics in your system towards health. Find a convenient meeting here:

Lastly, we are exploring the possibility of hosting a Lombard Mennonite training on Family Systems and/or Conflict Mediation. I’ll keep you posted.

Bishop Provenzano is encouraging everyone to hop on The Path/La Senda/The Path for Families: a Journey thought the Bible this year.
While many of our folks have done Bible study for years, they are not sure how it all hangs together. The Path does just that: it shows the connected journey of our ancestors as they trust God and are transformed in the encounter generation after generation, how the New Testament fulfills the promises made in the Hebrew bible and how disciple life is different from anything else we know. Although the following link has the three eight-week segments for The Path starting in the Fall of 2019, you can re-schedule those three units for any time going forward. All the other resources, supplemental lections, and links are not time sensitive. We have everything from free-curriculum links, to artwork, small group leader manuals and more. For commuters on the go and for families driving around or cooking dinner there is an audible version of all three books available. Download the Audible app on your phone or tablet and request one of the three versions: The Path, La Senda, or The Path for Families as your first free book. Book versions can be ordered from Forward Movement at a 40% discount if ordered by the case of 20 for a congregation.
“My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away;” Song of Solomon 2: 10

Revive is a journey taken over 3 six-week modules of spiritual formation in prayer, scripture, and ministry, to equip your leaders to be disciples who are intentional, spiritual leaders. The training this February is for clergy in best practices and uses of Revive. As many of us know, our vestries conduct business, more-often-than-not, as functional atheists, the work of the church is conducted as if God is not present. Many on our Vestries do not know how to come into the presence of God to be transformed and freed to do the work of ministry. Revive is a spiritual journey to take with your leadership to transform and build up your work together.

Invite Welcome Connect Newcomer Ministry Regional Trainings! Get your team there!

March 14: 10 – 3 Mercer School of Theology: Register here!
March 21: 10 – 3 St, James, St. James: Register here!
March 28: 10 – 3 St. Stephen and St. Martin’s: Register here!
Clergy Pilgrimage: Register Now!

In the Footsteps of St. Paul - Apostle, Teacher, Disciple
May 11 - 22, 2020 Turkey and Greece
Clergy are invited to join in a study tour of the places of the early Church exploring Pauline ministries, the events of Acts and the writing of John’s Revelation. We will travel with a biblical scholar exploring the issues of the early church, dwelling in the word mining the spiritual and practical formation of disciples who live with power, passion and commitment to God’s mission in the world. We will be touring and studying the places and events covered in the New Testament book of Acts and Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, Philippians, I and II Corinthians, Ephesians, and the book of Revelation. It promises to be a rich time for building our common scholarship and the wealth of fellowship in our clericus. Read, pray, sign up now! The Pilgrimage is limited to 30 participants.

Financial assistance is available to clergy serving under-resourced parishes with the following structure:

  • 1/3 of cost paid by clergy
  • 1/3 of the cost paid by the parish (remember that there is $700 in your contract for continuing education per year.)
  • 1/3 of the cost paid by the Bishop.

Each portion for the full trip is approximately $1,300. There are additional expenses for private rooms, etc. Please see the brochure in the link below for more detail. (If your parish is not under-resourced or is located in a resource-rich area, please see if there are any alternative resources in your parish beyond your annual continuing education first before applying for assistance.)

Try Tank is the next step beyond a think tank.
Try Tank is a ministry of the General and Virginia Theological Seminaries to incubate and try new ideas in ministry and evangelism.

Discernment and Call
Open Positions in the Diocese
Full Time receiving names:

Half Time or less receiving names:
St. Andrew's, Mastic Beach
St. Andrew's, Yaphank
St. Patrick’s, Deer Park

Coming attractions:
St. Gabriel’s, Hollis
St. Ann’s, Sayville
St. Thomas', Farmingdale
All Souls, Stony Brook P/T
Open Positions Outside the Diocese