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In This Issue

Feeling called to ordained leadership?


December 23, 2014 
What's new this week:
Explorers' Retreat for those discerning a call to ordained ministry

The Explorer's Retreat provides an overview of the discernment and ordination processes as well as plenty of time for conversation about the diaconate and the priesthood. Everyone who desires to begin a formal exploration of a possible call to ordained ministry is required to attend. 

This year, the Explorer's Retreat will be held the evening of February 6 through the late afternoon of February 7, 2015 at the Procter Center. The registration deadline is January 23. 

Considerations prior to attending the Explorer's Retreat
  • Explorers should have been in serious and regular conversation with their clergy person about their call for an extended period of time (in the neighborhood of a year). Both the clergy person and the explorer should have done some deep thinking about the explorer's vocation prior to Explorers' Day as this day assumes that intentional vocational discernment has already begun.
  • Only those who have been confirmed or received in the Episcopal Church and have been active members of the Episcopal Church for at least two years should attend the Explorers' Retreat.
Learn more or fill out a registration form at:

IRA Charitable Rollover available

Special tax-free gift option for 2014

For those over age 70, it is once again possible to make tax-favored charitable gifts from IRA accounts.


On December 19, legislation was signed into law that extends this special opportunity for gifts completed in 2014. Amounts given in this way will count toward your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for 2014.


A total of up to $100,000 can be transferred directly from IRAs to your favorite Episcopal congregation or other Episcopal charities free of federal income tax. There may also be state income tax savings. You won't get a tax deduction for the transfer, but you will be able to exclude the transfer amount from your Adjusted Gross Income.


To make such gifts, it is important not to withdraw funds prior to a gift, but distribute them directly from an IRA to one or more qualified charities by December 31, 2014. For those with check-writing privileges on their accounts, this may be the most efficient way to make gifts directly from an IRA. This also applies to gifts previously made in 2014 directly from your IRA to a charity.


Check with your IRA administrator or your professional advisors for more information or e-mail the Episcopal Church Foundation at

Upcoming events
Dec 26-28: Winter Family Camp
Jan 17: Anti-Racism training (St. Patrick's, Lebanon)
Jan 24: Teach Us to Pray, Part 1
(Procter Center)
Jan 31: Teach Us to Pray, Part 2
(Procter Center)
Feb 6-7: Explorers' Retreat
Feb 20-22: Fully Alive young adult retreat (Chicago, IL)
Quick Connections
Interchange archives
Stories from Episcopal News Service
Read news from around the diocese 
Communities of  
Faith and Practice

Fully Alive: A weekend of engagement with improv artist John Poole

A young adult retreat in Chicago Feb. 20-22 
Fully Alive flyerIn his book, Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics, Samuel Wells defines improvisation in the theater as "a practice through which actors seek to develop trust in themselves and one another in order that they may conduct unscripted dramas without fear." Sounds a lot like life, doesn't it? Building trust, overcoming fear, conducting relationships, and making choices-all without a script.

Wells establishes theatrical improvisation as a model for Christian ethics, a matter of "faithfully improvising on the Christian tradition." He views the Bible not as a "script" but as a "training school" that shapes the habits and practices of the Christian community. Drawing on scriptural narratives and church history, Wells explains tenets that characterize both improvisation and Christian ethics. His model of improvisation reinforces the goal of Christian ethics-to teach Christians to "embody their faith in the practices of discipleship all the time."

Not everyone wants to do improv, not if it means being on a stage in front of other people.  But some of the basic ideas that improv teaches are tremendously helpful to the spiritual life, and we think that everyone can benefit from them.  Take a look at the materials below, use it to prepare, play, and experiment with improv tenets in your community, and join us for the Fully Alive retreat!

To learn more and register, go to 

The Fully Alive retreat is a creation of Episcopal Campus Ministries in Prov V, which includes the University of Wisconsin, The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois, Butler University, Purdue University, the University of Indiana, the University of Michigan, Kenyon College, The Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, Ohio University, Miami University, and many other luminous academic institutions.  The retreat is open to young adults (up to age 30) whether or not they're enrolled in school.

Prison Ministry 2015 Conference 

Prison Ministry 2015 conference The Diocese of Florida is hosting the Prison Ministry 2015 Conference, taking place March 4-6 on Amelia Island. If you have an interest and/or a background in prison ministry this conference is a must-attend event. 


Our keynote speaker will be Byron R. Johnson, author of "More God, Less Crime." We have a number of speakers and experts slated to speak who have real-world experience in making changes happen. 


