The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright is the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which covers north and middle Georgia and embraces 110 worshiping communities. At the time of his election in June 2012, he had served 10 years as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was a school chaplain and on the staff of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City.
Since becoming bishop, Wright addressed the Georgia legislature about gun control, spoke up for Medicaid expansion and has been a vocal and active opponent of the death penalty in Georgia. In commemoration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, he prayed with a City of Atlanta sanitation crew before taking an early morning shift on the back of a city garbage truck. In January 2015, he was named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by GeorgiaTrend magazine.
Wright was born in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was adopted at 9 months of age. After graduating high school, he served five years in the U.S. Navy. While attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., he worked as a child advocate for two mayors. He earned an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary, and he has been awarded honorary doctor of divinity degrees by the Virginia seminary and Sewanee: The University of the South.
He is married to Beth-Sarah Wright, Ph.D., and they have a grown daughter and four school-age children.
Take My Life: Stories of Transformational Discipleship
Dr. Courtney Cowart is a scholar in the fields of ascetical theology and American Church history whose work has explored the relationship of spiritual practice and leadership. She holds both an M.A. and a Th.D. from The General Theological Seminary in New York. Immediately prior to becoming Executive Director of SIM she served as Associate Dean and Director of the Beecken Center at the School of Theology, University of the South, in Sewanee, TN. There Courtney gathered and created cutting-edge formation resources from across the church to create a hub of continuing theological education and training for all the baptized.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, in her role as program officer for spiritual formation and development grants at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, Cowart hosted the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a group of spiritual formation practitioners, for the filming of a Lenten series: The Shaping of Holy Lives. The events of the morning and their impact on Cowart’s ministries, first as a founder of the 24/7 respite center to recovery workers at St Paul’s Chapel immediately following 9/11, and four years later as founding co-director of the office of disaster response for the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, are vividly chronicled in her book published in 2008, An American Awakening: From 9/11 to Katrina the People We Are Free To Be.
In 2010, Cowart left New Orleans to become Director of Congregational Learning for The Fund for Theological Education in Atlanta. At FTE she developed and taught congregations shared practices for shaping the next generation of Christian leadership. These practices, informed by her experiences of ministry innovation and evangelism in the context of catastrophe, equip persons of faith to generate communities of safety, dignity, alliance, and resilience. She views the regeneration of these essentials for human thriving as central to the work of the church and its leadership, as Christians struggle against institutions and social norms that perpetuate violence and domination, and seek to establish contrasting ones supporting non-violence and peace.
In her role at Sim Ministry, Dr. Cowart, is applying her varied background in theological education, program and curricula development, and building leadership capacity for the church, to the opportunity of expanding and strengthening The Society for the Increase of the Ministry’s mission. She believes through artful recruitment of outstanding leaders and funding of scholarships for theological training and Episcopal education, we can transform the leadership of the Episcopal Church, making it more faithful, innovative, culturally diverse, outwardly engaged.
Father Albert Cutié serves as the Rector of St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Southeast Florida and Dean (Convener) of Broward County. Cutié has been in full-time parish ministry for over 24 years.
In addition to parish ministry in very diverse settings, Cutié has entered millions of homes throughout the world with his television and radio talk shows, as well as, columns in the press. In October of 1998, he became the first clergy person of any faith tradition to host a daily “talk-show” as part of a major network on international television. He produced hundreds of talk shows with the Telemundo Network (NBCUniversal/Comcast) and became one of the most recognized names in Spanish-language television. His compassionate style earned him the title, “Father Oprah” and many Latinos throughout the United States often refer to him as “Padre Oprah”; a title used in headlines by the NY Times and Newsweek. After three seasons and hundreds of episodes, he continued to host weekly talk-shows, HABLANDO CLARO CON EL PADRE ALBERTO, on the international network EWTN and ABRE TU ALMA CON EL PADRE ALBERTO in South Florida. He also produced an English-language talk-show in New York City in 2011.
Although Cutié has been involved extensively in various forms of media, his true passion is serving as a parish priest and in a variety of ministries, programs, and boards within the diocese and the wider church. In addition to his service as Rector and Dean, he serves as a member of the Diocesan Executive Board, Commission on Ministry, Trustee at the University of the South, and on the board of the Duncan Conference Center. He was appointed as a member of the Board of Forward Movement; a multi-media non-profit organization of The Episcopal Church.
