Issue 8 – Winter 2011
IN THIS ISSUE:
+ About This Issue
+ Conversations: Jenny Landis-Steward
+ Reflections from Barb: A Word from our Missioner
+ Godly Play…For Adults
+ An Academy for All The Church’s Ministers
+ Mixed Bag: Practical Suggestions from Around the Church
+ Speaking of Resources
+ Looking Ahead
ABOUT THIS ISSUE:
I was baptized on the coldest day of the year in Minneapolis in 1976. I was 32 years old. I had been well prepared for baptism as an adult, meeting with my priest once a week for two years, for serious study and conversation. It was a major milestone in my life. I thought everyone in the church went through that kind of preparation. Imagine my surprise when a fellow parishioner, a life-time Episcopalian, said, “You’re lucky — I was baptized at 3 months old, was confirmed at 12 and haven’t learned a thing since.” He said it with genuine envy.
Thank God times have changed! Today we talk about lifelong formation — and really mean it. Solid programs for adult formation abound, classes for adults in every aspect of the faith, opportunities to explore many expressions of spirituality, retreats, conferences — we understand now that there is no upper age limit to developing inquring and discerning hearts, the courage to will and to perservere, a spirit to know and to love God, and a sense of joy and wonder in all God’s works. It starts with our baptism – whenever that occurs – and never stops.
In this issue of New Wine from the Vineyard, in addition to our usual features, we look at a few approaches to adult formation. We hope this will whet your appetite for even more.
(P.S. In case you wondered, it was -24 in Minneapolis the day I was baptized with a windchill of -49. But it was warm and very welcoming inside St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Deo Gratias! )
CONVERSATIONS: JENNY LANDIS-STEWARD
(Editor’s Note: For several decades, EfM (Education for Ministry) has been one of the premier programs of Adult Formation offered in the Episcopal Church. Designed to provide a systematic exploration of Scripture, church history, Anglican liturgy, ethics and theology, it has been key in helping participants develop theological reflection skills as well. Jenny Landis-Steward coordinates the EfM program in the Diocese of Oregon; in her life and ministry, she also embodies much of what is meant by the ministry of all the baptized.)
First, tell us about your own faith formation – what were the major pieces of it and how did it come together for you?
Like most adults, my Christian formation has come through a lifetime of experiences. My childhood was centered in a series of evangelical churches, but I acquired some very distorted ideas of God. In college, I learned that my idea of God as a puppet responding to our prayers didn’t hold water, and I was ashamed and afraid of having such a limited view of God
I had a passion for social justice and spent a summer working with the American Friends Service Community (silent Quakers) helping Mexican migrants settle out of the migrant stream. The migrants suffered with a type of poverty and oppression I had not previously experienced and I found myself at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, which was then open 24 hours a day, pouring out my anger. Later, I was confirmed at the Cathedral in Boise. I loved the Episcopal church for its apostolic succession, its warm acceptance of diversity and its soul nurturing liturgy.
After working in refugee re-settlement and the establishment of a cultural and service center for refugees from SE Asia, I got involved in a feeding program in Portland. After two years of seeing battered women and children frequently (we fed 500 people a week) and only being able to offer a three day supply of food, I burned out. Friends suggested a religious retreat at the Community of the Holy Spirit in New York.
The 13 weeks I spent at the convent allowed lots of emotion to surface and I found that God was underneath all that anguish. I came back to Portland and joined an Education for Ministry (EfM group). Bishop Bigliardi helped me get a grant for graduate school and I completed a Master’s in Clinical Psychology, and began working for the State of Oregon in the field of child welfare. I also became an oblate with the Queen of Angel’s Monastery in Mt. Angel, Oregon and learned the values and practices accompanying the Benedictine Rule. I particularly liked the wisdom that recommends allowing faults –“Don’t try to scrub the pot too clean, or you’ll put a hole in it.”
Yet, in spite of all it offered, I struggled with a secret part of my identity and tried rigorously to both disown and accept my sexual orientation. Healing prayer, service, and Bible study did not resolve the inner contradiction I experienced. I kept searching. The next big change happened when I could no longer stuff my sexual orientation. This was frightening because I wasn’t sure I could be lesbian and Christian at the same time, but some friends in my congregation were very supportive. As I read and considered the tradition that God proclaimed all creation as good, and having a less common sexual orientation was still part of creation, I began to accept more of myself.
