ECBF Logo Episcopal Church Building Fund

2014 Buildings for a New Tomorrow

The ECBF is deeply appreciative of the partnership and sponsorship of Buildings for a New Tomorrow 2014 from:

UCC Church Building and Loan Fund ELCA Mission Investment Fund CPG Church Insurance


April 28-30, 2014
Embassy Suites Hotel
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Highlights from Previous Years

2013 Highlights

2012 Highlights

2011 Highlights

A symposium for solving the dilemma of church buildings

A mind altering, ecumenical symposium to change the way you think about church buildings and grounds.

Keynote Speaker

Ron Finley

Ron Finley
"The Gangsta Gardener of South L.A."

Ron Finley is a man who will not sit still and watch a problem take root. Having grown up in the South Los Angeles food desert, Ron is familiar with the area's lack of fresh produce. He knew what it's like to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato.

In 2010, he set out to fix the problem. Outside his front door, that is. Ron planted vegetables in the curbside dirt strip next to his home. And quietly, carefully, tenderly started a revolution.

"I wanted a carrot without toxic ingredients I didn't know how to spell," says Ron.

His was an exceptionally creative, cost-effective and simple solution; however, it was also an act of spirited rebellion that led to a run-in with the authorities. The City of Los Angeles owns the "parkways," the neglected dirt areas next to roads where Ron was planting. He was cited for gardening without a permit. This slap on the wrist did little to dissuade his green thumb. So Ron fought back. Hard. He started a petition with fellow green activists, demanding the right to garden and grow food in his neighborhood – and then, the city backed off. This caught the eyes of creative leaders and media voices that lauded his courageous act of ebullient defiance. Ron has continued to share his story and vision with the world, giving a TED talk and planning many exciting ways to continue his involvement in mitigating Los Angeles food deserts. Ron Finley is a man who will not sit still and watch a problem take root. Having grown up in the South Los Angeles food desert, Ron is familiar with the area's lack of fresh produce. He knew what it's like to drive 45 minutes just to get a fresh tomato.

His dreams have been reshaped into a thriving garden of pumpkins, peppers, sunflowers, kale and corn. But more than being a guerilla gardener, Ron is a community leader. Determined to change South Los Angeles from food desert to food forest, he wants his actions to be educational, inspiring, and nutritious. He wants kids to grow up with the option of healthy food, instead of fried, fattening staples. He wants to sweep up and transform his street, his hood, the city of LA and communities everywhere.

TED Talks: Ron Finley - A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA


Topics include:

  • Ditching the Building
  • Compost. Churchyard. Chow.
  • Property Deals in the Old Dominion
  • The Positive Power of Being Strange
  • Repurposing Your Buildings and Landscapes to Align with Your Mission and Vision
  • Facing the Facts - Strategically Mapping Canada's Churches
  • Lighting Your Pants on Fire - Getting Lay People Moving
  • Pilgrimage to the Boiler Room - Practical Ways to Save on Energy Costs
  • Mergers and Closings (in 2 sessions: Best Practices, and Open Forum)
  • Bishops Panel, Open Forum

Speakers confirmed to date:

  • Bonnie Anderson, Senior Warden, All Saints Church, Pontiac, Michigan
  • The Rev. Lori Babcock, Rector, St. John's Mt. Washington, Maryland
  • The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Barker, Bishop of Nebraska
  • The Rev. Dr. Patrick Duggan, Executive Director, UCC Church Building & Loan Fund
  • Sarah Fawcett-Lee, Senior Warden, St. John's Mount Washington, Maryland
  • Ron Finley, Co-Founder, LA Green Grounds
  • The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop of Western Massachusetts
  • The Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida
  • The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan of Virginia
  • Dr. Thomas E. Nutt-Powell, Co-Founder, Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light; President of Capital Needs Unlimited, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Greg Papay, FAIA, Managing Partner of Lake|Flato Architects
  • Brian Sellers-Peterson, Episcopal Relief and Development, Washington Office
  • Steve Pierce, CCA - Coordinator for Congregational Support, Diocese of Massachusetts
  • The Rev. Lisa Ransom, Owner,
  • Canon Dave Robinson, Director of Congregational Development, Diocese of Toronto, Canada
  • The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania
  • The Rt. Rev. John Smylie, Bishop of Wyoming
  • The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland
  • Michael C. Wagner, Founder, White Rabbit Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa
  • The Rev. Canon Dan Webster, Canon for Evangelism and Ministry Development, Diocese of Maryland


