In addition to the mandatory business of convention, we are excited to announce some optional opportunities to gather with folk from across the diocese and learn from each other. In the days leading up to convention, we will offer on-line workshops in the evening. On the Friday prior and Saturday afternoon following the business meeting, we will offer in-person workshops at St. John’s Episcopal Church, in Johnson City. For those unable to join us in the upper East, we will record these sessions for your viewing later. Some will be livestreamed as well.
We value an equal opportunity for all to participate in optional elements of convention week as well as the business meeting. For that reason, we will provide childcare during the workshops and business meeting. So that we may plan for the appropriate space and care providers, we ask that you register and include the details needed to provide access for all.
Please scroll below to learn more about our online workshops and to sign-up for each workshop you wish to attend. Registration for each online workshop is separate.
During the two days of the in-person convention, we will offer four workshops, two on Friday and two on Saturday. A social will follow our Friday eucharist and lunch will precede our Saturday workshop session. Details about our in-person workshops are available below.
A Call to Reconciliation
with The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Augustine
Join us on Friday and Saturday, February 3 & 4, as we welcome the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Augustine to our diocesan convention for two special sessions on racial reconciliation and the American church. Each of these two in-person sessions are open to all – delegates, visitors, and the wider public. They will also be livestreamed and recorded for viewing later.
Union Ave. Books will be onsite to sell copies of Rev. Dr. Augustine’s book. For those wishing to read in advance, copies are available from your local bookstores and online retailers.
The Reverend Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine
The Reverend Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine (a/k/a “Jay Augustine”) is a multidisciplinary professional, author, and nationally recognized social justice advocate. In addition to serving as senior pastor of St. Joseph African Methodist Episcopal Church (Durham, NC), he is also a visiting professor at North Carolina Central University Law School and an adjunct faculty member at Duke University Divinity School, where he also serves as a member of the Board of Visitors.
Augustine’s most recent book is Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity and Inclusion (Baker Academic, 2022) and his forthcoming work is When Prophets Preach: Leadership and the Politics of the Pulpit (Fortress Press, 2023). His published scholarship on civil and voting rights, as well as other social justice matters, appears in law reviews throughout the United States, including the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Louisiana Law Review, Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, and the University of Louisville Law Review. His forthcoming article, on faith-based considerations for immigration reform, is being published by the Howard Law Journal. As a further testament to his written advocacy, Augustine also co-authored an amicus curie brief filed with the United States Supreme Court in a voting rights case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021), while serving at of counsel with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
As a leader who is deeply involved in the community, Augustine serves as the general chaplain of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., as a member of the board of directors of PartnersGlobal, Inc., and as a silver life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He is also a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Alpha Tau Boulé). As a pastoral leader who serves his beloved AME Church beyond the local congregation, Augustine is an elected member of the denomination’s Judicial Council (Supreme Court) and active in various leadership roles within the Second Episcopal District, including serving as a ministerial instructor on the Board of Examiners of the Western North Carolina Conference. Among his many notable awards and distinctions, Augustine was named Outstanding Alumni Brother of the Year by Alpha Phi Alpha (2017) and awarded President Barack Obama’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2016).
After earning an economics degree from Howard University, along with an active-duty commission, Augustine served as a decorated infantry officer in the United States Army. He subsequently earned his law degree from Tulane University, before serving as a law clerk to Chief Justice (then-Associate) Bernette Joshua Johnson, at the Louisiana Supreme Court. He entered the practice of law and held both publicly elected and appointed public offices. After accepting the call to ordained ministry, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary, as a fully funded scholar, completed a fellowship at Princeton Theological Seminary, and earned his doctorate from Duke University.
Dr. Jay Augustine is married to Michelle Burks Augustine. They are the parents to two college students.
Session 1 – Friday, February 3, 2:30 pm
Responding with Reconciliation: A Call for Prophetic Leadership to Address White Christian Nationalism and the Great Replacement Theory—Dr. Augustine will provide us with a realistic look at America’s racial, ethnic, and religious divisions and how said divisions are connected to Christian nationalism. He is calling on church leaders to promote social justice causes that promote the equality of all people. With roots in American history, his presentation will look not just at “the problem,” but will explore how America got there and how the American church can offer solutions. This workshop is largely based on Dr Augustine’s books, Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion (Baker Academic, 2022) and When Prophets Preach: Leadership and the Politics of the Pulpit (Fortress Press, 2023).
