More than 60 Parish Wardens joined a number of diocesan clergy and a large cohort of Synod staff to participate in the second bi-annual Warden’s Training Day this year held in the gym at St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale (SMK), Saturday, March 21st.
The program for the day was developed largely by the Synod office program staff and was to some degree based on the first event held March 9th, 2013. Children’s and Youth Ministry Coordinator, Caitlin Reilley Beck was the point person for the event, working primarily with a group of staff which included: Ministry Resource Associates; Tasha Carrothers and the Reverend Marnie Peterson; Archivist, Melanie Delva; Director for Stewardship and Planned Giving, Glen Mitchell and all under the oversight of Director for Ministry and Mission Development, the Reverend Ruth Monette. Joining Ruth from the Senior Staff team were; Business Administrator, Rob Dickson; Executive Archdeacon, the Venerable Douglas Fenton and Bishop Skelton who were also very much involved in the day-long presentation. Administrative Assistants, Phil Colvin and Sandra Stevenson provided office and technical support.
Following registration and Morning Prayer led by Caitlin Reilley Beck and the Reverend Ruth Monette, Bishop Skelton addressed the plenary and got things off to an enthusiastic start by asking the Wardens present to take a few minutes and discuss with their table mates questions that they had for the presenting staff members about their roles as wardens. After 15 minutes, Bishop Skelton invited folks to stand and voice their questions while Tasha and Archdeacon Fenton kept track of the questions in large print on flipcharts at the front of the room. There were many. They ranged from: “What kind of reports do we submit?” to “What is our role with regards to personnel and human resources issues?” to “Leasing church space best practices” to “Where can we find resources for things like; chairing a meeting, succession planning, Parish Administrator training, Parish Council member role descriptions, the difference and/or the relationship between Trustees and Wardens…etc.?”.
In her response to the questions, Bishop Skelton candidly admitted that some of these questions might not be specifically addressed during that day, however, the questions will be saved, noted and used in further development of both the Warden’s Handbook publication and future Warden’s Training Days. Also, many of the Wardens’ questions were addressed in the fulsome package distributed at registration and during the course of the day-long program unfolding. Then Bishop Skelton went on to add that she identifies these questions largely as components of the bigger picture process of Parish Development (PD). She said, “The Wardens are key to Parish Development…Parishes do not grow that have a conflict at the centre.”
Following the Bishop’s address, the agenda continued with Ministry Resource Associate, the Reverend Marnie Peterson describing elements of successful organizational systems based on the curriculum of the Diocesan School for Parish Development. Rob Dickson spoke about the importance of keeping track of government correspondence particularly in relation to tax exception forms. He also spoke about liability issues and the role of the diocese working with the parishes regarding lease agreements and property improvements. Archdeacon Douglas Fenton spoke about Anti-Racism Training and personnel issues. Diocesan Archivist and Privacy Officer, Melanie Delva spoke about a number of issues important to Wardens; amongst them; Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA) and which parish records are desired and required for deposit in the Diocesan Archives.
After a delicious grilled cheese and soup lunch the program continued with some in-depth investigation of Warden’s tasks and parish maintenance. A large section of the afternoon session consisted of a case study facilitated by Tasha Carrothers where the plenary were presented with a situation where a parish and a tenant were struggling to share space.
There were brief presentations from: Glen Mitchell promoting the upcoming April18th, Stewardship Day and the importance of implementing a “Year Round Stewardship Program”; Caitlin Reilley Beck promoting Children’s and Youth Ministry initiatives around the diocese including; the upcoming Confirmation Prep Day titled, Defined by Love, April 25th, and the growth and development of Godly Play programs around the diocese; the Reverend Ruth Monette guided the Wardens through the “Applying for a Parish Development Grant” sheet contained in their registration package and answered questions about that funding opportunity, and directed the Warden’s attention to the quickly approaching April 1st, 2015, for 2016 application deadline.
There was of course a great deal more information communicated during the 10am - 3:30pm program and many questions and answers shared. The initial report from Phil Colvin who is charged with collating the evaluation forms is that the Wardens found the information useful, enjoyed the presentations and overall had a very positive experience.