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2018 Workshops

Workshop Offerings – Saturday, April 21

10:00am Workshops (more details below)

  • Gratitude and Grant Writing: How UTO Can Support Your Big Dream (Heather Melton)
  • Community Partnerships (Lisa Fischbeck)
  • Community Organizing (Adrien Niyongabo)
  • Fresh From The Field: Church Planting (Gray Lesesne)

11:00am Workshops (more details below)

  • How To Fail (Stephen Carlsen and Lee Curtis)
  • You’ve got something, use it: An asset-based approach to ministry development (Tamara Plummer)
  • Digital Evangelism (Jaime Briceno)
  • A Little Child WILL Lead Us: Listening for the Voices of Children and Youth in our Work of Mission, Evangelism, and Reconciliation (Lisa Barrowclough)

Workshop Descriptions

Gratitude and Grant Writing: How UTO Can Support Your Big Dream (Heather Melton)
The United Thank Offering was founded over 125 years ago to help individuals deepen or create a spiritual discipline of gratitude. UTO encourages its participants to notice the good things happening around them every day and then to stop and acknowledge those good things by giving thanks and placing a small offering in a Blue Box.  The offerings are then collected and 100% of what UTO receives is then given away annually to support innovative mission and ministry in The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.  UTO gives away about $1.3 million in grants through two grant sessions each year.

This workshop is for anyone interested in applying for grant funding from the United Thank Offering, or learning some best practices for applying for grants from non-profit organizations. There will be time for workshop participants to ask questions, share ideas of new things you’d like to try and see if you are eligible for UTO funding.

The Rev. Canon Heather Melton serves as the Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering on the Presiding Bishop’s Staff. She has spent two decades working in the Episcopal Church. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University, a Master of Divinity from Church Divinity School of the Pacific and an Master of Arts (focused on congregational redevelopment) in Religion and Psychology from the Graduate Theological Union. Heather is deeply interested in helping congregations and individuals grow more fully into the dream that God has for them, and feels that gratitude is a wonderful step in that growth. Heather is an avid runner, particularly after her twin daughters, and serves alongside the wonderful people at St. Joseph of Arimathea in Elmsford, New York.


Community Partnerships (Lisa Fischbeck)
Just as societal changes following the two World Wars of the 20th century propelled the Church into liturgical renewal and ecumenicism, so are 21st century societal changes inviting the Church to collaborate with institutions, organizations, governments and peoples outside of itself to create Gospel-shaped innovative responses to poverty, human suffering and creation care.  These collaborations can be effective, economical, and evangelistic. In this workshop participants will be introduced to, and share experiences of:

  • The vibrance and vitality of the social entrepreneurship movement and new collaborative models for responding to societal need.
  • New economies and expanded missional and vocational identities that could ensue for the 21st Century Church.
  • Exciting benefits and the aversions or pitfalls of collaborating with people beyond the church.
  • Simple ways that worship can be altered to better form people for engagement in our world.

Lisa is the founding Vicar of the Episcopal Church of The Advocate in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she led the congregation, along with multiple sponsors and stakeholders, in casting a vision of church in the 21st century, rooted in tradition but not bound by it. She facilitated the vision, development and purchase of a 15-acre site in Chapel Hill, then the move, restoration and adaptive re-use of a 19th century chapel as a place of worship and community resource there.

Since 2015, she has been cultivating collaborations with individuals and organizations outside the church, including the development of a prototype for landholders, especially churches, to host “tiny homes” on site for people who would otherwise be homeless (PeeWeeHomes.org). The Advocate is also collaborating with local organizations and individuals in a “Stewardship of Creation” project, The Piedmont Patch, to restore native flora and fauna to the Piedmont, one patch at a time.


Fresh From The Field: Church Planting (Gray Lesesne)
Something interesting is happening in the cornfields-turned-suburbs of Indianapolis…Good Samaritan Episcopal Church is the first intentional church start of the Diocese of Indianapolis in more than 20 years. Centered in an historically traditional county where megachurches predominate the landscape, Good Sam’s is an intentionally boutique congregation focusing on focusing on hands-on service and intentional outreach as a way of life, inclusion of all people, and open-minded evangelism. Come learn about how this church without a building has grown from 0 to more than 150 people in three years. We’ll talk about new church starts and also share church start practices that existing congregations can steal and adapt!

