Congregational Consultants

The Congregational Consultants are a group of knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated lay and ordained individuals from congregations throughout the diocese who serve other congregations. 

The Congregational Consultants assist congregations in a variety of ways, including as facilitators at vestry retreats, in mutual ministry reviews, strategic planning and conflict management or as consultants on business, property and compliance issues.

Bishop Gates and Bishop Gayle Harris with 2019 Consultant of the Year Edward Rewolinski Courtesy Photo The Congregational Consultants honored Edward Rewolinski of St. Cyprian's Church in Roxbury in December 2019 with the annual Jack Doran Congregational Consultant of the Year Award.  He is pictured with Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris, who were on hand to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of the group's founding. The late Jack Doran, for whom the Consultant of the Year Award is named, was a founding coordinator of the Congregational Consultants with retired Bishop Suffragan Bud Cederholm.

The Congregational Consultants have a wide range of professional and other experience, including leadership roles in congregations as wardens, treasurers and vestry members; as members of diocesan committees; and professionally as accountants, architects, business consultants, educators, business and finance executives and lawyers, among others. 

Congregational Consultants Services

Congregational Consultants work with congregations to promote congregational health and further their mission with direct assistance from consultants who have experience and training in areas that are critical to a congregation's vitality and viability. Examples of consulting services include:

Appreciative inquiry

Accounting matters, accounting software, parochial report preparation

Conflict resolution 

Facilitation of vestry retreats and other leadership gatherings

Guidance on organizational structure, responsibilities and leadership

Mutual ministry reviews

Pastoral care/companionship for parishes merging or closing

Preparation of annual budgets and financial statements

Property management, deferred maintenance, capital, etc.

Short and long-range financial planning

Sound business practices

Strategic planning and visioning

Transition review prior to calling a new rector or priest-in-charge   

Development of Resources 

Congregational Consultants work on diocesan initiatives to benefit congregations and have prepared and published guides, model policies and procedures, financial forms and other resources to assist congregations.  These are available here.

Learning Opportunities 

Congregational Consultants offer training programs for congregational leaders, including the Business Practices Workshop offered each year in the spring at various locations within the diocese.

Congregational Consultants also have offered programs at Diocesan Resource Day and are available to meet with deaneries or groups of parish leaders to make presentations on specific topics.

During the pandemic, the consultants have developed a monthly curriculum of Zoom calls on topics of interest to congregational leaders.  Notice of these calls appear in the diocesan FYI newsletter for clergy and leadership, and are posted on the diocesan website Events calendar.  These calls are also recorded for subsequent viewing.

Recruiting 

The Congregational Consultants always are looking for new members. Ideal candidates have parish leadership experience, professional credentials, a collegial work style and commitment to promote the mission of the church through healthy congregations.  While the typical candidates tend to be older, younger candidates and those from diverse backgrounds and smaller congregations are especially needed and enthusiastically encouraged.

Requests for Service 

Requests for consulting services should be referred to the regional canons or Chris Meyer (chris@centrestent.com)

Contribution for Services 

Many of the consultants provide their services on a voluntary basis. In some circumstances, the diocese compensates consultants for unique or long-term assignments. Reimbursement for travel mileage is available for consultants who request it.

Congregations are encouraged to use the services of diocesan consultants, which are available at no cost. However, congregations, particularly those with the financial ability, are encouraged to consider the value of the services they receive and make an appropriate contribution that will support the costs of the program. These include training and meeting expenses, development of resources and the costs of staff involvement. The value of these services is considered to be approximately $50/hour. Transition reviews during a period of clergy transition in a parish are valued at approximately $150 in total. The suggested value of these services is well below fees for similar services provided in the open market by professional consultants.

Vestries and clergy willing to support the services of consultants are encouraged to request assistance with developing a fair compensation plan.

Resources

Please visit the Business Practices Resources section of the Document Library for resource documents.

Other Resources

•  Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs:  A comprehensive, user-friendly manual which supports the increasingly complex work of all treasurers and parish administrators.  Includes forms, such as the Parochial Report Form, with instructions.   Note:  Chapters are updated individually.  Check for revisions before using.

•  Church Payroll Services:  A payroll processing service is available at a price negotiated for the Episcopal Church. 

•  Church Insurance Company 

•  More publications from Church Pension Group, including ones on pensions and taxes:  http://www.cpg.org/formspublications