The Friday Reflection Title


The Book of Common Prayer and the Constitution of the Episcopal Church require that each person ordained as deacon, priest and bishop make a Declaration of Conformity. The Declaration reads:


     In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

I, (name), chosen Bishop (or Priest or Deacon)

of the Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin,

solemnly declare that I do believe that the

 Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be

the word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation;

and I solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline and

worship of the Episcopal Church.


Because, Bishop David Rice was ordained as bishop in the Anglican Church of New Zealand he has not made the Declaration of Conformity. He must make this declaration as a bishop in the Episcopal Church.


Bishop Rice will make the Declaration of Conformity within a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist and in the presence of The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts-Schori. The service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. 1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.


Bishop Jerry Lamb, Bishop Barry Beisner and other bishops will also be present. It is most important for the clergy, vested in white, to be present for this service and it is important that lay members of the Diocese be present to witness as Bishop Rice makes the Declaration and to celebrate the occasion.


I look forward to being with all of you and Bishop Rice and our Presiding Bishop for this important time in the life of the Diocese.

+Chet Talton

“Participating in God’s Reconciling Love”

IF You Borrowed…..

If you borrowed the white vinyl banner that has the Episcopal shield and the words  The Episcopal Church Welcomes You please call the Diocesan Office at 209-576-0104 immediately. We need it back! Thank you.

From Integrity of Diocese of San Joaquin…


  It’s Not Too Late to Register! 


Join the Integrity LGBT and Allies Winter

 Retreat at ECCO!!

The 2nd Annual Winter Retreat for the San Joaquin Chapter of Integrity will be held at ECCO in Oakhurst on January 24 – 26, 2014.  We are thrilled to have the Rev. Dr. Caroline ‘Caro’ Hall, President of Integrity USA, as our 2014 Retreat Leader.  The retreat beginsFriday evening, January 24th as we arrive at ECCO and gather for fellowship, snacks and a movie.

On Saturday, the Rev. Dr. Caro Hall, Integrity President, leads our retreat program throughout the day. On Sunday, after morning Eucharist (joined by our friends from St. Raphael’s, Oakhurst) and free time, we enjoy lunch together before departure.

Accommodations at ECCO are $119 per person/double room and include 2 nights lodging and 5 meals. Registration deadline is January 6th. For questions or to register contact the Integrity – San Joaquin Diocesan Organizer, Jan Dunlap at 661.201.2630 or[email protected]. Click here to get registration form.
About our Retreat Leader: One of Caro’s passions is helping people who feel excluded from a Christian faith community because their beliefs don’t fit the mold, to realize that Christianity is a lot bigger and broader than they thought and that God’s abundant love is available to everyone. Her background is in social work and non-profit management. Caro is English but has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years – most of them in Los Osos, where she is now priest-in-charge of St. Benedict’s. She met her spouse at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland where she lived for several years in the 1980s.  Caro is the author of the just-published “A Thorn in the Flesh: How Gay Sexuality is Changing the Episcopal Church”.  She also serves on the board of People of Faith for Justice, and is a founder of the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations.

From The Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin …


  Madonna and Child

From the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin

Service of Dedication and Celebration

of the Ministry of


David Rice


as a Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin


The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presider


Sunday, February 23, 2014

4:00 p.m.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

1528 Oakdale Road

Modesto, CA 95355


For Clergy…


The Clergy Spring Retreat: Feb 25-27, 2014
Can you believe it? The President of the House of Deputies has agreed to be our retreat leader! The Rev. Gay Jennings has agreed to be our retreat leader. Gay is not only the President of the House of Deputies, she was also a former faculty and administrator for CREDO before her retirement. She is an experienced retreat leader and she welcomes this opportunity to come and be with the clergy of the diocese of San Joaquin. This retreat will be a Pre-Lenten opportunity for the clergy of our diocese to get into a spiritual and reflective place in their own lives in order to lead members of our congregations into a reflective Lenten mode.
Can you believe it? That the President of the House of Deputies has agreed to be our retreat leader?
Can you believe it? That this will be the first opportunity for most of our clergy to actually meet Bishop Rice?
Can you believe it? That we will once again be at St. Anthony’s Retreat Center which has the space for us all to meet at the lowest cost per person that we have ever been able to acquire?
There are times when everything does come together. Can you believe it? This is one of those times. Dear clergy, please do sign up now by using the retreat registration form found here.
I wish us all blessings on our retreat together.
Canon Kate+

