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The Spirit was Stirring at the 4th Annual Ministry Expo

–Angie Emerson & Susan Ohlidal

The Spirit was stirring – in the singing, the sharing, and the recycling!  Approximately 70 people gathered throughout the day for the 4th Annual Ministry Expo held in Randolph, VT, on April 20th. The sense of community was formed through the singing between sessions as a way of bringing us together.  The magic was in the absence of paper or PowerPoint projected words.  It was music that formed community!

Donald Schell, President of All Saints Company, addressed the group in two plenary sessions and two workshops, one for clergy leadership and one for lay leaders. Schell spoke about the special challenges of leadership in the 21st Century and the need to have Courage, Compassion, and Creativity. He encouraged the group to take a fresh look at the liturgies available to us as well as to explore new forms of liturgy.

Participants were stirred by presentations in a variety of workshops through the day: “Stirrings of the Spirit: Stories of Transformation” led by The Rev. Susan McGarry and seminarian Susan Taylor; “The Church as Business” led by Diocesan Financial Officer Julie Giguere and Administrative Assistant Joshua Cheney; “Music that Forms Community” led by The Rev. Cricket Cooper; “Stirrings of the Spirit: Dinner Church” led by Jennifer Ogelby and Jennifer Knowles; “Formation in the 21st Century” by The Revs. Joel Hill and Donna Reidt; “Communication Tools and Tips” by Veronika Travis; and “Turn Off the Lights for God’s Sake” led by Province One Environmental Minister, The Rev. Stephanie Johnson.

Following a lunch in which 100% waste was either recycled or composted, lunch participants enjoyed another plenary session with Donald Schell followed by a second round of workshops. 

“We had so much fun getting to know folks in the “Stirrings of the Spirit/Dinner Church” workshop…after all that is what it is all about—sharing your story and experiences with others,” said one participant.

Attending this year’s Ministry Expo were guests from the United Church of Christ Vermont Conference leadership team and Episcopal Divinity School. The Rev. Pamela Lucas, Associate Conference Minister for Search and Call and Small Church Ministry, and Jim Thomas, Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship, Church Vitality and Finance joined the day’s events. The UCC leadership team and the Episcopal diocesan ministers are exploring possibilities of partnership and collaboration for future events in our respective denominations in Vermont. Also attending the Expo was Diane D’Souza, Director of Lifelong Learning at Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) and also Director of the Mission Institute, a collaborative between EDS, Episcopal City Mission, and the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. “It was a delight to come to know some Vermont Episcopalians and to begin a new chapter about how the Episcopal Divinity School and the Church in Vermont can work together to equip people for the work of transformation,” said D’Souza.

Plans are in the works for the 2014 Ministry Expo. Watch for more stirrings… .

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