The College for Congregational Development met last week in Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula, with Jon, Kaylee, and Debbie in attendance. Jon noticed that the town of ten-thousand has only one Starbucks, it sits in a Safeway, and he was amazed by the Old Victorian houses dotting the town. Fort Worden, a local state park that hosted CCD this year, appears in the film “An Officer and a Gentleman.” The same rustic charm seen in the 1982 movie is present at the fort today. Kaylee saw the beautiful water views and worried that the coming week may feel particularly overwhelming coming right out of another school year and having just moved house.
Over 50 people from several dioceses descended on the town, including a party from south Florida. They had come across the country and were hoping to bring CCD back to their home diocese. They mentioned knowing Bishop Greg Rickel, who has a connection with the Florida Keys and is considered a key ally in their plans. CCD has many programs in many states, while the Diocese of Olympia’s CCD, the original, has been called “the Mothership.”
CCD presented us with many models to frame our thinking, as well as tools to use to help us facilitate. You may be familiar with the Gather-Transform-Send model, invented by now-Bishop Melissa Skelton among others, including the Rev. Alissa Newton, a trainer in attendance at CCD. A major focus was the Gather segment of the model, which was broken down further into Invite-Greet-Orient-Incoportate, and we spent much time talking about how these aspects can look in different churches.
But this was only one of the many – perhaps ten – such models we learned about. Every day was packed: breakfast ending at 8:30, ten hours of content, and dinner at 6:30. By the end of the day we were tired but we knew our time was being well spent– and we had learned much. Kaylee’s fears about being overwhelmed were allayed after the first full day, when it became clear how incredibly well-paced CCD is.
Such bastions of friendship, fellowship, and service as CCD make us optimistic about the future of our diocese. It was refreshing to be around so many people committed to helping others, many of them dynamic and innovative clergy. One aspect of CCD is planning ‘interventions,’ which effectively means “next steps.” Jon and Debbie will be working on an initiative titled “Who is Emmanuel?” while Kaylee will be working strengthening the Godly Play program. It was a privilege to attend CCD this year and we look forward to learning more next summer.