2019 Plan for Ministry

A copy of the slides presented by Tom Kokjer, Diocesan Treasurer, to the 2018 Diocesan Convention.

Tom Kokjer Ten-minute read.   Resources

The presentation was followed by a video Building Community in West Missouri which provides examples of how diocesan grants and funds are being used throughout the diocese.

Breakdown of the Ministry Plan

2009 vs 2019

Sources of Income 2009 vs 2019

History of Covenanted Portion Changes

2006 to 2019 Covenanted Portion

What We Learned from the Metrics Work Team

  • The metrics on the Annual Parochial Reports (APR) represent concrete measures of membership, participation and financial support.
  • The metrics on the APR in The Diocese of West Missouri mirror those of The Episcopal Church. For most there is a downward trend over the last several years.
  • The mirroring of national trends is true for both small and large churches.
  • Clergy leadership desires more ‘qualitative’ metrics, not currently considered on the APR.
  • Qualitative measures are more difficult to obtain and often require indirect measures to determine progress.
  • The Diocesan Council is currently engaged in examining the 2019 Plan for Ministry through a more qualitative lens to better drive desirable impact for the parishes across the diocese.

Comparing The Diocese of West Missouri to Similar Dioceses

Examples of Qualitative Lenses

From Natural Church Development by: Schwartz

  1. Empowering Leadership
  2. Gift Based Ministry
  3. Passionate Spirituality
  4. Effective Structures
  5. Inspiring Worship Services
  6. Holistic small groups
  7. Need–oriented Evangelism
  8. Loving Relationships

Detailed Breakdown

Breakdown of Administration & Governance

Significant Changes to Draft Budget

  • $68k in new budget reductions
  • $71k increase in investment income with utilization of Expansion Fund
  • Salary, wage & benefits include 1.5% COLA adjustment and 8.5% increase in health insurance expense.
  • $214k reduction (15%) in covenanted portions versus status quo.
    • Parochial reports positive
    • Investment performance positive

2019 Covenanted Portion Formula

  • Formula uses Operating Revenue less outreach for the prior two years.  The base is either the average of the two years or the prior year, whichever is lower.
  • The calculation on the base is:
    • 10.52% of the first $50,000
    • 11.37% of the next $50,000
    • 12.22% of the next $50,000
    • 13.92% on anything over $150,000      

Tom Kokjer is the Diocesan Treasurer.

Building Community in West Missouri

People from across the diocese tell their stories of how diocesan grants and funds are being used in their ministries and outreach.

Gary Allman 15 minute read.   Resources

2018 Gathering Presentations

Brief notes and useful links relating to the three Diocesan Convention Gathering presentations.

Five-minute read.   Resources

What We’re Learning About The Episcopal Church That Can Help Us Grow Spiritually

The Rev. Jay Sidebotham discusses where the church is going. Image: Gary Allman

The church, that wonderful and sacred mystery, is a community brought together by grace, as gift, not because of what church members have done, but because of what God has done in Christ. And the grace is just the starting point. The story doesn’t end there. As Annie Lamott says, the grace of God loves us enough to meet us where we are, but loves us too much to leave us there. So let me pose a few questions we must ask, prompted by the letter to the Ephesians: What is the way of life that lies before us? What is that way for our congregations, for our leaders, lay and clergy? What is the way for each person’s spiritual journey?


Inspiring Legacy Giving

John Hoskins provides information on establishing legacy giving. Image: Gary Allman

No additional information on legacy giving was available at the time of publishing. We’ll update this article when details are available.

Human Trafficking and the Sex Industry:  A Moral Challenge For The Church

Brittany Zampella details the horrific number of people involved in human trafficking. Image: Donna Field

Our Diocesan Convention was blessed to have Brittany Zampella as our speaker on Sex Trafficking.   She delivered an impassioned presentation imploring individuals to become aware of the “insidious injustice” of sex trafficking and the damage it does to trafficked victims, their families and our society.  Brittany emphasized the importance of abolishing the entire sex industry if we hope to rid ourselves of the horrific evil of young girls and women trafficked for the sole purpose of greed and male sexual gratification. 

Attendees were leaving the room after her presentation shaking their heads in disbelief that the problem of sex trafficking was so severe. Bravo and thanks to Brittany for a making a complex subject understandable. A  job well done. 

Mike McDonnell

Diocesan Convention in Pictures

The people and events of the 129th convention of The Diocese of West Missouri.

