The first two-day "Strength for the Journey" conference will be held in Pittsburgh May 21-22.
More than 450 Episcopal Church leaders in the Diocese of Pittsburgh -- including all clergy serving in the diocese, parish and diocesan lay employees, elected and appointed diocesan lay leaders, and members of church vestries -- were invited to participate in the gathering that will focus on spiritual renewal and wellness.
A CREDO news release said that in the wake of the departure of the four diocesan bishops and other church leaders to non-geographic Anglican jurisdictions over the past few years, "a new mix of diocesan leaders both lay and ordained, some experienced, others in new positions, has picked up the mantle of leadership."
The goal of the two-day CREDO conferences is not only to provide respite from a long journey still underway, it is also to make space for spiritual renewal and celebration of diocesan life and ministry, the release said.
"We here in the Diocese of Pittsburgh are immensely grateful to CREDO and the Church Pension Fund for their sponsorship of the Strength for the Journey conference. I believe it will be a vital step in our rebuilding process," Bishop Kenneth Price, provisional bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said in the release. "We have a strong corps of leaders here in this diocese, but knowing that a network of support such as CREDO offers is essential to our work."
The bishop predicted that the conference would be "a first-class opportunity for us to take a giant step on our journey of renewal."
CREDO's other conferences, which last eight days, provide active and retired Church Pension Fund participants the chance to "examine significant areas of their lives and to discern prayerfully the future direction of their vocation as they respond to God’s call in a lifelong process of practice and transformation," according to its website.
"Now with more than 100 trained faculty facilitators in the four component areas of finance, vocation, spirituality and health (both mental and physical), CREDO is positioned to assist dioceses in transition and prepared to provide both immediate and long-term programming and resource persons who will help the leadership in these dioceses address the critical issues they face," the release said.
Additionally, CREDO said, two eight-day conferences for lay employees and leaders from all four reorganizing dioceses will be held at Duncan Conference Center in Delray Beach, Florida. The first will begin May 17 with 30 participants. The second will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 4. A Strength for the Journey-related clergy CREDO conference was held in November 2009.
The Strength for the Journey initiative also involves helping each of the four dioceses to implement Fresh Start -- a diocesan-led resource for clergy and congregations in transition. Such efforts are already underway in San Joaquin, with the other dioceses scheduled to begin this effort later in the year, the release said. CREDO is the lead agency of Fresh Start's three funding organizations (General Convention, the Episcopal Church Foundation and CREDO), and oversees curriculum, training, and support at the church-wide level.