‘Some seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’ And Jesus said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’
As Diocesan Convention approaches, I am grateful to God for all who will gather at Washington National Cathedral this weekend. Over 200 people have signed up for the pre-convention on Friday evening. Tony Morgan, author of The Unstuck Church, will speak on the life cycle of congregations and offer specific strategies to promote and sustain spiritual health and to address the ways all congregations can get stuck in habits that lead to decline.
For those unable to attend, Tony’s presentation and the question/answer session that follows will be livestreamed and available for later viewing on the diocesan website. (Check the Convention web page closer to the event for the link.)
On Saturday morning, we convene for Convention, the annual legislative gathering of diocesan lay and clergy leaders. Again, the Convention will be livestreamed for those wanting to participate from home, and we will post both the sermon from our Convention preacher, Ms. Nancy Beach, and my address on the diocesan website. (Check the Convention web page on Saturday morning for the livestream link and later in the day for the other materials.)
Much of my address will focus on the upcoming diocesan-wide strategic planning process that will officially begin in mid-February. More on that process in the coming weeks, but for now, please know we are in the process of establishing leadership teams for each of the eight diocesan regions, and I invite you to email me if you’re interested in exploring that possibility.
Each congregation will have the opportunity to engage in a process of self-assessment and online learning, guided by our consultants from the Unstuck Group. We’ll also engage in regionally-focused discovery sessions this spring, to invite your input and to create a space for congregational leaders to gather in prayer and guided conversation focused on congregational strengths, challenges, and future possibilities.
At Convention we will offer thanks for several diocesan leaders who are completing terms of faithful service: Mr. Paul Barkett is stepping down as diocesan treasurer; Mr. Jim Jones as chair of the diocesan finance committee, and Ms. Mary Kostel, as diocesan chancellor.
We will also pause to celebrate and give thanks to God for Paul Cooney’s 17-year ministry as Canon to the Ordinary. Words cannot sufficiently express our gratitude for Paul and our prayers for the life adventures that await him. I invite every congregation to remember Paul and Linda Cooney in your prayers this Sunday. What a faithful disciple, servant leader, and good friend Paul has been in the Diocese of Washington!
Canon Paul E. Cooney