On March 1, Bishop Robinson sent this letter to all parochial clergy in New Hampshire. He is encouraging every priest to recruit lay leaders to come to the fall Evangelism Institute. Clergy: who are you recruiting to come with you? Lay people: has your priest been talking about this? Give him or her a reminder to start planning today!
Dear Parochial Clergy,
At our 2011 Diocesan Convention last October, you received a “save the date” card for our first-ever Evangelism Institute. The Institute will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2012 from 10am–3pm at the Opechee Inn in Lakeport, NH. This Institute parallels our Stewardship and Leadership Institutes and will train clergy and lay leaders on our two-part Evangelism Toolkit: the Come & See program and the Koinonia curriculum.
I have already added this event to my calendar and Paula Bibber has added it to the calendar of our yet-to-be-elected bishop coadjutor. Please make this event a priority in your planning and mark your calendar for September 22 today!
Registration for the Evangelism Institute will open on April 20. In anticipation of the registration, start thinking now about which lay leaders you will bring to this Institute. Hopefully you can name two lay people who will lead the Come & See program and the Koinonia curriculum. If not, at least bring one lay leader and share these roles between the two of you. If you can bring more—great! There will be no limit on registrations.
In 2010, about one quarter of our churches were planning to use the Come and See program. Our Diocesan Council granted thousands of dollars to make these campaigns happen. Also in that year, our diocese showed 1% growth in our Average Sunday Attendance, making us one of only two growing dioceses in Province I and among the few growing dioceses in The Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Jason Wells, Canon Charles LaFond and the Evangelism Commission have developed a toolkit that has reversed ten years of attendance decline in New Hampshire. Can you imagine what would happen for your church if you were trained to use these programs like you have been trained on diocesan Stewardship programs? Could you imagine what would happen for our whole diocese?
The Diocese of New Hampshire is never fearful to try “a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19). Commit to coming to the September 22 Evangelism Institute, recruit your best lay leaders NOW and let’s bring attention to the wonderful things that God is doing among us!
The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson