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Convention Workshop Presenter Biographies

Convention Reconciliation Schedule, Friday

Convention Reconciliation Schedule, Saturday

 

Workshop Descriptions
for the
149th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Albany

Shine!

Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:16

 

Workshops are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

 
 
Beth Moore's Bible Studies for Women (Mrs. Karen Love)
Are you looking for a mechanism to encourage women's Bible Studies within your church and community? Are you seeking programs that are easy to facilitate, interesting, and help you navigate all over the Bible? Beth Moore's Women's Bible Studies provide a passionate, knowledgeable, and fun vehicle to facilitate outreach while diving into God's holy words. This workshop will outline some of Beth Moore's 20 programs available, provide a discussion on how to start a program in your church, and discuss what programs parishes can share. In addition to Bible Studies, these programs can be used in conjunction with retreats. During the past two years, Christ the King Healing Center hosted two February Women's Retreats utilizing Beth Moore programs. Find out what these women's bible studies are all about, or to share what programs you have completed and what you recommend.
 
The Bible and Integrity for Men (The Rev. Mark Chesnut)
This workshop is for men only. It is designed to encourage married, divorced, and single men. The Bible specifically addresses how men are to function within their primary relationships - within marriage and family specifically, and in the world outside their homes more generally. This workshop focuses very specifically on marriage and the integrity men should and can have there, and improvements that can be made. The workshop will begin in Genesis, the "way it was at the beginning," as Jesus noted, then work through the Song of Songs and into the New Testament with Jesus and Paul.
 
Border to Border: Boots on the Ground Ministry (The Rev. James Brisbin)
For the past ten years, St. Francis Mission (formerly St. David's, East Greenbush) has been evolving from its origins as a small, traditional parish and, starting with a small influx of about 25 Christian Burmese refugees from the community and with the blessing of God, has grown exponentially. The American-born and the Burmese-born, united in their love for Christ and a desire to spread the Gospel, grew the congregation from 35 to 135 people over a short period of time. Now this vibrant, multi-ethnic congregation has moved its church and ministry to the urban streets of Albany. Being in Albany will allow the congregation to reach the unreached and unchurched of the East Hill neighborhood. The Mission field outside the door just got a lot bigger. This workshop will cover:
  • The story of Saint Francis Mission
  • What is a Border-to-Border Ministry?
  • Sharing your faith not only with those of faith, but with those who have not yet come to faith
  • Growing your congregation by understanding the needs of your community and reaching out to people in need
  • From the Bible to boots on the ground: taking your faith outside the church and fellowship hall, and sharing faith with the people in your community
  • Faith in Action: Serving others as an effective form of evangelism
  • Complacency: Continuing to focus and follow God's lead for a growing a Christ-centered ministry, as both mission and ministry constantly evolve.
 
The Call to Forgive (The Rev. Sue Waldron)
As Christians we are called to forgive. We may learn this, even know this completely, may even come to yearn for this; and yet, living it fully can be difficult. When we are called to forgive, it means that there is real sin to forgive and, therefore, real pain to heal from. For many, the call to forgive is a process, not a one-time resolve. In this workshop, we will begin to explore the forgiveness process and how God works to bring forgiveness to our minds, our hearts and our souls.
 
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: Shining at Saint Michael's Colonie (The Rev. Judith Malionek, The Rev. Karen Malcolm, Rebbecca Castillo)
Late in the summer of 2016, in a Spirit-swept staff meeting, Saint Michael's, Colonie, adopted the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as its approach to the religious formation of its children and for its weekly "Saint Afterschool" program. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is founded on the recognition that even the very youngest child has the capacity to fall in love with Jesus the Good Shepherd and to develop a secure relationship with him. This happens through presentations and carefully crafted materials offered in a specially prepared sacred space called an "atrium." After information sharing sessions with the parish, the people of Saint Michael's embarked on an all-hands-on-deck effort to create a beautiful and abundant atrium. They cleaned, painted walls, colored, cut, sewed, learned calligraphy, scavenged, molded figurines, and painted materials. Two parishioners came forward to be trained as Catechists. They opened their atrium in October 2016, and they continue to add to enhance this environment, in which children can draw near to God. In this workshop, they will share their journey and an overview of the Catechesis, which provides curricula for ages 3 through 12. They will present some of the catechetical presentations, including some that you can immediately take back to use with the children in your own parish. This workshop is of special interest to parishes that host a preschool, day care, or Head Start program. The materials that make up an atrium will be on display in Buirkle Annex throughout the weekend, except when another workshop is using the space. Please drop by to acquaint yourself with the environment and the materials.
 
