RW: Connect

RenewalWorks: Connect is an online conversation series presented by RenewalWorks to hear from thought-leaders exploring ways to continue the work of spiritual growth. These discussions are especially helpful for those who have participated in RenewalWorks, but anyone interested in cultivating spiritual growth is encouraged to join.

To receive notices about our upcoming sessions and invitations to join them online:
Join the RenewalWorks: Connect Email List


Recordings from Past Gatherings: 

March 2022 | Rev. Gregory Bezilla

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A discussion with Rev. Greg Bezilla of Holy Trinity Church in New Jersey, on how RenewalWorks focused his leadership and the parish on deepening their love of God and neighbor. He explains what concerns initially encouraged him to embark on RenewalWorks in 2018 and how the church worked to implement the RenewalWorks’ Leadership Team recommendations over the subsequent 3 years. In Fall 2021, Holy Trinity returned to RenewalWorks as a way to measure those efforts. Their results were indeed different and included growth in many important measures.

December 2021 | Rev. Rhonda Lee, Miriam McKinney, Rev. Scott Gunn & Rev. Elsa Worth

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Prayer is an essential practice for spiritual growth and vitality–a primary way Christians fulfill the Great Commandment to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves. How can we strengthen our personal prayer practices? How can we teach our parishioners accessible, innovative ways to pray? This session discusses prayer practices and is led by:

Rhonda Mawhood Lee – Episcopal priest, writer, and spiritual director recently authored the book, Seek and You Will Find: Discovering A Practice of Prayer.
Scott Gunn – Episcopal priest, Executive Director of Forward Movement, and author.
Miriam McKinney – Lay Leader and Director of Development & Mission Engagement at Forward Movement.
Elsa Worth – Rector of St. James, Keene, New Hampshire, and recent RenewalWorks participant. Elsa has created some innovative online video prayer prompts to guide her congregation in deepening their prayer lives. Watch them here.

November 2021 | Jerusalem Greer & Rev. Jay Sidebotham

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Jerusalem Greer and Jay Sidebotham shared about how the My Way of Love Episcopal Spiritual Life Inventory can be used in small group formation.

My Way of Love is for those who would like to learn more about where they are in their spiritual journey and how they can grow spiritually–deepening our love of God and neighbor. Many have discovered the benefits of doing this work in community as a small group and the Episcopal Church has created some resources to help.

Explore the My Way of Love website to learn more and access these new small group guides.

June 2021 | Rev. Tim Schneck

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Tim shares his thoughts on hybrid ministry, including his 8 Tenets of Hybrid Church. Tim has been thinking deeply about what’s next for the post-pandemic church. Tim has written a free resource entitled Hybrid Church: A Way Forward for Church Leaders published by the Episcopal Church Foundation.

The Rev. Tim Schenck is rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, MA. He is the author of five books full of humor and faith including, most recently, Holy Grounds: The Surprising Connection between Coffee and Faith – From Dancing Goats to Satan’s Drink (Fortress Press). He is also the creator of the wildly popular online devotion Lent Madness. When not tending to his parish, drinking single-origin coffee, desperately seeking material for his syndicated “In Good Faith” column, or blogging at Clergy Confidential, he’s likely hanging out with his family that includes his wife Bryna, two sons, and dogs Delilah and Cooper.


May 2021 | Rev. Edwin Johnson and Rev. Chris Harris

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A discussion exploring how these parish priest  have navigated COVID and what they expect moving forward. Specifically, as we come out of a year of pandemic with all the longings and losses that have accompanied this unprecedented time, we explored these questions:

  • What will you hold onto?
  • What will you let go of?
  • What will you do differently?


March 2021 | Rev. Doyt Conn

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Doyt serves as Rector of Epiphany Parish, where he has been for 10 years. Doyt’s focus at Epiphany is on Christianity as a lifestyle and practice. Epiphany is a gym for the human spirit where we workout through worship, prayer, fasting, tithing, sabbath, pilgrimage, and living in the rhythms of the Christian calendar to become our most God-given authentic self. This focus seems to have captured the imagination of the community, and since 2009 Epiphany has grown three-hundred and fifty percent.

During this conversation we discuss the question:

How do we blend an incarnational and online parish that includes creating community, praising God, doing good in the world, and moving people along on their spiritual journey?


February 2021 | Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile

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The Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile as our guest presenter. Dwight, a leader in the Episcopal Church, joined the Luther Seminary faculty in 2008 as assistant professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership and was promoted to associate professor in 2014. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction from Stanford University, Calif., in 1995, having also attended Oxford University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn., in 1998. He completed the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Luther Seminary with a focus on congregational mission and leadership in 2008. He serves as Vice President of Innovation along with his role as Associate Professor.

In our time together, Dwight talked about practices they’ve discovered which have been transformational for congregations on the missional journey.

Dwight authored the book, The Agile Church: Spirit-Led Innovation in an Uncertain Age which brings theological insights together with cutting-edge thinking on organizational innovation to help churches flourish in a time of profound uncertainty and spiritual opportunity.

Learn more about Dwight’s work at Faith + Lead at Luther Seminary

As a follow up on neighborhood prayer walks, here is an example from Dwight about how to do that:
  1. Begin in prayer: ask God to show you what God might be doing or what you should be paying attention to in this practice.
  2. Go on a 20-25 minute walk around the neighborhood near you (if you are in an isolated rural area, you might drive instead). Pay attention to anything you think might indicate God’s presence or activity.
  3. Pause 2x on your walk to pray a prayer for the neighbors/neighborhood.
  4. Take a picture (as appropriate-don’t be creepy!) of anything you think represents something God might be up to
  5. Take a picture (as appropriate-don’t be creepy!) of anything you think illustrates something the people of the context care about or value.
  6. Try and strike up a conversation with someone on the street and ask them their name and if there is anything you can pray for them.
  7. Share your pictures in a gathering with other church members and interpret them together.

January 2021 | Dr. Lisa Kimball

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Dr. Lisa Kimball, who serves at Virginia Theological Seminary as the Associate Dean of Lifelong Learning and the James Maxwell Professor of Lifelong Christian Formation. Her areas of expertise include human development, experiential learning, faith formation, church history, and popular culture, adult formation, lay ministry development, adolescent spiritual development and program evaluation. (Do you get the idea that she’d have a whole lot to offer us?) Lisa is widely known and admired in the Episcopal Church. She brings grace and wisdom to the exploration of issues of Christian formation.

December 2020 | Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers

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The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, serves in the office of the Presiding Bishop as Canon for Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation and Creation Care.

We shared a rich discussion about the challenges to Discipleship we’re currently facing with the pandemic and racial reckoning. If you were unable to join us, please watch the recording of our time together.

Unfortunately, we experienced some freezing up with Zoom–thanks for your patience in sticking with us. We have reported the issue to Zoom and hope that it will not be a problem in the future.

Stephanie shared some wonderful resources in addition to her wisdom. Here are some links for your further exploration:

  • Jesus-Shaped Life/Anglican Discipleship:  The world-wide Anglican Communion is engaged in a season of Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making. Together, we are prioritizing the call to be shaped by Jesus and to encourage others in that journey. What we call the “Way of Love,” friends around the world call, “Living and Sharing Jesus-Shaped Life.” Read more about this here:
  • The Way of Love Resources
  • Church Cracked OpenRev. Spellers’ latest book, due out in May!

November 2020 | No discussion held

October 2020 | Rev. Canon Scott Gunn

Scott serves as Executive Director of Forward Movement, a ministry focused on discipleship. Scott will talk about his own work and share wisdom about how congregations can grow in spiritual vitality.

Scott, one of the creative geniuses behind Lent Madness, has just written a book called, The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus. This book builds on the vision the Presiding Bishop has articulated for the Episcopal Church. Scott has also been critical to the ministry of RenewalWorks and we are grateful for his support and for his presence in this discussion.

Some links to the resources Scott shared:

September 2020 | Rev. Canon Claire Woodley

The Rev. Canon Claire Woodley,  is the Canon for Ministry Support in the Diocese of Long Island. Claire is doing great work with RenewalWorks and other ministries to strengthen congregations and deepen the spiritual lives of Episcopalians in a big and diverse diocese. She has done this work for several years, previously serving as rector in the Diocese of New York where she chaired the Evangelism Commission. She brings great energy and creativity to her work, and a heart for the gospel.

Some resources Claire shared:

August 2020 | Jerusalem Greer

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Jerusalem is the Staff Officer for Evangelism at the Office of the Presiding Bishop and spoke about the work coming out of the leadership of our denomination, and how important discipleship and evangelism are to the future of the church. We are grateful to Jerusalem for her joyful leadership in our church, and especially for her willingness to meet with us. She has a lot to share about spiritually vital congregations. In particular, we heard about ways that the Way of Love and RenewalWorks are partnering. She shared some wonderful resources for small groups and evangelism. Here are some links for further exploration:

Update: RenewalWorks for Me is now My Way of Love: Powered by RenewalWorks. We are proud to announce this new iteration of our personal spiritual growth tool, in partnership with the Office of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church..

July 2020 | Rt. Rev. Rob Hirschfeld, & Canon Tina Pickering

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The Rt. Rev. Rob Hirschfeld is the Bishop of New Hampshire and Ms. Tina Pickering is Canon for Ministry Development in the Diocese of New Hampshire. They joined us in July and reflected on the work they have done in their diocese, using RenewalWorks in a number of congregations.

June 2020 | Rev. Dr. Dawn Davis

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The Rev. Dr. Dawn Davis, creator of Revive and is Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Director of Leadership for Ministry Programs at Huron University.

She shared some excellent resources and ideas for fostering spiritual growth and helping people find meaning online during a time of pandemic.

A prayer written by Marian Wright Edelman
God, who can turn our worries into wings of joys and our sorrows into songs of thanks, let not our hearts be so troubled by the tragedies of this life’s moment that we lose sight of the eternal life in your kingdom. Give comfort and solace to our companions who suffer almost unbearable losses every second, minute, and hour in our nation and world. Strengthen our resolve to replace hatred with love, tension with trust, and selfishness with caring and community. Heal, O God, all our children so that those who hate and those who are hated, those who hurt and those who are hurt, may grow up in an America and in a world of peace, opportunity, and justice. Amen
  • Revive  is a discipleship program to help active lay leaders-wardens, property and finance officers, committee chairs, vestry members, church school teachers, youth ministers, pastoral visitors, and liturgical ministers-grow in confidence as spiritual leaders. 
  • Training and resources for implementing Revive and other programs online. Dawn has curated some wonderful tools for learning to use Zoom effectively and other tools for online formation.
  • Love Letters: Weekly scripture meditations for church meetings (online, or in-person).

May 2020 | Rev. Ryan Fleenor

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Ryan spoke with us about how St. James’ Church, NYC has been creatively applying the learnings from RenewalWorks.  Also, an innovative idea for spiritual growth from another RenewalWorks congregation.