Gathering of Spiritual Leaders: Attendee instructions and agenda

January 20, 2023 | by Admin

Gathering of Spiritual Leaders: Attendee instructions and agenda

Editor's note: The following has been emailed to all those expected to attend the Gathering of the Spiritual Leaders, and is reposted here.

Welcome to Asilomar! We are glad that you have set aside the time to join your colleagues for the Gathering of the Spiritual Leaders. It is our hope that our time together will be renewing and encouraging as we explore “Come to the Waters”, caring for ourselves and one another along the way.
--The Gathering of the Spiritual Leaders Planning Team

  • \We’ll have a welcome / sign-in table in a reception area (Merrill Hall).
  • You will get your room keys and meal cards at the hotel’s lobby registration desk.
  • Parking is free at Asilomar Hotel & Conference Grounds and there is no park entrance fee (Refer to the attached Map).
  • We’ll build a well off to the side. If you are able, bring a small amount of water in a small container from your hometowns to contribute. The well will be fully contained so that it doesn’t leak anywhere.
  • Some of our colleagues published books and have a table in the Merrill Hall to sell their books and chat about them.
12.00 pm     Program Team Arrives
4.00 pm       Registration (in/outside Merrill Hall)
5.15 pm        Sunset
6.00 pm       Dinner: Dining Hall
7.00 pm       Convene at Merrill Hall for a welcome: Order Chairs
7.30 am       Sunrise Service – Optional: led by Rev. Suzanne Calhoun.
8.00 am       Breakfast: Dining Hall
9.00 am       Morning Worship – Merrill Hall
10.00 am     Bishop’s Address: Bishop Sally Dyck
10.45 am     Break
11.00 am      Jurisdictional Conference Update: Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, Rev. Elizabeth Brick
11.45 am      Brief Announcements (10-15 minutes)
  • Conference Young People’s Ministry  – Rev. Jacey Pickens-Jones
  • 8-year Assesment Team – Rev. Susan Smith
  • Boundary Training – Rev. Ouk-Kean Jung
12.00 pm     Lunch: Dining Hall
A Facilitated Time to Share and Process (clergy only) w/ Bishop Sally Dyck
1.30 pm       Bishop’s Session 1   – Kiln Room
3.00 pm       Bishop’s Session 2   – Kiln Room
4.30 pm       Bishop’s Session 3   – Kiln Room
7.00 pm   Bishop’s Session 4 – Kiln Room (IF NEEDED)
Workshops – Round 1

1.30 pm       Ranger Erica: Walking Asilomar’s Buildings & History, 20 participates per
                        tour meet in front of the Social Hall
1.30 pm       Workshop B – Rev. Debbie Weatherspoon & Rev. Dr. Kristin Stoneking: Just Faith Nautilus A
1.30 pm       Workshop C – Dr. Mark Barajas: Building Resilience in a Time of
Uncertainty in Nautilus B
Workshops – Round 2

3.00 pm       Ranger Erica: Walking Asilomar’s Dunes, 20 participates per tour
                        meet in front of the Social Hall
3.00 pm       Workshop A – Mary Poppish: Clergy Taxes Nautilus B
3.00 pm       Workshop D – Rev. Heather Leslie Hammer: Authors Among Us
    Nautilus A
3.00 pm       Workshop E – Rev. Dr. Dirk Damonte: Finding Wonder, Love, and Praise -
                                                    Merrill Hall
Workshops – Round 3

