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May 25, 2011

College for Bishops Residency Strengthens Episcopacy

College of BishopsThirty-five Episcopal bishops and other Anglican Communion bishops are meeting May 23-27 at Lake Logan Episcopal Center in North Carolina to participant in a three-year formation program sponsored by the College for Bishops. The Living Our Vows (LOV) Residency is designed to support the spiritual health and personal development of bishops who move through the program based on their dates of election.

Living Our Vows provides new bishops with opportunities to reflect on the gifts, power, and authority of the episcopate, nurture the resources and skills needed to be leaders in their Churches, and build community and camaraderie. The program is made up of two basic components: monthly peer coaching via telephone and an annual five-day residency.

“The College for Bishops is responding effectively to the Episcopal Church's canonical mandate for support of its new bishops through the Living Our Vows Program. Formation, education, and training are imperatives for leaders charged with oversight, and the College is the only formal vehicle for bishop formation in our Church and in the Anglican Communion,” said the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews, managing director of the College for Bishops.

“I appreciate the fact that the Episcopal Church values having spiritually grounded, emotionally connected, and well-trained bishops to lead their dioceses. The Living Our Vows Residency program embodies these values. I look forward to spending this week with my brother and sister bishops,” said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of the Diocese of Maryland who is participating in his third year of the LOV program.

“The depth of relationships built over these last three years of attendance is evident in the community of the wider House of Bishops. Conversation about mission, leadership, and vocation are a regular part of our time and I am grateful to listen and share in a collegial group who all desire the very best for the Church. I have looked forward to this all year and my class will look forward to continuing our gathering in the future,” said the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, bishop of the Diocese of Texas who also is participating in the third year of the LOV program.

Bishops from the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church of Cuba and the Diocese of Kiteto in Tanzania are attending the gathering. The bishops begin each day with prayer, Bible study, and worship followed by educational forums. Session topics include: Bishop and the Book of Common Prayer, the Emergent Church movement, ministry of the laity, leadership development, Title IV education and media training.

Faculty members this year include: Bishops Neil Alexander (Atlanta), Michael Curry (North Carolina), Dena Harrison (Texas), Barry Howe (West Missouri, Ret.), Colin Johnson (Toronto), and Clay Matthews (Office of Pastoral Development and managing director of the College for Bishops). Guest speakers include:  David Booth Beers, chancellor of the Episcopal Church; Henry Burt, secretary of the Diocese of Virginia; Sally Johnson, VP, Risk Management and Education of the Church Pension Group; Macky Alston of Auburn Media and many other distinguished professionals.

The College for Bishops is a virtual college and a collaboration between CREDO Institute, Inc. and the Episcopal Church’s Office of Pastoral Development.