Developing relationships. Building trust. Improving leadership skills. The bonding that happens when you spend 2½ days together. This is how participants describe the Clergy Intensive held May 15-17, 2018, at which 10 clergy gathered with myself, John McLaverty of The Missional Network, and the Clergy Leadership Team, the Revs. Sheelagh Clarke, Bill Allport, and Rose Hassan, for an experiment into an alternate way of introducing the clergy “Going Local” journey.
Held at Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center, this retreat focused on creating learning communities, understanding core principles of adaptive change and action learning, deepening understanding and appreciation of personal leadership, and building awareness and understanding of missional spiritual practices.
On Wednesday, the Revs. Paul Olsson, Susan Sica and Vicki McGrath, who began the Clergy Cohort journey in March 2015, shared their experiences. “It was good to hear the stories of those who have and are continuing in the process,” said one participant.
When asked what they wanted to tell Bishop-elect Carlye Hughes about clergy leadership and development in and through the cohort process, one participant said, “I would say that there is a dedicated group of clergy who are trying to improve their skills in adaptive leadership in order to help move the Church into the future so that the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Newark can become what God is calling into being.”
Another said, “The church is changing and leadership needs to adapt. Any support the diocese can give its clergy to address the difficulties parishes are facing as well as to spur some to realize that we can't keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Some things are timeless – like liturgy; some things are not – like people coming through our doors.”
Another participant said, “I would want the Bishop to know that the cohort enables clergy to develop closer relationships with each other, find support, and learn how to be more effective leaders during these anxious times in the life of the church.”
At the end of our time together, Bishop Beckwith shared lunch with us and celebrated the closing Eucharist.
I want to thank the Clergy Leadership Team, the Revs. Sheelagh Clarke, Bill Allport, and Rose Hassan, for the countless hours of meetings and creating content for this intensive and for their passion and support of our clergy and our Joining God journey.