Administrators from nearly 70 dioceses gathered at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City on September 24 for the opening reception of the 2007 Episcopal Business Administration Conference for Dioceses (EBAC), set to run through September 27 at the Roosevelt Hotel.
EBAC is an annual three-day conference sponsored by the Church Pension Group (CPG) and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), the legal entity of the Episcopal Church. Its purpose is to provide orientation, professional development and resource sharing for diocesan treasurers and business administrators in the Episcopal Church. The yearly conferences are geared towards enhancing the ability of these professionals to be of better service to the Church at all levels.
"This conference is one of the principal ways that we can connect and interact with the broader church through the diocesan administrators," said T. Dennis Sullivan, president of CPG.
Kurt Barnes, treasurer and chief financial officer for the DFMS, who delivered the welcome address on behalf of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, said this was the fourth time that DFMS has partnered with CPG for this conference and that it's "an opportunity to share and teach" business management, business principles, and financial management principles "with our compatriots across the church in various dioceses."
Conference organizer Linda Puckett, vice president of retirement and program services at CPG, said that approximately 110 people are registered for the conference.
Through workshops led by members of the DFMS and CPG staff, participants will have the opportunity to develop their professional skills, share resources and network with staff from other dioceses.
"There was an effort this year to expose the administrators to the variety of things that are going on both at the Pension Fund and at the Church Center and as a result I think they have a whole smorgasbord of choices to make," said Sullivan.
Workshops offered include: An Update on Clergy and Lay Pension Plans; An Update on the National Health Benefit Scene; Anti-racism Training; Communication Essentials; Web-based Safeguarding God's Children; Developing a Disaster Preparedness Program; Emerging Trends in Group Products; Implementing High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts; Using Parochial Report Data to Help Congregations; Web Self Service: Retirement Programs and Services: The Medical Trust and Church Life; Episcopal Safety Program; How Can CPG's web site Serve You; How to Present a Successful Business Managers and Treasurers' Conference; Retirement Planning Resources at CPG; SAS 112 and its Impact on Internal Controls; The Diocese Engages Addiction; Bring Your Technology Questions, Concerns, Tips and Tricks; Celebrations of Parish Anniversaries; Implications of New Workplace Values; Archives and Records Management; Do It Right: Episcopal Payroll Services; New Administrators' Follow-Up; and Real Solutions to Real Employee Relations Challenges in Real Time.
Conference presenters include Barnes, Puckett, John Colon, human resource director for the Episcopal Church; Vivian Harrison, human resource manager; the Rev. Jayne Oasin, social justice officer for the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. Robert B. Hibbs, retired Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of West Texas; Mark Duffy, canonical archivist and director of archives for the Episcopal Church; and Patricia Tucker, client services specialist for CPG.
"I've been attending these conferences for 26 years and I find them important because of the relationships and the networking," said Vince Currie, Jr., of the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast.
Juanita Williams of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands is an administrator for insurance. She has been attending EBAC for the past four years and said it is important for her because "it gives you the information to answer the questions asked by your parishes."
Puckett said that CPG will host a conference for parish administrators in October in New York City and another in November in Orlando, Florida.