Speaker Bios

The Rev. Lori Babcock

Bonnie Anderson
Senior Warden, All Saints Episcopal Church, Pontiac, MI

Bonnie says that "Basically, I am a Community Organizer." She has organized food co-ops, citizen environmental groups, river clean-ups, corporation employee child care programs, an International Infant formula action coalition, intentional communities with youth... and more.

Bonnie served as an Adjunct in the School of Natural Resources and the Women's Studies Program at the University of Michigan. She has received honorary doctorate degrees from five seminaries. She is a mother, partner with her husband, sister, grandmother, gardener, and advocate for the laity. Since retiring as president of the House of Deputies, she has been studying and practicing metal-smithing.

On the topic of her experiences of being an active lay person in The Episcopal Church, she says, "I could almost say, 'Been there, done that.' But never before have I been a parish Senior Warden. Our congregation is fortunate to be in a neighborhood where the opportunities for service are boundless. I have a new perspective on the ministry of the laity and how God calls us to this vital ministry now.


The Rev. Lori Babcock

The Rev. Lori Babcock
St. John's Mt. Washington, MD
Workshop: Ditching the Buildings

The Rev. Lori Babcock has served St. John's Mt. Washington since 2009 when she was called to revitalize a stagnant congregation. Calling on the Holy Spirit, pastor and people embarked on a journey to discover what God was calling St. John's to do and be. Often, the journey was arduous, but always the grace of God was present and felt most strongly when we were least sure where we were headed.

Today, St. John's Mt. Washington is much more than a church. We are a landlord for a unique private school; a partner with a local arts organization; a worshipping community with a special ministry to the elderly and their families; a feeding program that brings together nearly one hundred volunteers to feed thousands of hungry people on the streets of Baltimore every year; and a source of prayer and funding for a critically-needed nursery school and health clinic in rural Uganda. As Rector of this innovative and ever-evolving community, Lori is grateful every day for a deeply dedicated leadership team and the freedom to follow Jesus with passion and creativity.

Prior to coming to St. John's, Lori was Priest-in-Charge of Trinity Cathedral in the Diocese of Easton where she enjoyed the responsibility of offering worship for a variety of community and diocesan events.

In January, Lori traveled to Northern Uganda as a guest of the Diocese of Lango at its annual convention and had the honor of preaching before a crowd of 70,000. She looks forward to strengthening the relationship between Christians in Maryland and Christians in Northern Uganda.

Lori lives in Baltimore with her husband John; a retired military musician and middle school music teacher, and their two dogs who enjoy going on hikes. Their four children have recently flown from the nest.


The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Barker

The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Barker
The 11th Bishop of Nebraska

I am a life-long Episcopalian, born and raised in Nebraska. I received my BA in Religious Studies from Yale College in 1985, and attended seminary at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale (MDIV - 1992).

I was ordained a priest in 1992 and served as Assistant to the Dean, later Canon Vicar, at Trinity Cathedral in Omaha. At Trinity I was particularly involved in youth, young adult and outreach ministries. Beginning in 1996, I served as Rector of Church of the Resurrection also in Omaha, where I helped restore the church from mission to parish status and founded a residential discernment community for young adults known as Resurrection House.

In 2002 I was called to be Rector of Christ Church in Warwick, NY. During my tenure, Christ Church grew from a pastoral to a program sized parish. Accomplishments included the addition of two new worship services, the hiring of a full-time assisting priest, the establishment of TV and web-based church video ministries and the founding of a church-based community youth choir. I additionally chaired the Congregational Development Commission of the Diocese of New York.

In 2011 I was elected as the 11th Bishop of Nebraska, returning home to begin that ministry in the autumn of that year. In this new chapter, I help care for 53 mostly small church communities scattered over 77,000 square miles of beautiful if sometimes lonely landscape.