The Prison Ministry 2015 Conference will take place at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach. Registration is now open. For further details, hotel accommodations and the registration link, please visit


This is a practical conference for those involved in Prison and Post-Release Ministries or thinking about beginning a prison ministry in your diocese. Attendees will not only worship together, but also hear national speakers who have real world experience making change happen while gaining useful tools to make a positive spiritual difference in the lives of the imprisoned and their families.


Become an ECF Fellow in 2015

The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has named over 200 scholars and ministry leaders as ECF Fellows. Are you an emerging scholar or ministry leader interested in becoming a Fellow? Do you know someone who could benefit from ECF's support as a Fellow?  The application for the 2015 Fellowship is now open.  




ECF Fellows are lay and ordained scholars and ministry leaders who are making a significant impact on our Church . Read about the work of our Fellows in the recent issues of the Fellows News: Fall 2014 andSummer 2014.

Please visit the ECF website to learn more about the Fellowship Partners Program, the application process, and be sure to review our list of Frequently Asked Questions. You will find profiles of the 2014 Fellows here and our complete list of all ECF Fellows here. Please contact us at the Episcopal Church Foundation, 800.697.2858, or email Brendon Hunter, Associate Program Director, should you have any questions about this program or the application process.
Repeats, reminders, etc.

Episcopal Church Parochial Report forms now available


Forms for the Episcopal Church Parochial Report 2014 are now available


Congregations should have received packets by postal mail last week - Friday, December 12. Each individual packet will contain the parochial report form, a card with the UEID and PIN that pertains to that church, as well as the cover letter and instruction sheet.  Workbooks for help in filling out the report are available online, and will not be included in the packet.


Online filing will begin January 2, 2015


All congregations in the Episcopal Church are canonically required to complete and submit the Parochial Report annually.  Data derived from the Parochial Report is used by the Episcopal Church Research Office, dioceses, congregations and the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church to track attendance, trends, membership and other critical information for the purpose of planning mission strategy.


Also available on the web are general instructions for completing the Parochial Report forms as well as line-by-line details listed in the workbooks. All forms are available in English, Spanish and French.

Confluence Episcopal Service Corps program now accepting applications


Did you know that the Diocese of Southern Ohio is home to one of the twenty-five Episcopal Service Corps (ESC) programs in the United States? The mission of Episcopal Service Corps is to develop and support a national network of intentional communities in the Episcopal Church. Our communities are marked by young adults:

-Serving others in solidarity, promoting justice in community

-Deepening spiritual awareness and vocational discernment

-Living simply in intentional Christian community


The Confluence ESC program is excited to announce that applications for the 2015-16 year are now being accepted at The deadline is Jan. 2, 2015.


Confluence service corps members are hosted by St. John's Franklinton, living together in intentional community in the Hospitality House. Members are placed with dynamic non-profit worksites across Columbus, including; Community Refugee & Immigration Services, Coalition for Homelessness & Housing in Ohio and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. During the course of the Confluence year, members worship and serve with the St. John's community, and share their experiences together in community through meals, prayer and ministry to the neighborhood with the Franklinton Gardens, Franklinton Cycleworks and other neighborhood partners. 


The '15-'16 program year is open to college graduates ages 21-29. While Confluence is an Episcopal program with a focus on spiritual formation, anyone of any faith is welcome to apply.  


Formation opportunities

TEACH US TO PRAY:  Learning To Pray and/or Lead Morning Prayer


(Including Training for Licensed Worship Leaders)

January 24 and 31, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Procter Center


Would you like to learn how to pray the Daily Office?  Would you like to know what is intended by the discipline of daily prayer and a bit of background as to how it has become an important part of the Episcopal Church's practice of prayer?


We require this training and knowledge of our licensed Worship Leaders.  However, we are opening up this opportunity for formation to those who have no desire to lead public worship but who do have a desire to learn more about praying the Daily Offices of the church on their own or in small groups. 


This training is mandatory for lay persons seeking a license as a "person who regularly leads public worship under the direction of the member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith" (TEC Canon III.4.4).  Other requirements of licensed Worship Leaders are noted below.  In this diocese, the licensed person exercises this ministry primarily as the Officiant of Sunday Morning Prayer in the absence of a priest. 


New Licenses: Persons seeking a new Worship Leader license must attend both days of training. 


License Renewal:  Persons currently licensed may seek renewal of their Lay Worship Leader licenses by attending only the second session, but are strongly encouraged to come the first session as well, especially if they have not officiated at Sunday Morning Prayer within the last six months.


