New Clergy Gather for a 'Fresh Start'

New Clergy Gather for a 'Fresh Start'

By Sophie Smal, Communications Coordinator

The diocese's Fresh Start program is a two year cycle and is required of all new clergy and clergy new to positions in the diocese. The program is designed to support clergy and promote collegial relationships among clergy and diocesan leadership.

The idea is to create a safe environment for clergy to address transition issues and strengthen relationships so that ministry together is a 'fresh start'. Starting this year, one big change to the program was that deacons were included in the gatherings.

And since both priests and deacons participated, the Rev. Pam Gossard, deacon at Christ Church, Eureka, said she got a great sense of diversity because of the "gender differences, various age groups and experiences.

The chapel at The Bishop's Ranch, where both Fresh Start and Clergy Conference were held. (photograph by the Rev. Andrea McMillin)

"The biggest take-away was getting to know new people. It was time very well-spent, and everyone was so 'in the moment'. I'm very hopeful with what this diocese can do, because the people show such passion and expertise."

This year the program was set for three gatherings, one of which occurred in February, and the second, which landed right before Clergy Conference. This meant Fresh Start participants were at the Bishop's Ranch for four days, which makes for a busy week. The third date is set to take place in September and will include an orientation of the Office of the Bishop.

Despite the busyness of the week, rector at Grace, St. Helena, the Rev. Amy Denney Zuniga said, "Fresh Start was a great opportunity to connect with other clergy new to the diocese and new to cures. There was a tremendous diversity in the group, including newly ordained deacons and priests, seasoned second career folks, and people serving in a variety of positions.

"This afforded us the opportunity for rich and real conversations, which I think will be echoing in our relationships and in collaboration from the local to diocesan levels for a long time to come."

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