Session 2 – Saturday, February 4, 1:00 pm
Creating a Culture of Belonging: The Purple Church Project—Dr Augustine will make the case for the importance of diversity and inclusion while exploring some of America’s most divisive social issues (e.g., affirmative action, reparations, gender equality, and immigration). Additionally, he will explain how these same issues are also dividing the American church. With a “theology of gumbo,” reflective of the diversity of Dr. Augustine’s hometown, New Orleans, he will present a scriptural basis for how the American church can more fully address and develop these issues through a series of Bible studies, while also adopting a “secular and sacred” church calendar that creates a culture of belonging and excitement to welcome all people into a growing body of Christ.
Mental Health First Aid
Friday, February 3, 2023, 2:30 pm
Trusted members of our diocesan leadership, especially through the Bishop’s CoVid Advisory Board, will engage us in the urgent topic of mental health first aid. Dr Ronda Redden Reitz, Rev Dr Howard Hess, and Ms Dianne Britton will make a presentation and then invite attendees into small group discussion so that we might all:
- Increase our awareness of the need for mental health first aid
- Understand and address the deficit in resources
- Be encouraged in recognition of the signs
- Know how to connect folks to resources for health and help
Street and Altar
Saturday, February 4, 2023, 1:00 pm
Our very own Rev. Dr. Timothy (Tim) Holder, Rector of St Thomas Episcopal Church in Elizabethton will share their creative and energetic Latinx and Appalachian ministries throughout Carter County, TN. Join this workshop to:
- Hear stories of Quinceañeras, dedications to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and outreach through Back-to-School packs
- Hear music and stories of grounding heritage as an Appalachian community through bluegrass-based special services
- Find out how your community can reach deep into its own heritage
- Be inspired in how to expand your ministry field to include missing demographics from your area
Our pre-convention workshops will all take place on Zoom in the week of convention, Monday, January 30, through Thursday, February 2 at 7:00 pm. Please register for each workshop you wish to attend. Please note: All workshops are subject to be rescheduled as planning continues for each session in the coming weeks. To stay up to date on any scheduling changes, please register for the workshop topic of your choice and we will notify you of any changes. Each session will be recorded for later viewing on this website and on the diocesan Vimeo account.
Care of Creation: Reconciling All Things
Monday, January 30, 2023
7:00 pm, Zoom
In keeping with the themes of reconciliation and belonging, Dr. Andrew R. H. Thompson will present work from his forthcoming book, Reconsider the Lilies, on practices for building ecological community. Dr. Thompson is the Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Center for Religion and Environment for The School of Theology at The University of the South, Sewanee, TN.
Parish Financial Management
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
7:00 pm, Zoom
Parish finances are an important part of any parish’s ministry and mission. Beyond keeping the lights on (although that is important, too), good parish financial practices contribute to your congregation’s vision of themselves, long-term sustainability, stewardship, and fundraising. Join this workshop to learn about
- parish financial best practices
- parish financial lessons-learned
- how parish finances aren’t a chore to be dreaded, but a dynamic and vital part of your community’s story!
This workshop will be led by Nicole Seiferth, Parish Administrator at Church of the Good Shepherd, Lookout Mountain, and writer of the Episcopal Church Foundation’s Finance Resource Guide.
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
7:00 pm, Zoom
So many of us have either experienced a disaster or heard stories that hit too close to home. Join to hear Ms. Dianne Britton, Clinical Licensed Social Worker, present. Expect to leave knowing that you are not alone, and specific resources available to you, as well as how to plan for your own church safety.
Effective Parish and Vestry Meetings
Thursday, February 2, 2023
7:00 pm, Zoom
Meetings are often dreaded but are necessary tasks. Our very own Rev. Dr. Ken Saunders, rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Greeneville will share some techniques on leading effective, spiritually- and mission-centered annual and vestry meetings by focusing on planning, preparation, and purpose. Rev. Saunders is a Doctor of Ministry in Congregational Development from the Bexley Hall – Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation in Chicago, a Master of Divinity from the University of the South, School of Theology in Sewanee, TN, and a B.S. in Management from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He specializes in organizational systems, pastoral and relational ministry, and covenantal leadership and behavior. His recent research resulted in the development of best practices rooted in the baptismal covenant used in church human resources.