The Church in South Sudan: Reflecting the Light of Christ in the Darkness: Philippians 2:14-16 (Mrs. Gillian Maganda, CMS Ireland)
South Sudan, the world's newest nation (2011) has descended back into civil war. Although the overwhelming majority of the people want and yearn for independence, many of the tensions among the more than sixty different ethnic groups in South Sudan - and particularly the two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Nuer - were set aside without being resolved. The Church has played a pivotal role in speaking out against injustice and advocating for true and lasting peace. This seminar will share stories of how the Episcopal Church in Maridi is continuing to bridge the divide and live out what it means as God people to "love the strange in your midst" (Leviticus 19:33, 34). Famine is looming, communities are being displaced and violent assaults are prevalent and considered normal. Come and hear how the Church is shining the light of Christ in very challenging circumstances. The workshop will also explore how the Church in Albany and in Down & Dromore can continue to strengthen and invigorate the three-way partnership with Maridi, so that together we can "shine" in our expression of both local and global mission.
 
The Cranmer Option: An Anglican Perspective on Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option (The Rev. Karl Griswold-Kuhn)
In his bestselling book, The Benedict Option, Rod Dreher paints a picture that orthodox Christians will find themselves in in the not-so-distant future: trying to survive in a new dark age thanks to the ever-rising tide of secularism. He proposes that Christians need to return to the wisdom of St. Benedict, founder of western monasticism, in order to flourish for generations to come. This workshop will discuss the thesis of Dreher's book as well as present an Anglican perspective as a possible solution to the coming crisis. We will answer such questions as: How might our prayer book heritage offer an answer to questions raised by The Benedict Option? How can our local parishes be a light in a dark world? What would a renewed commitment to discipleship look like in order to combat the rise of nominal Christianity? What role does catechesis play in combatting secularism? These any many more questions will be addressed at this workshop.
 
Desert that Blooms, Darkness that Shines: The Way of Contemplation (The Rev. James Krueger)

The glory of God is man, fully alive; the life of man is the vision of God. - Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202).

O God, our hearts are restless until they rest in you. - Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

In the Christian worldview, the completeness of human life is not measured by how much one can achieve or acquire or any success we may enjoy according to worldly standards. Rather, our lives become complete to the extent that we have come to rest in God, knowing and loving him. As lovers move from becoming acquainted in conversation and activity to the quiet embrace of the marriage bed, so our relationship with God must deepen in intimacy. In the Christian spiritual tradition, the natural movement of the soul towards God leads one from a life focused on outward things to an interior life focused on spiritual intimacy and rest in God. When this movement is unimpeded, our Christian faith can be said to be "contemplative." This workshop will explore the Christian contemplative way. What is contemplation as understood in the Christian tradition? How is contemplation different from meditation? What are the challenges and pitfalls of the contemplative life, and what prevents us from entering into it? How does contemplative practice touch, deepen, and unite all aspects of the Christian life, from serving the liturgy, to study, to serving others in our livelihoods and living in accord with the Christian moral and ethical vision?
 
