Shifts in congregational leadership can be a problem and an opportunity. Recent statistics indicate that the turnover for all Episcopal clergy averages slightly over six years. Over 1,200 congregations will call new clergy leadership each year. Recognizing that the early years in a new relationship are formational opportunities, FRESH START equips and trains diocesan staff to guide clergy and lay leaders in these transitional periods.

Statements of Endorsement from Program Participants

  • “As a newcomer to the diocese, I wanted to commend the FRESH START program and thank you for not only the content but the context. Being brought together with other clergy once a month has provided an extraordinary gift: the experience of meeting as strangers and leaving as friends – friends who share the labor, prayers, joys and trials of the vocation to priesthood.”
  • The Rev. Karen Henry
  • Holy Cross Episcopal Church
  • Novi, Michigan
  • “After completing our work on the selection committee we were anxious that our relationship with our new priest get off to a good start. Fresh Start gave us helpful information about transition and made room for the intentional conversation necessary for making this transition positive.”
  • A Warden, Diocese of Niagara
  • “Fresh Start helped me to put the parish’s ministry in to much different “systems” perspective. I now see that our experience is not uncommon. Fresh Start helped move the parish forward in living the Gospel.”
  • A Vestry Member, Diocese of Los Angeles

Statements of Intent from our Sponsors

“The time of transition in clergy leadership offers a significant opening for systemic change in the life of a congregation – positively or negatively. Fresh Start creates the right kind of intervention and support to enable the best possible outcome for the opportunities presented by such a transition. The Episcopal Church Foundation, through its Cornerstone Office, is vitally interested in the health, wholeness and holiness of congregations in the Episcopal Church and the clergy who lead them. Fresh Start is a stellar program that enhances the leadership skills of clergy and congregational leaders and bears witness to the Foundation’s objective to enable competent, compassionate and faithful ministry.”

The Rev. Dr. L. Ann Hallisey, Director of Cornerstone
The Episcopal Church Foundation

“A good deployment process involves much more than merely finding the right “fit”. It involves a dynamic period of growth in the Spirit in which we discover the common ministry to which God is calling us. The issuance of a new Call is not the end of the process – it is the beginning of a new and exciting period of discovery. We have found that collegial support of clergy and lay leaders during this time of transition is essential to their mutual growth in ministry. Fresh Start helps to meet this profound need.”

The Rev. James G. Wilson, Executive Director (Retired)
Church Deployment Office

“Fresh Start acknowledges that clergy, congregational leaders and congregations, and the Bishop’s staff all have important ministries and that these ministries can be most effectively engaged when supported, informed, and nourished by the other. The opportunity to build these relationships and to work with important transitional and start up issues in the first two years greatly enhances their abilities to respond, with health and vitality, to the mission and ministries that lie before them. Fresh Start is about ministry development within the context of mission and a broader relationship with other clergy, congregations, and the diocese. Fresh Start reflects well what we seek to do in many other areas of our work in the Office for Ministry Development.”

The Rev. Dr. Melford “Bud” Holland, Coordinator
Office for Ministry Development