From the Editor: ECF Vital Practices Newsletter

February 5, 2014
This month brings the beginning of one of my favorite things: the winter Olympics.  The dates are in my calendar; I plan to spend as much time as I can watching the skating, skiing, sledding, and other events, grateful that people across the globe willingly set aside their differences and come together to play games.

In our congregations and faith communities, February often means the coming together of new leadership teams. As annual meetings are held, new vestry members are elected or selected, and appointments are made to committees and task forces. It is a time of change, a time to welcome new faces and new approaches, and a time to reflect on what’s past and consider the way forward – keeping the things that are good and finding the courage to change the things that haven’t been working too well.

Our February Vestry Papers articles share experiences of things that are working well for congregations. From the very practical – Bob Schorr’s recommendation for more productive meetings to the way the Episcopal Church in Vermont is stirring the spirit…

This month in Vestry Papers:

How might a congregation ‘refresh’ it’s spiritual identity, keeping it front and center in all that they do? “Ongoing Discernment: The Way of Jesus” by Blair Pogue shares how St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church keeps Christ at the center of all they do through their practices Dwelling in the Word and The Way of Jesus.

You’ve been elected or selected senior warden for your congregation. You’re eager to take on this challenge and, truth be told, a bit anxious. Demi Prentiss’ “Roadmap for Senior Wardens,” weaves the collective experience of senior wardens into a practical orientation tool to help you get started.

Can the Episcopal Church learn something from Tevye of “Fiddler on the Roof?” In “Stirrings of the Spirit” Tom Ely and Susan Ohlindal use Tevye’s struggle to adapt to the changes he faces to introduce the ways the Episcopal Church in Vermont is “open [ing] ourselves to new understandings and expressions of what it means to be spiritual beings.”

Could the way you run your meetings be keeping people away from leadership positions? Many of us have sat through meetings that drone on and on, spending valuable time dealing with routine reports or rehashing business from earlier meetings. To help congregational leaders break that cycle, Bob Schorr offers “The Consent Agenda: More Efficient Meetings.”
In addition to these new Vestry Papers articles, ECF Vital Practices offers many other resources for congregational leaders. Recently, Linda Grenz, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Rhode Island and founder of LeaderResources shared a piece on vestry orientation. You’ll find her piece, The Vestry Hand-Off: Orientation for new members in Your Turn.  Do you have a resource you’d like to share with other congregations? Consider posting it on Your Turn: If you’ve a subscriber, click on the Make a Submissionbutton. Not a subscriber? It’s easy – and free – just click here.
If you are interested in seeing our Spanish language content, please visit our new, searchable index for our Spanish content here; then click on the “ECFVP en Español” button on the right side of the page.

And, please remember to share this issue of Vestry Papers with others in your congregation, along with an invitation to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices. Subscriptions are free; visit ECFVP.org and click on the Subscribe tab on the upper right hand corner of this page. New subscribers are asked to fill out a short registration form to have Vestry Papers and ECF Vital Practices content delivered twice a month to your email inbox.

Faithfully,

Nancy

Nancy Davidge
Editor, ECF Vital Practices

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Tools & Resources

Great Vestry Retreats: Check out some great resources for orientations, retreats, and running meetings to kick-start your new leadership team.

Winter ECF Webinars: With topics from Vestry Orientation to Basics of Endowments, register now for an upcoming webinar and enjoy viewing archived webinars, all for free!

Vestry Resource Guide: Get your copy of the award-wining guide for being on the vestry.

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