Sermon preached by Bishop Paul Marshall at the Marriage of Andrew Reinholz and Kimberly Rowles. 1/14/12
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Prayers for Vestries and Renewal Assembly IV

[Charles Cesaretti]

On Saturday, February 11, 2012 vestry members from across the Diocese of Bethlehem will gather together at a retreat that will include prayer, bible study, conversation, and networking.  Entitled “Empowered Leaders, Renewed Congregations,” the lay leaders of our congregations will look at what God is preparing us to be by focusing on the leadership of the vestry.
 
The retreat is grounded in the beliefs of the diocesan Congregational Renewal Committee that service on the vestry should be a significant time for spiritual growth and formation for the individual member, and that vestries play a significant role in the spiritual health and renewal of the local congregation.
 
The goals of the day are to:
Empower the vestry to become more mission-focused;
Develop leadership skills of the vestry members;
Connect leadership style and the parish’s vitality; and,
Discover how to become a learning community of lay leaders.
 
A mission-focused congregation requires effective leadership from both clergy and empowered, trained laity who work together for the renewing of God’s people.  The Prayer Book reminds us “the Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members” (BCP, p. 855).
 
Although this is a retreat for current and future vestry members, every member of the diocese has a significant role – to pray for the vestry members as they prepare and participate in the retreat.
 
The Renewal Committee asks all parishioners to keep their vestry members in their prayers.  Through personal and corporate prayer, hold up each of your vestry members as they share in overseeing the spiritual and material life of your congregation.  Pray that they may receive the vision God has prepared for your parish, that they may receive the gifts, power, and energy of the Holy Spirit.  Pray for them but also let them know you are praying for them.  Talk with them individually about your prayers and support, send them a note, and email them.
 
Hold in your prayers the diocesan Congregational Renewal Committee and all those who will be facilitating or hosting the retreat.
 
“May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.”  (Romans 15:13)
 
Blessings in peace.
 
Charles A. Cesaretti
Interim Missioner for Congregational Renewal

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