LENTEN LUNCH & LEARN SESSIONS
The Lenten Lunch & Learn series returns in 2023 after the annual diocesan convention. These popular workshops feature useful tools, resources, and best practices for the life and work of our East Tennessee communities. Each session will be on Zoom on each Tuesday in March at Noon. Please register for each workshop you wish to attend. Please note: All workshops are subject to be rescheduled as planning continues for each session in the coming weeks. To stay up to date on any scheduling changes, please register for the workshop topic of your choice and we will notify you of any changes. Each session will be recorded for later viewing on this website and on the diocesan Vimeo account.
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
12:00 pm, Zoom
Join Caroline Wood, diocesan Safe Church administrator, as she discusses the new Safe Church, Safe Communities courses and standing diocesan requirements. As Episcopalians, we have vowed to “strive for justice and peace” for every human being. The new Safe Church courses emphasize our baptismal covenant and how we are called to create a safe environment for our entire community. Caroline will also discuss screening requirements and best practices for tracking Safe Church compliance. Join this workshop to learn about the ways we work to keep our communities safe and welcome for all.
Expanding on ‘Connect’
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
12:00 pm, Zoom
Join The Rev. Dr. Jerry Askew, Archdeacon and Congregational Vitality Consultant, and Bro. Andrew Morehead, OC, Missioner for Communications and Evangelism, as they expand upon the third segment of Invite, Welcome, and Connect. Our Invite, Welcome, Connect, workshop for small parishes was engaging and packed with information. While we had time to touch on ‘connect’, we didn’t have enough time to unpack all the wonderful elements of increasing engagement and outreach. Whether you are a small, medium, or large parish, come hear how you can increase your connection in this Lent Lunch and Learn workshop.
Mission & Ministry Audits
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
12:00 pm, Zoom
Community Engagement and Space Sharing for the Modern Church
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
12:00 pm, Zoom
Partners for Sacred Places, the only nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to the sound stewardship and active community use of historic religious properties, brings to Eastern Tennessee its 34 years of expertise to help guide churches looking to engage with their communities beyond the stained glass curtain and working through the practical matters of sharing their space with others. Sharing space both provide resources to steward aging church property, while also leveraging the church building as a key tool for ministry and mission. This one hour webinar will explore best practices for opening your doors to those outside of your membership as well as recognizing the assets and amenities potential space sharers have by being your partner. Partners will also provide much needed practical advice that applies to any space sharing relationship. From calendars to security and from trash collection to rental payments, Partners has words of wisdom about all of it.
Joshua Thomas Castaño
Director of Special Initiatives
For Joshua, being raised in Paterson, NJ unlocked a love of diverse communities and a recognition of the power of heritage places. After studying art and architectural history at Oberlin College, Joshua returned to Paterson to begin a career in historic preservation, where his experiences shaped a profoundly community- and people-focused approach to preservation that combines engagement with economic development, grassroots organizing, and institutional networking.
Building on his interest in historic religious properties, Joshua moved to Philadelphia in 2013 to join Partners for Sacred Places. Finding an alignment with his passion and mission at Sacred Places, he has built a career serving in multiple positions, giving him a breadth of knowledge and experience across the organization. After a series of accomplishments in various roles, he now serves as the Director of Special Initiatives reflecting his expertise in developing new programs and leading innovative efforts that support congregations across the nation. Currently, Joshua leads programs that serve congregations in over six states that include capacity-building, technical assistance, community engagement, and capital grant making.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Karen, a native Philadelphian and trained theatre artist, started at Partners for Sacred Places in 2011 as their Director of the Arts in Sacred Places bringing together arts organizations who were looking for space together with congregations who have space to share and who were willing to share it with artists. In a 12 year span and title change to Director of Strategic Partnerships, Karen’s system of bringing entities together has grown to include any/all nonprofits including childcare, feeding programs, counseling, and new business entrepreneurs. Karen has developed a Manual of Best Practices for Space Sharing, guided contractual agreements between entities, written Space Assessment Reports, and led community engagement activities.
Karen has written many articles about space sharing and also served on a number of conference panels and webinars on the subject. She works with congregations and outside organizations to find the mission and vision alignment between them that will solidify their partnership and provide a solid foundation for their future together. Karen also works to negotiate and find compromise between entities, again finding a place where they both can thrive from sharing space with one another. Most importantly, she works to make the relationship a sustainable one for both parties. Karen has her BA in History and Drama from Washington College and an MA in Theatre from Villanova University.