On Wednesday and Thursday I attended the Annual Clergy Conference at
The Lebhar’s biblical theme was “The Wilderness” and they used texts from the Old Testament, mainly Exodus and Deuteronomy along with stories from their own life, marriage and ministry to illustrate their points.
My role was to organize the “entertainment” during the fun time on Wednesday evening. It was like an unscripted, unpracticed talent show, we had a magic act, two weirdly funny Irish ballads sung, a few funny prose readings and a skit that I wrote and was one of the co-leads with John Fierro. John and I have done this routine now for three years. He and I are two clergy Chauncey and Biff and we are meeting at clergy conference and are reviewing diocesan events of the year past (since the last clergy conference).
This year’s skit involved the negotiations or lack thereof. We poked fun at the Bishop and the Canon and TEC and anybody else that came to mind but mostly ourselves. The skit included cameo appearances from Joseph Martin, Kathy Walzer, Kua Apple and Keith Pozzuto. I emailed a copy of it to a diocesan staffer who emailed me back, “Too funny. You do know how to push the envelope. How did it go over?” My response, “The Bishop was okay with it -- at least he said that to me and everybody else. There were also a lot of ad libs from Joseph, Kua and Keith. The key is to end it on a positive note which we did.” And back to me, “Cool. Sorry I missed it. I am going to try to make it next year for the whole time”.
The times of intercession were quite heartfelt and moving, the worship was great – Paul Cooper is a talented pianist and picks great hymns and praise choruses. Canon Hays shared a bit of her experience in breaking her leg in a golf cart accident and the painful recovery and spiritually life changing aftermath. It was also the first clergy conference for St David's newly ordained deacon Rege Turocy and he thoroughly enjoyed the entire two days.
Prior to realignment, our conference began on Wednesday and ran through lunch on Friday. So now we arrive at Wednesday – ugh! and go through late afternoon on Thursday, though the troops start thinning after Thursday breakfast and by the end we were probably a third to half smaller than our size at the start.
Before realignment, the diocese had subsidized the conference fee. Prior, it was $65; it is now $125. The diocese had received a $10,000 grant each year from the Widow’s Corporation of the Episcopal Church for clergy wellness which was used primarily for the clergy conference among other things. Also, prior to realignment the Clergy Association helped foot the bill for the adult beverages – no more. Not to worry, we still had plenty of beer and vino. And the Bishop’s Fund Inc. had subsidized whitewater rafting, golf or cycling on first morning – again no more. These are not to be construed as complaints, however: they are observations of change and of fond memories about times past and are but a small price to pay for a being in a new Province and a changed diocese -- all for the better.