Discipleship, Jesus' Way: The 3 - 12 - 70 Plan (The Rt. Rev. David Parsons)
Jesus said, in Matthew 6:15, "no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket..." But after God called me to invite everyone to follow Jesus, I began to ask questions. How do I do this? I'm not content with just a Sunday faith, so how do I live the faith Monday to Saturday? When many are uncomfortable talking about Christianity, how can I get into a positive conversation with others, so that together we may grow closer to Jesus? When many sons and daughters are not following their parent's Christian faith, how do we help them to not only attend church, but be in relationship with Jesus? How do I put boots on my prayers in the work place? How do I turn "love" from a noun into a verb? This workshop will focus on Jesus' 3-12-70 plan of being Christ's ambassadors who... "let their light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." The workshop will consider two churches: the sitting and the sent. It will also look at the power of: Words, Blessings, Compassion, Questions, Self Discovery, Practice, and Witness.
 
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit as the Distinguishing Mark of Shining for Jesus (The Rev. Desmond Francis)
This workshop will seek answers to the following three questions:

  1. Why shine for Jesus Christ?
  2. What are the obstacles to shining for Jesus Christ?
  3. What might be an intentional strategy of shining for Jesus Christ?
 
Having Gifts that Differ (Sister Mary Elizabeth, CSM)
Romans 12:6 states, "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them..." This workshop will look at the particular set of spiritual gifts which follows in the context of grace-given endowments in discernment and character as an introduction to the broader topic of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
 
Keeping Faith in Mind (The Rev. Dr. William R. Hinrichs)
This workshop provides basic information that everyone needs to know about memory loss issues and what they mean for all of us, as well as practical tips for creating dementia-friendly communities of faith. Chaplains, clergy, pastoral care coordinators, parish nurses, and care givers should attend this informative workshop.
 
Leaving a Legacy: Youth Ministry (Mr. John Iseman)
We so often think of youth ministry as a program. As youth group with games, pizza, and quirky Bible studies. Maybe we think of it as summer camp or confirmation. None of those are bad things, but this workshop will challenge all of us to take up a more robust vision for youth ministry - that it would be a partnership between parents and their local church to lead the youth of that parish to be devoted followers of Christ! As you think about this vision, consider the youth in your family, and in your church and ask yourself this question: What kind of spiritual legacy am I leaving? Am I leaving of legacy of religion, of cultural involvement in my church? Am I leaving a legacy where although we say Jesus is important, sports, extracurriculars and pursuit of "success" receive more of our attention and devotion? During this seminar we will examine the importance of devoted and robust youth ministry, especially considering our current cultural context and be challenged to take up the task of leaving a legacy of young people who are more on fire for Jesus than any of us!
 
Lessons in Healing Ministry: Cross Cultural Insights (Dr. Wendy LeMarquand, Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa)
This workshop focuses on how to "equip the saints for ministry" in a cross cultural setting. It will explore the lessons learned in communication and in prayer when teaching and serving on the mission field.
 
Let Your Light Shine Through the Haiti-Episcopal Church Partnership (The Rev. Jean-Jacques Deravil)
Let your light shine in support of Haiti ministries! Fr. Jean-Jacques Deravil is here to talk about Haiti partnerships. His parish, Saint-Esprit [Holy Spirit], in Las Cahobas, and its mission churches, are in partnership with several of the churches of the Albany Diocese, including Saint Stephen's, Delmar; Saint John's, Troy; Saint Paul's, Troy; Saint George's, Clifton Park; Saint Paul's, Albany; Saint Andrew's, Albany; and the Cathedral of All Saints. These local Episcopal Churches support Episcopal schools in Haiti. Besides assisting with the cost of educating the children, they often help with food and school supplies, and with community projects as well. This workshop will give an overview of ministry in Haiti, discuss the special needs and challenges facing the Episcopal Churches of Haiti, and describe partnerships with Episcopal Churches in the United States. Father Jacques will also reflect on the day-to-day ministry of church and school in the four parishes and schools he oversees. He will discuss some of the community-building programs he has started. Please join us to learn more about this much needed ministry.
 
