• Wonderful Worship
    Vital Posts
    Who doesn’t like a good worship service? Fortunately our Episcopal liturgy allows us the flexibility to be very creative in our worship expression. While our clergy has the primary role in designing and delivering these worship experiences, the…
  • The Best Fit: Matching Volunteer Skill Sets to Needs
    Vital Posts
    Not all volunteers are created equal. Or to paraphrase another cultural bastion: Differ’nt strokes for different folks. A faithful, careful reader of Vital Practices stopped me at church on Sunday to talk about last week’s blog, in whic…
  • Parish Partnerships
    Vestry Papers
    Some congregations are staying close to home when it comes to mission trips. In “Parish Partnerships” Kimberly Durnan shares the transformation that took place when a church invited unchurched college students to join with parishioners in service…
  • Dog Days Recruitment
    Vital Posts
    The ol’ Dog Star, Sirius, is now rising before the dawn, and the “dog days of summer” are upon us. Summer stops and pants. High heat and humidity drive us inside to fans and air conditioning. What to do, what to do…    I know! How about…
  • Fruit by Committee?
    Vital Posts
    We come to our churches with many gifts. One spirit supplies our gifts. Diverse as we are, we are one in this spirit. This is lovely, Biblical reality. So why do the fruits of our gifts sometimes seem a little sparse? In many congregations, the…
  • Yes, Together We Can
    Vestry Papers
    In “Yes, Together We Can,” Jesse Velásquez and Vidal Rivas encourage us to use all our resources (talent, time, and treasure) to reach spiritual and material growth, as seen in San Mateo Episcopal Church in Maryland where the Latino Community ha…
  • You Are a Gift
    Vital Posts
    So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built upuntil we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son …
  • Registrar, Clerk, Or Secretary?
    Vital Posts
    Our by-laws stipulate that one of the officers of the vestry is a person called ‘registrar.’ This person records minutes of vestry meetings and makes them available to the group. “[S]hall keep or cause to be kept true and accurate minutes of …
  • Healthy Uncertainty
    Vital Posts
    Imagine yourself in these scenarios: It’s about 15 minutes before your Sunday morning service and an acolyte hasn’t shown up. What do you do? The end of the year is nearing and there’s a small budget shortfall. What’s the next step? You ask…
  • "A truth-teller with a sincere and faithful heart"
    Vital Posts
    "But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ..." (Ephesians 4:15) This morning I attended the funeral of a former parishioner of mine at St. Francis Church in Holden [Massachusetts]. I'll c…
  • Intentional Listening
    Vital Posts
    Alleluia! It feels good to say THAT again! Glorious celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection are still ringing in our ears as Eastertide joyously overtakes the liturgical calendar following Lent.  The observation of a “Holy Lent” often invol…
  • Valuing All Parts of the Body of Christ
    Vital Posts
    One of my favorite television shows is the BBC show, Sherlock. It's all about Benedict Cumberbatch's flashy and clever version of Sherlock Holmes, and of course his partner, John Watson. While the show is about Sherlock, it is just as much about Wa…
  • Creating Small Groups
    Vital Posts
    When a group such as a vestry gathers for a meeting or retreat, much of the time is spent as one large group. There are times, though, when it can be beneficial to break into smaller groups for a specific task or point of discussion. Small group work…
  • Break with a Purpose: How to Make the Most of your Next Meeting
    Vital Posts
    Editor's note: The Church Leadership Conference brings together vestries and other congregational leaders for learning, reflection, and formation. It’s a time and space for vestries to ask the big questions facing their congregations, featuri…
  • Easier Entries and Exits?
    Vital Posts
    A colleague recently mentioned that she was starting a music project for Christmas. The commitment for participants would be six weeks of rehearsals. She said it seemed much easier to get people to commit to something that had a clear start and fin…
  • Volunteering: The Fit/Stretch Dynamic
    Vital Posts
    On Saturday I was in Union Square with a clipboard and a petition, attempting to get strangers to sign. In recent months as I’ve become more involved with the climate change movement, I’ve found myself further and further outside my comfort zon…
  • Over-Led or Under-Managed?
    Vital Posts
    I recently came across an article in the Harvard Business Review on Twitter. The article is about the differences between management and leadership. “Management is about coping with complexity,” it explains. Leadership, on the other hand, is ab…
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