Five-minute read.   Resources
Friday, November 2. It wouldn’t be a diocesan convention if we didn’t take a group picture of all the assembled clergy (and clergy to be). Image: Gary Allman


Donna Parker, St. Mary Magdalene, and the Rev. Kary Man, Priest in Charge at Trinity Independence. Image: Gary Allman

The Gathering

The Rev. Jay Sidebotham discusses where the church is going. Image: Gary Allman

Convention Eucharist and Ordinations

Opening Eucharist of the 129th Convention of the Diocese of West Missouri. Image: Gary Allman


Convention Banquet. Image: Donna Field

Business Session

Fr. Sid gets elected (we’re not sure what for…) Image: Gary Allman

Convention Digest

The 128th Convention of The Diocese of West Missouri.

Curtis Hamilton Eight-minute read.   Resources

The 128th Annual Diocesan Convention of The Diocese of West Missouri Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

The 128th Convention of The Diocese of West Missouri met at the Adams Pointe Convention Center in Blue Springs on November 3-4, 2017. Below is a digest of events that took place and official actions of the convention.

Ordinations and Reception

The 128th Annual Diocesan Convention of The Diocese of West Missouri Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

At the Convention Eucharist, Mr. Larry Ehren (Grace and Holy Trinity, Kansas City) and Ms. Karen Mann (St. Mary Magdalene, Belton) were ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. The Rev. Jonathan Callison (St. Paul’s, Kansas City) was received into the Sacred Order of Presbyters.

2018 Plan for Ministry

The 2018 Plan for Ministry was adopted as presented. It is balanced and calls for just less than $1.9 million in both income and expenses. The income comes from diocesan assessments (67.29% of total income), investment income (27.32%), and other sources of income (5.06%). The investment income represents a draw of 5.0% from investments.

The Plan for Ministry as presented by the Diocesan Council called for the elimination of personnel costs from the Campus Ministries budget. An amendment was presented to restore this funding, but was defeated by the Convention.

Elections and Appointments

Counting the election votes at the 128th Annual Diocesan Convention of The Diocese of West Missouri Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

The Convention elected the following persons to various governance and programmatic bodies of the diocese.

Diocesan Officers (serve until the next Diocesan Convention ends): Curtis Hamilton, Secretary (Grace and Holy Trinity, Kansas City); Caleb Cordonnier, Treasurer (St. Paul’s, Kansas City); and David Powell, Chancellor (St. Paul’s, Kansas City).

Standing Committee (two-year terms): Mary Christiano (Christ Church, Springfield); Rob Walker (St. Peter and All Saints, Kansas City); Mtr. Anne Meredith Kyle (Calvary, Sedalia); and Fr. John Spicer (St. Andrew’s, Kansas City). After the Convention, the Standing Committee elected Fr. Jonathan Frazier (St. Peter & All Saints, Kansas City) as President.

Diocesan Council (two-year terms): Walter George (Church of the Redeemer, Kansas City); Jillian Merrill (Trinity, Independence); Marsha Patterson (Christ Church, Springfield); Mickey Simnitt (Christ Church, Lexington); Mtr. Laura Hughes (St. George’s, Camdenton); and Fr. Ron Verhaeghe (St. Luke’s Health System). (Note: Bishop Field is also allowed by diocesan canons to appoint two laypersons to the Diocesan Council for two-year terms. As of the time of writing these appointments have not been made.)

Board of Examining Chaplains (three-year terms): Dr. William Stancil (Church of the Redeemer, Kansas City); Dean Peter DeVeau (Grace and Holy Trinity, Kansas City); and Fr. Russell Johnson (Trinity, Independence).

Bishop Kemper School for Ministry Board of Directors (two-year terms): Pam Davis (Shepherd of the Hills, Branson) and Fr. Jonathan Frazier (St. Peter & All Saints, Kansas City).

Disciplinary Board (two-year terms): Mark Galus (Grace and Holy Trinity, Kansas City) and Fr. Stan Runnels (St. Paul’s, Kansas City).

Commission on the Ministry (three-year terms unless otherwise noted): Kathy Alexander (Christ Church, Springfield); Cossette Hardwick (Christ Church, St. Joseph) (Bishop’s Appointment); Karen Horny (St. John’s, Springfield); Fr. Joe Behen (Church of the Redeemer, Kansas City); (two-year unexpired term); Mtr. Ezgi Sarabay Perkins (St. Andrew’s, Kansas City); Dcn. Beck Schubert (Hospice Chaplain); and Fr. Galen Snodgrass (Good Shepherd, Kansas City) (Bishop’s Appointment).

