Building a healthy congregation involves finding the blend of business, relationship, and worship that each community needs in order to keep growing. Below are a list of resources to aid that process.
Most simply put, “baptismal ministry” is a gift and a calling which Christians are given at Baptism. But that is to put it over simply, for it is also a deep mystery with many layers of meaning. In our Baptism, we enter into a special new connection with God in Christ, a relationship of mutual commitment – of God to us and us to God – called a covenant.
This covenant is a personal relationship of mutual open-ended promise, sacramentally enacted and acknowledged in Baptism. None of us stands outside of this personal relationship with God in Christ. Our end of the covenant, our end of the mutual promise, is our ministry.
Congregations and individuals considering baptismal ministry within the Diocese of Oregon are encouraged to contact the Commission on Ministry – Committee for Baptismal Ministry (COM-B) and consult the resources below to learn more about the discernment and licensing process.
Preparing for the Bishop's Visitation - resources for preparing for a bishop's visitation.
College of Congregational Development- a comprehensive training program to nurture and develop congregational development practitioners from within existing parish lay and clergy leadership
One of the four strategic directions in our Diocesan Mission Plan is Congregational Life. Resourcing congregations that they might become (or remain) vital and healthy is a key component of this strategic direction and is the basis for the work of the Congregational Vitality Task Force.
The task force identified four marks that identify vital, sustaining congregations and have added further dimension to what that might mean for different congregations.
Joyful Leadership: A vital congregation has lay and ordained leaders who are committed, motivated, and joy-filled
- Leaders courageously call people into deeper commitment to the Risen Christ
- Laypeople and clergy try new things and take risks, helping each other discern where the Spirit is calling them as a community
- Lay and ordained leaders nurture each other, creating a learning culture that supports the good work of the congregation
- Leaders share power in ways that involve many people, with clear lines of responsibility
Again I will say, rejoice.
Sacramental Hospitality: A vital congregation practices sacramental hospitality by directly connecting our worship of Christ as gathered community with serving Christ in the wider world.
- Preaching gives examples and encouragement for an ever-deeper connection between worship and daily life
- Intercessions during the Sunday liturgy and actions during the week reflect a dynamic connection with the concerns of the world
- Small group bible study deepens participants’ connection to the Gospel
- The same attention and concern is given to outreach as to worship
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:26
Mission in the World: A vital congregation is known beyond its own membership as having a particular mission or gift.
- Church members collaborate with people within the congregation and the wider community through service, crossing traditional boundaries of age, class, race, and language.
- The congregation makes building and grounds available to wider community uses
- The congregation intentionally embraces its strengths, engaging strengths and resources in service to Christ, rather than hiding them under a bushel or safeguarding them for congregation members alone.
You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.
Formation in Christ: A vital congregation creates community that leads its members to grow spiritually by becoming more Christ-like
- Individual members can identify a clear or growing sense of mission in their daily lives.
- Respect for diverse gifts is evidenced by the offering a variety of growth opportunities for people of all ages and stages of life
- Both lay and clergy actively assist in identifying gifts and providing opportunities to use gifts
- Every ministry group exists not for itself but for the wider mission of the church. Ministry groups are periodically evaluated against the wider mission.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Some helpful items for the relationship between Deacons and the Congregation:
- The Deacon's Customary - understanding the role of deacons in our diocese, congregations, and the world
- Deacon's Covenant between Bishop, Deacon, and Congregation
More resources for Deacons is available at our Deacon's Resource page.
What is the Diocesan Consultant Network?
An association of lay and clergy who serve the Diocese of Oregon as skilled consultants.
They bring a wide variety of skills and competencies to congregations, diocesan program groups, and specific diocesan wide initiatives.
What they provide
- Mutual Ministry Reviews
- Vestry retreat facilitation
- Program and leadership development consultation
- Strategic planning or any other area in which the skills of an outside consultant would be beneficial
- Assistance to congregations in transition
- Parish-wide congregational development sessions
- Mutual discernment: anything requiring parish-wide listening and decision making processes
- Conflict consultations
- Stewardship consultations
Fee schedule for consultants
The following are the standard fees for diocesan consultants:
- Meeting (per hour): $ 50.00 + expenses
- One Day Vestry Retreat (6 hours): $300.00 + expenses
- Two Day Vestry Retreat (8+ hours): $400.00 + expenses
- Note: Some funding may be available from the Bishop’s office to offset these costs in case of financial needs.
To find a consultant, contact:
The Rev. Canon Neysa Ellgren Shepley
Canon to the Ordinary
2020 Constitution and Canons - the fundamental document by which a diocese functions with regulations and rules for implementation and structure
Episcopal Diocese of Oregon Policies and Procedures Manual (revised December 2020) - guidelines, procedures, best practices and diocesan policies, offered to congregations as helpful sources of information on a wide range of church matters
The Licensed Ministries Manual - to aid baptized persons who wish to serve in one of specific ministries requiring a license to discern and describe their ministry, in prayerful collaboration with their clergy
Safe Church - policies and procedures to help people recognize, report, and, perhaps most importantly, prevent abuse and neglect of our children and youth.
2021 Workshop Registrations:
Vestry BAC Treasurers Workshop Booklet 2021 – a source of information, examples, and resources for congregational leadership
- Vestry/BAC members, Wardens and Clergy:
- Treasurers & Finance Committees: