Together we are revolutionary.

Bishop walking into sun

"You are our greatest resource."  Bishop Gutiérrez has called upon members of the diocese to share their talents - one hour a month or 20. Whatever you can give.  Start by filling out this simple form. Questions? Contact us at jenbtucker@diopa.org.  Here are some ideas to help you think about how you can help. 

 

2020: Unprecedented Response.

In addition to our pandemic response, the diocese was able to grow existing programs.  (See below for where we are on the goals set before the pandemic.)

  • Passed 2021 budget that did not raise gifts from churches and included a backstop for churches that are unable to meet their desired level of giving for the year
  • Created BOT Pandemic Crisis Assistance Program to fund parishes with lower income or additional expense because of the crisis.  (Distributed $358k to 22 so far.)
  • Awarded $587K in Growth Development Funds over two rounds.
  • Provided zoom business accounts to more than 55 churches
  • Provided guidance and assisted churches in applying for PPP.
  • Distributed free food gift cards to churches to give to parishioners.
  • Led/coordinated online worship for churches without priests. Led rota of Daily Office for broadcast via diocesan Facebook page.
  • Weekly calls with the Bishop and clergy; biweekly calls to churches without priests.
  • Creation of Digital Disciples team, providing free tech consultants to churches.
  • Enabled more than 20 churches to enroll in TENS to open online giving accounts with Tithe.ly. Provided online giving support/workshops, led webinar.
  • Created resource document for free to sliding scale services during pandemic: burial, counseling, medical.
  • Created guidance for making virtual life and services accessible for people with disabilities.
  • Created guidelines for outreach ministry during pandemic.
  • Created live-streaming resource guide.
  • Created Facebook metrics tutorial.
  • Assisted low-tech churches in creating and leading worship by phone.
  • Compiled Sunday Morning Prayer worship books.
  • Established parishes as safe places of isolation for healthcare professionals.
  • Provided free social media consultants to churches.
  • Created comprehensive COVID protocols and supporting documents.
  • Assisted churches with re-entry plans.
  • Provided ID cards for clergy to enter hospitals.
  • Created face mask programs for parishes. 1, 560 masks distributed to churches serving the community and shelters.
  • Created Code Blue protocols
  • Provided street outreach distributing 150 blessed book bags filled with basic toiletries, snacks masks, and sanitizer.
  • Coordinated parish based flu clinics and diabetes screenings
  • Coordinated emergency meal plan program for SGSB
  • Continued to lead vestry retreats and assist parishes with questions of mission, vision and strategy.
  • Created clergy committee groups with staff as liaison.
  • Bulk purchase of hand sanitizer for churches.
  • Creation of 24/7 phone line to answer questions.

In addition, we accomplished the following that were pre-set goals:

  • Increased reach of City Camp by extending program to other-abled children
  • Partnered with Villanova University to provide special tuition rates to the diocese for accredited programs in Church Management.
  • Stimulated growth at churches by providing vitality check (an eight-week program focused on visioning, community engagement, governance, property usage) for three churches in need of support.
  • Consolidated budgets (five to one)
  • Led an evaluation of Canon 9.3.1 when necessary but also focusing on identifying steps that can be taken to intervene to avoid invoking the Canon

Going into 2020, we set the following goals for ourselves.  We have listed them below along with an update on our progress:

  • Centralized hub for learning for clergy and laity.  We have drafted framework for Serviam, an online training institute, and have launched several modules with more scheduled to launch regularly in 2021. (70% completion)
  • Plant a school in an underserved neighborhood in our Diocese. Formation to start in the next 2 years.
  • Through partnerships, we created a network of 10 wellness centers in our churches that serve the physical health needs of communities.
  • Partnered with three agencies and interfaith organizations to effectively address poverty, hunger, violence. (Accomplished.)
  • Reestablish effective ministry to the shut-ins, the matriarchs and patriarchs who have laid the foundation. Established phone worship, created Morning Prayer books.  Still need to establish personal pastoral care.  (50% completed)
  • Plant three Canterbury Houses with one on the Main Line. This is in formation right now.
  • Establish a chaplaincy program for prison ministry and a renewed dedication toward racial healing. We revamped the anti-racism training and also created the Loving Presence Group which will fundamentally deal with racism through scripture, faith, and a revolution of the heart.  The clergy-led group is now inviting laity and working with Absalom Jones and the Anti-Racism Commission.  
  • Establishment of a time line for those churches that are closed. We have a draft of this for "restarts" but it is still waiting ratification by Diocesan Council. (80% completed.)
  • Plant five “churches” in six years. Darby Mission established as a worship community. We have restarted closed churches (St. Stephens Phila., St. John’s Norristown) and Crucifixion is scheduled for a restart. Also working to establish storefront churches (20% completed.)
  • Ordain 60 deacons in six years. Many in process, nothing definitive yet due to length of process. 
  • Established fund that would collect money to be used to combat poverty. (2019 Convention Resolution.)
  • Increased giving to the diocese by churches, using those monies to fund mission work and The Episcopal Church
  • Elevated issue of equal pay by creating committee to review. (2019 Convention Resolution)
  • Increased church collaboration through creation of Five Sacred Days, outreach efforts by five or more churches in each location

 

2019: Increased Mission.

  • Completed incorporation of the diocese.
  • Continued staff restructuring.
  • Relocated Offices of the Diocese to Norristown to save money and better serve all of our churches. Opened Diocesan Center to community through Halloween children’s event and Open House.
  • Approved sale of Wapiti. Sold property without opportunity.
  • Re-opened three closed churches, creating a process for starting new ministries in closed churches.
  • Stabilized churches in crisis - such as Trinity, Oxford and St. Simon The Cyrenian – using coordinated team approach.
  • Reduced expenses of missional congregations.
  • Pruned grants and ministry expenses.
  • Created collaborative ministry hubs to reduce administrative expenses and increase reach for churches
  • Created wellness programs in your churches, coordinating free staff (St. Paul’s Chester, Cristo y San Ambrosio, St. Luke’s Germantown)
  • Began work of Serviam Institute, to provide digital, online, and in-person resources, training, and collaboration to lay and clergy across the diocese.
  • Created process for increasing ministry viability in churches without clergy leadership.
  • Continued work with Black churches – Church of the Crucifixion (relaunch, programming), St. Mary’s Bainbridge (redevelopment), St. Simons and House of Prayer (leadership development, repairs), Church of the Advocate (diocesan personnel on staff)
  • Created new agreement with Iona for training local priests and deacons.
  • Revised and continue to direct, an anti-racism curriculum that is required for all new clergy and in continuing demand.
  • Created, and continue to direct, the first program for female veterans who are victims of abuse. Led female veteran moral injury retreat.
  • Created partnership with Villanova nursing to provide wellness courses.
  • Created summer program for Calvary St. Augustine.
  • Coordinated the formation of Hispanic ministry at St. Paul’s/Holy Innocents.
  • Completed an inventory of Church’s buildings and property which resulted in decreased insurance costs for our churches.
  • Coordinated program with City of Phila. to have churches host students in Fall.
  • Continued implementation of City Camp, providing it virtually in 2020.
  • Expansion of chaplains to retired clergy.
  • Created new purchasing rules and contracts.
  • Assisted churches that could not afford to rehab buildings.
  • Assessed potential for support and ministry of churches by geographic clusters with Deans, no longer just looking at them individually.
  • Created a process to identify and support Missional (DCMM) churches.
  • Created a five-year timeline and budgets.
  • Assisted in coordinating a regular gathering of the vicars of the Missional Churches (DCMM) to provide them with support and boost collaboration.
  • Brought Vicars within Diocesan Staff, for oversight and added support.
  • Recruited 14 priests to diocese since 2018, resulting from more than 100 in-person meetings and calls.
  • Implemented new process for those wishing to pursue discerning calls to the Priesthood and Diaconate.
  • Sponsored teaching days for clergy continuing education.
  • Implemented Data Story as a tool with great potential and learned to use it.Shared data packets and analysis with 10 churches.
  • Used data to create a comprehensive list of churches and their risk level. Identified all high-risk churches.
  • Creation of Bishop’s Office Hours, monthly in churches to provide 1:1 support.
  • Decentralized Youth Ministry to parish leadership through Dinner Church.
  • Created Diocesan schedule with two major events: Bowling with the Bishop and the Bishop’s Ball.
  • Published Diocesan Safe-Church Policies for Children/Youth and Vulnerable Adults.
  • Created partnerships with accountants to provide free and/or low cost services.
  • Coordinated online pledge resource for parishes.
  • Created coalitions beyond the deanery model to support churches based on their size and unique needs.
  • Engaged partners to provide free assistance with financial questions, website development, parochial reports, and property management. Cheii, a company out of the Diocese of the Navajoland, has an agreement with this diocese to create free or low-cost websites for our churches.
  • Created a donate function on website to support historically black churches in underserved neighborhoods, mission churches, wellness centers, youth programming, veteran’s ministries, and evangelism initiatives.
  • Assembled a list of Certified Contractors for parishes.
  • Facilitated vestry and leadership retreats. Annually, we lead 35-50 vestry retreats on topics such as evangelism, community engagement, and changing culture.
  • Published guide for Eucharistic Minister and Visitors.
  • Provide assistance on ongoing basis to 52 committees/commissions.
  • Provided website consultations to 10 churches, social media consultation to eight churches.
  • Initiated retreats with Standing Committee.
  • Began Live Streaming of Convention, enabling those not in attendance to participate.
  • Revised Conflict of Interest Statement
  • Created process and policy for churches in transition.
  • Expanded ministry to retired clergy through Chaplains to the Retired.
  • Began new mission for Diocesan Council.
  • Created human resources manual.
  • Created Developers Group
  • Moved the Offices of the Diocese to the Diocesan House, created Center City Office at St. Stephen’s in order improve accessibility to resources, mobility of staff, and take the ministry of the Bishop to places of need.
  • Bishop involved in larger Church and Anglican Communion
  • Launched new website with buy-in from 20 lay and clergy leaders.
  • Creating network of evangelists, securing people from 12 churches with goal of recruiting 100 people by the end of 2020.
  • Created the Liturgy Resource Guide.
  • Sponsored E-Formation Conference.
  • Co-Sponsored Discipleship Matters Conference.
  • Created Covenant with Episcopal Community Services.
  • Created partnerships with five universities, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Behavioral Health, and the City of Philadelphia.
  • Created the first moral injury support group for female veterans in the country and created mental health and Narcan trainings for the diocese.
  • Partnered with school district to follow at-risk students through first years of college (offering mentorship, scheduling college tours, college dorm starter kit, tutoring.)
  • Created Poverty Campaign to end student poverty; began by placing washer and dryer in public school.
  • Launched eight wellness centers in churches providing health care to students, homeless, and aging populations.
  • Creating ministry hub to provide legal services, medical care, etc. at St. John’s, Diocesan Center.
  • Restructured Archivist position and promoted archives as a resource for churches

 

2018: Reduced Costs, Streamlined Processes.

  • Hold on church assessments.
  • Bishop's salary frozen.
  • Continued to restructure and reduce staff.
  • Created timeline to discern use for closed churches.
  • Met our financial obligation to The Episcopal Church for the first time in at least 11 years.
  • Completed audit of all parish outreach programs. Manually entered that into Asset Map, which launched in April ’18.
  • Co-sponsored New Camino Conference with The Episcopal Church Latino/Hispanos Ministries.
  • Launched new website with buy-in from 20 lay and clergy leaders.
  • Realized substantial savings by reconfiguring staffing at Wapiti without reducing its availability to churches for retreats.Conducted diocesan-wide survey on use for Wapiti, holding an Open House for all to visit and discern possible use.
  • Lowered costs for churches looking to communicate by creating template materials for use.
  • Competed the diocese commercial insurance coverage by engaging Church Insurance Co.
  • Increased the transparency and amount of financial data on the DIOPA website by posting all budgets and monthly financial reports.
  • Created Anti-Gun Violence group.
  • Created Veterans Committee.
  • Created Recovery Ministry.

 

2017: Creating Transparency, Building Trust.

  • Bishop’s salary frozen.
  • Development of the $1.5M Growth Development Fund. The development of a special fund that would grant $300K a year for five years to assist for physical improvements that would facilitate the growth of churches.
  • No Parishes closed in 2017
  • Put all budget documents online.
  • Mission Review. Working with Diocesan Council a committee was formed to review what it means to be a mission church. This includes: how a church becomes a mission; the timeline for becoming and remaining a mission; the goals of mission status, etc.
  • Creation of new Congregational Life and Redevelopment Team. This team of ordained and lay leaders are available to congregations for envisioning, transitions and development of new ministries.
  • Creation of the Sacred Gifts Committee that has already redefined the terminology around stewardship and congregations’ financial support of the Diocese.
  • Creation of more than 17 new committees to address important issues in our diocese.
  • Restructured the Youth Program to serve as a resource for congregations rather than the source of programs.
  • Performed inventory of all physical and financial assets.
  • Initiated a review of all endowment funds. Identified extra money from unrealized gains in the endowment. Reduced draw on the endowment.
  • Held nine meetings on budget each year.
  • Held yearly open enrollment meetings for health care.
  • Analyzed diocesan bank services and vendor arrangements to create efficiencies and cost savings in the Diocesan Support budget.
  • Provided support and guidance to parishes for financial matters, benefits, commercial insurance, and property issues.
  • Promoted and arranged flexible payment arrangements for the payment of Sacred Gifts.
  • Reorganized and reduced diocesan staff, lowering costs.
  • Held six listening meetings for parishes geographically throughout the diocese to discuss the financial challenges and promote balancing the diocesan budget.
  • Created disaster preparedness plan and resources.
  • Offered Clergy Spiritual Days
  • Created the Congregational Life and Re-Development Teams
  • Provided support for Christ and St. Michael (Repair of bell tower)
  • Created committee to examine process for and support of mission congregations
  • Assembled a list of Certified Contractors for parishes.
  • Offered Office Hours with the Bishop out in the deaneries
  • Created Bishop’s Committee on Economic Development in conjunction with the History Committee.
  • Sponsored of the E-Formation Conference.
  • Co-Sponsored of Discipleship Matters Conference
  • Established membership with TENS, providing free stewardship materials to churches.
  • Canons began Sunday Visitations
  • Revised the process for ordinations with the Commission on Ministry
  • Began a mentoring program for new clergy
  • Sponsored teaching days for clergy continuing education.
  • Initiated meetings with Priests in Charge to offer more support.
  • Revised letters of agreement for Deacons. Sponsored a conference for deacons
  • Sponsored a conference for retired clergy.
  • Initiated reporting on spiritual health by clergy.
  • Created an interactive document on Ordination services.
  • Created Camino's Magazine.
  • Created a supply priest availability calendar for parishes.
  • Spanish translation of communications in email and on Website
  • Updated Diocesan Databases and rosters.  
  • Coordinated efforts to publicize the work of parishes through office communications. 
  • Revision of Conflict of Interest Statement.
  • Created Creation Theology Group.
  • Supported creation of Veteran’s Ministry.
  • Initiated expansion of Hispanic ministries/congregations.
  • Initiated lay chaplaincy program.
  • Created Bishop’s Bible Challenge.
  • Initiated review of Fair Share Process.
  • Created additional Budget Listening Meetings.
  • Emphasized Aligning the Budget (actual draw, expenditures, mission).
  • Reviewed diocesan insurance coverage and policy.
  • Created a team support system for CPG benefit administration.
  • Increased the amount of financial data on the DIOPA website. Posted the budget page on the DIOPA web page.
  • Ordered and completed a Review of Procedures at Wapiti (including conflicts, usage, etc.)
  • Used Nunn’s Fund judiciously to rebuild depleted balance.
  • Created DIOPA Amazon Smile Account
  • Supported the installation of the Octavius V. Catto statue and his memorialization
  • Reorganization of diocesan staff and their work to meet diocesan needs.
  • Increased diversity in staff hires.
  • Restarted regular Staff Eucharist.
  • Employee Manual updated.
  • Uploaded reports from church visits and consults are uploaded to the cloud for easy access.

 

2016: Listening Pilgrimage

  • Bishop begins his pilgrimage to visit all 134 churches.
  • Put hold on parish assessments for three years.
  • Created Diocesan Directory App (DIOPAConnect).
  • Created written Transition Process Document.
  • Standing Committee Retreat and Relational Covenant.
  • Suspended ordained ministry discernment process for one year for review and refinement.  
  • Placed Servant Year on hiatus to make changes and improve outreach.
  • Initiated Letters of Agreement/Contracts for Staff. Revised job descriptions for staff.
  • Created internal/external calendars for staff; external calendar for Deaneries.
  • Increased coordination with Cathedral.
  • Created Diocesan Resource Guide (now part of web site).
  • Created the Bishop’s Shepherd in the Field blog, communicating on a variety of issues.