Father Albert received his Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of the South (Sewanee, TN) with an emphasis on Preaching. Church Publishing recently published his Doctoral Thesis with the title: “Talking God: Preaching to Contemporary Congregations”. Cutié became a member of the Episcopal Church on May 28, 2009. Originally ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church on May 13, 1995, he was officially received as a priest of The Episcopal Church on May 29, 2010 by Bishop Leo Frade, the third bishop of Southeast Florida. Father Albert and his wife, Ruhama, have three children and a cat.
Father Albert is the author of three books and he is presently working on a fourth about different aspects of leadership. Real Life, Real Love (2007) – A self-help book on relationships,
Dilemma (2012) – A personal memoir, Talking God (2016) – His research on how the 21st Century Church communicates with the digital age.
The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple
Bishop Hodges-Copple grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended Duke University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in 1979 with a major in public policy. She earned her Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, in 1984.
In the years between college and seminary and then seminary and ordination, Hodges-Copple worked as a community organizer in Massachusetts and Appalachia and as a shelter director for victims of domestic violence in North Carolina. She was ordained a deacon in 1987 and a priest in 1988.
Bishop Hodges-Copple has served her entire ordained life in the Diocese of North Carolina working 13 years in parish ministry and 13 years as a campus minister. She served as the rector of St. Luke’s, Durham, until she was elected to the episcopate. Bishop Hodges-Copple has a particular passion for shaping mission and ministry to be attuned to the voices, needs and wisdom of disempowered communities.
In her role as Bishop Suffragan, Bishop Hodges-Copple has particular responsibilities in campus and young adult ministries, new mission starts (Galilee ministries), the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission, the ordination process for the diaconate, global partnerships for mission, ecumenical and interfaith collaborations and the pastoral care of retired clergy, their spouses and surviving spouses. In the spring of 2018, she will help lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, her third such pilgrimage.
Hodges-Copple is currently a member of the Board of Transition Ministries and the Task Force for Nomination, Election, Transition and Installation of the Presiding Bishop. She served on the Special Legislative Committee for Marriage at the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City. During the transition between the 11th and 12th Bishops of North Carolina, she served as Bishop Diocesan Pro Tempore, the Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese.
She and her husband, John, have three adult children. John is Director of Planning for the Triangle J Council of Governments.
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman
Prior to his election, Bishop Rodman served as the Special Projects Officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, a role he took on after spending five years as the diocesan project manager for campaign initiatives, where he engaged congregations, clergy and laity, in collaborative local and global mission through the Together Now campaign, helping to raise $20 million to fund these initiatives. Prior to that, he spent 16 years as the rector of St. Michael’s in Milton, Massachusetts, during which the parish established a seven-year plan that included a capital campaign for a major renovation of the church school building.
Ordained in 1988, Bishop Rodman is a graduate of Bates College and Virginia Theological Seminary. He and his wife of 32 years, Deborah, live in Raleigh with their dog, Neo. They are the parents of two adult daughters. In his free time, Bishop Rodman enjoys basketball, golf, kayaking, walking his dog, crosswords and creative writing.
Christian Essentials: Ministry to Foster Spiritual Growth
Does your parish need a holistic approach to helping people live a Christ-centered life to deepen their faith and life with God? Come learn about The Christian Essentials and the customizable fifteen essentials to help participants explore, grow, and deepen their faith. Each session invites participants to learn relevant information, apply what they have learned to their faith journey, and build practices to deepen their relationship with God, neighbor, world, and self.
Amanda Anders (bio coming soon)
Matt Holcombe (bio coming soon)
Sent Out Two by Two: The Transformational Power of Collaborative Ministry
In Luke 10, Jesus sends his disciples out two by two to begin their ministry. Solitary ministry was never the goal, yet our church models can’t seem to break out of this or hierarchical models of leadership and ministry. Based on their experience at their parish in Brooklyn, NY Mothers Sarah and Kimberlee will talk about the transformational power of collaborative leadership and how it serves as a model for discipleship and leading a God centered life.
Kimberlee Auletta is Co-Priest-In-Charge at Holy Apostles church in Brooklyn, NY. She has found joy and wholeness in entering into collaborative ministry that she feels has allowed her to be a more fulfilled mother, partner, priest and Christian. She loves helping people find how God is working in their lives as an Ignitian Spiritual director. She is a life long Episcopalian, whose husband is Jewish, and like many families, actively struggles to figure out how to make it all work!
Sarah Kooperkamp is Co-Prist-In-Charge at Holy Apostles church in Brooklyn, NY. She happily shares a job that was once hers alone and is interested in collaborative, creative work to help folks come to know Jesus and become his followers together. She enjoys working though challenges and dreaming big by talking with colleagues and friends. She is a life long Episcopalian, and likes to take on the fullness of our tradition and have some more fun with it. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two children and a dog, Spike.
Equipping Disciples for Ministry
Following Jesus example of calling disciples for ministry, we are entrusted with teaching and mentoring people of the spiritual journey. In a spirit of growing, learning and humility, we will explore how offer experiences that invite, empower and equip disciples.
Jenny Beaumont is a teacher and trainer who has worked with children and adults in Christian formation for more than 20 years. Her passion for equipping teachers to teach children and young adults leads her to offer practical and spiritually filling workshops and seminars including all aspects of Ministry in Daily Life. Jenny is an Education for Ministry trainer and mentor and has a passion for equipping disciples and training for ministry. She is co-author of the Theses Are Our Bodies Foundation Book, Middle Module and Children’s Module. When she is not teaching or writing, you can find her in the kitchen creating a delicious mess, in the yard covered in dirt or on the couch reading almost anything.
Disciplesheep: Tending Your Flock of Young People
Navigating through the thickets and the briars in the pastures known as “Youth Ministries” can be challenging & yet it is one of the most exciting and joyful ministries within our Church! Join the flock while we share spiritual practices that invite our youth and the adults who accompany them into greener pastures where they can hear the voice of The Shepherd in the midst of busy schedules, travel, sports, etc.
Cookie Cantwell, Province IV Youth Ministries Coordinator, has been the Youth Ministries Coordinator, St James Parish, Wilmington, NC for 24 years. She is the Happening Coordinator in the Diocese of East Carolina and is on The Youth Advisory Council for The Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society. The deep roots within her life and within her Youth Ministries experiences are contemplative spiritual practices. She loves to read, needlepoint and hike within our National Parks.
Case study of a congregation focused on discipleship
The Christian religion is in flux. There is division and disagreement. There is anxiety and apprehension. Some argue the church has lost its way. Some just say church doesn’t matter… which seems to be a core mantra in Seattle, the city of my ministry. And yet, in this self-proclaimed none city, Epiphany Parish has nearly quadrupled its ASA in the last ten years. There are many reasons for this, but key among them is our ability to create a culture built upon the ancient practices of spiritual formation, where the unity of action overshadows the debates of doctrine. These exercises are applied against time and matter. The actions that engage time are daily prayer, weekly worship, Sabbath, observance of liturgical patterns, and pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The actions that engage matter are fasting and tithing. These are important practices to understand as they are core to the ethos of Epiphany Parish. This workshop is for those who would like to hear how this spiritual practices culture has developed at Epiphany and who wish to have a conversation about how this culture might be planted and grown in his/her own parish.
Doyt Conn grew up in Rochester, MN and received his Bachelors from Northwestern University in 1989. After college he worked as a Project Director for the international relief organization AmeriCares. In 1992 he joined the Hawk Group of Companies in Cleveland where he worked in manager and mergers and acquisitions. His final posting with the group was as the Director of Corporate Strategy. In 1997 Doyt received his MBA from Case Western University. Doyt was called to the priesthood from St. Paul’s Cleveland Heights, and ordained by the Bishop of Ohio in 2003. Upon graduation from VTS he worked as Associate for Pastoral Care at All Saints Beverly Hill, and in 2008 was called as the 10th Rector of Epiphany Parish Seattle (www.epiphanyseattle.org.) Doyt is married to Kristin, a family physician, and they have two children, Margaret, 19 and Desmond, 14. Doyt enjoys writing, watching soccer, hanging out with his children, hiking with his wife, and is training to climb Mt Rainier next summer.