Registration for the Training:  All who attend any session should complete the registration form found here and pay for lunch for the day(s) they expect to be present.  Participants may pay online or by check.  If paying by check, please register online, print out the registration confirmation and send it along with a check made payable to 'The Diocese of Southern Ohio' with 'WL training' on the memo line.  Mail it to the Diocese of Southern Ohio, Attn: Geri McDaniel, 412 Sycamore Street, Cincinnati OH 45202. 


Leaders of the TrainingThe training will be led by the Rev. Marjorie Menaul, Ms. Debby Stokes, and Dr. Robert Benson.  Questions may be directed to Marjorie at


Training Schedule:  Worship Leader training consists of two days of training held at the Procter Center on Saturday, January 24 and Saturday, January 31.  Each session will begin promptly at 10 a.m. (please arrive early to get coffee and settle in), and will end about 3:30 p.m. 


Cost:  $10.00 for each session, to cover the lunch and any printed materials.


Worship Leader Licensing Requirements:

(1) Worship Leader training (one or two sessions, as described above)

(2) Anti-racism training

(3) Safe Church training


(4) After all other requirements have been successfully completed, a request for licensing from the clergy person in charge of the participant's congregation. In the case of congregations without permanent clergy, the senior warden of the parish should submit the application.   



Greetings fellow formation pilgrims,


Are you a FORMA member or did you fill out a FORMA membership request at the convention? If not, and you wish to be a member, the form is attached. Please feel free to pass it on, and send out completed forms to me electronically (or fax or mail it to Canon Lynn Carter-Edmands at the diocesan offices per the instructions on the form) no later than Dec. 23. 


Are you planning on attending the FORMA Conference January 28 - 30, 2015 in Houston, TX? ( I am planning to go and this week will be seeing Lynn to finish making some of my own arrangements. Details for the conference are also on the attached form.


The form does ask if you are with a church where the church will also contribute toward the trip. Beyond that, costs for airfare/hotel can be reimbursed through the diocesan Office of Formation, but the funds are only available in 2014.


What do we plan, as an outcome from the conference? Anyone who goes to the conference is asked to also be part of follow up conversations on how we can grow support for formation efforts in the diocese, using FORMA as a foundation because of the free resources and listserv that are available to members. We can figure out - during the conference and after - what the top priorities might be, as well as how we can communicate them to the rest of the diocese.  We are hoping through this FORMA conference opportunity to engage in very open-ended, collaborative objectives.


Deadline for application and response for those seeking diocesan scholarship is DECEMBER 23.   


Questions?  Contact Deb Parker at for more information.  


Christ Church Cathedral hosts Trinity Institute 2015

2015 TI flyer

Job opportunities

Executive Director of Development 

Episcopal Retirement Homes (ERH), a mission-centered organization which enriches the lives of older adults in a person-centered, innovative and spiritually based way, is seeking a talented professional to lead a staff of five.

The successful candidate will demonstrate the ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships with residents and donors; possess exemplary listening, interpersonal, oral and writing skills. S/he will be a creative and innovative thinker open to new ideas and fundraising techniques and demonstrated ability to inspire trust across multiple constituencies. See more

Organist/Musician (part-time)
Trinity Newark, seeks a part-time organist/musician. Our organist of 15 years retires at the end of December. Our pipe organ is a 1957 Schantz Restored 2 manual 10 rank with 730 pipes. We have an Allen electronic that we currently use while our Nave is undergoing repairs to the roof superstructure. We anticipate expanding our music program. Required is one weekly choir practice with a Sunday rehearsal and a 10:30 a.m. sung Mass. This position is an interim for 2-3 months. The person filling this position will be considered for the permanent position. Contact the Rev. Dr. Ronny W. Dower, PIC 740.562.5356 (Cell).

Youth Minister (part-time)

St. George's is a family-oriented church situated on Far Hills Ave in the southern suburbs of Dayton.  We have about a dozen or more youth who are actively involved in our youth programs (grades 6-12 with a center of gravity in 8th and 9th grades).  We have very engaged parents who provide a lot of leadership.  We desire someone with a vibrant Christian faith and a commitment to sharing that faith with young people. The youth leader does not need to be an Episcopalian, although familiarity with our traditions would be valued. Further, we believe that parents have the lead role in forming their children as disciples and our role as clergy and lay leaders is to equip, support, and encourage.  At St. George's we have an average Sunday worship attendance of around 215 across three services (8, 10:30, and 5pm).  The youth leader would be expected to be present on Sunday mornings from roughly 9am to Noon in addition to leading the youth group's activities at other times (regularly at 3-5pm on Sunday afternoons).  The youth leader will work closely with the associate rector as part of our comprehensive family ministries here at St. George's.  This is a part-time position but the work will be rich with resources.  Prospective candidates should send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references to the Rev. Dr. Calvin Lane via email  Please feel free also to email with questions or call 937.434.1781 (ext 104).