I have been married to my college sweetheart Annie for 25 years. We have two young adult children and Lola the Labrador.


The Rev. Albert Cutié

The Rev. Albert Cutié

Father Albert Cutié has had the special privilege of entering millions of homes throughout the world each day with his television and radio talk shows, books, as well as, his newspaper columns. His first book, Real Life, Real Love (Published by Penguin) is available in English and became and international bestseller in Spanish.

Father Albert joined the Episcopal Church on May 28, 2009. He was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Miami on May 13, 1995 and was officially received as a priest of The Episcopal Church on May 29, 2010 by Bishop Leo Frade of the Diocese of Southeast Florida. Father Albert and his wife Ruhama have three children – Christian (19), Camila (3) and Albert (19 months).

In October of 1998, Father Albert became the first member of the clergy to host a daily "talk-show" as part of a major Spanish-language network on international television. It became an award-winning program and ran for three seasons on Telemundo (Owned by NBC) in the United States and distributed to every country in Latin America. He later continued to host a weekly talk-show, HABLANDO CLARO CON EL PADRE ALBERTO (Straight Talk with Father Albert), and ABRE TU ALMA CON EL PADRE ALBERTO (Open Your Soul with Father Albert). In addition to his work in the media, he has served as a parish priest and administrator in several parishes throughout South Florida for the last 20 years. While working as a full-time parish priest, he also served as President/C.E.O. of Pax Catholic Communications (a multi-media organization known as Radio Peace and Radio Paz in Miami) from 2001 until 2009.

One of Father Albert's passions is to engage audiences with faith perspectives on real-life problems which affect our modern-day society, especially controversial issues, too often avoided by spiritual leaders. He is currently serving as Priest-in-Charge at The Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park, FL. He is a member of the Board of the Duncan Center – the diocesan Retreat/Conference Center, as well as, member of the Commission on Ministry. Father Albert was recently appointed Trustee of the Univeristy of the South (Sewanee) representing the Diocese of Southeast Florida.

His latest book is a memoir entitled, Dilemma, in which he shares his experiences and personal journey that led to his transition from the Roman Church to The Episcopal Church.


The Rev. Dr. Patrick Garnet Duggan

The Rev. Dr. Patrick Garnet Duggan
Executive Director, United Church of Christ Church Building and Loan Fund

The Reverend Doctor Patrick Garnet Duggan (man of many hats) is a native New Yorker, the son of a Jamaican cabinet maker and a New York attorney. A graduate of New York City schools, he attended Harvard University earning the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980. In 1993, he earned the Master of Divinity degree from the New York Theological Seminary, and earned the Doctor of Ministry there in 2013.

Dr. Duggan was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1989. In 1995, he was called to serve as Pastor of the Congregational Church of South Hempstead, United Church of Christ, and continues there today. In October 2012 Dr. Duggan was named as Executive Director of the United Church of Christ Church Building and Loan Fund (CB&LF). CB&LF offers and promotes financing for the purchase, construction or renovation of church buildings, meeting houses, parsonages/rectories, and other facilities used by churches of the United Church of Christ or by any Christian church without limitation to sect, denomination or name.


Sarah Fawcett-Lee

Sarah Fawcett-Lee
Senior Warden, St. John's Mount Washington, MD
Workshop: Ditching the Buildings

Sarah Fawcett-Lee has served as Senior Warden at St. John's Mt. Washington in Baltimore, Maryland for the past three years. A native of the United Kingdom, she was born and raised in the Church of England. Between college and graduate school, she was a nanny in Cambridge, MA and lived on the campus of the Episcopal Divinity School. In 1989, she arrived in Baltimore for what was meant to be a brief stay. Twenty-five years later, she is married with one daughter and has no plans to leave the city she now calls home. Sarah is Vice President for Philanthropy for MedStar Health, overseeing fundraising for four hospitals in the Baltimore area. This July, she will join the faculty of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy to teach in the major gifts track at its summer institute.