4.30 pm       Workshop F – Rev. Heather Leslie Hammer:
                                    How do you cultivate wellness in retirement?  Nautilus A
4.30 pm       Free Time: birdwatching; nap; self-guided tour of property
5.15 pm        Sunset
6.00 pm       Dinner: Dining Hall
7.00 pm       Evening Program: Merrill Hall
                        Scavenger Hunt Awards
Lack of Talent Show (music, comedy, etc.)
7.30 am       Sunrise Service – Optional -Led by Rev. Suzanne Calhoun
8.00 am       Breakfast: Dining Hall
9.00 am       Workshop G – Rev. Brad Biggerstaff: Digital Ministry Enhancement
Workshop: An Introduction to SubsplashMerrill Hall
10.00 am     Worship with Holy Communion – led by Bishop Dyck – Merrill Hall
11.00 am      Check Out Time
12.00 pm  Lunch: Dining Hall OR box lunch for the road
1.00 pm       Safe drive home
Workshop Descriptions and Facilitators
Clergy Taxes: Mary Popish-President of Conference Claimants Endowment Board.
Come to the workshop if you want to hear the answers to these questions: (1) Why do I need to understand my Compensation Form? (2) What are all those lines for? (3) Is there any way I can reduce my tax burden? (4) What should my W-2 look like, and why do I need to know this? (5) What information do I need to keep during the year? (6) Shouldn’t my church treasurer know all this information? (7) Is it essential to contribute to my retirement plan? (8) Tax planning for retirement issues.
Mary Popish
Is the Endowment Board, President.
Just Faith Ministries-A Discipleship Pathway Workshop: Rev. Debbie Weatherspoon, Rev. Dr. Kristin Stoneking
Just Faith Ministries provides a spiritual formation process to help congregants go deep in their faith and advance in their service and advocacy. Participants have experienced transformation in their discipleship, living out the gospel in pursuit of social justice for all.
Just Faith meets us where we are in offering a framework that marries commitment to social action with Biblical grounding and theological complexity.
Kristin and Debbie co-facilitated one of the programs of Just Faith Ministries during last year’s Lenten season. Come to their workshop to learn more about ways to engage your congregation. 
Debbie Weatherspoon introduced Just Faith Ministries to her congregation while serving Los Altos UMC as an Associate Pastor. Debbie serves as a co-chairperson of the national board of Just Faith Ministries and continues to facilitate the small group programs of Just Faith, even while on a Leave of Absence.
Kristin Stoneking, Senior Pastor of Epworth UMC- Berkeley, partnered with Debbie Weatherspoon to add a Just Faith small group to the small Lenten groups offered at Epworth UMC in Berkeley in the Spring of 2022. Since then, Epworth has become a Just Faith church with 17 persons going through at least one program.
Building Resilience in a Time of Uncertainty: Dr. Mark Barajas
This workshop will explore the joys and challenges of the clergy, focusing on mental health, self-care, and coping skills.
Mark Barajas
Dr. Mark Barajas is a licensed psychologist originally from Sacramento, California. He completed his doctoral training at Western Michigan University and post-doctoral training at the University of California Berkeley. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from the University of California Davis, holds a lifetime California Clear Science Teaching Credential, served in Bolivia with the Peace Corps as an educator, and is fully Spanish-English bilingual.
He has an extensive private practice that provides psychotherapy and psychological assessment to adults and adolescents.
In addition to serving private clients, Dr. Barajas is a tenured Associate Professor of the Clinical Psychology Department at Saint Mary’s College of California. He teaches counseling theory, psychopathology, and family psychology courses and researches the intersection of culture and mental health.
“Authors Among Us” - Rev. Heather Leslie Hammer 
All clergy and clergy-spouse-published authors are invited to share
the books they have written. Here’s a chance to ask the authors among us about their writing.
Heather Leslie Hammer
Rev. Heather Leslie Hammer is a retired pastor. She enjoys writing and occasional preaching.
“Finding Wonder, Love, and Praise”: Rev. Dr. Dirk Damonte
The workshop title would be “Finding Wonder, Love, and Praise.”
This workshop weaves together the music and message of the Wesleyan movement into a 21st Century worship context. It includes examples of updated Wesleyan or Wesley-inspired hymns, as well as a brief exploration of the history and theology of the Wesleyan movement and how all of this is as relevant now as it was in the 18th century.
Dirk Damonte
Rev. Dr. Dirk Damonte is the Minister of Music and Worship Arts at Los Altos United Methodist Church. A Deacon in Full Connection, he recently earned a Doctor of Pastoral Music Degree from Perkins School of Theology.
Rev. Heather Leslie Hammer – How do you cultivate wellness in retirement? Join the conversation.
Heather Leslie Hammer
Rev. Heather Leslie Hammer is a retired pastor. She enjoys writing and occasional preaching.
Digital Ministry Enhancement Workshop: An Introduction to Subsplash-Rev. Brad Biggerstaff
80% of people check out a church's digital profile before ever visiting the church. This single statistic brings about many questions for churches today. What does your church's digital profile look like? Does your church have a website? How can people give to your church online? What social media platforms does your church use? Is your church live-streaming? How is your church's digital profile integrated and organized? If your church is not answering these questions, your church is being left behind. To engage and reach digital natives, a well-designed, integrated, and engaging digital profile is required for the church today, for we are called to meet people where they are.
In this workshop, I will introduce a platform that does just that. Subsplash is a United Methodist partner and platform that can provide a solution for almost every church's digital needs in an all-in-one and easy-to-use way. Whether it's digital giving, mobile and TV apps, live streaming, websites, church management software, etc., Subsplash has it all. In the workshop, I will show the fullness of the platform with examples like Asbury United Methodist Church's recent integration of Subsplash and the digital ministry enhancement it has brought. Additionally, I will share examples of small to large churches that use Subsplash. Overall, this workshop aims to introduce the need for digital ministry enhancement in our churches and to provide Subsplash as a solution that will help. 
Brad Biggerstaff
Brad Biggerstaff is a pastor at Asbury UMC in Livermore, CA. Originally from Nashville, TN, Brad's call to ministry has taken him to many places where he has experienced a variety of ministry contexts. Since graduating from Candler School of Theology, he has served in rural and suburban congregations in Georgia and now here in beautiful California at Asbury. Brad is also a digital ministry consultant passionate about helping churches enhance their digital profiles. In his free time, Brad enjoys spending time with his dog, Millie the Corgi, watching his favorite sports teams, meditating through yoga, and traveling. If you follow Brad on social media, you will have seen his many adventures across the Bay Area and northern California as he makes this conference home.
Ranger Erica: Asilomar Walking Tours-20 participates/tour
  1. 1:30-2:30 pm Asilomar Ramble includes walking inside and around buildings with bits of history of the YWCA and Julia Morgan’s past.

2. 3:00-4:00 pm Asilomar Dunes, outdoor walking on the beach

Both tours start at the Asilomar Social Hall.
Bishop Sally Dyck: A Facilitated Time to Share and Process (Clergy Only)
Session A: 1:30 PM; Session B: 3:00 PM; Session C: 4:30 PM
Navigating episcopal uncertainty: Bishop Dyck will be offering three opportunities to gather, focused on helping participants process their feelings about the ongoing uncertainty in episcopal leadership. Please note that this is not an update on the complaint process or an open forum for discussion. Rather, it will be an intentional and prayerful space for self-reflection and sharing about how this ongoing situation is impacting us personally. The hope is that this might provide an initial step toward the type of healing work necessary among the clergy of the annual conference. This process was initially offered at the annual BOOM & Appointive Cabinet Retreat in September and was recommended for wider use. Each session is open to all clergy and assigned CLMs in attendance and will be limited to no more than 60 participants.
Please sign up for only one session to allow space for others.
For clergy who are unable to attend in person, you can join in available meeting in partial via Zoom.
(The same zoom link will be good for all 3 days of the event but the only session livestreamed is worship on Wednesday 9-12am, Thursday 10:00-12:00 am)
Meeting ID: 837 4252 8158
Join by Skype for Business