Employee policies are for cowards

When organizations try to solve personnel behavior problems with new policies rather than with direct confrontation with the difficult employee it poisons the work environment.

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Dancing Guy teaches about leadership

A leadership seminar in under three minutes:

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Decision making in crises

Alban Institute discusses how churches handle sensitive information using a case study as an example of how things can go wrong without prior planning:

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Death notice: Rev. John Worrell, publisher of Nevertheless

It falls to this Sunday blogger to note the death yesterday of The Rev. John Worrell, whose name might be recognized by the past few generations of Texas Episcopalians, and most certainly will be recognized by their members of the clergy.

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Expanding our understanding of vocation

Writing for the Alban Institute, Craig Satterlee says that many Christians do not grasp the vocational nature of the work that they do every day, and wonders whether our weekly worship has something to do with that:

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The PB On Leadership

The Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori reflects on leadership today at the Washington Post's "On Leadership" online blog. Some interesting comments here in this short video. What are your responses to this piece? For instance, what are the upsides and downsides of a church that is "agile" ... "nimble" ... and "deals in deadlines"?

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On being nimble

It's a new week, of course, and we never know precisely how the wind will blow tomorrow; but over the past several days we've heard a lot about how the church's leadership structures need to be more nimble: structurally, maybe, as well as intellectually and spiritually.

So we offer the following video meditation on what it means to be agile.

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Penciling in the Holy Spirit?

Sarah Drummond writing for Alban Institute wonders if planning can leave room for the Spirit:

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Ministerial Reflection

Alban Institute discusses the practice of Ministerial Reflection. While encouraging ordained ministers in training, this practice is helpful for all in ministry - ordained or not:

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Emotional intelligence, & conflict competence

Alban Institute's weekly offering looks at research about the skills congregational clergy need to handle conflict and their own emotions in tough situations.

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There is no I in individual. No, wait...

Writing for the Alban Institute, John Wimberly tackles a couple of vexing issues, including how to evaluate the success of ministries, rather than the individuals active in such ministries:

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Finding holy space in everyday stories

Alban Institute promotes ethnography as a way to build up congregations and their leaders:

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Life after governance change

Alban Insitute discusses governance and how it may be changing from the "way it's always been:"

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Backgrounding agency helped clerical reps in Iran

An opinion item at The Reporter of Vacaville, California, notes the role of international peace building initiative Search for Common Ground in the background effort to send clerics, including The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, to assist in the long effort of securing freedom for hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer from imprisonment in Iran.

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Current crop of Republican hopefuls is Danforth's embarrassment

John Danforth, who sat in the U.S. Senate for two decades on behalf of Missouri, and who was also an ambassador to the U.N., counts his priestly ordination to The Episcopal Church among his bona fides. Though a Republican, he's recognizable to the Stewart-Colbert crowd for rankling the ranks of the GOP on occasion.

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Faith leader with Occupy Seattle tells his story

John Helmiere is the convener and Minister of Listening at Valley & Mountain Fellowship in Seattle. On his blog he's written "john's response to police brutality," detailing his recent arrest and overnight experience with Seattle police responding to Occupy protestors.

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Sermon as proposal: preaching and the self-identified 'spiritual, but not religious'

Among its many merits, an article by Adam J. Copeland in the Lent 2012 issue of Journal for Preaching contains this poignant idea of how preachers might expand their thinking in consideration of those calling themselves "spiritual, but not religious" (SBNR).

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Duke Chapel's dean: "stretched" and "humbled" while in Durham

In reflecting Tuesday evening on his seven years as dean of Duke Chapel, Sam Wells said his own faith was strengthened during his tenure and he hoped he pushed the chapel to engage more fully with the rest of campus and surrounding community.

From DukeToday:

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Church in Wales reviews structure

Members and leaders of the Episcopal Church aren't the only ones thinking about restructuring in the service of mission. The Church in Wales has completed a top to bottom review process that examined the church's structure and ministry.

