Category Archives: Parish Development

Pathways to Vitality: The Tarantula In My Checkbook

pathways to vitalityA new blog post has been published.

The Tarantula in my Checkbook

Balancing a checkbook and other financial tasks can feel like opening a box of spiders, doing them well and with proper knowledge frees us to better understand how our lives function, how day to day living happens through our finances. And then, we are freed by this understanding to better be able to share with others what God has given us, so that they too may be freed to love God and our neighbor all the more deeply.

Past Posts

Pathways’ Pilot Parishes Announced

Bishop Catherine Waynick and Canon to the Ordinary, Bruce Gray, recently announced the appointment of Good Samaritan (Brownsburg), St. Alban’s (Indianapolis), St. John’s (Speedway) and Trinity (Lawrenceburg) as the Pathways to Vitality Pilot Parishes.

The goal of the Pathways’ Pilot Parish initiative is to assist these congregations in achieving enhanced sustainability by identifying their unique ministries, building vital congregational teams and developing practical financial and administrative skills.

Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., representatives from the Pilot Parishes will have an immersive learning experience consisting of an opening retreat, a series of workshops and small group meetings over the course of 18 months starting this summer.
“This peer-learning model is based upon action and reflection providing participants with the opportunity to intentionally integrate lessons into their congregational lives,” according to Rev. Dr. Carol Pinkham Oak, Pathways Curricula Consultant.

The central-Indiana Pilot Parishes also will host a curate residency program for Diocesan postulant, Erin Hougland, according to Canon Gray. “This residency program will provide Erin with priestly formation and leadership opportunities giving her the confidence and skills necessary for future parish ministry.”

According to Pathways Program Director, Melissa Hickman, the lessons learned from the work of the Pilot Parishes may be adapted and enhanced for other congregations in the future. “We believe the experiences of these parishes will help the Diocese create more transformative programming that supports sustainability, vitality, and innovation in our congregations and in our diocese.”

Diocese Names Pathways to Vitality Priest

Erin Hougland has been called as the Pathways Priest for the Diocese of Indianapolis. Erin is a seminarian in the Diocese of Indianapolis. We are very excited to have her joining the Pathways project. She begins her full-time ministry on June 1.

The Pathways priest will serve three congregations for eight months each, helping them learn and apply the concepts and practices taught in the first year of the Pathways Priest and Congregations program.

Applications to be one of those congregations are available through the diocesan and Pathways websites, or by contacting Canon Bruce Gray.

Erin brings both achievements and skills to the position. Her experiences in the non-profit world as well as in church ministries have prepared her well for the demands that will be placed on the Pathways Priest. She has a track record of accomplishments working with volunteers, as well as experiences in leading changes in complex organizations. She also has led training efforts and done curriculum development work, which will be part of the ministry of the Pathways priest.

Melissa Hickman, Canon Debra Kissinger, and Canon Bruce Gray did extensive recruiting for the position within the Episcopal Church. Each seminary was contacted by email with a follow-up phone conversation requesting applicants for the position. The position was posted with the Office for Transitional Ministry, presented by Debra at Transitional Ministry conferences, advertised by the Episcopal Church Foundation in their work with senior seminarians, and informal networks were utilized as well. From those efforts, we had four qualified finalists who were interviewed by Bruce.

If you have any questions about the Pathways project, please contact Canon Bruce Gray.

A New Benefit for Parish and Ministries

Statue of justiceYour Executive Council has entered into an agreement with the legal firm of Plews, Shadely, Racher & Braun LLP, to assist member parishes or ministries with introductory consultations regarding legal needs.

These consultations will be limited to thirty minutes and will be charged against a Diocesan retainer that was added to our budget for 2016.


1. Congregations or ministries seeking the advice of an attorney will need to be referred by the Diocesan Office.

You will start by contacting either:

2. The name of the requesting leader and their contact information will then be emailed to both that leader and George Plews, Diocesan Chancellor, with a brief description of the issue. Then George or one of his colleagues will contact you.

3. If the local ministry needs more than an initial consultation, the firm may represent the local ministry on terms separate from this Agreement.

POSSIBLE SUBJECTS FOR A CONSULT: (Not an exclusive list, just suggestions):

1. Personnel
2. Property
3. Tax issues
4. Lease or rental/facility use
5. Rectory
6. State requirements
7. Contracts
8. Insurance and insurance claims


Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF)

Episcopal Church FoundationECF is a lay-led and independent organization, serving the Episcopal Church since 1949.

ECF partners with congregations, dioceses, and other Episcopal faith communities, empowering them to engage in strategic visioning and planning, develop effective lay and clergy leadership teams, and raise financial resources for ministry. ECF’s programs, products, and services help congregations respond to the changing needs of the Episcopal Church in the 21st century.

Through ECF’s programs lay and clergy leadership teams bring about transformation, renewal, and positive change in their communities, live out Christian stewardship, and develop new approaches to mission and ministry.

ECF serves lay and clergy leaders at all levels of the Episcopal Church in congregations, dioceses, and other Episcopal organizations. ECF also works directly with faithful individuals through resources such as ECF Vital Practices, webinars and educational events, and a Planned Giving Program.

The Episcopal Church—The 79th General Convention

July 5th – 13th, 2018
Austin, Texas

The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years. The General Convention also includes Interim Bodies which meet between the triennial sessions to accomplish ongoing work and tasks set in the triennial sessions. The last session of the General Convention was in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2015. The next session of the General Convention will be in Austin, Texas, in 2018.



The Church Pension Group (CPG)

church pension groupOur mission is to serve…

  • The clergy, lay employees and their families
  • Parishes, dioceses and other institutions of the Episcopal Church…

By providing comprehensive retirement, health and life insurance benefits and other programs and services as approved by the General Convention and the Board of Trustees.