2024 HoustonPre-Conferences

Wednesday, March 6 thruSaturday, March 9, 2024

Inspiring Leaders

39th Annual Conference, Houston
March 6-9, 2024
Westin Galleria and Westin Oaks

2024 Annual Conference

Pre-Conference Sessions

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Episcopal Parish Network’s (EPN) pre-conference sessions are designed for colleagues and peers working within specific roles to share, learn, and inspire each other to strengthen their ministries.

Pre-Conference Sessions are led by clergy, lay leaders, consultants, and experts engaged in the ministry of the church in communities, parishes, cathedrals, and dioceses across the country.

Who Attends Pre-conference Sessions?

The pre-conferences begin on Wednesday, March 6 at 2:00pm CT and are open to everyone. These are generally role-based gatherings of lay and clergy leaders engaged in similar ministry. We encourage all attendees to take advantage of the intense-learning opportunity and deep networking available in these pre-conferences.

Note that some sessions are designed for and limited to individuals in a particular role (e.g., the Rector & Dean Pre-conference is limited to rectors, deans, priests-in-charge, interim rectors and others holding the senior clergy role in a congregation). Other pre-conferences are open to any attendee that wants to learn with and network among those with similar roles (e.g. the Vestry, Warden, and Lay Leader Pre-conference is open to all lay leaders with a call to and work in senior leadership roles in their congregation). This year, the Who is My Neighbor Pre-conference is designed for any attendee who feels a call to join a pre-conference but doesn’t identify with any of the eight role-based pre-conferences offered.

Pre-conferences are a great way to get to know others in the church doing work like yours or with similar interests. The pre-conference cohorts join for learning on Wednesday afternoon and share a meal and conversation on Wednesday evening and finish their time together on Thursday morning.

2024 Annual Conference

2024 Women Clergy Gathering


Legacy, Leadership, and Looking Ahead in the spirit of the Philadelphia 11—We are Here!

Virtual Gathering: February 1, 2024 from 1:30pm-3:30pm ET
Conference Session: Thursday at 11:00am to 1:00pm (lunch included).

The Women Clergy Gathering this year will reflect on the beauty and struggles, joys and challenges of the last 50 years of women’s ordination. We’ll share and honor each other’s stories, discuss systems of care for supporting the ongoing leadership of women, and look ahead to the next frontiers of justice and inclusion in the church.

The online session in February will focus on sharing our stories of “how we got here” and the conference gathering with focus on honoring the legacies of those who have guided us along the way, and exploring where we’re headed next.

Women Clergy Gathering Coordinators:
The Rev. Anne Marie Witchger,
Priest-in-Charge, St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery, New York, New York
The Rev. Hannah Atkins Romero, Rector, Trinity Church, Houston, Texas
The Rev. Caitlyn Keith, Associate Rector, St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Columbia, South Carolina
The Rev. Ryan Hawthorne, Associate Rector, Palmer Memorial Church, Houston, Texas

Register for the Virtual Session:

2024 Annual Conference

2024 Episcopal Preaching Foundation Lunch

With a Little Help from My Friends: Sermon Preparation as a Team Activity

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 from 12pm-1pm

As fewer clergy work faithfully to do more with less, it makes sense to include members of the congregation in more aspects of parish life, including the preaching process. Such involvement deepens the spiritual engagement of laity and provides affirming support for hard-working preachers. Dr. Hannan and the Rev. Canon Carlsen will speak on the multi-faceted benefits of incorporating input from the lay members of a parish in both sermon preparation and in sermon feedback. Dr. Hannan will share her experiences that led to her recent book, The Peoples’ Sermon. The Rev. Canon Mariclair Partee Carlsen will draw on her work with the Sermon Roundtable, a new initiative of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation, as well as her service on the faculty of the Preaching Excellence Program.

The Rev. Mariclair Partee Carlsen, facilitator for the Sermon Roundtable and faculty member of the Preaching Excellence Program, Atlanta, Georgia
The Rev. Dr. Shauna K. Hannan, ordained Lutheran pastor, author, and Professor of Homiletics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, California

2024 Annual Conference

Vestries, Wardens, and Lay Leaders

A Spiritual Community that Gets Things Done

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

While a vestry has legal and fiscal responsibilities, it is not simply a board of directors for a business or a non-profit. A vestry is tasked with carrying forward the mission of the congregation – important work that requires spiritual health, best organizational practices, and intentionality around recruiting and engaging new leaders.

On Wednesday during the first session, a panel will discuss five significant topics around vestry and parish leadership: vestry as spiritual community, ordering the work of the vestry, caring for self and keeping boundaries as a leader, paths to leadership, and life after vestry service. On Thursday during the second session, the moderator will facilitate a question-and-answer session with the panel of presenters to provide in-depth conversation on the pressing issues vestries are facing today based on questions you submit.

The Rev. Canon Joann Saylors, Canon for Mission Amplification, Episcopal Diocese of Texas; Houston, Texas

Ms. Kate Kennedy, Minister for Community Discernment and Formation, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, Georgia; Founder, The Boyce L. Ansley School, Atlanta, Georgia; and former Senior Warden at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, Georgia
The Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin, Priest in Charge, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, and former Canon to the Ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Northern California
The Rev. Chuck Treadwell, Rector, St. David’s Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas

2024 Annual Conference

Senior Associates, Sub-Deans, Vice Rectors,and Vicar

Leading from the Second Chair

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

As number-two clergy leader in your congregation, senior associates, sub-deans, vice rectors, and vicars navigate complex systems. You play a vital, but often not well understood, role in the leadership of your congregation. During our time together, you will join colleagues from across the country and around the church for a facilitated time of learning, candid conversation, and support. You will return home equipped with tools to enhance your collaborative leadership skills and ideas to strengthen local ministry.

The Rt. Rev. Kai Ryan,
Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Texas; Houston, Texas
The Rev. Canon Steven Lee, Vicar, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine; New York City, New York
The Rev. Abi Moon, Senior Associate, Trinity Church, Copley Square; Boston, Massachusetts
The Rev. Will Stanley, Vicar, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church; Richmond, Virginia

2024 Annual Conference

Associates and Curates

Navigating the Path: Curates and Associates

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The variations within the roles of associate, curate, or assistant clergy in an Episcopal congregation make it one of the most interesting and complex in the church. In this pre-conference session, associates and curates will have the opportunity to learn from experienced leaders in the church about the challenges and possibilities of this unique role. Rev. Thompson-Quartey will share his journey and how to grow as a leader. Dr. Marshall will focus on capacities and habits for constructively engaging conflict.

The Rev. John Thompson-Quartey,
Director, Episcopal/Anglican Studies Program, Candler School of Theology; Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall, Professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation and Director of the Graduate Division of Religion, Candler School of Theology; Atlanta, Georgia

2024 Annual Conference

Parish Administrators’ Annual Roundtable

Church Safety and Security

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This pre-conference session is designed especially for parish administrators or those doing similar jobs and duties at a church or organization. This session will feature Jeanie Garrett with Jim Lamm moderating. Jeanie’s core belief is strategic and effective communications is vital when implementing safety policies and procedure. In her practice, Grace Communications & Consulting LLC, she guides churches on how to strike the practical and faithful balance of being prepared for what may come while also ensuring a place of worship is welcoming to all who enter.

Jim Lamm,
Parish Administrator, St. David’s Episcopal Church; Austin, Texas
Jeanie Garrett, Principal, Grace Communications & Consulting LLC; Austin, Texas

Roundtable Debriefing and Conversation

Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Parish Administrators will re-convene to debrief the Safety & Security Session as well as conduct a roundtable conversation about issues and opportunities that professionals are facing in their home parishes. You will gain valuable information, practical solutions, and advice from other administrators who you can immediately incorporate in your valuable work.

Discussion Facilitators:
Karen Kraycirik,
COO, Christ Church Cathedral; Houston, Texas
Jim Lamm, Parish Administrator, St. David’s Episcopal Church; Austin, Texas

2024 Annual Conference

Endowments and Finance

Americans are becoming significantly less religious, and fewer attend church.  Endowed churches – and those that are planning for an endowment – must confront this change.  Yet recent research shows that many churchgoers are proud of their church community and optimistic when they see its vitality.  How can an endowment help church leaders cultivate community and vitality?  One first step is to embrace radical transparency – follow sound endowment management practices and share them enthusiastically with the community you wish to create.  

Virtual Session: Are You Ready for New Endowment Gifts?

Tuesday, February 6 – 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST

Whether you are just starting your first endowment, establishing a new fund, or rethinking your existing endowment, this session will address what leaders need to know to create, manage, and oversee endowments today. Hear from endowment experts at the Episcopal Church Foundation so that you can be ready for new gifts, for an unexpected conversation with a donor, and to define the needs of your church for the future.

This session is ideal for:

  • New endowment committee members or trustees, and new vestry or board members
  • Lay and clergy leaders looking into the potential of endowments
  • Endowment leaders seeking a baseline for comparison

This virtual session will serve as a primer for the in-person Endowment Pre-Conference at the Annual Conference on March 6 and 7. This free session is open to all members of the Episcopal Parish Network regardless of Annual Conference registration, but to receive the link, you will need to register for the webinar by clicking the button below:

Carsten Sierck, Director of Endowment Management, Episcopal Church Foundation
Anne Richardson, Senior Program Director for Investor Relations, Episcopal Church Foundation