Helping Lay Leaders Grow as Spiritual Leaders
Session Description Coming Soon
Dawn Davis is an experienced Anglican priest with professional human resources certification, specializing in training and development, and organizational behavior. She is currently serving as the Faith Formation Coordinator for the Diocese of Niagara in Canada. She also holds a doctorate in ministry in spiritual formation. Dawn is the creator of Revive, a new offering from Forward Movement, to help parishes facilitate growth in spiritual vitality.
Cultivating Youth as Leaders
Young people are members of the church and guiding them to step into leadership roles, take ownership of their faith and grow spiritually is a honor and responsibility of the church community. In this workshop will discuss ways to coach, guide and mentor young people through building authentic relationships.
Alice deVries has dedicated most of her adult life to teenagers and their spiritual formation by creating sacred space in which they can explore their faith through the spiritual practices of Ignatius Spirituality. Alice has served as a volunteer Youth Leader for over 11 years at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte, NC and is currently taken a role there in Youth Ministry, working with high school and college age students. Alice is a Communication Skills Professor with Our Community Listens. She is also a Mentor for Education for Ministry by Sewanee University Seminary where she facilitates a small group that focuses on spiritual growth through prayer, theological reflection and study. Learning to listen well has transformed her relationships, especially with her own college age sons, Trum and Gene, and has changed the way she chooses to walk in the world. Working with and learning from young people brings her tremendous joy and hope for the future.
Justice-Making in a Disciple’s Rule of Life
Mindful that justice is what God’s love looks like in the public square, Miguel Escobar will look at justice-making in two contemporary examples of Rules of Life, including the Rule for a Jesus-Centered Life presented by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the 79th General Convention. He will offer practical suggestions for incorporating this work into our own. Miguel Escobar is Director of Anglican Studies at Episcopal Divinity School at Union.
Miguel Escobar is Director of Anglican Studies at Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary. Prior to this role, Miguel was the Managing Program Director for Leadership Resources at ECF from 2010-2017, and worked as communications assistant to the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, from 2007-2010. He currently serves on the board of Forward Movement, the church engagement advisory board for Episcopal Relief and Development, on the advisory board of Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership program, and as a reader for finalist applicants to the Echoing Green Social Entrepreneurship Fellows program since 2015. Miguel graduated from Union Theological Seminary with his Master of Divinity in 2007.
Intentional Home Group Discipleship—Forming Disciples and Eradicating Aloneness
According to a recent study by Cigna, loneliness and lack of meaningful connection is one of the fastest growing health concerns in our country, a concern that stretches across our congregations. For many of our church members, finding meaningful relational connections in the midst of a busy modern life can be overwhelming. This is true for families, young adults, and our oldest parishioners, and a passing hello during the peace does not suffice as a meaningful interaction. In addition to the problem of connection, we as a church are also facing a crisis of formation – a crisis that is impacting the sustainability of congregations across the board. What if there was a way to address both of these needs at once? What if there was a way to begin to eradicate loneliness, while forming disciples? Would you try it? If so, then come and learn about the Ministry of Intentional Home Groups.
Jerusalem Greer is the Project Evangelist for Baptized for Life: An Episcopal Discipleship Initiative from VTS, in addition, she is working on The Way of Love team for The Episcopal Church. She has also contributed to the Episcopal Evangelism Initiatives, Episcopal Relief and Development’s Abundant Life Garden Project, Forma’s Faith-at-Home resources, and serves as the Director of Formation and Connecting at St. Peter’s Episcopal in Conway, Arkansas. She lives with her husband and two teenage sons in rural Arkansas and is the author of At Home in this Life: Finding Peace at the Crossroads of Unraveled Dreams and Beautiful Surprises, and A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together. As a family they are attempting to live a slower version of the modern life. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t She writes about all of this and more at jerusalemgreer.com
Knowing Our Story, So We Can Tell Our Story: Scripture Engagement in Your Congregation
Scott and Miriam will share their own stories of transformation from engagement with scripture, and they’ll offer plenty of tips, tricks, and tools to get your congregation drawn into the wonder and awe of the Bible. There will also be plenty of time for you to share what has worked and to ask about what has not worked.