Call to Special Convention…


Dio seal

The Recognition and Seating

of the

 Provisional Bishop

The Right Rev. David Rice


March 29, 2014

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bakersfield


2216 17th Street

Bakersfield, CA 93301

Click here for Special Convention Schedule 

Check here for Special Convention Registration Form


Registration is due February 27, 2014

Postulant/Candidate Book Grant Fund Director…

                      Postulant/Candidate Dio seal Book Grant Fund

Many of you will have visited the book sale at our last Diocesan Convention. Over $200.00 was raised to help establish a new diocesan initiative – The Postulant/Candidate Book Grant Fund. Spearheaded by the Commission on Ministry, the purpose of the fund is to provide annual book grants to all postulants and candidates in training. It is humbling to bear in mind the amount of time and energy many of them contribute so that they might better serve our diocese, the Church and world; not to mention, the financial costs entailed which are extensive and in most cases come entirely from their own resources.

The hope is that each parish or mission in the diocese would be willing to contribute $100.00 annually to enable the new fund. Such a contribution would not only send a wonderful message to those who are committing themselves to Christ’s work in this particular way, but will ultimately benefit our Church as they continue to exercise their ministry among us.

Please speak to your Vestry or Bishop’s Committee members and encourage them to make this part of your community’s regular planned giving. Of course, individuals may also contribute to the fund and are encouraged to do so. Checks can be made out to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin with a note in the memo – P/C Book Grant Fund. These can be sent directly to the diocesan office.

The Rev. Luis Rodriquez

From the Diocesan Office…

Upcoming Meetings:


  • Diocesan Council TELECONFERENCE Meeting, 10:00 a.m.
  • Standing Committee Meeting, 12:00 p.m., Holy Family, Fresno
  • Integrity Retreat, January 24-26, 2014, ECCO, Oakhurst
  • Celebration of Ministry for Bishop Rice, Sunday,  February 23, 2014, 4 p.m., St. Paul’s, Modesto with The Most Rev. Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori presiding
  • Clergy Retreat, February 25-27, 2014, St. Anthony Retreat, Three Rivers, CA
  • Southern Deanery Meeting, Saturday, March 1, 2014, 11:00 a.m., St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
  • Northern Deanery Meeting, Saturday, March 8, 2014, 10:00 a.m., St. Anne’s,     Stockton
  • Central Deanery Meeting, Sunday, March 16, 2014, 3 p.m., Holy Family, Fresno
  • Special Convention, Saturday, March 29, 2014, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
Do you wish to see what else the Diocese is up to? Click here for The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin calendar.

From Our Parishes and Missions…

Julian of Norwich  

Love Suffering and the Cross:

A Retreat with Julian of Norwich


February 12-14, 2014


Fr. Luis Rodriguez, the Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Hanford, is leading this special retreat at St Anthony Retreat House in Three Rivers.
In large part it is the one he led for the diocesan women’s retreat last year; but, of course, this is open to both women and men.  While Julian of Norwich lived almost 700 years ago, her writing still seems fresh and profoundly resonant.  Her visions of Christ’s suffering reveal the depths of love, and surprisingly convey a sense of peace and joy.

As we look to begin Lent, come to St.  Anthony Retreat House to learn about and pray with this extraordinary woman.  Fr.  Luis, is a Friend of the Julian Centre in England, has visited there many times and led a number of pilgrimages to this holy place.

Please  feel free to arrive between 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. and to settle and enjoy the quite beauty of St.  Anthony’s.  The retreat begins with dinner on Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. and ends with lunch on Friday.  For a registration form  and further information, follow this link:

Alternatively, you can contact Fr. Luis directly via email at [email protected].

