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'Start Up! Start Over!': Congregational development is focus for February gathering

[Episcopal News Service]  Clergy and laity of congregations seeking rejuvenation and vision will gather in San Diego, California for a “Start Up! Start Over!” seminar February 20-24.

“Start Up! Start Over!” is a national training event for clergy and laity that provides basic congregational development theory and skills for congregations in decline and seeking a new direction, have hit a growth plateau and need new energy, or are thriving and ready for their next step.

The Rev. Charles N. Fulton III, director of Congregational Development and president of the Episcopal Church Building Fund will lead a seminar staff of experienced practitioners of church growth who have started new congregations and led parish turnarounds.

Seminar participants will learn practical, goal oriented skills to help them rediscover the optimistic, mission oriented spirit that marks healthy thriving congregations.  

Agenda topics include:

  • The basic principles of congregational development and church life cycle
  • Marketing & conducting a campaign to invite new members
  • Planning church space that is within your budget, appropriate for your future
  • New member incorporation - how visitors become involved members of a congregation
  • Leading in changing times
  • The use of multi-media in congregation life and worship
  • Managing conflict that accompanies change
  • Making your site and buildings inviting to the visitor
  • Understanding generational differences and reaching the un-churched

The cost which includes tuition, housing, and 10 meals is: $750 single, $625 double, $380 commuter. Call 800.334.7626 ext. 6003 or email to register. Registration materials can also be downloaded from

“Start Up! Start Over!” is sponsored and subsidized by the Office of Congregational Development and coordinated in partnership with the Episcopal Church Building Fund.
Future seminar dates are May 8-12 - Florida and October 30-November 3 - Texas.

Note: The following titles are available from the Episcopal Book/Resource Center, 815 Second Ave., New York, NY 10017; 800.334.7626;

To read: "Groundwork II: Digging Deeper for Change and Growth."

This book of study guides and lesson plans for Lent 2006, was posted November 29, 2005 on the church's website at and mailed to each congregation in December.

Based on the Year B readings for the five Sundays in Lent, the 2006 edition invites congregations to reflect on how they invite people into their midst and into the Episcopal Church. Each chapter of "Groundwork II" begins by setting the theme of the Sunday's readings and then offers reflections from various voices on those readings. Activities based in three tracks round out each chapter. The tracks can either be used continuously or mixed and matched week by week as seems appropriate to the congregation and its context.


To read: A Guide to Resources for Building Congregational Vitality by Richard Bass, (The Alban Institute, Herndon, Virgina 2005, 250 pages, $18.)

From the publisher: As a companion to the groundbreaking Congregational Resource Guide, an online resource produced by the Alban Institute and the Indianapolis Center for Congregations, this book is an invaluable resource for congregational leaders. It puts the rich array of important congregational resources into context by examining the key books, organizations, Web sites, and people that will help leaders gain an understanding of important issues facing their faith communities.

Richard Bass is director of publishing at the Alban Institute. He was formerly the project director of the Congregational Resource Guide.