Douglas John Fisher

The Rt. Rev. Douglas John Fisher
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Douglas John Fisher was elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts on June 2, 2012 and then consecrated on December 1, 2012. At the time he said, "the ordination and consecration of a Bishop is a deeply meaningful time when we all get to renew the faith that is within us and re-commit ourselves to following Jesus in his mission of mercy, compassion and hope. It is a time of celebration and inspiration for all God's people." Prior to becoming bishop, he served as rector of Grace Church in Millbrook, NY and before that as pastor of Holy Innocents in Highland Falls, New York and chaplain to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a graduate of St. John's University, Immaculate Conception Seminary, and Episcopal Divinity School. Born and raised in Valley Stream, Long Island, Doug and his wife, (the Rev.) Betsy Fisher, have three grown children. Bishop Fisher blogs at


The Rt. Rev. Leopold Frade

The Rt. Rev. Leopold Frade
Bishop of the Diocese of Southeast Florida

The Rt. Rev. Leo Frade was consecrated as the Second Bishop of Honduras on January 25, 1984 and served until September 16, 2000 when he was enthroned at the III Bishop Diocesan of Southeast Florida. He is presently the Senior Bishop with Jurisdiction in the House of Bishops.

He has served as a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church twice, first as a priest, then was elected again to represent the House of Bishops. Bishop Frade has served on numerous Standing Commissions of the Episcopal Church such as World Mission, Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, Anglican & International Peace with Justice Concerns. He also served as a Bishop Representative of the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordination Commission.

Bishop Frade has attended three Lambeth Conferences in Canterbury England where he served the Ecumenical Relation Sections.

He is married to Diana Dillenberger Frade, founder and director of Our Little Roses Home for Abandoned, Abused and Orphaned Girls.


Susan Goff

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan, The Diocese of Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff is bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Virginia. She first joined the Bishop's staff as Canon to the Ordinary in January 2010, overseeing the day-to-day operation of various episcopal ministries, including the discernment and ordination processes; misconduct prevention and response; the Title IV ecclesiastical discipline canons; and the transition process for clergy and congregations.

Bishop Goff was consecrated on July 28, 2012. As bishop suffragan, she oversees mission churches, in addition to multicultural and ethnic ministries.

Bishop Goff came to the Diocese from St. Christopher's, Springfield, where she served as rector for 15 years. She was also an adjunct instructor in liturgics and a trainer of seminarian supervisors at Virginia Theological Seminary. Her prior positions were as rector of Immanuel, Old Church, in Mechanicsville; chaplain of St. Catherine's School in Richmond; and chaplain of St. Margaret's School in Tappahannock. During her 31 years of ordained ministry in the Diocese of Virginia, she was a deputy to three General Conventions, served on the Standing Committee for two terms, was dean of two regions and chaired or was a member of numerous diocesan committees and task groups. Bishop Goff earned her master of divinity degree, with distinction, from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. While a seminarian, she directed Eagle's Nest, the summer camp of the Diocese of Newark, for three summers. During a two-year leave of absence from seminary, she lived and worked among Arapaho people as a missionary on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Bishop Goff is married to the Rev. C. Thomas Holliday, an interim ministry specialist who has served many congregations in the Diocese.


Thomas Nutt-Powell

Thomas E. Nutt-Powell
Co-Founder, Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light
President, Capital Needs Unlimited
Brookline, Massachusetts

Workshop: Pilgrimage to the Boiler Room

Thomas E. Nutt-Powell is co-founder and former President of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light. (MIP&L) Currently a member of its Executive committee, Nutt-Powell is responsible for completing Environmental Stewardship Assessments for Houses Of Worship (HOWs). (

Nutt-Powell became involved in environmental stewardship for faith-based communities as founder and President of Capital Needs Unlimited, a firm involved in housing, planning and development. He has completed over 2,000 Capital Needs Assessments on various types of properties, mainly affordable housing.

Nutt-Powell is a parishioner at All Saints Episcopal Church, Brookline, Massachusetts. Beyond attending services, Nutt-Powell has been deeply involved with the church's 15 year long capital improvement projects. This work included new heating generation and distribution systems that resulted in a reduction of fuel use of about 40%.