The Light Shines in the Darkness (The Rt. Rev. John Tarrant, Bishop of South Dakota )
Bishop Tarrant serves with and among some of the poorest people in our nation. Many of them are Episcopalians. Yes, many Episcopalians, even in the U.S., are poor. In the Diocese of South Dakota, 54 out of 79 of the congregations are Native American and over one half of the Episcopalians are Native American. In the midst of people affected by poverty, discrimination and isolations, Bishop Tarrant continually sees the light of Christ shine through their lives. He is awestruck by the generosity and hospitality he experiences week in and out traveling among God's people in South Dakota. Through story, he will share the amazing light he has experienced even in the midst of some very deep darkness, offering stories of how faith in Jesus lived out through people in the Episcopal Church is bringing abundant life to a population hardly noticed by the larger world. He hopes to offer holy stories from holy lives. In no time in his ordained ministry has he been more aware of the presence of Jesus than in the past eight years as bishop of the Diocese of South Dakota, where he has discovered what "abundant life" looks like. Through story, Bishop Tarrant will share the amazing light he has experienced even in the midst of some very deep darkness, offering holy stories from holy lives and of how faith in Jesus, lived out through people in the Episcopal Church, is bringing abundant life to a population hardly noticed by the larger world.
 
Ministering with Refugees in the Horn of Africa (Bishop Grant LeMarquand, Dr. Wendy LeMarquand)
The world has been inundated by news of refugees in the last few years. There are now more than 60 million refugees in the world. Although those who get the most attention are the ones attempting to head to Europe or North America, millions of others fleeing conflict in Africa are heading on foot to the closest neighboring country. Ethiopia alone is now host to a million refugees, about 400,000 from South Sudan in the Gambella region of Ethiopia alone. Grant and Wendy, who live in Gambella, will describe ways in which the church there has responded to that refugee crisis, and will offer thoughts about what people in the Western world could learn from their experience.
 
The Ministry of Educating (The Rev. Kino Vitet)
Education is generally considered to be primarily a secular exercise. Elementary, primary, and secondary schools largely teach a human understanding of the natural world. God is hardly credited as the author of the laws that govern the universe. Furthermore, it is not normally seen as progressive to teach children the language and axioms that are necessary to process concepts such as faith and notions about God. As beings created in the image and likeness of God, we are conditioned to assimilate and process information. We could all agree that Jesus spent a great amount of time teaching His disciples and the people by word and example. The Israelites were also expected to be committed to the study of God's Word. Deuteronomy 6:7 reminds us of the frequency with which we ought to teach the things of God: "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." This workshop will address the benefits and challenges faced by churches that manage an elementary, primary, or secondary school. It will cover:
  • the theology of education;
  • the need for religious language;
  • character formation; and
  • the economics of schools.
 
Mission to Madagascar (The Rt. Rev. Todd McGregor, Rev. Patsy McGregor, Rev. Donna Steckline, Mr. Kevin Steckline, P.A.)
The Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar, was formed in 2013 to serve the southern part of Madagascar. Bishop Todd was elected to be its first bishop. With Mother Patsy McGregor, they minister to urban and rural areas, including many remote and unreached people groups. Join them to hear about their work and about partnerships with the Diocese of Albany. Kevin and Deacon Donna Steckline will report on their recent medical mission.
 
Opening the Ears of the Heart: Discerning, Receiving, and Using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives (The Rev. Ellen Neufeld)
We have a great desire in our hearts to receive the good gifts that God wants to give us. We are also aware that there are blocks and confusions about how we may receive and cooperate with God's grace in authentic and effective ways. Psalm 51 prays, "create in me a clean heart, O God," and Saint Paul exhorts us to "seek the higher gifts." This workshop, will teach and offer time for discussion about how the loving activity of God's grace in our hearts makes us new and equips us for service. We will also briefly review and discuss the relationship of body, soul, and spirit as focused through the heart. In a context of prayer, this wokshop will develop an understanding of how spiritual gifts can be discerned so that we can grow in better discerning the loving activity of God in our lives and apply this learning to our walk with Him and our work for His Kingdom.
 