Adopted Resolutions

Resolution #6, submitted by the Northwest-Metro Deanery, called for a reduction of the parochial financial assessment scale for 2019 to specific targets. The convention amended the resolution to call for a reduction in “a significant and meaningful way to allow congregations to direct more financial resources to mission and ministry at the local level.”

Resolution #7, submitted by the Committee on Dispatch of Business, changed the Order of Business in the Rules of Order of the Convention in accord with a motion from last year’s Convention.

Resolution #8, submitted by Mtr. Megan Castellan (St. Paul’s, Kansas City) and Mtr. Susan McCann (Grace, Liberty), called on the Convention to “affirm our support for all immigrants and refugees in the United States, especially those persons who are DACA recipients (commonly known as Dreamers)”. It also called for media outlets and elected state and federal elected officials to be made aware of the support of the Diocese for Dreamers. A motion to amend by removing language regarding support for all immigrants and refugees in the United States was defeated.

Resolution #9, submitted by the Commission on Ministry (COM), called on the COM to research and study the feasibility of implementing a diocese-wide curacy program. Language calling for a report back to next year’s convention was added by the Resolutions Committee before they recommended the resolution’s adoption.

Approved at first reading

Resolution #3, submitted by the Standing Committee, called for a change in the number of consecutive two-year terms a member can serve from two to three. This is a change in the Constitution of the diocese and must be approved by two consecutive conventions. In order to adopt this change, next year’s convention must approve the same change in a vote by orders and the bishop must assent to this change. Implementing changes to the diocesan canons are also required, but need action by only one convention to be adopted.

Referred Resolutions

Resolution #1, submitted by Fr. Steven Wilson (Grace, Carthage) and Dean David Kendrick (St. John’s, Springfield and Dean of the Southern Deanery), would have called for a change to the canonical definition of a parish. The Convention referred this resolution to the Diocesan Council for action by a committee to be formed to consider a rewriting of the diocesan constitution and canons.

Resolution #4, submitted by the diocesan Campus Ministry Commission, would have called for a change in the diocesan constitution to allow for representatives of campus ministries to elect up to four delegates to the diocesan convention. The Convention referred this resolution back to Campus Ministries for further study, working with the Diocesan Council.

Resolution #5, submitted by Dean Peter DeVeau (Grace and Holy Trinity, Kansas City), Curtis Hamilton (Secretary of the Diocese), and the Northwest-Metro Deanery, would have called for the next convention to be approximately one-half day shorter, and held at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. The Committee on Resolutions divided this into two resolutions (one regarding the location of the convention and one regarding its length) and the convention referred both resolutions to the Diocesan Council for further study.

Resolution not adopted

Resolution #2, proposed by Fr. Stan Runnels (St. Paul’s, Kansas City) and the Northwest-Metro Deanery, would have called for a termination of the lease of an apartment the diocese maintains in Springfield.

Bishop’s Shield

During the Convention, Bishop Field announced that a Bishop’s Shield would be awarded on Saturday evening at the Bishop’s Ball, hosted by the Diocesan Youth Commission. The Shield was awarded to Ms. Duchess Wall (St. Peter & All Saints, Kansas City) for her decades-long work in youth ministry at the diocesan and local level.

Curtis Hamilton is the Diocesan Secretary and attends Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Work Group Reports — Finance Team

Gary Allman One-minute read.   Resources

Diocesan Treasurer, Caleb Cordonnier reports on the work of the Finance Team at the Diocesan Gathering Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

The key work of the Finance Team has been the review of the diocesan budget — more generally referred to as The Plan for Ministry.

However, in addition to reviewing what is being spent the team is also looking at how funds are raised. In particular, the team has been reviewing the Project Resource 2 initiative from the Episcopal Church Foundation and the College of Bishops. At the Diocesan Gathering, Fr. John Spicer (St. Andrew’s Kansas City) and Mark Gallus (Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City) discussed new approaches to raising diocesan funds.