An author and speaker for general and professional audiences, Dr. Nutt-Powell wrote MANUFACTURED HOMES: MAKING SENSE OF A HOUSING OPPORTUNITY (1982). He served on the faculty, of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, where he headed the Master in City Planning (MCP) program and directed the Manufactured Housing Research Program of the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies. He has served on the Board of Governors of the American Institute of Planners. Dr. Nutt-Powell received graduate degrees from Harvard (MTS and MCP, 1970) and MIT (Ph.D., 1973) and a BA from the Pennsylvania State University (1965).


Greg Papay

Greg Papay, FAIA
A Managing Partner of Lake|Flato Archtiects
Workshop: Repurposing Your Buildings and Landscapes to Align with Your Mission and Vision

Greg has been with Lake|Flato Architects since 1993. During this time he has worked on a wide variety of building types, from the $174 million arena for the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs to the School of Nursing for the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, which was selected by the AIA as a 2006 Top Ten Green Project. Greg's emphasis on merging the craft and science of architecture creates public buildings and places that are tactile and modern, environmentally responsible and authentic, artful and detailed. He has lectured and juried extensively in the past decade, advocating for place-based architecture. Under Greg's direction as Managing Partner the firm grew from 12 to more than 60 with a national focus to their design practice. Greg has hired and mentored dozens of employees, several of which are now Partners in the office.


Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce, CCA
Diocese of Massachusetts Coordinator for Congregational Support
Workshop: The Beauty, Glory and Joy of Mergers and Closings: An Introduction
Are you serious? How can there be beauty, glory, and joy in the end of a congregation and the closing of a building! Here how one diocese has trod this journey for the past 5 years, and how a journey into death can bring new life, hope, and yes, Resurrection. Hear that story and engage in a conversation of prayer, pondering, and words as to how the Diocese of Massachusetts (Eastern) endeavors to make this happen. You will leave with a fresh expression of how this is a vital aspect of ministry today, a calling with is Spirit led, and a kit of helpful tools which are yours to use and customize as you make a path in the particularities of your own journey.

Workshop: Open Forum on Mergers and Closings

Steve Pierce has 30-plus years of experience in non-profit financial management, including 10 years as CFO of the Diocese of Massachusetts. In his current position as Coordinator for Congregational Support for the diocese, he oversees the closing and merger process for churches including pastoral care to financial, legal, property and business matters that are part of good stewardship of assets.

Pierce also provides consultation on property and finance matters, working closely with a team of volunteer congregational business consultants who promote sound business practices as part of congregational vitality and viability. Steve's first church job came in his teenage years when he was tasked with typing the Sunday bulletin, and church participation has been an important part of his life ever since.


The Rev. Lisa Ransom

The Rev. Lisa Ransom
Workshop: Compost. Churchyard. Chow.

Lisa Ransom is a priest in the Diocese of Vermont, an active farmer, and owns Grow Compost ( She is passionate about healthy soil, healthy communities and vegetables. She was involved in the rebuilding of community gardens after Hurricane Irene with the Diocese of VT and Episcopal Relief & Development. She is on the Episcopal Food and Faith network steering committee coordinated by the School of Theology at Sewanee.


Canon David Robinson

Canon David Robinson
Director of Congregational Development
The Anglican Diocese of Toronto

Workshop: Facing the Facts – Strategically Mapping Canada's Churches
The Anglican Diocese of Toronto is committed to building healthy, vital, missional communities of hope and compassion. Grounded in a clearly stated definition of Sustainable and Strategic ministry applied to parishes, we have developed a strategic approach that helps us to reconfigure unsustainable congregations and to support sustainable and strategic ministries. We have allocated over $3,400,000 to support reboots, Fresh Expressions and new church plants. The workshop will provide an overview of the development of the policy framework and its application to mission strategy in the diocese.

Workshop: Open Forum on Mergers and Closings

Canon David Robinson is Director of Congregational Development for the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. He has been a member of the Diocesan Congregational Development team for 24 years serving portfolios in Youth and Young Adult Ministry; Rural Ministry Support; Conflict Management and Congregational Health. Currently Dave's responsibilities include support of mission strategy, reconfiguration and amalgamation of congregations and Natural Church Development as well as managing a team of 5 staff and a strong volunteer corps of 35 trained facilitators and consultants.