Pastoring Those Impacted by Addiction (The Rev. Frank R Lockwood II, CASAC, The Rev. David Haig, The Rev. Kathy Alonge-Coons, The Rev. Lynne Curtis, The Very Rev. Nixon McMillan )
Traditionally, the Church has been an essential resource for communities facing life's challenges. Many communities are now facing new crises and tragedies brought on by the growing pervasive phenomenon of addiction, not only to alcohol and drugs, but to gambling, shopping, pornography, food, on-line gaming, and many other behaviors. In an increasingly post-Christian age, much of this now happens away from the life of the Church. How can the Church today provide comfort, wisdom, direction, and counsel, shaped by the love of Christ, to its members and others in our communities who are struggling with addiction? As addiction casts its net wider, are we prepared to seize the opportunity and be emissaries of God's freedom to this growing population? This workshop will stimulate further lively dialogue about the pastoral care of all those affected by addiction. Our hope is that this dialogue will become an ongoing conversation in our parishes.
 
Prayer Shawl Ministry - Knitting into the Mystery (Ann McMillan, Donna Rogers)
This workshop will introduce the blessing that hand-made prayer shawls bring to your parish and community. There is wonderful fellowship as knitters and crocheters gather to ply their yarns into garments and pray into the mystery of the comfort they bring to the receiver and the crafter. Shawls are given in times of celebration and crisis to enfold the recipient into the arms of Jesus present in the prayers that encompass the shawls.

Note: Bring your needles and yarn if you have them with you or use one of the provided kits to enjoy a "hands on" opportunity to create a pocket prayer mat.
 
Puppets of Grace: Shining in Christ's Love (The Rev. Katherine Alonge-Coons)
Come and share in the fun of puppet ministry. Puppets bring out the child in all of us and are a great way to share the Gospel message. Unleash your creativity and have fun by making a puppet and acting out with your puppet the Gospel story. A fun and joyful way to share the joy of Jesus.
 
Safeguarding God's Children (The Rev. Michael Gorchov, Mrs. Marianne Gorchov)
Safeguarding God's Children provides participants with the information they need to protect the children they know and care for in their personal lives and the ministries in which they serve. The Diocese requires that all individuals who have regular ministries with children and youth receive certification. Clergy and lay leaders are invited to participate in training seminars, and after three years, receive re-training (or refresher training) for the prevention of child abuse. The Safeguarding God's Children program was developed by the Church Pension Group in concert with Praesidium, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in the production of professional programs, videos and text materials for churches and not-for-profit groups. This worskshop spans two workshop sessions.
 
"Shine!" - What God is Like, and How We Become Like Him (The Ven. Dr. Christopher Brown)
The Apostle Paul said that we are being "transformed from one degree of glory to another." (2 Corinthians 3:18) Salvation centers on the cross, and the forgiveness of sin, but it does not stop there. God wants us to "be like him" (2 John 3:2). This workshop focuses on the glory of God, and his work of glorifying us. We will see what Scripture says about the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying our lives, and the Eastern Orthodox concept of "theosis" by which we "become partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The worskhop will also consider the implications of God's Glory - and his glorification of us - for our practices of prayer and worship.
 
Shining As a Dad: For Fathers and the Women and Children Who Love Them (The Rev. Dr. Michael O'Donnell)
Using the acronym I-CAN (Involvement, Consistency, Awareness, and Nurturance), Father Michael will help workshop participants understand and apply each of these fathering principles and tap into the real-life experiences of other dads. The session has three parts: hear about specific Biblical passages about fathering; reflect upon the I-CAN framework and what it suggests about fathering; and resolve to apply what you've learned to your relationships with your children.
 