Mark Galus and Fr. John Spicer report on the work of the Finance Team Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

Project Resource provides the tools to inspire radical generosity and engage faith communities in this life-changing work. Project Resource is an initiative:

  • adapted to enable an entirely new culture in all aspects of financial development: spiritual, organizational, and managerial.
  • designed to train leaders how to return to their diocese to lead others within the diocese’s culture, geography, and cultural realities as they develop leaders and raise money.
  • configured to teach effective use of model documents archived online for easy teaching access.

Project Resource provides teaching, focus, and resources such that a team may return to their diocese equipped to teach and lead locally in areas of resource development. Project Resource does this by:

  • gathering the best resources, which not only deal with raising money, but which gets at societal shifts, organizational change, and leadership challenges.
  • providing diocesan teams time to interpret the content, session by session, within the realities and particularities of their own diocesan, cultural, and regional situations.
  • Empowering each team to leave with a working plan, with measurable objectives, tailored specifically for their own diocese.

Project Resource seeks to change churches’ culture and systems around financial development in the worldwide Episcopal Church. It seeks to instill and install effective financial development in diocesan teams of leadership.

Gary Allman is Communications Director with The Diocese of West Missouri.

Work Group Reports — Goals Team

The Goals Team presents their work at the Diocesan Gathering. Fr. Chas Marks at the microphone. Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

The Goals Working Team of the Diocesan Council emerged from the Council’s retreat in January 2017. There we worked together to find specific principles that would guide us in restructuring the Diocese of West Missouri so that we might more effectively pursue the mission of the Church in West Missouri to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

Out of that retreat came four “tests for success” for diocesan programs.

  1. Do they empower parishes to fulfill their part of our mission and ministry?
  2. Do they help make the Diocese more a parish of the whole?
  3. Do they direct our resources more outward than inward?
  4. Do they allow the Bishop to be more of a bishop than a CEO?

It is the Goals Team’s task to come up with some specific goals for the diocese as a whole that are consistent with both our mission as a church and the tests for success. Under the chairmanship of Fr. Chas Marks, we have met many times in person and remotely over the past year (about once a month).

Our Bishop has rightly said that a diocese is a “parish of the whole”. It is Episcopal membership of the diocese which makes the churches the local delivery points of the diocesan missions and ministries. If the churches are going to be the ‘hands and feet’ of our diocese, then they need to be coordinated and empowered to work successfully in their particular mission field. And for that, the Goals Team agrees that assessment relief is essential for our churches to be able to think beyond their current financial limitations. With the recent Diocesan Convention asking for a “significant and meaningful” reduction in parochial assessments, the Goals Team’s work becomes even more important in determining what is most important for the common work of the diocese.

Because of the geographic distances between the people of the Diocese, finding ways to bring us closer together in collaboration and communion is absolutely crucial if we are to be more a parish of the whole. Technological developments are making it more possible for us to have remote meetings from the Diocesan office and St. John’s in Springfield. While the technology is being improved in Springfield, the Goals Team also believes that a remote location should be established in the Central Deanery. The more we can see each other face to face and talk to each other, the better we can plan together and work together.

The Goals Team also believes that we as a diocese should dream together of what it might look like for the people of The Diocese of West Missouri to come together for fellowship and communion (which is actually the same word in the New Testament).

When it comes to the outward directing of our resources, the Goals Team commends the substantial support which the diocese already extends to Nourish KC (formerly Episcopal Community Services) and the Council of Churches of the Ozarks. These two organizations do much to alleviate the physical and spiritual needs of the people they serve. And the Diocese’s $60,000 support should continue. At a time when Americans seem increasingly divided, the Goals Team believes that the work of the Diocesan Diversity and Reconciliation Commission should be supported by a paid staff position.

As for the 4th test of allowing the Bishop to focus less on the administrative work of the diocese, the Goals team agrees that the diocesan constitution and canons are long overdue for revision. We look forward to that work being undertaken in 2018.

We are grateful for the contributions of the members of the Goals Team, which includes members of the Diocesan Council, but is by no means limited to them. If you would like to participate in our work, or have any concerns, please feel free to contact Fr. Chas Marks

The Very Rev. David Kendrick, Southern Dean and Goals Working Team member.


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Reflections on the Diocesan Convention

A story of mixed emotions encountered during the diocesan convention.

Mike McDonnell Five-minute read.   Resources

Mike McDonnell, St. George Episcopal Church, Camdenton speaks during the Finance Team’s presentation Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

In early November, Mtr. Laura Hughes, my wife Maureen, and I spent several days at The Diocese of West Missouri’s Annual Convention. The convention, for the most part, was very enjoyable with the exception of the last three hours which I have told people was absolutely mind-numbingly excruciating.