Miriam McKenney is director of development for Forward Movement and writes and edits Daily Devo: Devotions for Families. She finds extreme joy in parenting her three girls. McKenney met her husband at the 1981 Union of Black Episcopalians conference. She was a children’s librarian and school media specialist for twenty years. Miriam has discovered a love of outdoor fitness in extreme temperatures, believing there is no bad weather, just incorrect clothing choices.
Scott Gunn is executive director of Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church whose mission is to inspire disciples and to empower evangelists. Prior to that, he was a parish priest in the Diocese of Rhode Island. He travels widely as a preacher, retreat leader, and speaker. You can follow him on twitter (@scottagunn) or read his blog at www.sevenwholedays.org.
Communication for ConnectionTrue discipleship requires connection. Connection with God, with ourselves, and with others. We are wired for connection and how we communicate is critical to developing lasting connections. In this workshop, we will look at our innate need for connection, the biggest obstacles to effective communication, and what you can do to move past those obstacles. Plus you’ll be provided with simple tools you can use to strengthen your discipleship efforts.
Makeda Pennycooke has 20+ years of experience in leadership and personal development, including 12 years serving on a Church Planting leadership team. Four years ago her spiritual journey took an unexpected turn when she found herself questioning everything she once believed. Following Divine guidance, she found herself at an Episcopal Church with little to no prior exposure to the Anglican tradition. As her faith unraveled, her personal discipleship and spiritual practices, as well as the support of the Christ Church clergy helped her reimagine her connection with the Divine. She now serves as lay member of the Adult Formation Team at Christ Episcopal Church where she facilitates workshops and trainings on a variety of subjects including communication, visioning, and personal development. When not serving her faith community, she runs her own coaching practice supporting women leaders in finding their voice, owning their truth, and rising into their personal greatness.
Case study of a congregation focused on discipleship
(Session description coming soon.)
Bonnie Perry (bio coming soon)
“Update This Place”
The Episcopal Asset Map is a grassroots populated site that challenges Episcopalians to think anew their relationship to their worshipping communities and whose job it is to tell the story of the church. It stretches our ability and confidence in owning the ways Christ is moving throughout community. This workshop will give practical skills that you can use in your context to empower church folks to embrace and share their faith, even in digital space.
Tamara Plummer is the Program Officer for Asset Recognition at 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, particularly in the realm of social justice to the church community. She works to empower all 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.
Empowering Lay Leaders
As a church that confesses a priesthood of believers, cultivating leaders, is a core to our mission. In this workshop, you will learn about a model that invites members who are not in formal leadership in the church into an experience that teaches gives them a foundation understanding of the various ministries of church, provides deeper connection with other parishioners and gives them confident to step into leadership rolls.
Mary Davis Smart is an educator and long time lay leader at Christ Church, having served twice on the vestry as Sr. Warden. She is an instructor for the Communication Skills course offered at Christ Church in partnership with Our Community Listens, and has led several leadership initiatives within the parish to equip and empower leaders of all ages.
Discipleship and Public Policy
Discipleship includes using our voices to speak out against injustice. But what does this look like at the intersection of the church and our government, particularly given our current political climate? Learn how the ministry of faith-based policy advocacy can enrich our relationships with each other and compliment the tangible outreach ministries of our church. Also learn how the Office of Government Relations represents church policies from General Convention and Executive Council, and how you can get involved through the Episcopal Public Policy Network.
Alan Yarborough is the Communications Coordinator and Office Manager for the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations. Prior to this, he lived and worked in Haiti with the Young Adult Service Corps, working in two different positions. He spent two years in Cange working in economic development and communication and one year in Cap-Haitien with the St. Barnabas Agriculture Center as a project manager for their revitalization program. He holds a BS in economics from Clemson University in South Carolina.
Lay leadership for discipleship: a panel of parishioners from St. James, Wilmington, NC, St. James’, NYC and Christ Church Charlotte
(Session description coming soon)