Welcome to my website, where I share news, information and many ideas and resources for Congregational Support in our diocese. For example, a major resource is RenewalWorks, a ministry of Forward Movement.
Video from Sept 26, 2020 (10 to Noon)
Invite Welcome Connect is a new-member ministry process for churches seeking to expand their congregational reach to new people in their communities.
Get the basics and develop a plan for your church!
If you come here you will grow…
The world around us is changing and the context of both our town and city churches has changed significantly. Many of the methods we used in the past to welcome and encourage people aren’t working. In some places, people are two or three generations past a time when their families were part of a faith community and don’t understand what Christianity is or what happens inside a church.
If we are waiting for these people to come to our doors, we may wait a long time. Both “Nones” (those who check “None” for religious affiliation) and “Dones” (their previous experience was injurious or irrelevant and they are “Done” with church) are missing the Great Good News of Jesus.
We have moved from a time when churches flourished by attraction to a time when we need to get out of our church doors to share the good news of God in Christ.
A new curriculum or a parish hall make-over will not get us where God is calling us to follow. A one-day workshop on Evangelism won’t do it either. Exploring both within and outside our congregations, we need to learn the deep questions of people in our pews and neighborhoods, open conversation and dialogue, and follow where God is leading to meet them in love.
In inviting people, building a solid, open welcome and a structure to pursue deep questions and yearnings we will be able to say: if you come here, you will grow.
As part of One Diocese/One Mission we have created an inter-connected congregational development plan where each section builds on and re-enforces the others.
Building a long range, strategic plan for congregational development will help your congregation to grow in their experience of God and in extending the experience of God’s love and empowerment to others.
Whether you use the resources of the Diocesan Church Development Institute (DCDI) or Renewal Works as your framework, the best place to start is with a plan.
Drawing from across the Episcopal Church, we have gathered resources that combine the best of what is happening in congregational growth and development to live into the plan God calls you into.
We’re excited to offer these programs and to come alongside our congregations in discerning God’s call. While we may all use these programs, the planning processes are flexible and open to how each individual church expresses its mission and ministry.
After all, we’re Episcopalians: All may, none must, some should.
There are five basic groupings of information based on the five best practices that churches who are flourishing, across denominations consistently do:
These best practices are central to development plans in the Renewal Works process and we have adopted this framework to help us go deeper in our spiritual life and move out into our neighborhoods in mission and ministry.
It’s an exciting time to be in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. We can’t wait to start the journey together. Keep visiting the site as we add new resources to help you realize your call in giving your utmost for God’s highest!
The Rev. Canon Claire Woodley
(516) 248-4800, ext. 134
Canon for Congregational Support
Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
BUILDING THE FOUNDATION
Available in English. Spanish!
RenewalWorks is a great place to begin for congregational development! This five- month plan is being used across the Episcopal Church to help congregations focus on spiritual growth for congregational growth. It needs a team of 9 – 15 people, including clergy. For smaller churches, the whole congregation may opt to be the team. There are Fall and Winter Co-horts of congregations annually.
In a nutshell: Through a guided methodology of self-reflection, sharing and workshop discussion, RenewalWorks challenges parishes to refocus on spiritual growth and to identify ways that God is calling them to grow.
Here’s how it works:
The RenewalWorks process starts and ends with a party!
We will gather congregations doing RenewalWorks together for an opening orientation and blessing for the journey.
Next, the entire congregation is invited to reflect on their own spiritual life in an online Spiritual Life Inventory. The results are tabulated by RenewalWorks by creating a snapshot of the congregation’s spiritual life and sent to the Team for reflection at the second meeting.
Each congregation has a Lay Facilitator and Administrator to organize and run the four, 1 ½ hour focus group meetings.
Before the second meeting, the Clergy and lay leadership team have a phone consultation with RenewalWorks to go over the results of the online Spiritual Life Inventory.
In the third and fourth meetings, the focus group uses the metrics drawn from the Spiritual Life Inventory to create a plan to grow the church in the five best practices of vital and viable congregations.
Congregations doing RenewalWorks regather for a closing celebration sharing learning and surprises, as well as two goals for the coming year. We expect different synergies and opportunities among congregations to arise at the closing party!
For Fall Cohorts
March/April: Present RenewalWorks to Vestry and important lay leaders.
May/July: Register online at RenewalWorks.org. Cost is $500 per congregation
September: Parish Teams Orientation Dinner 6:00pm – 8:00pm at Mercer School of Theology, date TBA.
February: Closing Sharing and Celebrations dinners. Mercer School of Theology, date TBA.
For Winter Cohorts
Sept/Oct: Present RenewalWorks to Vestry and important lay leaders.
Oct – Dec: Register online at RenewalWorks.org. Cost is $500 per congregation.
January: Parish Teams Orientation Dinner 6:00pm – 8:00pm at Mercer School of Theology, date TBA.
June: Closing Sharing and Celebrations dinners. Mercer School of Theology, date TBA.
Learn more: An Interview with the Rev. Jay Sidebotham in the Church Growth section of The Living Church : https://vimeo.com/114192493
BEST PRACTICE PRINCIPLES
The Five Best Practice Principles
The Congregational Support and Development framework we use is drawn from RenewalWorks insight into the five best practice principles that churches that are thriving across denominations, size and location consistently do. Your congregation, as it grows and deepens in Christ, will experience greater vitality and strength as they put these mutually reenforcing principles into practice.
Whether you use DCDI or RenewalWorks to create a plan, these five best practices will help you reach your goals.
The resources that follow are far from exhaustive. Each of the resources listed have their own resources as well! We will be offering trainings to support the resources and have ongoing support to help you.
You are invited to step on up and start to craft your own plan and resource implementation. The good news is, every single one of these resources, programs, and missional practices has ample
amounts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, generosity and FUN.
Enjoy the work God has given us to do and the people who journey with you!
Spiritually Vital Churches: Best Practice Principles
DIOCESAN CHURCH DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
DCDI - Training clergy and lay leadership across the diocese in church development best practices grounded in our Anglican Spiritual tradition.
The Rev. Elisabeth Tunney is DCDI Program Director
and rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Patchogue