Born and raised in the Toronto area Dave spends his free time on the water as an avid sailor, wilderness canoeist and amateur boat-builder. He lives in Toronto with his spouse The Rev. Canon Heather McCance and together they support a 13-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old mutt, an 8 year-old cat and a 35-year-old sailboat. In 2013 they took a cruising sabbatical and sailed 2400 miles from Lake Ontario to Atlantic Canada and New England.


Sean Rowe

The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe
Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania
Chair, Episcopal Church Building Fund

Closing Address - Launching

Bishop Sean Rowe was consecrated as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania in 2007. Born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, he completed his undergraduate education at Grove City College in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He immediately entered the Virginia Theological Seminary and graduated in 2000 with a Master in Divinity degree. At 24 he became the youngest priest in the Episcopal Church, and at 32 became the youngest Bishop. He lives in Fairview, Pennsylvania with his wife, Carly, and toddler Lauren.

Bishop Sean currently serves as the Parliamentarian for the House of Bishops, a member of the President of the House of Deputies' Advisory Board, a member of the C095 Task Force on Structure of The Episcopal Church, a member of the General Board of Examining Chaplains, a board member of the Erie County Housing Authority, as well as the Board Chair of the Episcopal Church Building Fund.

Sean led the diocese through the pilot project phase of the Recasting of Building Assets consultation. He is currently completing his Ph.D. in Organizational learning and Leadership.


Brian Sellers-Peterson

Brian Sellers-Peterson
Workshop: Compost. Churchyard. Chow.

Brian Sellers-Petersen has been on the staff of Episcopal Relief & Development since October 2000, based in Seattle. He has served as Director of West Coast Operations, Senior Major Gift Officer and Director of Church Engagement prior to his current role as Senior Advisor to the President. Before joining Episcopal Relief & Development he served as Director of Advocacy and Education at World Vision International; California Regional Organizer for Bread for the World; and the Center for South Africa Ministry at All Saints, Pasadena. He was the lead developer of Episcopal Relief & Development's Abundant Life Garden Project ( He has also been instrumental in starting the nascent Episcopal Food and Faith Network and heads up the Food & Faith Initiative at Seattle Tilth.


John Smylie

The Rt. Rev. John S. Smylie
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming

John was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but was primarily raised in Summit, New Jersey. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1975 and completed his Masters of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in 1981.

He was ordained to the deaconate and priesthood in 1982. Following his ordination to the deaconate, John was Deacon in charge and then rector of St Luke's; Hope, New Jersey. From there he served as an associate at Christ Church in Ridgewood, and then at Calvary Church; Summit, New Jersey. In 1989 John accepted a call to serve as Rector at Trinity Church in Hamburg, New York. He served there for 9 years. He then moved to Spokane, Washington after accepting a call to serve as Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

After serving in Spokane for nearly seven years, John developed an extension ministry within the Episcopal Church which took him around the United States and overseas. During this time, John assisted several churches in the Diocese of Wyoming. In 2007, John was called to St. Mark's, Casper as their rector.

On March 20, 2010 John was elected the ninth Bishop of Wyoming and on July 31, 2010 John was consecrated as the Bishop of Wyoming. The Diocese is comprised of 49 congregations, a retreat center and a youth camp. Upon becoming Bishop, he was also named President of the Foundation for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, a Foundation that empowers ministries throughout the state and worldwide.

John is married to Jill Smylie. Together they share 5 children. John is also a published author (Christian Parenting, published by the Upper Room) and was recently published in a Volume of Sermons on the Gospel, published by CSS. John is a musician and has 3 CDs of original music.


Eugene Sutton

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Bishop of Maryland

On June 29, 2008, the Right Reverend Eugene Taylor Sutton was consecrated the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland of the Episcopal Church. Now a resident of Baltimore, MD, he came to the diocese after having served as Canon Pastor of Washington National Cathedral since June 2000, and Director of its Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage

Throughout his ministry in parishes and academia, Bishop Sutton has been a frequent leader of retreats and conferences throughout the nation on prayer, spirituality and preaching. While in the nation's capital, he founded Contemplative Outreach of Metropolitan Washington (COMW), an ecumenical network of churches and individuals committed to centering prayer and renewing the contemplative dimension of the gospel for daily living. In addition to having published several articles on prayer, spirituality and homiletics, he is one of the contributors to the book The Diversity of Centering Prayer.

