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September 30, 2022 News

Darkness & Glitter

“Then the people stood at a distance, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.” – Exodus 20:21

I’ve been reflecting on this verse for many months now ever since I listened to Rev. Jemonde Taylor’s Theological Reflection at the Philadelphia Gathering for Gathering of Leaders (GOL). GOL brings together transformational leaders from across the Episcopal Church for mutual encouragement, sharing of ideas, and reflection on the spiritual and leadership challenges of ministry today. Participants include innovative clergy with demonstrated leadership skills who can impact the wider church through their dedication to mission and evangelism.

A Gathering is an opportunity for faithful, innovative, and hope-filled leaders in the Episcopal Church to come together for peer-learning, sharing of ideas, and renewal. I find such profound comfort in the image of Moses getting wrapped in what I imagine to be a thick, dark, soft blanket of God’s love. It is a reminder to me that through all the turmoil of the past few years, God has been here with us, embracing us, and keeping us strong.

Recently I was introduced to the words of Mahmoud Darwish, a Palestinian poet, who says, “We flash victory signs in the darkness so that the darkness can glitter.” When I put this together with the verse from Exodus a smile breaks across my face as I picture the celebration that is in front of us as we discern the role of our beloved Episcopal church in the modern world.

I’m still catching my breath from hosting GOL’s first Multi-Vocational (Bivocational) Gathering a few days ago, and the glitter was flying! This was one of the most profound, hope-filled, and innovative Gatherings that I have had the honor of coordinating and next month’s e-News will be filled with photos, learnings, and vision shared by these faithful leaders.

GOL could not have made this happen alone. Planning and recruitment for this Gathering was in collaboration with the Iona Collaborative, Bishop Kemper School of Ministry, and the Episcopal Church Foundation. GOL and ECF have been in a long term partnership since 2019 with a primary goal of finding more ways to connect and support leaders in the church. I am also deeply grateful for our grant from Trinity Wall Street as well as significant donations from the Dioceses of Wyoming and Oklahoma and the Bishop Quin Foundation in the Diocese of Texas. I invite you all to keep reading our e-News for details on the next offerings to support the growing and necessary world of multi-vocational clergy.

Next week we will be at it again when GOL and ECF pilot our first-ever Lay Leader Gathering at Bellwether Farm. The energy and excitement from our Lay Participants is hinting at the deep level of connection and hope that we will see.

Grab your dark, soft blanket of God’s love, wrap yourself up tight, and watch for the sparks and glitter that are before us!

Haley Bankey is the Executive Director for Gathering of Leaders and began her affiliation with the organization in October of 2017. She also serves as Director of Partnerships and Program Innovation at the Episcopal Church Foundation.

She guides day to day operations of GOL as well as long term strategy and planning. Prior to working with Gathering of Leaders, Haley served as the Director of Operations and Management at St. George Church and School in San Antonio, TX, and ran her own faith-based operations consulting company. She is a graduate of the College for Congregational Development and digital product owner for The FaithX Project’s Congregational Vitality Assessment tool.

Haley grew up in the Episcopal church in the middle east and brings an international perspective to her work. Her passion is equipping lay and clergy leaders alike through leadership training and community building to grow God's church into the future. She is a graduate of The University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in biology focusing on genetics, with a minor in anthropology. She lives in San Antonio, TX with her husband, two wonderful daughters, two cats, one dog, and five chickens.

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