recovering from last weekI'm beginning to think my car could just drive on autopilot to our diocesan camp and conference center, St. Crispin's, located between Seminole and Wewoka on St. Hwy. 9. I was out there for most of last week, first participating in our annual clergy conference, and then staying out for the annual women's fall retreat.
The clergy conference was a real pleasure. Oklahoma is twice as big as either of the past two dioceses I have served, so at first I was overwhelmed by all the new faces and names. Unlike some other experiences I have had in the past (and which shall go unnamed), the focus of the conference stayed squarely on the ministries of the diocese, and featured the remarkable Linda Grenz of Leader Resources as our keynote speaker, who offered actual CONCRETE and WORKABLE ideas for building up a congregation's formation and educational life. There was acknowledgment of the issues we face as an Episcopal Church, and as a postmodern Church, but very little hand-wringing or end-of-the-worlding. When we heard a presentation about the work our diocese does with children of prison inmates, I couldn't have been prouder to be a part of the Diocese of Oklahoma.
Of course the most important part of a clergy conference is the fellowship and collegiality. Who knew dominoes could be so competitive?
Thursday the clergy left and the Women of Vision presenters arrived. Women of Vision is a program produced by the national Episcopal Church Women. ECW gets a lot of flack, and some of it is deserved, because ECWs at the parish level have been known to wield a lot of power, and not always exercise it in a healthy manner. But my involvement with ECW diocesan boards, and my read on ECW at the national level, is that there are a number of very interesting things happening and that the national leadership of ECW gets the changes taking place in the church.
There were ten of us gathered for this particular retreat, and 3 presenters. For me, one of the gifts was to learn from the presenters, who are women who have been in the church even longer than me, who have seen Presiding Bishops and controversies come and go. There is much, much to learn from them about exercising leadership with grace, insight and dignity.
My fellow retreatants were also a revelation, and we were sad to take leave of each other on Saturday. Annie of Musing Mysteries (over there in the blog sidebar) took part as well. She is as lovely in person as she is in her blog.
I'm trying to take a Sabbath day today to recover; it's chilly and rainy and really best meant for curling up with knitting and reading.