He is married to Sonya Subbayya Sutton, who serves as the director of music at St. Alban's Church in Washington, DC, and they have four young adult children and stepchildren in their blended family.


The Rt. Rev. Brian J. Thom

The Rt. Rev. Brian J. Thom
The Rt. Rev. Brian J. Thom

On October 11, 2008, Brian Thom was ordained and consecrated as the 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Idaho.

A 1987 graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, Brian was ordained to the diaconate in June of 1987 and to the priesthood in March of 1988. Subsequently, he served as curate at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Portland, Oregon, until 1989 when he took the position of Assistant Rector at St. Margaret's Church in Palm Desert, California. From September 1991 until his consecration, he served as the Rector of the Church of the Ascension in Twin Falls, Idaho.

As the Bishop of Idaho, Brian is a member of the Board of Directors of St. Luke's Idaho Health System and he is on the Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Ministry Development. As Bishop, he has continued the Diocese's involvement in Living Stones.

Born and raised an Episcopalian in Portland, OR, Brian graduated from Oregon State University in Forest Management. Brian is married to Ardele Hanson, together they share 3 grown children and 3 grandsons.

Mike Wagner

Michael C. Wagner
Founder, White Rabbit Group

"Could someone please get me a Diet Coke!"

Mike Wagner is a skilled communicator, facilitator, and business consultant who believes you must "keep creating" to be successful. Mike formed White Rabbit Group eleven years ago to inspire and assist organizational leaders in creating remarkable customer experiences that set them apart from their competition.

He develops engaging presentations, trainings and facilitations for clients from his vast work experiences with small and medium size enterprises, Fortune 500 companies, and leading non-profit organizations. He brings ideas to life through compelling stories to help clients see their path to success.

Speaking and training across the nation on leadership, creativity, and personal development, he also works on-site with organizational leaders to facilitate the creation of remarkable customer experiences.

A pastor for 17 years, Mike focused on church starts and innovative church based ministry to young professionals.

During the last two years Mike has been increasingly asked to work with lay leaders and professional staffs of established churches seeking to revitalize their ministries.

His education includes a B.A. from the University of Nebraska in History and Classical Greek (1977) and a Th.M. (Master of Theology) from Dallas Theological Seminary (1981).

The Positive Power of Being Strange - What makes you strange and the strangeness you see in others is essential to solving complex problems and building strong brands. Today's organizations, businesses…and churches must design their way to the future. Mike's breakout session will challenge you to:

  • Engage others with your unique "strangeness"
  • Leverage your differences to solve complex organizational design problems
  • Focus your congregations around a meaningful mission


Agenda Planning Team

Steven Abdow

Steven Abdow
Canon for Mission Resources, Diocese of Western Mass

Steve handles the business and property affairs of the Diocese of Western Mass., as well as working closely with congregations on their finances and developing lay leaders. Previously he was part of his family's multi-unit restaurant group. In the five years that Steve has worked for the Diocese he has been involved with the buying and selling of eight church buildings and the camp and conference center. In his spare time Steve likes to sail and attend meditation retreats.


The Rev. Canon John F. Koepke III

The Rev. Canon John F. Koepke III
Canon to the Ordinary
Diocese of Southern Ohio

Jack was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is a "cradle" Episcopalian. He graduated Hobart College in Geneva, New York, and the Yale University Divinity School, after which he was ordained a Deacon and Priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. He served on the staff of Fox Chapel Episcopal Church for three years before being called to serve as the Canon for Pastoral Development in the Diocese of Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.

In 1986, he was called to be the Rector of the Church of Our Saviour in Silver Spring, Maryland (a suburb of Washington D.C.) where he served for eleven years. Then, in 1997, he was called to be the Rector St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Dayton, Ohio. In 2011, he was appointed to be Canon to the Ordinary. Among other areas of responsibility, Jack's ministry centers on congregational development, strategic planning, and leadership development.