Of course I discovered at that time that coming out as a lesbian in the Christian community was almost as hard as coming out as a Christian in the lesbian community – it was very painful. I wanted to have our relationship blessed, and finally, after years of negotiating, my partner and I were married on the Feast of St. Hildegaard at Trinity Cathedral. However, the actions of Lambeth 1998 compounded by banning of celebration of gay relationships in 2003 brought more pain. But I couldn’t leave the church, even when my partner found that that was only ethical choice for her. In the Eucharist I receive Christ and have never been rejected.
To be or not be ordained. I have jokingly said that clergy get paid for being good and laity are good for nothing. I have felt a call to the priesthood for over 30 years, but I was initially denied because I had not owned my sexuality, and later chose to stop because the bishop at the time was opposed to gays and lesbians. Where I am now is that both states, ordained and lay, can reveal the amazing grace of God and it really doesn’t matter.
Some members of the EfM class at St. Paul’s, Oregon City: (l-f) Carol Skellenger, Gloria Hart, Jeri Shaw with mentor Jenny Landis-Steward
How did you first get involved in EfM?
As I said, after returning from my experience at the convent, I was looking for a community of people who wanted to grow more theologically. A friend was in the first EfM group in the Diocese and she was ecstatic about how much she was learning and the community of faith she was forming with the other members of the group. In four years with 36 weekly sessions of 2.5 to 3 hours each they studied the core subjects of a seminary education. I joined the next group that started and formed deep friendships that have lasted over a quarter century.
So, what IS EfM?
Education for Ministry (EfM) is a program to deepen lay people’s knowledge of Scripture and Theology and deepen their faith, so in their life, they are reflective and well informed about the Christian way of life through the centuries. EfM was started by the seminary at the University of the South for a few hundred people and over the past three decades has grown to provide theological education to over 70,000 people in the United States, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, the Bahamas, Italy and Switzerland. Although a number of other parishes have had EfM classes at different times, currently in the Diocese of Oregon there are EfM groups at St. Paul’s, Oregon City; Christ Church, Lake Oswego; St. Paul’s, Salem; and St. Mary’s, Eugene.
What is “covered” in EfM?
During the 4 years of EfM people study and discuss Old and New Testament (Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament), Church History and Theology, Liturgics and Ethics. EfM seminars also have time for fellowship and spend time discussing the events of our personal and community lives in the context of theological reflection. People share their spiritual journeys and explore a variety of practices such as ways to keep Sabbath, and types of prayer. Finally, people consider the ministry to which they are called.
Why do people take EfM? What do they hope to gain?
People report they become much more Biblically literate and are comfortable in discussing religion with others from a place of grounded understanding. They especially value sharing deeply the spiritual lives of the others members of the group, and being able to relate with a consistent small group that commits to spend one to four years together as they grow in their understanding of how their faith and life interact.
If a parish doesn’t have EfM, how might one get involved?
Invite me to come to discuss EfM with your congregation and see if there interest, enroll in the course at a parish which is actively using EfM, or enroll in an on-line group at http://www.sewanee.edu/EFM/EFMONLINE.htm.
Marsha Jett, EfM Co-mentor at St. Paul’s, Oregon City, leads a theological reflection
What is an EfM mentor and what’s involved in being one?
Mentors are people who facilitate the seminar, but do not teach the materials. Their role includes helping to nurture the life of the group, and perform the administrative duties necessary for the University of the South. They need to have completed EfM or have experience in serious religious study, have a familiarity with methods of biblical scholarship, possess a mature faith, be able to live with the ambiguity within the interpretations of the biblical tradition, possess skills which help a group to develop its own life, and demonstrate a willingness to perform administrative duties.
What do you do as diocesan EfM coordinator?
I provide the point of contact between the EfM Program in Sewanee and the Diocese of Oregon. I organize training events, provide information about the program to people in the diocese, and maintain the linkage between the diocese and Sewanee.
When you are NOT doing EfM, what do you do?
I have worked for the State of Oregon in Child Welfare for the past 22 years. Currently I travel the state to interview foster children, parents, foster parents, and caseworkers and review case files to learn whether the children are really getting their needs for safety, permanency, education, health and mental health and attachment met in a timely way and in accordance with state policy and federal law. It is a real ministry and sometimes very tricky! For fun, I sing, play the fiddle and dulcimer, enjoy playing with my dog and 3 cats, visit grandchildren, go to fiber fairs and promote Puddletown Press. And did I mention that I love to knit?
REFLECTIONS FROM BARB
I like Diocesan Conventions. I love seeing the church and her faithful leaders gathered together and greeting one another as old friends. I enjoy the experience of worshipping and praying with people from throughout the diocese. I have fun exploring the display area and visiting with people who are passionate about their particular ministries. I even enjoy following the resolutions and the budget process through the business part of meeting. As I said, I like Diocesan Conventions and the 2011 version which took place November 10-12 at the Salem Conference Center had a lot for me to like.
For those who we were not able to be a part of this year’s convention, here are some highlights from my particular vantage point:
- Experiencing the wonderful response to Rebuild Our Church in Haiti, this year’s diocesan mission project. To date, over $35,000 has been contributed by individuals and congregations throughout the diocese. Special thanks to Leslie Sackett, member of our diocesan Ministry of Lifelong Christian Formation, who took the lead in organizing this effort and to all of the Christian educators in the diocese who promoted it in their own congregations.
- Seeing the 43 beautiful and very creative baskets that were donated to support the Fund for the Poor and Homeless. All funds raised from the baskets and the annual Thanksgiving Offering will be awarded to congregations in the diocese that are doing significant ministry to help people who are poor and homeless. Thanks to Deacon Maureen Hagen, former member of the Ministry of Lifelong Christian Formation, who now serves as chair of the Commission for the Poor and Homeless.
- Being yet again inspired by The Rev. Alcena Boozer as she spoke to a wall-to-wall crowd at the Episcopal Church Women’s (ECW) luncheon on Friday. Alcena+ is a treasure to our diocese. Kudos to the ECW board for inviting her to speak and for all of the other innovative work they are doing!
- Hearing Canon Neysa invite everyone in the room who has ever been a part of Education for Ministry (EfM) to stand and seeing the number of people who stood. (For more information about EfM, please see the interview with Jenny Landis-Steward, our diocesan EfM coordinator, found in this issue.)
- And having a chance to hear the keynote speaker, John Dally, four times as he addressed the convention theme Still at Hand: Welcoming the Kingdom of God.
John was Bishop Michael’s and Canon Neysa’s professor, mentor, and friend as they were finishing their doctoral work at Seabury-Western, the Episcopal seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He is the author of the book Choosing the Kingdom: Missional Preaching for the Household of God (Alban Institute 2008). He has significant experience as a parish priest and currently serves as Artist-in-Residence at St. Peter’s Church in Chicago. It took me a little while to warm up to John’s delivery style, but once I did, I enjoyed him more and more. I especially appreciated his final presentation when he talked about the resources The Episcopal Church has to offer. Specifically he talked about his experiences with Godly Play and with the work Eric Law is doing through the Kaleidoscope Institute in Los Angeles.
Our diocesan Ministry of Lifelong Christian Formation has encouraged and supported Godly Play in our diocese for more than ten years. Pamela Filbert of St. Timothy’s in Salem has helped start Godly Play programs at several churches including St. Bede’s, Forest Grove and Trinity, Ashland and she is currently working with All Saints, Hillsboro and Emmanuel, Coos Bay. Leslie Sackett of St. Michael & All Angels is mentoring the newly-forming Godly Play program at St. Catherine/Santa Catalina in Manzanita and Charissa Simmons of Trinity Cathedral continues to offer Godly Play training and support for people throughout the country at Trinity Cathedral in Portland. It was great to receive affirmation for this good work from a respected seminary professor.
And people may not know that our diocesan Commission to End Racism has been working with The Rev. Eric Law of the Kaleidoscope Institute in Los Angeles to expand the Anti-Racism training that is offered in the Diocese of Oregon. The new course debuts December 3, so once again it was great to get affirmation from John Dally.
Diocesan Convention reminds me once again that while we may have our share of challenges, we also have much to be thankful for in the Diocese of Oregon.
Blessings to you all,
GODLY PLAY … FOR ADULTS
by Charissa Simmons, Trinity Cathedral
Godly Play is a proven and effective method of Christian formation for children, and it is also wonderful for adults. At Trinity, we’ve introduced Godly Play to adults in a variety of ways. We offer Godly Play sessions as orientation for parents of children currently in the program. We also use Godly Play stories as part of adult education classes, in worship, and in catechism classes.
A full Godly Play session is a great orientation for parents whose children are in Godly Play. Doing Godly Play is more effective and can teach more than any amount of talking about Godly Play. It’s good for parents to go through a full Godly Play session without their children. This way they can have their own experiences, without being distracted by what their child is doing – and in the same way, it also keeps the children’s experiences of Godly Play their own.
Godly Play lessons and stories are accessible and enriching presentations for adult classes. We’ve had positive response to the liturgical lessons presented in our catechism and baptismal preparation classes. This method of storytelling allows adults to experience scripture and liturgy in a different way. We’ve also held a series of classes during Lent, holding Godly Play sessions just for adults, as well as using stories in worship.
A final practice of adult Godly Play is teacher training. Doing Godly Play is an essential part of learning how to facilitate Godly Play. It often even becomes part of the facilitators’ own spiritual practice.
It’s important for participants to know that Godly Play is for them as adults. Encourage them to experience everything as the adults they are, not to pretend they are children or think about how children would react. After all, the stories and language of Godly Play are timeless – and we are all, regardless of age, working on the same existential issues that Godly Play encourages us to address.
It’s equally important when doing Godly Play with adults that the leaders gear the session toward adults. This might mean modifying wondering questions, offering different types of response activities, providing chairs and tables, or any number of variables that might apply to a given situation. Keep the physical comfort and emotional safety of the group in mind. Finally, if you use just a lesson or story, it’s good to let people know this is just one piece of Godly Play; there’s much more to the whole experience.
AN ACADEMY FOR ALL THE CHURCH’S MINISTERS
by Deacon Maureen Hagen
Christian Faith Formation in The Episcopal Church is lifelong growth in the knowledge, service and love of God as followers of Christ and is informed by Scripture, Tradition and Reason. ~The Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation (2009)
As the Charter makes clear, following Jesus is a lifelong process, requiring every Christian’s participation. One of the Charter’s expectations is our Church will develop new learning experiences, equipping disciples for life in a world of secular challenges and carefully listening for the words of modern sages who embody the teachings of Christ.
But how do our churches live into this important responsibility? Are we providing theological education for all? Will these experiences equip all people for the challenges of the 21st century? How are we forming our lay and clergy leaders? These questions were some of those that led to the establishment of the Academy for Formation and Mission in September 2010. The Academy provides a quality, affordable, diocesan formation opportunity for lay leaders, deacons, and priests. It’s course work, practical experience, and community life prepare students, both lay leaders living out their baptismal covenants and those seeking to be ordained, for traditional and pioneer ministries in the church and beyond.
The mission of the Academy is to develop a community of seekers, workers, learners, and listeners eager to carry out the Gospel in word and action. It does so primarily through rigorous, semester-long course work integrated with in-depth practical experience, providing lay and ordained leaders with the theological education and spiritual formation to serve the ever-changing and challenging 21st-Century church.
Classes during the fall and winter term are offered over a period of seven weekends (meeting generally ever third weekend) at St. Francis of Assisi in Wilsonville. Three classes are offered each term. As part of the formation, students also worship together (Compline, morning prayer, and Eucharist) and support each other as a community. Currently, 17 students attend the Academy. Half take a full load of classes, others, one or two classes. Some students are postulants for Holy Orders; some are in discernment; some are lay people seeking to a stronger foundation to enhance their baptismal ministry. While the Academy welcomes students from other denominations, the courses use an Anglican lens. Students who take the full three-year program will be awarded a Certificate
The 2012 Winter term begins the weekend of January 6-7. The Friday night class, “Liturgical Practice and Homiletics” will explore the pastoral offices and liturgical occasions from Epiphany – Holy Week as well are provide students with an opportunity to create and deliver homilies. “New Testament II,” the Saturday morning offering, will cover Paul’s Letters, the other Epistles, and Revelation and will be taught by Dr. A. J. Swoboda. The Saturday afternoon course, “Anglican Ethos II” with Dr. Ian Dosescher will look at Christian Ethics from an Anglican perspective focused primarily on issues related to social justice. Tuition is $125 for the Friday night class; $200 for each of the Saturday classes or $500 for all three. Students who are candidates for Holy Orders are expected to take all three classes.