However, it was to all of us, I believe, a worthwhile expense of our time to attend, and finally, after 11 years I am getting a handle on understanding the process of how the Episcopal Church operates on a diocesan level. Having said this, I am not writing about the convention, but the emotional experience I had while attending. Three times I experienced tears rolling down my cheeks and a great twisting of my heart and soul.
I haven’t fully worked out the impact of these emotions or even the why, but they did happen, and I feel they occurred because of the profound presence of the Holy Spirit.
I was deeply moved by reading the November 3rd edition of the USA Today Newspaper. There was an article, by George Schroeder, about a six-year-old boy, Will Kohl, who had undergone a heart transplant.  Will was diagnosed, before he was born, with a significant heart abnormality: ‘hypoplastic left heart syndrome’ in which the left ventricle is severely underdeveloped.  He had been at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children Hospital for 295 days (as of Nov 3) and 44 days since he had his new heart.  Will has undergone several treatments that were stop-gap measures designed to get him to a point in his life where he could receive a new heart.  At 3 ½ years old, Will was placed on a waiting list for a new heart. Since that time, he had to be placed on a Berlin Heart (artificial heart) and suffer the disappointment of finding a heart, but discovering later that it was unsuitable. Ultimately, the hospital located for him a suitable heart. 

This is just one heart-wrenching story about the dozens of children at the Stead Children’s hospital. What makes this story a little different is not Will’s or the other children very serious conditions, but what happens on Saturdays during the Iowa football season. You see, the hospital is built next to the Iowa Kinnick Football Stadium.  On the 12th floor of the hospital, there is a huge window overlooking the stadium. It is where patients gather with their parents on game day. As the families look-on, the huge crowd of 68,000  suddenly turns toward the hospital (including the visiting team), and looking-up begin to wave at all the kids and their parents.  This Saturday happens to be a night game, and as the kids are looking down from their 12th-floor perch, they see thousands of cameras and cell phones flashing. The kids with their parents enthusiastically return the wave. The gratitude expressed by the kid’s and their parents through their broad smiles will move you to tears and remind you that love can be found in the middle of a sporting event. Kudos to the University of Iowa!

On Saturday I watched a presentation showing how the Episcopal Church is working with the Council of Churches of the Ozarks. We were shown a video, prepared by the Council of Churches, explaining how they reach out to the community to assist those in need. One of the stories in the video was about a young woman who was holding tightly on to her “wiggling” child, as she conveyed her thanks for the assistance she received. As she looked at the camera, I heard her voice cracking with emotion as she sincerely articulated her deep appreciation. We live in a world filled with cynicism, but at this very moment, I saw pure gratitude. There was no sign of entitlement in her voice, nor was there anyone whispering that she should not have gotten pregnant if she could not afford a baby. There was heartfelt gratitude and thankfulness that someone showed her love and thought she was worthy of being helped.

Finally, during Friday evening’s Ordination and Reception Mass we sang (and I say that very loosely for me) two of my favorite Hymns: “Holy Ground” and ”I, the Lord of sea and sky.”  Now in itself, that would be nothing extraordinary, but for some mystical reason my soul was stirred by the words in “I, the Lord of  sea and sky.”  In all three verses, the Refrain is repeated following the three questions, as follows:

1st verse, Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send;

2nd verse,  I will speak my word to them. Whom shall I send?;
3rd verse, I will give my life to them. Whom shall I send?
The Refrain after each is: “Here I am Lord. Is it I, Lord?”

To any of you who know me reasonably well, you will know one of my questions to myself and others I speak with, is about recognizing when Jesus is whispering to us, specifically about what we are called to do.  It has been a question I asked myself countless times during my life and to be honest, I have never, ever been satisfied with my self-answers. However, maybe the answer to my lifelong question is always to be open to God’s call and his request for me to use my gifts for him. Maybe some of that answer for you and me lies in the totality of the Refrain; “Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have, if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart.” Consider what St. Francis is attributed to have said,

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

So my question for you to consider when you hear that quiet whisper is, “Is it I, Lord who you have called?”

Mike McDonnell is co-founder of the Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking coalition, and member of St. George Episcopal Church, Camdenton.


