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.
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.
Previously two groups, the Congregational Business Consultants and the Congregational Coaches, functioned separately, but overlapped in their work with congregations. Now they have combined into a single group that will increase capacity, improve coordination and enhance the overall quality and value of services available to congregations.
What Congregational Consultants Do
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
• Assistance in compliance with annual audits, parochial reports and assessment payments
• Conflict mediation
• Consultation on best practices in business systems
• Consultation on property management, deferred maintenance, capital, etc.
• Cultural competency/antiracism training
• Establishing annual and capital stewardship programs
• Facilitation of vestry retreats
• Long-range financial planning
• Mutual ministry reviews
• Pastoral care/companionship for parishes merging or closing
• Preparation of annual budgets and financial statements
• 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.
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.
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.
Requests for Service
Requests for consulting services should be referred to the Rev. Karen B. Montagno, Director of Congregational Resources and Training (firstname.lastname@example.org)or Chris Meyer, Co-Coordinator of the Congregational Consultants (email@example.com), who, with the assistance of diocesan congregational development staff members, will identify a consultant who is available and has the particular skills that will serve the congregation’s needs. In addition, Congregational Consultants have the support of the diocesan staff, specifically members of the Congregational Development Team.
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. 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. Questions and payments should be addressed to the Rev. Karen B. Montagno, Director of Congregational Resources and Training, at (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-482-4826, ext. 413).
- Alternative Audit Procedures
- Assessment Deferral Policy and Application
- Business Practices Resource Guide for Congregations
- Compensation and Benefits Committee Guidelines
- Covenant of Ministry Models (Letters of Agreement)
- Guide for Parishes in Transition
- Guide to Utilization of Church Property
- Model Bylaws for Parishes and Missions
- Model Financial Policies, Procedures and Controls
- Model Personnel Handbook for Parishes
- Parochial Report & Restatement Instructions and Template
- Strategic Planning Overview
- Vitality, Viability and Mutuality: A Covenant and Characteristics for Congregations Growing in Mission
Use the links above to locate the resources listed or visit the Document Library.
• 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