A Mosque Grows in San Ramon

For the past 19 years, San Ramon, California has been the home of the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center. The mosque began with 30 families of South Asian immigrants from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh who held their first local prayer gatherings their homes—the same way St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Danville also began. Over time as more Muslim families came to the San Ramon Valley the mosque has grown to  400 families had outgrown its space in meeting the needs of its diverse multicultural congregation.  The mosque rushed to complete the remodeling of its expanded space in the Crow Canyon Commons Office Park in time for the beginning of their busy holy month of Ramadan.

The mosque had worked diligently with the city for months to navigate the planning process for the expansion and Mayor Abram Wilson showed up to help celebrate the opening of the expanded facility now in its shakedown cruise through this hectic holy season for the congregation.

The newspaper covered the opening.  Why wouldn’t they?  Unlike other places there were no protests or hassles as this was a cause for celebration.  The mosque has been part of this community too long for that.  These are our neighbors and we wish them well.

Fresh “2010” Episcopal Parish Profiles

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It has been a while since I surveyed for new parish profiles, so I focused on profiles from 2010 many of which were used in the successful search for a new rector.

This list is random so I did not choose them because I had evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of their process, but they do represent the current thinking of the congregations.

“Fresh” Parish Profiles 2010

Christ Episcopal Church, Guilford, CThttp://christchurchguilford.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/ChristEpCh-GuilfordCT+RevA.pdf
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Delaplane, VAhttp://www.emmanuel-delaplane.org/Profile%202010%20105%20COM%20PACT.pdf
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Tucson, AZhttp://gsptucson.org/parish/rector-search.html
St. Albans Episcopal Church, Hickory, NChttp://stalbansparish.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Parish-Profile.pdf
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, De Pere, WIhttp://www.stannes.us/profile.html
St. Bartholomew’s, Beaverton, ORhttp://saintbarts.net/files/St.Barts.Parish.Profile.2010.pdf
St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Springfield, VAhttp://saintchristophers.net/Customer-Content/stchristophers/CMS/files/Profile.pdf
St. David’s, Chesterfield County, Richmond, VAhttp://www.stdavidschesterfield.org/parishprofilev8.htm
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Plainfield, INhttp://s3.amazonaws.com/mychurchwebsite/c653/st_marks_parish_profile_03_2010.pdf
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Orlando, FLhttp://www.stmatthewsorlando.org/id11.html
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Benicia CAhttp://www.stpaulsbenicia.org/parishprofile.php
St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dekalb ILhttp://www.stpaulsdekalb.org/images/2010_St._Paul_s_Profile_03.17.10_1_.pdf

Looking for Edgy and ‘Cool’ Youth Ministry?

This collection of youth ministry links provides something a little more ‘edgy’ to be appealing to kids and still consistent with traditional faith values.

These are not your standard Episcopal Church resources but they do offer insight into what other denominations are doing to build churches and attract youth.

The Diocese of California is searching for a new Diocesan Youth Minister with conversations beginning this month.  If you care about youth ministry pick one to attend.

Meanwhile, many creative people in the Diocese and our Episcopal faith tradition have great ideas that worked for them and plenty that did not.  Our job is to get them to tell us what they learned from both their successes and failures.

Because as parents, teachers and friends of kids we are still trying to figure it out.



Brock Morgan’s YM Blog YM Trinity Church, Greenwich CT
Center for Parent/Youth Understanding Resources from nonprofit focused on kids and family relationships
Couch Radical Methodist YM search for new ideas
Dan Kimball’s Vintage Faith 


Vintage Faith Church, Santa Cruz Ideas for Youth Ministry
Dana Schmoyer’s Blog 

Life in Student Ministry

HERS:YM’s wife perspective. 

HIS: Youth minister in Minnesota

Emerging Youth Ministry Dan Haugh’s experience as a YM in New York


Mark Batterson, DC YM blog and services about new kind of church
Frontier Youth Trust UK program for youth at risk
http://www.anewkindofyouthministry.com/ Chris Folmsbee’s approach to YM in a nonprofit YM publishing company
http://www.reyouthpastor.com/ Running Experiments in techniques for youth ministry

This list just whets your appetite.  there are plenty more where these came from.

Episcopal Church News & Information Resources

Stop laughing and check out some of these useful news and information resources to keep current on church news events, controversies and developments close to home and around the Communion:

Pacific Church News. The journal of the Episcopal Church in Northern California. Subscribe to the online version and get it by email each time. This is a useful way for the search committee members to keep up on church issues across Dioceses.

DioBytes is the DioCAL version of St. Timothy’s 411.  You can also subscribe to it by email.  It posts all the current DioCal rector and priest vacancies and the status of their search processes. Archives of previous DioBytes are available at http://community.icontact.com/p/diobytes

Anglicans Online. An independent and progressive website for Anglicans worldwide with the most comprehensive links to numerous key websites of interest to Anglicans.

