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

Rectors and Deans

Episcopal Parish Network’s rectors and deans annual gathering will start at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6. This year’s gathering will feature three sections of learning, sharing, and collaborative thinking on the future of the church.

Section #1

Navigating the New, the Unexpected, and the Welcomed Change in Historic Institutions

Wednesday, March 6 – 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Five institutions and five leaders confronting waves of change, disruption, and opportunity will be in conversation. This panel, representing parishes, cathedrals, and seminaries, will be moderated by the Very Rev. Cynthia Kittredge, Dean of Seminary of the Southwest. The panelists will explore challenges and opportunities for this moment. Each institution is navigating myriad points of disruption, as well as welcome and unwelcome change. Whether coming from internal pressures or demanding external forces, these leaders are capitalizing on opportunities and managing through change. A group reflection will follow the panel’s conversation.

The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Th.D., Dean and President, Seminary of the Southwest; Auston, Texas

Reflection Guide:
The Rev. Dr. Luigi Gioia,
Theologian in Residence, Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue; New York City, New York 

The Very Rev. Lisa Hackney-James,
Provost, St. James Cathedral; Chicago, Illinois
The Very Rev. Dr. David Monteith, Dean, Canterbury Cathedral; Canterbury (UK)
The Rev. Canon Carl Turner, Rector, Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue; New York City, New York
The Rev. Manoj Zacharia, Rector, St. Anne’s in the Circle; Annapolis, Maryland

Section #2A

Clarifying Identity to Navigate Disruption

Wednesday, March 6 – 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In seasons of change and disruption, knowing and articulating who you are clearly and carefully as a congregation in the Anglican tradition can be a significant missional advantage. In this 75-minute interactive and interdisciplinary conversation, William Reynolds, a brand strategist (formerly of Unilever and Georgetown University), and scholar whose work focuses on the strategic implications of branding, will join the Rev. Nathan Kirkpatrick to discuss how our churches can define their brand, leverage it for meaningful outreach, and extend it in missional ways. This is not a conversation about marketing, but about core identity and calling.

Following this interactive session on Wednesday afternoon, Bill and Nathan will gather the group on Thursday morning for further reflection.

Section #2B

Reflecting on Clarifying Identity

Thursday, March 7 – 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

Following the conversation between Bill Reynolds and Nathan Kirkpatrick, the group will reflect on what was said and not said during the Wednesday afternoon session and the group dinner on Wednesday evening.

Conversation Facilitators:
The Rev. Nathan Kirkpatrick,
Principal, Saison Consulting; Durham, North Carolina
William (Bill) Reynolds, Co-Founder and Partner, HRG Consulting

Section #3

Innovation and Re-Imagining Local Ministry for Today

Thursday, March 7 – 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

With change and disruption omnipresent, change agents are present helping leaders reinvent and reimagine what it means to be God’s people gathered in community. During the closing session for the gathering, fellows from the Trinity Church Fellows Program and the Texas Methodist Foundation Locke Fellows Program will share their innovative ministries.

Leading the conversation will be program leaders Rob Garris of Trinity Church Philanthropies and the Rev. Lisa Greenwood, President of the Texas Trinity Methodist Foundation. Leaving this session, you will be inspired to dream and encouraged with hope for where local ministry can and is headed.

Conversation Facilitators:
Dr. Robert (Rob) Garris,
Executive Director, Trinity Leadership Fellows and Managing Director, Leadership Development; Trinity Church Wall Street, New York City, New York
The Rev. Lisa Greenwood, President and CEO, Texas Methodist Foundation and Wesleyan Impact Partners;  Austin, Texas

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 defining and articulating the mission of the congregation. Rather than just managing resources and finances, a vestry must achieve and maintain the spiritual health of the community, as well as their own.

On Wednesday during the first session, you will experience a three-part series that focuses on key elements in this type of leadership ¾ discernment for transformation, formation for all, and emphasizing the key ministries of the wider church. 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.

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

Panelists’ information coming soon!

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, TexasThe 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. Our speaker also will share his journey and how to grow as a leader.

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. 

Endowment Basics Virtual Session

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

Led by endowment experts at the Episcopal Church Foundation and other endowment management institutions, our panel will discuss the basics of church endowment formation and management. 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 session is open to all members of the Episcopal Parish Network regardless of Annual Conference registration, but it is required for this virtual event.

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

Final Inspiration

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.

Ann Richardson,
Senior Program Director, Endowment Management Program, Episcopal Church Foundation; New York City, New York
Carsten Sierck, Director, Endowment Management Program, Episcopal Church Foundation; New York City, New York

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 p.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 who also works with The Moth on NPR, 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.

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Annual Conference Schedule