The Big Provincial Gathering this July in Kalamazoo
Did you know the Diocese of Missouri is in Province 5 of the Episcopal Church? All the dioceses belong to one of nine provinces, and there are 14 in Province V.
Why does a province exist? The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church offers this, "The primary purposes of the Provinces are to facilitate inter-diocesan collaboration to achieve Diocesan and Episcopal Church goals, and to enable more effective communications and regional advocacy of significant programmatic efforts."
Some provinces and ministries have a better tradition of collaboration. Province 5 has certainly seen ups and downs in this regard. Our current Prov. 5 director is the Rev. Heather Barta. This Michigander wondered if we could hold a big gathering with space for all of the dioceses, with topics of interest to each. A place to share our wisdom and begin some collaboration.
The venue chosen is Kalamazoo, a college town of 78,000 in the Diocese of Western Michigan, almost the geographical center of the Province. Local churches in a five block area of downtown are offering their space for workshops. The Rev. Mike Michie, the Episcopal Church's Staff Officer in the Office of Church Planting and Redevelopment will offer a keynote, but also gather the group after sessions to share wisdom gleaned.
The workshop schedule calls for three 90 minute sessions. Each session is a mixture of presentation, of things to try out in the room, and time for networking and sharing by participants. The Prov. 5 leadership hopes to offer ways of staying connected as these groups of interest develop. The 60+ workshops are divided into these tracks:
- Asset Based Community Development
- Advocacy / Justice
- Caring for Creation
- Children's Ministries
- Congregational Development
- Diocesan Leadership
- Dismantling Racism
- Evangelism / Church Planting
- God acting locally
- Inter-denominational Conversation
- Intergenerational Formation
- Lay Discernment
- Liturgical Ministries
- Telling our (sacred) Stories
- Theological Education
- Welcome / Hospitality
- Women Clergy
- Women's Ministries
- Yarn Ministry
- Young Adult
- Clergy Collegiality
Diocesan members are participating as session leaders and on panels, including General Convention Deputy and Chaplain the Rev. Beth Scriven, Mimi Shipp from Emmanuel, the Kittells from St. Vincent's, and members of our Dismantling Racism Commission.
There is time budgeted between presentations and workshops for conversation and fellowship.