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Connecting Communities

Connecting More Deeply With God, Each Other, And Our Neighborhood

What is a Connecting Community? It is one of a group of congregations who commit to one another in a nine-month learning experience. Participating congregations come together for three Saturday workshops and, in the months between them, invite members of their own congregations into fun, simple experiential exercises. 
Adults learn best by doing and reflecting together. The Saturday workshops and the congregational exercises will help us do just that. They have been developed and tested in dioceses over several years by Dwight Zscheile, Michael Binder, and the Innovation team at Luther Seminary in Minneapolis.

How will my congregation benefit?

  • Experience practical ideas, inspiration, and tools for ministry.
  • Learn to discern and respond to God’s leading.
  • Connect with your neighborhood in ways that are effective, meaningful, and authentic to Episcopal spirituality.
  • When we say “neighborhood”, we mean the people surrounding your congregation and/or your home or place of work.
  • Engage and inspire your members.
  • Discover the unique story God wants to tell through your congregation.
  • Build connections with other congregations.
  • Affirm your faith that God has a vital role for your congregation to play in the world.

2019 Workshops

  • Agile Leadership: Begin by Asking Different Questions - February 23, 2019
  • Learning by Doing : Using Action Learning to Discover God’s Leading - May 18, 2019
  • Reflecting Upon Our Learning: Discerning God’s Call to Us and our Churches - September 14, 2019

What is a Guiding Team?

Every congregation participating in the Connecting Communities initiative will identify a Guiding Team of four to six members. The Guiding Team is the conduit through which the congregation as a whole is invited to participate in the Connecting Community. Guiding Team members will receive coaching on how to engage others in their congregations in activities and learning throughout the process. An outside coach will answer their questions and help them address challenges.

Building a Guiding Team

A participant on the Guiding Team should have the following characteristics/skills:

  • Ability to work in cooperation with a team.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability in some other context.
  • Willingness to experiment with new activities and behaviors the process will invite.
  • Willingness to personally practice some of the spiritual habits introduced in the Connecting Communities trainings.
  • Ability and willingness to personally invite others in the congregation to participate at different points in the process.
  • Commitment to participate in three Saturday trainings and all meetings the Guiding Team schedules.
  • Commitment to enter the process as a learner without a particular agenda other than to follow God’s leading for the congregation.
  • Guiding Team members together represent the diversity of their congregation in terms of age, orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, and socio-economic status.

Time Commitment

Each Guiding Team Member will commit to: 

  • Three Saturday training workshops.
  • One meeting per month (on average) with members of your Guiding Team to plan activities related to the Learning Communities initiative. Each meeting will likely include time with a coach; time and place will be determined by the Guiding Team.
  • Time spent recruiting and training other members of the congregation throughout the process. Skills the Guiding Team will learn, practice and share include listening to God through scripture, interviewing other church members, and walking their neighborhoods with a spiritual focus.

If your congregation is interested in joining the Connecting Communities initiative, here is what to do next:

  • Each congregation will need a Guiding Team of four to six members willing to engage in the three 2019 trainings. The trainings will likely each be in a different location, which will be determined as best as possible with distances to the participating congregations in mind. (In addition to the Guiding Team, anybody from participating congregations may attend the trainings, just give us advance notice for food and materials planning.)
  • Each Guiding Team will be responsible to help others from their congregation participate in the activities and learning that will take place between trainings.
  • Each vestry will need to vote approval of their congregation’s participation in the Connecting Communities initiative.
  • Each congregation will be asked to contribute $200 toward the cost of the trainings. As always, assistance is available as necessary. Contact Brad Purdom for assistance.

Registration is now open.

Questions? Contact The Kate Gillooly at lazaruslife2000@aol.com or Antoinette Taylor.