Forward-Looking Endowment Leadership

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In the Wednesday afternoon session, led by endowment experts at the Episcopal Church Foundation, hear from investment specialists on critical issues in endowment management, including investing for intergenerational equity, spending to build trust, embracing ethically responsible investing concerns, communicating to educate about finance and mission, and leading to inspire new gifts.  Work together in small groups with support from your peers to plan for improved management and transparency.  Clarify any special concerns in dedicated extra time with presenters.  Leave with concrete ideas and an actionable plan to help you become the forward-looking endowment leader your church needs now.  More conversation follows at a group dinner. Speakers include:

Carsten Sierck, Director of Endowment Management, Episcopal Church Foundation
Anne Richardson, Senior Program Director for Investor Relations, Episcopal Church Foundation
Sonia Kowal, President, Zevin Asset Management
David Hanson, Principal, CapTrust
Rebecca Lilly, Assistant Vice President, Morgan Stanley
William Jarvis, Managing Director, Bank of America

Case Studies: Inspiration for Endowment Use

Thursday, March 6 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

In the Thursday morning pre-conference session, you will find inspiration in the case studies of organizations that use endowment funds creatively in and for their local community ministries.

Anne Richardson,
Senior Program Director, Endowment Management Program, Episcopal Church Foundation
Carsten Sierck, Director, Endowment Management Program, Episcopal Church Foundation

Alan Dunlop, Endowment Fund Board, Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas
Jason Kamrath, Canon for Finance / Chief Financial Officer, The Diocese of Maryland
Eric Moen, Senior Congregational Engagement Officer, Episcopal Health Foundation

2024 Annual Conference


Oh, the Places We Will Go: Behavioral Economics, KPIs, and Storytelling in Stewardship

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Join us for an interactive and thought-provoking Stewardship Pre-Conference. We are honored to have Professor Russell James of the School of Financial Planning at Texas Tech University join us. A former fundraiser, Professor James has spent decades researching and teaching charitable giving and behavioral economics. This session will include a presentation on some of his findings and role playing with each other to learn how to best approach asset conversations with parishioners.

In addition, Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis) stewardship volunteer, Reyn Libed will present  Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how to use data to assist with future stewardship planning. Lastly, we will have some time to be present to each other and share questions and experiences of the past year.

David Rocchio,
Director of Stewardship and Planned Giving, The Cathedral of St. Philip; Atlanta, Georgia

Professor Russell James,
School of Financial Planning, Texas Tech University; Lubbock, Texas
Reyn Libed, Stewardship Volunteer, Christ Church Cathedral; Indianapolis, Indiana

2024 Annual Conference


Crafting Compelling Stories with Episcopal Communicators

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

These sessions are designed for anyone in the ministry of Episcopal communications (including clergy!) to boost your ability to tell compelling stories to both your own congregation and the wider community. Sponsored by Episcopal Communicators, this multi-part session features experts from church communications, national broadcasting, and national politics. Programming will include a workshop, “Art of a Story Arc,” from a special guest Master Storytelling coach, and a panel of storytelling experts with plenty of time for interaction. Presenters  will guide participants through segments focused on storytelling content, style, and technical considerations, including a “story slam” opportunity to practice compelling storytelling.

Alan Yarborough,
Chair, Episcopal Communicators 

Dustin Jesudason, Creative Director, Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church and Board Member, Episcopal Communicators; Houston, Texas
Bonnie Levison, Storytelling Coach, First Person Storytelling
Amber Macdonald,
former Chief Speechwriter to First Lady Jill Biden, Managing Director, and co-head of executive communications, SKDK

2024 Annual Conference

Who is my Neighbor?

Expanding the Paradigm and Reimaging Outreach in the 21st Century

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

We live in an increasingly interconnected world, brought closer together by more accessible technology, and yet deeply divided by availability of resources, power differentials, and strong differences of belief/opinion. As we continue to reckon with and navigate a post-COVID 19 pandemic-shaped world, what are the theological, theoretical, and practical approaches to our changing understanding of what it truly means to be neighbors?

The church has answered these questions very differently over the years as we have shifted our engagement and understanding from colonialism to mutuality, from “doing for” to “being with.” In prioritizing relationship building rather than project-based ministry, we reimagine and redefine outreach as a key component  of our lifelong Christian formation.

This pre-conference session is intended for all those who are not in a particular role, but who wish to attend on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

The Rev. David Copley,
Director, Global Partnerships and Mission Personnel, The Episcopal Church; New York City, New York
Jenny Grant, Officer, Global Relations and Networking, The Episcopal Church; New York City, New York
The Rt. Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, CD, MBE, Bishop of Dover, Diocese of Canterbury; Kent (UK)
Sarah Shipman, Director of Operations, Episcopal Migration Ministries, The Episcopal Church; New York City, New York.

Download the Annual Conference Schedule and Pre-Conference Guide:

Annual Conference Agenda
Pre-Conference Guide