To register on-line go to www.academy.episcopaldioceseoregon.org. The Academy comes under the authority of the Bishop and is directed by The Rev. Kurt Neilson (torabb@ yahoo.com) and The Rev. Deacon Maureen Hagen (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feel free to contact them with questions or for further information.
Chalking The Door
This is an Epiphany tradition from Northern Europe. The concept is to mark the doorway with colored chalks so that the Three Kings will be able to find their way to your stable. In some places the doorway is marked with stars of all sizes and colors. In others, depictions in chalk of the major figures of Christmas – Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, the animals, singing angels, and visiting shepherds. But the idea is to help the Three Kings know where to look to find the baby. And as the Epiphany season proceeds, the chalk markings gradually wear away – taking us, of course, to Lent. Mary Sicilia, New Wine editor
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Three Kings Cakes
Many families and parishes keep the tradition of a Three Kings Cake on Epiphany and its never too late to pick up a new tradition . The idea is to bake a special cake for Epiphany, planting in the batter a bean or porclain figure or coin. When the cake is eaten, whoever finds the “surprise” either gets a prize or has to make the cake the following year (or both!) Not surprisingly, there are probably as many Three Kings Cake recipes as there are people who observe the custom. A quick Google will no doubt net you some tasty options!
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An In-Room Bible Study Support “Library”
Wanting to undertake a serious study of Scripture? Consider amassing a Bible Study support library of resources to use. While this is a good idea for individuals pursuing study on their own, it would be particuarly helpful in parishes that use Bible studies as a part of their Adult Formation program. Create a corner in the room where the Bible study is held or on a rolling cart for preparation by class members and leaders as well as for quick consultation during the course of class deliberations. (This list is taken from an article by Sharon Pearson at www.buildfaith.org.
The Bible in Different Translations: examining different Bible translations invites comparisons of how the different translators deal with specific words and phrases (Examples: New Revised Standard Version; The Good News Translation; The New American Bible; The New International Version)
- A Study Bible: a Bible that includes some explanatory notes, commentary, maps, and other helps within it. (Examples: The New Interpreter’s Study Bible/NRSV; HarperCollins Study Bible/NRSV; The Catholic Study Bible/NAB)
- A Bible Dictionary: alphabetical listing of biblical words, people, and places, giving expanded definitions and explanations (Example: Harper’s Bible Dictionary)
- A Commentary: explanatory notes on scripture passages (Example: Harper’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible)
- A Concordance: an alphabetical listing of significant words in the Bible, citing their occurrence. Although concordances still come in printed volumes, having a Bible translation on your computer gives you a faster and better concordance because most programs allow you to search the text not only for single words but also for particular phrases or combinations of words.
- A Bible Atlas: maps, charts, illustrations related to biblical history and geography (Examples: Hammond Atlas of the Bible Lands; Oxford Bible Atlas)
- A Study Guidebook: available by books of the Bible, by biblical topics, by popular themes, by season of the Church year, etc.
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SPEAKING OF RESOURCES
NEW VIDEO RESOURCES
*A Thrill of Hope: The Christmas Story in Word and Art
This six-session DVD study presents the familiar story of Christmas as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and illustrated by the artwork of John August Swanson. Each Scripture passage is accompanied by one of Swanson’s finely detailed and brilliantly colored paintings along with commentary by Biblical scholars from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Also included is a study guide with suggested discussion questions. The 50-minute DVD could be used as a single program or shorter individual sessions.
*Embracing Emergence Christianity: Phyllis Tickle on the Church’s Next Rummage Sale
In this DVD series, Phyllis Tickle, author, historian and cultural observer, examines the changing face of Christianity. She identifies the great upheavals that occur in Western culture and Christianity every 500 years, including the one we are in now – the Great Emergence. What are the characteristics and implications of this current shift? What are the key questions and issues that need to be addressed? Where might we be headed next?
