On Saturday, February 7th, 2015, the Diocese of New Westminster’s School for Parish Development (SfPD) instructors: Tasha Carrothers, Rev. Louie Engnan, Kim Hodge, David Swan, Archdeacon Lynne McNaughton, Rev. Jeremy Clark-King and SfPD coordinator/registrar, Rev. Marnie Peterson welcomed 30 students from around the diocese to St. Laurence, Coquitlam for a program sampler day.
Rev. Marnie Peterson was delighted with the venue saying, “St. Laurence is a great spot for the day long workshop. There is enough space for us to have break-out rooms, the hall and sanctuary are both large enough that we could split the group into two (returning/graduates and people who have not yet attended) and they were very flexible and welcoming to us which made it really easy for us as well. Finally, the location is good and there is enough parking.” This is the second year that St. Laurence has been chosen as the venue for the Refresher Day.
When asked about the program for the day, Marnie replied, “(participants) got a basic sense of the school. We model the day on a typical day at the school, we begin and end the day with the offices of morning and evening prayer; we worked on all three levels: individual, team and whole group. We all worked together in the morning, learning/being reminded of organizational development and organizational development, iceberg, and then we worked on a case study based on Richard Beckhard’s Change Model (Formula for Change). In the afternoon we allowed space for people who have not been to the school, to ask questions about the school.” The SfPD is offered in two formats: four weekend sessions held throughout the year (the 2015 version is currently in progress) and a week-long session (the 2015 session will be July 26-August 1st and the deadline for registration requests is May 15th). The SfPD curriculum is taught over two years.
The Rev. Scott Gould, rector of St. Helen’s, Point Grey had this response when he was asked about the SfPD program, “I appreciate that it seems to be based on building quite a solid, I might even say 'rigorous,' set of skills for ministry teams. I especially like that it is for teams of clergy and lay working together. That is the key …a lot of the work I have been doing in the parish actually makes a lot more sense when viewed through the 'lenses' provided by this course.” Rod Mackin of Christ Church Cathedral, who has been generous with his time and talent over the years to the benefit of the Cathedral and the Diocese is a Creative Director/Brand Manager, who is currently on staff as Creative Lead at engageQ digital communications had this to say about his first experience with SfPD, “Perhaps the single most important initiative of the North American wing of the Anglican Communion.” When he was asked what the most important thing was that he took away from the day, he answered, “That process/methodology/best practices need not be churchified or dumbed down to succeed.
Betty Higginbottom of the Anglican Parish of the Church of the Epiphany, Surrey completed her first year in 2014 and she believes that the Refresher Day is of particular benefit for those between year one and two, and people investigating the school who are thinking about requesting registration. She also thought that the day would be of benefit to those who have recently finished their second year as a way of firming up the knowledge and experience they had gained.
The worship time together, beginning and ending with the daily office and lunch were highlights of the day according to Scott, Rod and Betty.
When asked if the Refresher Day generated some enthusiasm for registration requests for the full program, Marnie replied, “Some people definitely indicated interest in the school but after the day some people also indicated the they felt that the school would not be a good fit for them.” When asked if he would seriously consider requesting registration at some future date, Rod said, “Yes. Prior to Refresher/Sample Day, odds of attending were 50/50. Having been given the overview, that has changed to 80% probable.” When asked the same question, Rev. Scott Gould responded, “I plan to do the week long program as soon as I can find a team of lay leaders to do it with me.” And Betty Higginbottom plans to attend year two.
For all the current program and registration information please visit the Diocese of New Westminster’s School for Parish Development webpages.
The plenary and instructors gather in the St. Laurence hall for an overview of the day.
School for Parish Development instructors, David Swan and Tasha Carrother.
Small group work. The Reverend Neil Gray, rector of Holy Trinity, White Rock and Sharon Taylor of St. Laurence. Watching in the background are SfPD instructors, Kim Hodge and Tasha Carrothers. PHOTOS: Marnie Peterson