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St Catherine’s                                                                                                  July  2014

Diocesan School for Leadership School  2014

Last year we rushed back from our holiday on Vancouver so my husband Stephen, could go to the “infamous” Diocesan leadership school. It was the second year it had been held in our diocese and was led by the Rev Melissa Skelton from Olympia Diocese, with 6 diocesan trainers.

He went off with another member of his congregation – she was in her second year – and came back  exhausted – shattered actually but full of the great experience and the terrific value it had been.

This year we rushed back from our holiday for both of us to go – Stephen in his 2nd year, with two new members from Epiphany, and myself – very pleased to go with Phil Sunderland & Monica MacDonald. 60 participants, lay & ordained Anglicans from our Diocese & 3 from the Diocese of the Central Interior – and led of course by our Bishop – with 6 trainers – from the Synod office & the Diocese. 

The week was held at Rosemary Heights, a Roman Catholic Retreat Centre in South Surrey.

Here are Monica’s thoughts from the Conference:


Diocesan School for Leadership


I would like to say a heartfelt thank you for enabling me to attend the Diocesan School of Leadership, a week of study, prayer, work and relaxation.  I enjoyed learning about how individuals, groups, and organizations function.


This knowledge will assist me in our work in congregational development, defined as a more faithful, healthy, and effective faith community.  I gained valuable experience and feedback in facilitating groups, using practical scenarios found in Church settings.


The beautiful gardens and forest trails, including the Stations of the Cross, together with the morning services and evening compline, created a peaceful, tranquil setting. 


I enjoyed sharing meals and discussions with fellow Anglicans, a diverse group from around the diocese, all with interesting ideas and facing their own challenges.


Through the Meyer-Briggs personality studies, I was able to learn more about myself, and how to recognize and deal with various personalities in a group setting.  In other words, good people skills!


I learned a great deal about ways to listen and foster people’s enthusiasm and response to God’s calling to our faith community.  Thank you again for this valuable opportunity.


                                                                                          Submitted by Monica Macdonald


I’d like to add my thanks too for enabling us to go as a group.

It’s hard to put into words a whole week of residential life! Everything was wrapped in prayer – Morning Prayer at 7.30am and Compline at 7.30pm. In those 12 hours, 3 hours were for meals, delicious, and 9 hours were either in plenary or small groups – it was intense.

Of course there were some things that were refreshers, such as facilitating a scenario. Some things, such as the Personality work were in more depth. Some things were new and all are tools to use in the parish – all  focused on congregational development.

What touched or transformed me from the week?

A big reminder of what it means to be Church. What is the purpose of the Church? The reason for Church? Our raison d’etre? This has nothing to do with size, or location or numbers or plant...It is to “gather; transform & send “ –

This model reminds us that Church – community – is vital. It matters that we come together regularly; that we create and nurture community; that we invite others; that we are welcoming and open.

And it is God who transforms us – as Anglicans we have such a rich way of being followers of Jesus Christ. As Anglicans we know our “corners”. Scripture; Reason & Tradition hold a balance not only in our relationship with God – but with others our family; friends’ neighbours; acquaintances; the wider world – and with ourselves. We are so blessed.

And at the heart for us as Anglicans is the Eucharist – How much does God love us?

And then we are sent, sent out, “…send us out in the power of your Spirit...”

So much at the Leadership school was just having time to stop and remember – as we do in the eucharist – to remember and give thanks, “gather; transform & send”.

The second thing for me was along the same lines – Without anything explicit or obvious – I was reminded that I am worth something. I was reminded in my soul that I have been greatly blessed in my life, in my gifts and in my ministry here among you all – I believe this is where God has called me and inspite of the challenges, we are in it together, gathered as a faithful, open and loving community; transformed through seeking God’s presence and grace and sent into the world ( whatever it looks like for us ) every week – every day – every moment.   

There was of course much more – and you will be hearing about it & experiencing some of the models in the coming months – It really was about Parish development and wanting the very best for us, our congregations, our Diocese and our world!

Thank you for enabling me to go to the leadership school – I am already looking forward to next year and hope others will consider joining us too.

Christine Rowe