Jack and his wife, Nanci, have been married 36 years. Nanci is on the staff of the Lange School - a preschool and Kindergarten in the Oakwood City School system. They have two grown daughters - Erin, who lives in Washington, D.C. and works for the World Food Program of the United Nations, and Lauren, who lives in Cincinnati and is pursuing graduate studies in speech therapy and pathology at the University of Cincinnati.


The Rev. Rhonda Smith McIntire

The Rev. Rhonda Smith McIntire
Rector, San Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church
Corrales, New Mexico

The Rev. Rhonda Smith McIntire is rector of San Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church, Corrales, NM, the newest parish in the Diocese of Rio Grande. After only six years San Gabriel's was granted parish status.

The intention is never to own property so resources go to outreach rather than building maintenance or capital improvements. Someone asked, "If you were gifted a million dollars tomorrow, would you buy a building?" "No, sir," was the reply. "We'd do our best to talk that donor into helping us feed the hungry and end homelessness in our community instead."

Since graduating from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in 1996, Rhonda has served a cathedral, a beautiful suburban parish three blocks from the Pacific Ocean, and then a start-up parochial mission in suburban Albuquerque. Six different rental locations over several years finally led to a storefront in the village of Corrales, nestled on the Rio Grande River. Now, being a "village church" is a reality, especially during events like the yearly Harvest Festival and Pet Parade.

Rhonda has served on several commissions on ministry, diocesan council, and five stints on the faculty of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation's Preaching Excellence Program. She and her husband of 34 years, Tim, a life-long educator who now consults with schools worldwide. They both enjoy frequent hikes to visit the wild horse herds that live just over the hill from their home.


Dr. Heidi Schleicher

Dr. Heidi Schleicher
St. Anne's Episcopal Church
Ankeny, Iowa

Heidi is continually humbled by God's path and vision for each of us, and His ability to bring us unexpected challenges and rewards along the way! While earning her veterinary degree from Colorado State, Heidi had envisioned in her future a "James Herriot-esque" veterinary practice; however, God's path led her into a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory working with zoonotic pathogens during her career with the United States Department of Agriculture. She has also earned a Masters in Public Health degree from the University of Iowa and is Board Certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine.

She met her husband, Tyler, in Colorado and envisioned a life close to the mountains and ski slopes; however, God led them to the cornfields of Iowa via Tyler's engineering career with John Deere…(FYI - no mountains, no ski slopes). They have a beautiful daughter, now a six year old Kindergartener, and Heidi is blessed to have been able to take a break in her career to serve as a stay at home Mom. Heidi keeps her infectious disease skill sets sharply honed by battling the wide array of germs circulating within the public school system!

As a family, they have found a spiritual home in St. Anne's Episcopal Church. At first, they envisioned quiet, low-maintenance, low-commitment roles as "generic" members of the congregation. However, God's path again led them towards a different (much more involved) direction! Tyler has served as St. Anne's Treasurer for 10 years and recently given up that post to become Senior Warden on the Vestry. Heidi has served in roles on Vestry, leading a Congregational Development Team and leading the Episcopal Church Building Fund's Recasting of Building Assets Team. Heidi has become a great supporter of the work of the ECBF's Recasting of Building Assets and Buildings for a New Tomorrow Symposium – efforts that are helping provide communication and inspiration among struggling congregations around the country. She currently is serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Episcopal Church Building Fund.


The Rev. Canon Daniel J. Webster

The Rev. Canon Daniel J. Webster
Canon for Evangelism and Ministry Development
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

The Rev. Canon Daniel J. Webster is currently serving as canon for evangelism and ministry development in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. He was called to his current position from the Diocese of New York where for two years had served as canon for congregational development and vicar of St. Francis of Assisi Church (formerly St. Andrew's Chapel), Montgomery, New York.

Before entering the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, Texas, in 1993 Webster spent 25 years in broadcast journalism. He worked with NBC News for 12 years holding various positions, including west coast producer of NBC News Overnight in Burbank and deputy bureau chief in Washington, D.C. He has worked at local television stations in six states as news director, anchor, reporter, producer and photographer, and spent three years with The Associated Press, Washington D.C., creating a television marketing division. He continues to write on religious matters. His byline has appeared in numerous religious and secular publications.