The Rev. Dr. Gray Lesesne is the Diocese of Indianapolis’ first church planter in more than 20 years. After serving as Canon and Senior Associate of Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis from 2008-2015, Gray landed in a Starbucks one snowy March morning in 2015 as a “parachute drop planter”, and began networking with baristas and anyone else who would talk with him, and soon, Good Samaritan, Brownsburg was born. A graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary (D.Min. 2013 and M.Div 2001), Gray was ordained in 2001 and has also served congregations in the Dioceses of Newark and Upper South Carolina.

You’ve got something, use it: An asset based approach to ministry development (Tamara Plummer)
During this workshop you will explore the concepts of asset based community development and appreciative inquiry as tools for ministry discernment, engagement and sustained growth. The goal is to walk away with a tangible plan! This workshop will remind you that God is already up to something, it is your mission to discover and join God’s dream for you and your community. Come let’s explore together.
Tamara Plummer is the Asset Map Coordinator for Episcopal Relief & Development where she supports church leaders across The Episcopal Church to embrace and share their stories of ministry and worship. Ms. Plummer began her career in Student Affairs organizing events for the campus community, advising student organizations, and leading trainings and workshops for student leaders. As a life-long Episcopalian she has brought her training and facilitation skills and social justice work to the church community, empowering leaders to fully embrace the glorious ways Christ is moving through our church. In her free time, Tamara enjoys playing chamber music and creative writing.

How To Fail (Stephen Carlsen and Lee Curtis)
More details to come…

Community Organizing (Adrien Niyongabo)
As paradoxical as it may sound, community always involves both inclusion and exclusion. Local leaders who strive to enhance growth in their communities must remember that community organizing is an ongoing process to be carried out by local residents. A healthy and vibrant community is a healed one. As inclusion and exclusion are unavoidable, not only community-healing should be intended for local residents, but it should also occur across levels of local residents and leaders. Come and join us in our community-healing organizing workshop to learn and discover the healing power within games, music, and rhythm. Bring your favorite musical instrument that you can carry with you as you attend our MV18 National Gathering.

Digital Evangelism (Jaime Briceno)
This workshop will evaluate the limits and possibilities of using Social Media as a venue and goal for Evangelism while expanding the outreach of a mission-driven church. This works shop will include some quick tips on how to make better use of social media and using analytics to drive your missional voices further.
Jaime Briceño has served as the recruiter and digital missioner at Bexley Hall Seabury-Western Theological Seminary Federation, Inc. since January 2016. He has been working on recruiting the next class of students using social media as the main presence online, concentrating on developing online open houses and virtual reality tours of the seminary to reach a more diverse and far-reaching group of students. Jaime also serves as a Ministry Associate at Saint Mark’s Glen Ellyn, and he is a postulant to Holy Orders for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. A native Costa Rican, Briceño is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. He graduated from Catholic Theological Union with a research MA in systematic theology.

A Little Child WILL Lead Us: Listening for the Voices of Children and Youth in our Work of Mission, Evangelism, and Reconciliation (Lisa Barrowclough)
Over time, teachers and administrators in schools have discovered the transformative value of elevating student voice in the classroom, and the practices developed around this very natural process of listening and dialogue have significantly improved outcomes, investment, and relationships of dignity and trust for all. Recently we have all been witness to (and stood in awe of) the passion and power of the organized voices of youth relentlessly seeking policy change for the good of the nation in which they live and lead. And always, we have known that our Lord calls us to “be like these” in order to realize and inherit the Kingdom of God. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Church to encourage and engage the voices of our children and youth in the ongoing discernment of who God is calling us to be and where He is challenging us to go. Let us gather, in this informative and interactive workshop, to be inspired for this work, and to share and sharpen our skills.