In mid-September The Gathering of Leaders, in collaboration with the Iona Collaborative and the Episcopal Church Foundation, held a pilot event aimed to support and connect clergy who work more than one job, commonly called bivocational clergy. Approximately 30 of these priests and deacons from around the United States convened at the Oblate Renewal Center in San Antonio, Texas to share in the mission and visioning of the church to come.
The Rev. Elizabeth Felicetti, Rector of St. David’s in North Chesterfield, VA and author of the upcoming Unexpected Abundance: The Fruitful Lives of Women Without Children (Erdmans 2023) stated, “I’ve felt out of step with many clergy colleagues since becoming bivocational two years ago, so my goal for this Gathering was to find colleagues with challenges similar to mine. I not only found my tribe—I’m also energized and inspired! So grateful to be bivocational and to have innovative, creative, exciting bivocational colleagues. Excited for the Church!”
A recent Gallup poll noted that in 2020 only 47% of Americans reported attending church regularly, this represents the first time that number has fallen below 50%. In the 1960’s the Episcopal Church was about 3 million members strong, now the church is just about half that, and less than one half of one percent of the population in the United States.
Instead of fear for the future of the church, the clergy gathered at the bivocational Gathering emanated hope for the new ways the church can be relevant, much of that beginning with their obedience to a call to ministry despite a deep commitment to existing vocations in their lives.
Haley Bankey, Executive Director of The Gathering of Leaders said, “Convening this group of exceptional, spirit-filled, and yet under-resourced leaders exemplified how vibrant, hopeful communities of faith can thrive under non-traditional models. Our pilot Gathering was such a huge success, that we’re already scouting the location for 2023 and reaching out to additional multi-vocational clergy to join the network!”
Because of generous donors the entire Gathering was free for those who attended, a compassionate and thoughtful offering for clergy who already work more than one position and can be stretched thin. The Dioceses of Wyoming, Oklahoma and the Bishop Quin Foundation in the Diocese of Texas all made significant contributions to support the growth of the multi-vocational network. You may also support the growth of this much needed network through a financial contribution.
The Gathering of Leaders exists to envision the renewal of the dioceses and congregations of the Episcopal Church through transformational leaders dedicated to the missionary call of Christ and growing the Church in spiritual depth and in numbers as it effectively serves all sorts and conditions of people through the transforming power of Jesus Christ. They have launched a pilot program for Lay Leaders, and have future Gatherings planned for all orders of ministry in the years to come. Visit thegatheringofleaders.org for more information or to inquire.