The Network for Pastoral Leadership equips and supports leaders of healthy, thriving congregations, empowering them to develop and sustain vital ministries in their communities. Together we develop happy, healthy leaders (lay and ordained) who are better able to exercise productive ministry over a lifetime.
We have people in central, northern, and eastern Kentucky who need you, who want you, and who have something to teach you. Come and serve alongside those who will show you what it means to practice your priesthood among God’s people.
Network-sized congregations are the heart of most Episcopal Dioceses
What do we mean by Network-sized?
According to the 2010 Faith Communities Today Survey over 80% of all the congregations in the Episcopal Church had an Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) of under 150. Over 50% have ASAs of less than 70. Over 50% of all Episcopal congregations have ASAs between 150 and 36. Moreover, the number of these congregations has increased almost 10% over the past decade.
These are Network-sized congregations; they are the heart of most Episcopal Dioceses. And yet, less that 30% of these congregations report having full time clergy leadership.
What we offer
- An opportunity for new seminary graduates to learn practical aspects of priestly ministry and congregational development in the context of network-sized, healthy congregations.
- Placement in Charge of a Congregation as Clergy-in-Charge. All of the congregations all have the financial resources to sustain participation in the Network; none have atypical pastoral challenges.
- A structure of continuing formation and support over a three-year period at the personal, congregational, and diocesan level.
The Diocesan Leadership Team provides:
- Group Supervision. The monthly supervisory group is led by the Network Leadership Team using a case study method, with a heavy emphasis on family systems thinking.
- Preaching Workshops: Periodically during our monthly meetings we work on the development of our authentic preaching voice. Using peer-learning and “work-in-progress” sermons we gather to “hear each other into prophetic speech.”
- Pastoral Leadership Peer Learning Calls: meets monthly (Sept—May), an opportunity for Network clergy to get help from others to address a current priority, concentrates on the practical aspects of ministry.
- Mentor: Each clergy person is assigned an experienced priest with a gift for nurturing and encouraging new clergy to serve as a mentor. Mentors are trained by the Leadership Team of the Diocese and schedule monthly onsite visits with the Network clergy person.
- Christian Formation Practicum: For one week each summer following the 1st and 2nd year of the program, each participant with the guidance of the Network Leadership Team develops learning goals and a project to broaden the clergyperson’s skills in developing and overseeing Christian formation for all ages. Opportunities include: serving as chaplain for either our diocesan summer camp, The Cathedral Domain, or one of the many Reading Camps, or developing an independent study project.
The Congregations provide
- Congregational Ministry Team: a small team from each congregation, trained by the diocesan leadership team meets regularly with the clergy person to discuss mutual concerns in an honest way.
- Compensation at the minimum standard for the Diocese of Lexington, currently $42,508 (2012 pension base) adjusted annually based on the cost of living. Benefits also include social security tax reimbursement; pension; health; dental and life insurance; four weeks of vacation and two weeks of continuing education leave. Moving expenses are partially subsidised by the diocese with the remainder negotiated between the clergy and congregation.
- Loan repayment: Congregations agree to set aside $250 per month of service. This is payable to the clergyperson upon the successful completion of the program as assistance for student loan repayment or for meeting other expenses designated by the clergyperson.
- A heart for mission and ministry.
- An entrepreneurial spirit willing to dream big, start small, and guide the communities you will lead.
- The knowledge and training you received in seminary and the desire to apply it in the real world.
- Your whole blessedly finite self and a commitment to continue growing in the knowledge and love of God alongside the people you serve.
Together we are strengthening the heart of the church
Network sized congregations are are doing vital ministry, especially in smaller towns and rural areas. These congregations might be the only congregation willing to host a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in their county. They might be the only place for hours in any direction where GLBTQ persons feel welcome and safe. They might be the only place for miles where divorced people can find healing. They are often the only place where a vibrant, ancient, and authentic expression of the Christian faith—an alternative to strident fundamentalism—can be found.