Episcopal News Service. Top Stories, Daily News and Features. See www.Episcopalian.org for current Church news.

The Book of Common Prayer as compiled by Charles Wohlers, with links to various on-line versions.

Anglican Church Timeline, from AD 44 through to the present.

Maine to California Call Process Lessons

I have continued to ‘collect’ parish profiles that offer the search committee information, good examples and insight from the experience of other congregations.  This latest batch starts with your worst nightmare—a process nearly completed but the candidate backs out and the search process must start all over.  This is not an omen or warning just a reminder that sometimes “stuff happens” and we must be flexible and adapt.

This group of profiles also includes some from the Diocese of California where there are currently twelve open search processes looking for rectors.  Candidates who look at one will surely look at other opportunities in the Bay Area and while this is not a competition between parishes it reminds up that our “curb appeal” and first impression can make a powerful difference.

Here is my latest list of profile and parish examples to consider:

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Camden, Maine.  This profile is insightful because after calling a new rector, the candidate changed his mind and they had to start over.  It took more than two years to finish their process.

St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Saratoga, California.   This is an interesting case study and profile because St.Andrew’s has an Episcopal Day School that some at St. Timothy’s have dreamed of having.  The school has grown and almost seems larger than the church itself by becoming the focus of the parish.  The profile provides a sense of priorities and proportions.  See the rector search process timeline and click on the steps to get a sense of how arduous the discernment and call process is in a complex setting. The complete search process package used by St Andrews is one of the best I have found.

St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church, Livermore, California.  St. Bart’s in also in the midst of a rector call process and has named the Rev Debra Low-Skinner as Interim Rector.  Their parish web site has a useful status update on that call process available to the congregation.

St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, San Francisco. The Rector at St. Mary the Virgin departs in January 2011 and they will begin the same search for a new rector as St. Timothy’s.  These two parishes share many similarities and concerns and for the search committees there will surely be opportunities to compare notes, share resources, and build a stronger future working relationship with this parish. I have included their home page link above but here is nothing yet posted on it about their call process.

St. Stephen’s Belvedere Episcopal Church, Tiburon.  St. Stephen’s is one of the twelve parishes in the Diocese of California searching for a new Rector.  This means a lot of candidates will be looking at the Bay Area opportunities.  The parishes range in size from small to the largest in St. Timothy’s and St. Mary the Virgin.

Christ Episcopal Church, Sausalito, California.  If you have never visited this small, quaint church it really is worth the ferry ride to Sausalito.  Christ Church is also involved in a rector call process and the Rev Amanda Rutherford May is the Interim Rector.  This parish has developed a simple, yet heartfelt Rector Profile Letter to describe who they are and what they seek in a new rector preferring to let their location speak for itself.

Lessons Learned
  • God already knows who the next Rector of St. Timothy’s will be. The job of the search committee is to get the congregation to discern prayerfully, openly, and transparently build a consensus around what it seeks to be in the service of Christ.  The search process is 80% discernment (who are we, what do we believe, how do we tell our story, how do we live our story day by day?) and 20% execution (get discernment process right so we develop a consensus, prepare a parish profile congregation supports, define the call criteria and job specification to be clear what we seek, invite candidates, screen candidates against call criteria, narrow the field to finalists, visit and pray, make the call.) Sounds easy, right?  It is if we let God guide us along the way and re-learn the lessons of loving one another as He loved us.
  • Do it Right so you don’t have to do it Over.  Remember the 80/20 Rule.  Someone once told me finding a new rector is like painting your house 80% of the work is preparation. This is why I worry about artificially imposed deadlines (bring us finalists by year end 2011), because God does not work that way.
  • There is not a competition between the parishes for rector candidates. But candidates who look at DioBytes to screen Bay Area clergy opportunities will certainly check all of them out.  Here there is a perception competition to put the best face on the parish and make it attractive to the best candidates.  To call this a marketing campaign seems crass, but candidates will quickly get a sense of whether the congregation ‘has its act together’ and is ready to call a new rector.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 98 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 59 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 19th with 98 views. The most popular post that day was The Monsters Under the Bishop’s Bed.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were stumbleupon.com, mail.yahoo.com, healthfitnesstherapy.com, en.wordpress.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for discernablefutures, discernable futures, steven strane, discernable futures wordpress, and shelton ensley.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


The Monsters Under the Bishop’s Bed September 2010


DioCalCares: A Strawman for Mission and Ministry August 2010


CASE STUDY: The Church of the Good Samaritan, Diocese of Pennsylvania December 2010


Contra Costa Deanery Town Hall Meeting August 2010


About May 2010