Music Leader
Grace Church, Cincinnati, is seeking a musician who will help build up our Sunday morning congregation by leading us in a variety of inspiring worship music. Read all about it here

Director of Music/Organist (part-time)
St. Philip's, Columbus, has an open combined position of part-time Director of Music/Organist.  Primary responsibilities include selecting music for Sunday services, playing organ at one Sunday service each week, and directing the 15-member Chancel Choir.  To apply for the position or to address questions, contact

Procter Center announces Farm Manager job opening


Procter Center is seeking an aspiring farmer who is committed to sustainable agriculture and public outreach to manage our two acre produce garden and our conservation areas.  

As an on-going operation, the farmer will have access to the land, resources, staff, and support they need to operate a successful small vegetable and fruit farm enterprise.


See full job description


Submittal Requirements

Interested candidates should submit a resume, availability details, and salary requirements by December 31 to:

The Rev. Craig Foster

Interim Director

Procter Camp and Conference Center




Presiding Bishop's Christmas message

May Christ be born anew in you this Christmastide

PB KJS The altar hanging at an English Advent service was made of midnight blue, with these words across its top:  "We thank you that darkness reminds us of light."  Facing all who gathered there to give thanks were images of night creatures - a large moth, an owl, a badger, and a bat - cryptic and somewhat mysterious creatures that can only be encountered in the darkness.


As light ebbs from the days and the skies of fall, many in the Northern Hemisphere associate dark with the spooks and skeletons of secular Hallowe'en celebrations.  That English church has reclaimed the connection between creator, creation, and the potential holiness of all that is.  It is a fitting reorientation toward the coming of One who has altered those relationships toward new possibilities for healing and redemption.


Advent leads us into darkness and decreasing light.  Our bodies slow imperceptibly with shorter days and longer nights, and the merriness and frantic activity around us are often merely signs of eager hunger for light and healing and wholeness. 


The Incarnation, the coming of God among us in human flesh, happened in such a quiet and out of the way place that few noticed at first.  Yet the impact on human existence has been like a bolt of lightning that continues to grow and generate new life and fire in all who share that hunger.


Jesus is among us like a flitting moth - will we notice his presence in the street-sleeper?  He pierces the dark like a silent, streaking owl seeking food for hungry and defenseless nestlings.  He will overturn this world's unjust foundations like badgers undermining a crooked wall.  Like the bat's sonar, his call comes to each one uniquely - have we heard his urgent "come and follow"? 


God is among us, and within us, and around us, encountering, nudging, loving, transforming the world and its creatures toward the glorious dream the shepherds announced so many years ago, toward the beloved community of prophetic dreams, and the nightwatch that proclaims "all is well, fear not, the Lord is here." 


May Christ be born anew in you this Christmastide.  May his light burn in you, and may you labor to spread it in the darkness.  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, and it is the harbinger of peace for all creation.


The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Merry Christmas from St. Francis, Springboro


St. Francis-Springboro offers a YouTube Merry Christmas with The Rev. Edward Payne (Baritone) and Jenny Catalan (Piano)
St. Francis-Springboro offers a YouTube Merry Christmas with
The Rev. Edward Payne (Baritone) and Jenny Catalan (Piano)

  • Diocesan House will be closed Dec. 24-25 and
    Dec. 31 - Jan 1. 
  • e-Connections will take a one-week hiatus, and return to your inbox on Jan. 6. 
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Connections Deadlines
Didn't see any news about your congregation here? Submit your news! The deadline for each weekly e-Connections is every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

The deadline for Connections, the bi-monthy publication of the diocese, is every other month on the last day of the month:   
Jan 31 (Feb/Mar issue)
Mar 31 (Apr/May)
May 31 (Jun/Jul)
July 31 (Aug/Sep)
Sept 30* (Oct/Nov)
Nov 30 (Dec/Jan) 
Please send items to

*convention issue. Deadline may be changed in order to have all convention materials available for pre-convention meetings.
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