These congregations are very often frugal, and know a lot about financial stewardship. Many of them are financially stable. Still the cost of searching and calling and retaining the brightest and best is beyond most of these congregations.
Seminaries are excellent at providing training in the Episcopal tradition, and it is still among God’s people where the craft of priesthood is really learned and nurtured. We believe that your enthusiasm and heart for mission, combined with the treasure of God’s people living the Gospel in communities—small in numbers but great in spirit—is a tremendous teaching and learning opportunity. Each needs the other to live out their vocation.
Thoughts from current participating clergy
As network clergy, we have been surprised, we have been challenged, we have been supported, we have been loved, and we have been blessed. We have not been bored, and we have never been alone. We have learned something of what it means to be a priest in Christ’s church, and to serve alongside God’s people in a supportive community of peers.
What attracted you to the congregation you are serving?
- The area of Kentucky where I am serving is a remarkably good fit for me and my family. The size of the congregation — not too big, not too small — was attractive.
- The possibilities for broad liturgical expression was attractive — high church, low church, emerging church — it’s all possible here.
- The sense that I could grow in the love of Christ along with the parishioners.
What have you been surprised about so far?
I’ve been happily surprised by how fully the congregation has embraced their role in the network; they want it to succeed and they are committed to doing the work to ensure that it does.
What benefits are you experiencing from participation in the Network for Pastoral Leadership and Healthy Congregations?
The support we’re receiving is excellent, also the size of the diocese means the response time for questions and concerns is very rapid. I also have sensed a closer connection to other network parishes in the Diocese (because I know them through the selection process and through network meetings); something I don’t think is common in other dioceses.
Can you cite one specific insight you have gained already from one of the webinars, presentations, trainings, or supervisory meetings?
Don’t forget to pray.
Past Network clergy have served on the diocesan Standing Committee, Executive Council, Commission on Ministry, Bishop’s Transition Committee, Justice and Peace Commission, and chaired the College Work Commission, the Bishop’s Nominating Committee, and the Commission on Ministry.
Clergy Currently Serving:
Dominic Moore (CDSP, ’11—Good Shepherd)
Peter Doddema (VTS ’11—St. Phillip’s, Harrodsburg)
Marshall Jolly (Emory ’12—Grace, Florence)
Joe Mitchell (GTS ’12—Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, St. Augustine’s Campus Ministry UK)
Peter Hellman (Yale ’13—St. Mary’s, Middlesboro)
Chana Tetzlaff (VTS ’13—Emmanuel, Winchester)
Rebecca Myers (GTS ’13—St. John’s, Corbin/St. Agnes House, Lexington)
Richard Burden (All Saints Parish, Brookline, MA)
Cindy Duffus (Ascension, Mt. Sterling, KY)
Bruce Swinehart (St. James, Wheat Ridge, CO)
Janey Wilson (Calvary/St. Luke’s, Tarboro, NC)
Chris Arnold (St. Andrew’s, Emporia, KS)
Coke McClure (St. Matthew’s, Alliance/Calvary, Hyannis, NE)
Christ Church, Harlan/St. Mark’s Hazard
St. John’s, Corbin/St. Agnes House, Lexington
Congregations searching for Network Placements beginning in 2014
2013-14 Upcoming Dates & Deadlines:
February: Recruiting, campus visits by current Network clergy; Skype and in person interviews with candidates and Dr. Kay Collier-McLaughlin—Essay questions emailed.
March 12: OTM profiles and/or resumes to Dr. Kay Collier-McLaughlin, diocesan transition officer.
March 12: Answers to essay questions due—emailed to Kay.
March: Parish Skype interviews with candidates and parish transition teams.
April : Walkabouts in DioLex.
April: Network placements made.
April-June: Letters of Agreements signed, second visit to parish look for housing etc.
August—September: Begin work in DioLex
For more information contact Dr. Kay Collier-McLaughlin