Shining Light into the Darkness of Domestic Violence (The Rev. Anne Curtin - Friday session, Rebecca Alamillo - Friday and Saturday sessions)
Learn what domestic violence is, who it hurts, and what the Bible says about men's and women's authentic roles.
 
Shining the Light Effectively to Reach the Next Generation (Dr. Michael Staples, Sonia Dobson)
This workshop helps participants identify who their neighbor and community is, and what makes them unique. We will address how to develop greater passion and zeal about reaching our communities for Christ. Finally, we will talk about the importance of building Christian disciplines that not only transform our lives but build up our passion for ministering to others.
 
Sing to the Lord an Old Song: Leading Traditional Hymns with Guitar Accompaniment - For singers and guitar players (The Rev. Darius Mojallali)
Many small parishes do not have or cannot afford a pianist or organist, and must find alternative accompaniment to facilitate singing. A competent and well-trained guitarist is a viable possibility. But can the music continue to be traditional church music? Father Darius will share his experience playing traditional hymns on guitar in a traditional way, pretty much as written - not turning them into contemporary worship songs like Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) or Lord I Need You (excellent as those songs are). Many hymns in The Hymnal 1982 and the Celebration Hymnal can be played tastefully on guitar. Fr. Darius uses both finger-picking and flat-picking styles in leading hymns. He will help vocalists and guitarists lead hymn-singing in a way that is musically excellent as well as Spirit-led.

Singers will benefit from this workshop by discovering that a congregation is empowered to sing with confidence. People can often hear themselves and each other more readily with guitar accompaniment than with organ or piano.

Guitarists will discover how to figure out chords and effective strumming styles, play in singable keys without having to play difficult chords, and receive written examples of hymns with chords.

Please bring instruments if possible.
 
Taizé: Worship in Community (Ms. Shannon Ames, Mr. Alex Rohr ) Roadie: Amelia Brown
Taizé worship is a meditative style that intersperses music, scripture reading, and periods of contemplative silence. Music typically starts with a simple melody and lyric taken from a prayer or Psalm, and is then built upon by instruments and voices in harmony. The aim is to foster a peaceful environment that allows people to delve deeper in prayer and their relationship with God. The Taizé community was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Shütze as an ecclesiastical monastic community particularly targeted at young adults. Today the community still caters to those under 30, but the worship form has spread to all ages and churches around the world. This workshop is offered both as an introduction and as a worship experience. After a brief introduction to Taizé, its aims, and how to engage as a participant, most of the time will be spent in worship. If you seek quiet prayer time or further chances to worship, or want to know more about Taizé, you are welcome at this workshop!
 
An Urban Challenge: Building Men (The Rev. Nixon McMillan and the Miley House Men)
This is the story of an uninhabitable house, which was inherited by a congregation from someone who was unknown to anyone at that church. This house became an opportunity for a small group of men to bond by working on it until it became a beautiful dwelling place. This house was a fellowship site for them. It was a place where work started with prayer. It was a place where decisions were made by the men. It is now a home for a man who bought it. The church now has a new flat roof partly because of this house and the men who bonded there. These men will never forget being the Miley House men. Hear the story of this adventure. See the men. Ask the questions.
 
Youth Bible Study Programs (Mrs. Karen Love)
In order to continue to grow spiritually, Bible Studies are needed for all ages, but finding programs for teens can be especially challenging. This session will explore a couple of the teen programs available, including: Youth Alpha, Fearless, the Essential 100 (E100) Youth Edition, and Tuesday Night Live. Youth Alpha was recently updated and includes great videos and discussions questions. Fearless is an 8-week Bible Study designed specifically for teens by the Pocket Testimony League. The E100 Youth Edition allows great flexibility to encourage Bible reading on a broader scale. Joining the Tuesday Night Live sessions from the Diocesan Youth Ministry allows you to build relationships with your youth group, while supporting other groups at the same time! It also unites all the youth of our diocese, studying the same scriptures. Come and discuss ways to facilitate teen Bible Studies and encourage others to share in this vital ministry.
 
 
 
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