For our Diocesan Prayer Calendar….click here

Bishop’s and Canon’s Calendars… 

Bishop Talton’s Calendar
January 18                       Diocesan Council Meeting, Holy Family, Fresno
Standing Committee Meeting, Holy Family, Fresno
February 23                      Service of Dedication and Celebration of
the Ministry of Bishop Rice, St. Paul’s, Modesto
March 29                          Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
Bishop Rice’s Calendar

February 23                      St. John the Baptist, Lodi

February 23                      Service of Dedication and Celebration of
the Ministry of Bishop Rice, St. Paul’s, Modesto
February 25-27                 Clergy Retreat, St. Anthony Retreat, Three Rivers
March 1                             Southern Deanery Meeting, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
March 2                             St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest
March 5                             Holy Family, Fresno
March 8                             Northern Deanery Meeting, St. Anne’s, Stockton
March 9                             St. James, Sonora
March 16                           St. Paul’s, Visalia
March 16                           Central Deanery Meeting, Holy Family, Fresno
March 29                           Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
March 30                           St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
Canon Cullinane’s Calendar
January 18                        Diocesan Council Meeting, Holy Family, Fresno
Standing Committee Meeting, Holy Family, Fresno
January 19                        St. John’s, Tulare
January 24-26                   Integrity Retreat, ECCO
February 23                       Service of Dedication and Celebration  of
the Ministry of Bishop Rice, St. Paul’s, Modesto
February 25-27                 Clergy Retreat, St. Anthony Retreat, Three Rivers
March 1                             Southern Deanery Meeting, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
March 8                             Northern Deanery Meeting, St. Anne’s, Stockton
March 16                           Central Deanery Meeting, Holy Family, Fresno
March 29                           Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield

Keep up to date on news and events with our
NEW Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin website
Click here:  Our Website  
Contributions to the Friday Reflection are most welcome and are due by the Tuesday before the Friday Reflection is scheduled to go out. Articles are to be submitted in word document format and pictures in jpeg format for best results.
Contact Information: Ellen Meyer

Adapt or Die

By Ken Howard, part of the Vestry Papers issue on Vestries: Listen to God’s Call (January 2014)

At a recent conference I was asked to speculate about what our parishes would look like a decade from now. My answer was brief: “One thing I can say with certainty is this: The only way our churches will look like they do now is if they have been stuffed and mounted and displayed in a museum of natural church history.”

The context in which our congregations exist is shifting so dramatically that mere tweaking of method and message can no longer return us to health, let alone vitality. We are facing radical change – radical as in going to the root – requiring of us both radical recognition and radical response.

As congregational leaders, we must confront the fact that our churches are dying. While we may wish they were timeless and eternal, at the core our churches are living human organisms, and dying is what all living organisms eventually do. But first they are born, live, adapt, create new life, and pass on their DNA to the next generation. We cannot insulate our churches from death without isolating them from the very process that would empower the next generation, not just to survive but also to thrive.

To guide our churches into a vital future, vestries and other church leaders must help our congregations to embrace their organic nature – to see death not as the ultimate failure but as the door to greater life. We need to help our congregations learn how to die in a way that plants the seeds of their resurrection. But how? How can we as congregational leaders learn this radical response and walk this counterintuitive, paradoxical path? How do we help our congregations live into a more incarnational Christianity that values organism over organization?

Changing the Paradigm

If we as leaders are to help our congregations change their ways of doing Church, we first have to recognize that our old and familiar paradigm of Church is fading away, and that a new and unfamiliar paradigm of Church is emerging. And because the new paradigm is not yet fully present, we have to help our congregations learn to explore its pathways and boundaries.

Leading congregations in a time of paradigm shift is no easy task. Be wary of any who call themselves experts in times like these; when a paradigm shifts, everyone goes to zero. There are no experts, only fellow learners. While I do not claim to be an expert in the emerging paradigm of Church, I do have some experience in helping my own congregation – as well as a few other congregations and dioceses – to explore it. And I am willing to share some of what my congregation and I have learned since it was born in 1995.

My congregation began its journey into the emerging paradigm with an exploration of the Apostle Paul’s image of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12):

There are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (NRSV)

We began to ask ourselves what our congregation would be like if we took this passage seriously. If in this passage Paul is expressing his deeply organic understanding of the nature of Christian community, then how is God calling our own Christian community to live? As we engaged this question with imagination and prayer, our image of Church began to shift. We began to think of Christian community less as an organizational structure in which people occupy various fixed and static roles, and more as a living organism that grows, adapts to its environment, reproduces, thinks, and moves – one which has a vision and a calling implanted in its DNA by the Spirit of God.

As our paradigm of Church began to shift, our behaviors as leaders and as a congregation began to shift as well. We began asking ourselves additional “so what” questions. If we were to answer the call to become an organic, incarnational Christian community, how would we need to change:

  • The way we think of congregational unity?
  • The way we develop and articulate our congregational vision?
  • The way we think about the lifecycle of our congregation?
  • The way we organize to get things done?
  • The way we develop our leaders, followers, and various working groups.

