“Generous God, Giving Church” Leadership Symposium June 1-2

May 6, 2015

Berkeley Divinity School at Yale invites clergy and lay leaders to explore the latest thinking on stewardship on June 1 and 2.  Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning Andrew McGowan, Dean of Berkeley, and J. Clif Christopher, a thought leader in church stewardship, will conduct a symposium entitled “Generous God, Giving Church.”  Then on Tuesday afternoon Jay Sidebotham, Director of Renewal Works, will discuss how research on spiritually vital congregations is being implemented in the world of Episcopal churches.

The event will include opportunity for worship and fellowship.  Monday evening Whitney Edwards ’07 MDiv, rector of Christ & Holy Trinity in Westport, will lead evensong in Marquand Chapel.  A reception and dinner at Berkeley Center will follow the service.  Tuesday morning Edwards will celebrate eucharist at 8:30 in the chapel.

Christopher, president of the Horizons Stewardship Company, and Dean McGowan will share stories and strategies for fund-raising and its relationship to the worship and mission of the Church. Christopher is the author of the highly acclaimed book Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, which offers a new vision for financial stewardship. Christopher has observed that greater competition for charitable dollars is making it increasingly difficult for churches to fund-raise, and old techniques no longer work well.  One answer is for church leaders to create ownership and build enthusiasm for stewardship.

As both college president and parish priest Dean McGowan worked with smaller and larger donors raising funds for projects as various as church buildings and scholarships, and as an historian he has special interest in the connection between liturgy and charitable activity in early Christianity.  His presentation will consider how the idea of thanksgiving connects worship, stewardship and outreach.

This educational event is sponsored by the Wesley Royce Leadership Initiative and marks the seventh Leadership Symposium offered by Berkeley.  The Symposium is held every year in June for lay and ordained practitioners.  The aim is to prepare current and future church leaders for the challenges they face in parishes, schools, and other institutions they may serve.

The 2013 Symposium explored learnings from spiritually vital congregations, based on research which began at Willow Creek, a large non-denominational church.  Episcopal churches are now applying this new thinking in partnership with Forward Movement.  In an afternoon session on June 2 the Rev. Sidebotham will offer an afternoon session to talk about the current state of this endeavor.

This year’s symposium on stewardship will run from noon on Monday, June 1 to 5 o’clock on Tuesday, June 2. A tentative agenda is available here. The fee for the event is $100, which includes lunch and dinner, and a copy of Christopher’s book.  For registration contact Kira Wishart on 203-432-9312 or via email: Kira.Wishart@yale.edu.  More information including accommodation options is available on Berkeley’s event calendar.