Each of the six sessions begins with a 10-15 minute video presentation by Phyllis followed by conversation with a small group. Also available is a detailed study guide with essays by Phyllis as well as several different options for group discussion.
This is a very informative series that will provide challenging reflection and conversation as we grapple with the changes in our church and culture.
Both of these DVD series are available for loan from the Resource Room
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*Advent Resources from Episcopal Relief and Development
Episcopal Relief & Development has a brand new web page devoted to free Advent resources. Included are videos of communities served by Episcopal Relief & Development, “Stories From the Field” for each day in Advent, a free downloadable Children’s Chapel program, and a free, full color Advent poster with artwork by the Rev. Jay Sidebotham.
Links are also available on this page to ERD’s Gifts for Life catalog and videos about featured gifts, such as of cows, pigs, goats, drought-resistant seeds, ducks, chickens, and many other useful “alternative” gifts for those served by Episcopal Relief & Development.
*Skiturgies: Pageants, Plays, Rites and Rituals for the Church Year
This new website from Church Publishing contains dramas, plays and pageants for occasions throughout the church year for all ages. You can preview samples on the website, purchase what you need, and download the materials for use. Prices range from $5.95 to $12.95 depending upon length and nature of the program.
*Building Faith: Online Christian Education Community
This comprehensive website provides a wealth of ideas and resources for educators with new materials added regularly. Consult it often!
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Videos to Give Away
In order to have space for new materials, the Resource Room is giving away videos from our current collection. If you are interested in having any of these VHS tapes, contact Paula Franck for more information.
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If you have further questions about resources or would like to request materials contact: Paula Franck – Volunteer Resource Room Coordinator – email@example.com
* Saturday, December 10 – Godly Play Advent Retreat, 10:00-2:00 at Trinity Cathedral in Portland. Cost is $25 which includes lunch. Please register with Charissa Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 6.
*Saturday, December 10 – Introduction to Godly Play at Emmanuel, Coos Bay. For further information, please contact Barbara Ross at email@example.com.
*Saturday, February 25 – Children’s Day at the Cathedral, 9:00-3:00, at Trinity Cathedral. For further information, please contact Barbara Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Saturday, March 17 – Women’s Leadership Retreat sponsored by the diocesan Episcopal Church Women (ECW). For further information, please contact Kay Kinneavy at Kay@Kinneavy.com.
Children’s Day 2012
Celebrate the Seasons has been selected as the theme of our Children’s Day 2012 events. To date, two events have been scheduled. Our 6th annual Children’s Day at the Cathedral will be held Saturday, February 25 at Trinity Cathedral in Portland. We also are pleased to announce that our first ever Latino Children’s Day has been scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at St. James in Lincoln City. And we are hoping to schedule a 2nd annual Children’s Day in the Valley. Please put the dates on your 2012 calendars now. More information will be coming after the first of the year. And, if you are interested in helping to plan any of these events, please contact Barbara Ross, Missioner for Lifelong Christian Formation, at 971-204-4111 or email@example.com.
Safeguarding God’s Children
Thursday, January 19,10:00-3:00–The Bishop’s Close, Portland
Saturday, January 21, 8:30-12;30 – St. Andrew’s, Portland
Sunday, January 22, 1:00-5:00 – Holy Spirit, Sutherlin
Saturday, February 11, 9:00-1:00 – St. Bartholomew’s, Beaverton
Sunday, March 11, 1:00-5:00 – St. Timothy’s, Brookings
Preventing Sexual Harassment of Church Workers
Thursday, February 9, 10:00-3:00 – The Bishop’s Close, Portland
Saturday, March 10, 9:30-1:30 – St. Timothy’s, Brooking
Saturday, March 24, 8:30-12:30 – St. Barnabas, Portland
Preventing Sexual Exploitation in Communities of Faith
Thursday, March 9, 10:00 – 3:00 – The Bishop’s Close
Saturday, March 10, 2:30 – 6:30 – St. Timothy’s, Brookings
Saturday, March 24, 1:00-5:00 – St. Barnabas, Portland