What this Means

Wrestling with questions like these have led to profound shifts in how we think, what we do, and how we do it – shifts which are summarized in the following outline.

  1. Unity: Moving from boundary-set unity to centered-set unityWhen we think of church as an organization, unity is achieved by clearly defining boundaries. Leadership asks, “What characteristics (e.g., doctrines, practices, etc.) separate THOSE WHO ARE A PART OF US from THOSE WHO ARE APART FROM US?”When we think of church as an organism, unity is achieved by clearly defining focus. Leadership asks, “WHO is the center of our community?” (The answer was/is “Jesus”) and “HOW do we clarify our focus (on Jesus) and invite others to share with us in it?”The implication of this shift is that we avoid making others into copies of ourselves and instead allow all of us together to be transformed into God’s image.
  2. Vision: Moving from vision-setting to vision-birthingWhen we think of church as an organization, leadership creates and propagates an organizational vision. Leadership asks, “What is God calling this congregation to be and to do?”When we think of church as an organism, leadership facilitates the emergence of a shared vision from the congregation. Leadership asks, “How can we help our congregation discern what God is calling us to be and to do?” Leadership does this by paying attention to the gifts and callings of those participating in the life of the community and those God is calling into it.The implication of this shift is that we remind ourselves to remain attentive to the Spirit’s movement in our congregation and in the world around us.
  3. Moving from organizational permanence to congregational vitality

    When we think of church as an organization, leadership assumes current structures and processes are there for a good reason. Leadership asks, “HOW can we do WHAT we’re already doing more effectively?”When we think of church as an organism, leadership assumes nothing. Leadership first asks, “WHY do we exist?” then, “HOW do we organize and behave to fulfill that calling?“ then, “WHAT specific activities is God calling us to carry out?” Leadership also asks, “What does the congregation do that is so unique and valuable that it would be missed if the congregation ceased to exist?” and, “If our church were to die today, what would the community around us write as our epitaph?” Leadership pays attention to what feeds and energizes the congregation (and the leadership) and finds ways to do those more of those kinds of things, while letting those things that do not promote congregational vitality die.The implication of this shift is that we continuously rediscover and reconnect with our spiritual DNA, and allow ourselves to be watered and pruned by God’s Spirit.
  4. Moving from hierarchical structure to organic networksWhen we think of church as an organization, leadership (and followership) is organized and structured via power, position, and turf. Leadership asks, “What COMMITTEES should a healthy church have?” and “Who can we get to lead and staff them?”When we think of church as an organism, all congregational structures and processes are functional and provisional. Work is accomplished through small-group, co-led teams, which can expand and contract, as needed. Leadership asks, “What needs to be done?” then, “Who is called to be on a TEAM to do it?” then, “Which of its members are called to lead the team?”The implication of this shift is that we assure that our structures and processes are nimble and flexible, capable of growing and adapting to our context.
  5. Moving from individual perfection to interconnected completenessWhen we think of church as an organization, leadership strives to help every individual person and part of the organization become as self-sufficiently effective as possible. Leadership asks, “What does this person/committee need to be the best, most well-rounded person/committee possible?”When we think of church as an organism, leadership strives to help every person and part of the organization become more complete through interconnectedness with others. Leadership asks, “What connections can we forge between persons/teams that make them more complete in their interconnectedness?The implication of this shift is that we allow each person to give their best gifts and strengthen our organic interdependence as the body of Christ.

An Invitation to Exploration

What I have offered above is not intended to be a quick fix or a step-by-step guide. It cannot be that because the new paradigm is still emerging. Think of it rather as an example of the kinds of questions your vestry will have to ask yourselves and your congregations if you commit yourselves to this journey.

One thing I can promise is this: Embracing the organic and incarnational nature of Christian community can both make your congregations more vital in the present and enable them to face the “changes and chances” of the future with adaptability and resilience. And it will make your job as leaders more exciting and creative, and perhaps even fun.

Ken Howard is the author of Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them(Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010), the founder and director of The Paradoxy Center for Incarnational Christianity at St. Nicholas Church, and the rector of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Germantown, Maryland. St. Nicholas Church was the first successful church plant in its diocese in nearly forty years. Growing steadily since its start in 1995, it is in the top third of diocesan congregations in size and the top 5% in per capita giving. Ken’s blog, Paradoxical Thoughts may be found at