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Ordinations at the Diocesan Convention Eucharist

Photographs: Gary Zumwalt Ten-minute read.   Resources

L-R The Rev. Larry Ehren, Bishop Marty, Fr. Jonathan Callison and The Rev. Kary Mann Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

On the Evening of November 3, 2017, during the diocesan convention opening Eucharist, Fr. Jonathan Callison was received into The Episcopal Church, and Larry Ehren and Kary (Karen) Mann were ordained into the diaconate.

Below you can read a little bit about each of them written in their own words.

Fr. Jonathan Callison

Fr. Jonathan Callison with Bishop Marty Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

My call to priesthood in the Episcopal Church is the story of seeds planted; some bore fruit, others may have gone awry, but God will get some harvest from me I pray! Very early in my life, I remember attending Mass with my Grandmother and praying the Rosary with her. She was a farmer and rancher from Western Kansas and a faithful communicant of St. Joseph’s Church in Ashland. She was a patient woman of prayer, compassion, and endurance. I remember, too, my experience attending Mass with my mother and siblings. We were a handful but she persevered! She took our formation in the faith seriously but also taught us to think about what we were asked to believe.

I attended Catholic schools and couldn’t wait for the day to serve Mass as an acolyte. The dedication and compassion of the priests and sisters that I came to know informed my life in ways that will be with me always. I remember asking – 2nd grade, I think- if dolphins were aware enough to be baptized. I don’t remember my pastor’s answer, but I still wonder at the incredible mercy of God, redeeming all creation. It was that sense of compassion and nurture, so strong in my rather matriarchal family that inclined my heart toward service. Others in my parish as a young man noticed my sensitivity and asked me to consider a call to the priesthood.

My years in the seminary were some of the most amazing of my life. I grew as a person and, eventually, after ordination, as a deacon and then priest. The people I ministered to formed me, and I will never forget those early lessons as a young priest. One of the lessons I learned was transparency and openness. I eventually had to come out to my bishop and share the growing concerns that I had about my sexual orientation and call to celibacy. Bishop Stanley was a loving, pastoral bishop, and he made sure I got the counseling I needed and the leave of absence to explore this new awareness of myself. I did not return to ordained ministry as he had hoped, but the seeds so many planted were not in vain. They just took a while to grow and mature.

Some years later, my partner and I were looking for a spiritual home and my sister, Heather — Yes! I notice the pattern of female evangelists in my life! — suggested the Anglican way. I have found it to be the way that I can most closely follow Jesus as a member of the Body of Christ. I will be forever grateful to the openness and love of reason, as well as Scripture and Tradition that inform our Anglican way. Chris and I were received into the Episcopal Church and have received so many blessings, especially the blessing of our marriage, surrounded by our parish family. In 2016, after much prayerful reflection with my family, my husband, and my parish family, I entered a process of discernment that culminated at the last diocesan convention.

I rejoice to serve this diocese as a presbyter of the Church, and I pray that all those seeds of mercy and compassion, planted by so many at so many times in my life, may finally bear fruit. Please pray for me as I preach, bless and preside at the Holy Sacraments.

May God be blessed Who is Compassionate and Merciful!

The Rev. Larry Ehren

The Rev. Larry Ehren with Bishop Marty Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

My first introduction to the Commission on Ministry was: “His is a unique situation.” To be honest, I was unsure how to understand that. Was I a stranger from a strange land, a variation of an adult mutant ninja turtle, or some other version of a church oddity? I chose to understand this as having a unique history and background in approaching ordination in The Episcopal Church.

The reality is that I was approved for ordination in the Roman Catholic Church exactly forty years ago. After ten years of education and formation in the Jesuit order, it was normal to be ordained a priest. I found myself struggling at that moment of my journey with a continued commitment to celibacy while being drawn to marriage and family life. All the while, I sensed a desire to serve in ministry. I completed my M.Div. at Boston College, and sought helpful guidance. This was a delicate moment of discernment in my life, and clearly a turning point.

Many years have passed since that time. For over ten years, I was a lay professional minister in Catholic parishes and on the Bishop’s staff here in Kansas City. I completed my MBA at Rockhurst University during that time in organizational development. My aim was to learn how the church could be more effective in its mission. I then served one year in Missouri State government, a time that clarified my call to return to formal ministry. I followed good advice to pursue a year-long Clinical Pastoral Education residency, which I did in a large medical center in San Francisco. It was there that I met fellow resident chaplain Christy Dorn, now my wife. We have been married over twenty years, roughly the same time she has been an Episcopal Priest. Our marriage has included the adoption of two daughters from China. Family life and ministry seem to be my rightful path in life.