ACNS:

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Discernment: revisited

Alban Institute is re-issuing Charles M. Olsen's and Danny Morris' Discerning God’s Will Together "with a new introduction and updating of the text. The cover is changed from a mosaic of three attentive sheep in the presence of the shepherd to three loping gazelles, indicating community and graceful, forward motion. But why? What have we learned over the fifteen years of attempting to practice discernment in leadership circles of congregations and assemblies? And why now? What still needs to be engaged and instilled?" Olsen writes:

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Tom Ehrich: Boomers need to cede control to the young

Baby boomer Tom Ehrich believes many in his generation are "addicted to control" and should rightfully cede power to the younger set. This is true in political life, and also in our churches, he writes:

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Are nice people killing churches?

Todd Rhodes and Paul Alexander think "nice people" are killing churches. Here are the top three items from a longer list:

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Serve Christ Maybe: acolytes

An invitation to the 2013 Episcopal Diocese of West Texas Acolyte Festival, hosted by the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi, Texas, April 19-20, 2013. All youth acolytes, acolyte masters/directors are invited.

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A bishop and a rabbi walked into a boardroom

Now that the Pope has begun his retirement, all eyes are on the conclave. But what is it really like to lead a religious denomination in the 21st century? WNYC-FM business reporter Ilya Marritz spoke to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, to find out.

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The N.R.A.'s political protection racket

Gabrielle Giffords writes poignantly in the New York Times of her anger and disappointment at the cowardice displayed by senators who voted yesterday against making it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to gain access to deadly firearms.

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Seven "leadership paradigms" for church growth

On the one hand, one begins to wonder if the many factors that contribute to church growth can be captured in list form. On the other hand, folks seem to enjoy reading and discussing them, so one assumes they make some sort of contribution. Having engaged in sufficient equivocation, we present a new list, this one from Ron Edmondson on the seven paradigms necessary for church growth.

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Not all seminary grads take church positions

A growing number of seminary graduates are exercising their ministries outside of churches according to this Washington Post article:

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Thinking inside the box

The key to being consistently innovative is to create a new form for something familiar and then to find a function it can perform.

This is what Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldeberg say about the true nature of innovation. They are not just talking about building better mousetraps.

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Pope Francis and the Catholic 'glasnost'

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter contends that by moving toward the center, Pope Francis has launched nothing short of a revolution in the Catholic Church:

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Unprepared pastors

Were you or were the clergy you know prepared for pastoring a congregation by their education? Thom S. Rainer talks about eight ares where many are unprepared for the job they are called to do:

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Defining and honoring lay ministry in the church

I am struck today by Laurie Gudim's essay at Speaking to the Soul regarding lay vs. ordained ministry. This is a topic close to my heart, as a layperson doing fulltime church work. Gudim writes:

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"Four-Way" church heads continue to find places of agreement

Maritens N. Sison writes in Anglican Journal of the continuation of meetings between four church leaders. From his article:

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Social Media in Pastoral Transitions

Previously at the Café, we have discussed ettiquette around pastoral transitions at length. But while it is one thing to modify relationships in real time, what do you do with relationships maintained over Facebook?

Alban Institute addresses the issue of social media and pastoral transitions.

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A theology of getting things done

So for the Christian, is work a necessary evil--a way to earn money so we can do God's work on the weekends? Or is it the primary expression of human creativity and mission? Baptist minister Matt Perlman suggests a theology of work that challenges the idea that daily work and faithful living are separate spheres.

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What needs to die to keep church alive

Laurie Brock, at the blog Dirty Sexy Ministry, believes some things "have lived w-a-y beyond their expiration dates in the Church." These include half-baked liturgy, pathologically unhealthy clergy, and "padding your Average Sunday Attendance by adding in wedding and funeral attendance and just making things up." She writes:

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Staffing the church in a time of change

While not focused on The Episcopal Church or the Task Force for Re-imagining the Church, this article brings up some factors to weigh in times of transition. From Faith and Leadership:

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