After my clinical training, I served for over twenty five years as a board certified chaplain, Vice President of Mission or Director of Chaplaincy in several medical centers. My last position was Director of Spiritual Care at Truman Medical Center, Hospital Hill in Kansas City.

On my return to Kansas City, I experienced a renewal in my own spiritual journey. Although I was involved in the Episcopal Church for many years due to Christy’s ministry, I finally sought to be formally received at Easter Vigil in our own cathedral five years ago. Dean Peter DeVeau and I facilitated the Adult Catechumenate, called ‘The Way’, for a number of years together. I pursued Anglican Studies at Bishop Kemper School for Ministry and began the ordination process. I am currently half way through my Doctor of Ministry studies in Christian Spirituality at Virginia Theological Seminary. I look forward to many years ahead as an ordained person in The Episcopal Church.

And yes — what a unique but meaningful journey it has been — and it will continue to be!

The Rev. Kary Mann

The Rev. Kary Mann with Bishop Marty Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

I was born and raised in Olathe, Kansas. I remember feeling called to ministry at a very young age but I was not closely affiliated with any church at that time. After graduating from high school, I left Kansas City for about 10 years. Initially, I attended Fort Hayes State University and completed my general studies requirements. While attending college I was deeply involved in youth ministry. Eventually, I returned to Kansas City and earned a Doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine from the Cleveland University, Kansas City. I had my own practice for six years. During that time I began teaching biology at Colorado Technical University. This opportunity allowed me to discover that teaching was my passion. Healing and teaching, hmmm, not an accident I would say. I’m currently working as an adjunct professor of biology at Metropolitan Community College, Penn Valley.

The year was 2008 and as I was driving past St. Mary Magdalene every day to go to work I felt God nudging me toward the church and possible ministry. I began attending worship. It was the ancient liturgy that spoke to my heart. After about a year, I talked to Fr. Jason Lewis about my feeling of a call to ministry. I began an informal discernment process with Fr. Jason and Deacon Peisha, and a year later, I started the process in earnest. At that time Fr. Jason accepted a call with the Diocese of Kentucky – and I was without a sponsor and Mary Mag was without a priest. My forward progress was stalled for about six months. Finally, I asked Fr. Marshall Scott if he would be my presenting priest, and he agreed. So with support from Mtr. Virginia Brown, as my spiritual director, and Fr. Marshall as my presenting priest, I began the multiple twists and turns that would lead to ordination.

I thought I would attend Sewanee: University of the South, but God had another plan, as He called me to Bishop Kemper School for Ministry (BKSM). I was drawn to this new and potentially powerful idea of priestly formation that would allow postulants to keep their jobs while preparing to serve as bi-vocational priests that would then meet a great need in the church. I started BKSM and became a postulant. At the end of my first year I was clear as to my call, that of becoming a bi-vocational priest. I completed my studies on May 13, 2017 and was ordained a deacon on November 3, 2017. I am currently completing my transitional deaconate at St. Paul’s in Lee’s Summit. I am grateful for all the positive and powerful mentors in The Diocese of West Missouri. I feel I am in good hands. God willing, I hope to be ordained into the Sacred Order of Presbyters mid-year, 2018.

Gary Zumwalt is a member of the Church of the Resurrection, Blue Springs. He volunteers his time and talents to document diocesan events in pictures.


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Special Convention

Gary Allman Five-minute read.   Resources

Channing Horner reports on the work of the Communications Tools Team. Image credit: Gary Allman

On Saturday June 3, 2017, The Diocese of West Missouri held a Special Convention to discuss and approve the remainder of the 2017 Plan for Ministry (budget).

The morning session included reports from Bishop Marty and four teams established by Diocesan Council: Goals, Metrics, Communications Tools and Finance.

The afternoon session saw a completion of the team’s reports, followed by small team breakouts to provide feedback on the previous session. This was followed by discussion and voting on the one resolution and its five pre-filed amendments before convention.

All the slides presented at the convention can be seen by following the links in the Resources section below. Please note that the text is ‘as provided’ and that Resolution #1, Amendment 1-B was further amended from the floor during convention. Further details can be found in the draft minutes of the special convention which are also available from the links below.

Gary Allman is Communications Director with The Diocese of West Missouri.