Diocese of Pennsylvania Diocesan Transition Team Summary of Survey Results for Second Annual Survey

In 2013, The Diocesan Transition Team commissioned the first of three annual online surveys in which all members of the diocese were invited to offer their feedback about the state of the diocese. The 2013 survey was to obtain a baseline for evaluation, and the 2014 survey could then measure progress toward the goals of healing, reconciling and achieving an effective and healthy Diocese.  The survey focused on 6 areas of concentration:

• Overall Satisfaction with the Diocese

• Congregational Health

• Financial Health

• Spiritual Health

• Diocesan Climate and Culture

• Diversity

The survey was made available online from October 27th to November 7th, 2014.  Respondents were asked to indicate if they had completed the survey last year, and were given slightly different questions depending in the response.   In this way we could include everyone who wished to participate in the survey while gauging progress for last year’s respondents.

The 2014 survey had 191 respondents as compared to 233 in 2013.   This year’s respondents representing 78 parishes and 3 corporate entities, and were half ordained and half lay persons.

Overall Satisfaction with the Diocese -
The survey began with the statement “I am satisfied with how the diocese functions.”    Among those taking the survey for the first time 61% agreed completely or most of the time.   Among those who took the survey last year there was 24% increase in agreement.   This response shows good, sure progress in the right direction.  There was a marked decrease in responses indicating that the diocese is important to carrying out my ministry, but an increase in those who indicated that they trust the diocese as a source of support.

Congregational Health -
There was a marked increase in agreement the statement, “The Diocese is a valued source for congregations”  (14% for those who were taking the survey for the first time and 16% for those who took it last year.)  In response to the statement “The Diocese helps congregations become more mission oriented and focused 61% of first respondents agreed.   Among those who took the survey last year there was an 18% increase in agreement, however a third of these respondents, when given the opportunity, neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement.  This suggests that this issue is one that needs diocesan attention.  Respondents believed that Sunday attendance in the diocese has not improved, but there was in increase from 24% to 45% that financial support of the diocese has increased.  Positive response to the overall sense of signs of new life with respect to Congregational Health increased markedly among those taking the survey for the second time.

Financial Health -
Perception of the financial health of the Diocese improved overall and efforts regarding budget transparency were noted.  A decrease occurred regarding whether the Budget reflects Diocesan priorities.  Satisfaction as to whether respondents felt adequately informed about the financial health held steady at around 58%.

Spiritual Health -
Perception of the overall spiritual health of the Diocese improved greatly, from 18% last year to 44% this year.  Likewise, satisfaction with leadership has increased.  As was the case last year, there was not consensus about whether people believe they are growing spiritually nor whether they believe that prayer and Bible Study are part of diocesan meetings.

Diocesan Life
– Overall perception of signs of new life in respect to diocesan life improved.  There was an increase in those who felt that the Diocese has a vision for congregations and missions.  There was a slight decrease in response to the perception that the mission of the church is clear.  While there was an increase in the positive response to the statement that congregations feel they are part of the Diocese, less than half of the respondents agreed.  There was a significant increase in agreement with the statement that the Diocese has provided opportunities for people to express and heal their pain.

Diocesan Climate and Culture –
There was significant improvement in the overall perception that there were signs of new life in respect to the culture and climate of the diocese.   In 2013, only 18% perceived that there were sign of new life in this area.  In 2014 over 50% of the respondents agreed.  There was at least slight improvement in the perception of improvement in a number of specific signs of new life: The Diocese is a place of joy, where members can meet for the pure pleasure and fellowship of coming together and that the diocese has created a safe environment for healing and reconciliation, a culture of trust, a culture in which people are willing to take risks and a culture in which we can meet as colleagues rather than competitors.  There was a slight decrease in the perception that we can come together when we disagree.  The results showed that there were those who agreed strongly with this statement and those who disagreed equally strongly.   The most marked decrease was in the perception that the Diocese has set up a communication system that keeps people informed.

Diversity –
Overall there was a considerable increase in the perception of signs of new life in relation to how diversity is recognized and valued in the diocese.   Specific signs such as the African American parishes being seen as an asset by the Diocese; the presence of an appreciation of diversity in languages, races, genders and sexual orientations; and the perception that the diocese recognizes, emphasizes and celebrates diversity in its policies, budgets and actions showed a slight increase.   However, when respondents were given the option to neither agree nor disagree about the presence of these signs almost half chose to do so.  There was a marked increase in the perception that the diocese is a place of safety for all its diverse members.

Respondents to the survey were invited to make comments.  From those that commented, there are an equal amount who think the Diocese is on the right track and those who do not.  There exists a cautious optimism.  It must be stated that some respondents continued to report considerable distress.

There was acknowledgment that much hard work has been done to improve life in the diocese.

We are very grateful to all those who took the time to complete this survey and to comment on our life together.   It is vital that all of us have the chance to tell our stories and have them heard.

The Diocesan Transition Team wishes to express it’s deep thanks to  Ms Tina F. Hogan who did all the logistical work of getting the survey online and collating and helping to interpret the results.

Respectfully submitted, The Diocesan Transition Team



Diocese of Pennsylvania Diocesan Transition Team Update September 2014

More than 60 clergy and lay leaders from throughout the Diocese attended the September 20 Adaptive Leadership Workshop led by Ki ThoughtBridge consultants, “Living Signs of New Life,” at Brossman Seminary. The goal was to engage clergy and lay leaders in discussions of ways they will commit to using their God-given gifts and adaptive leadership skills to create and maintain a more healthy and effective Diocese.

Diocesan Transition Team Co-chair The Rev. Ledlie Laughlin opened the session with the vision articulated at the start of the DTT work in 2012:

“Our vision for health is grounded in Paul’s image of the church as the body of Christ:

‘Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.  The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’  If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.’          I Corinthians 12:27, 21, 26

We want all individuals, congregations, and other diocesan entities to know that their participation in the life of the Diocese is essential for the well-being of the whole body.  To establish and grow in trust, we will need to learn anew the patterns of being in healthy relationship with one another as a diocese.  Working with Ki ThoughtBridge, the Diocesan Transition Team has all confidence that the resources and processes we provide will create the safe space and opportunities needed for mutual learning and growth.  Going forward, we will need to encourage and hold one another accountable as we seek to live into these patterns of health and become the body of Christ to which we are called.  Achieving our goals will require patience and commitment.  The changes we seek will be manifest spiritually, programmatically, behaviorally and financially, and will take time.  Together we will design opportunities to come together in worship, healing, thanksgiving, and celebration.  We are well aware that the efforts of the Bishop and Diocesan Transition Team are only part of the overall renewal of this Diocese, so we will seek out and celebrate with gratitude efforts of one and all across this Diocese to facilitate the goals of healing and health.  We will assess and mark our progress together.  As we come together in renewed vitality, we will reclaim our gifts and potential as children of God – learning from our past and casting a compelling vision for the future.”


Participants were asked to indicate their ratings of progress toward becoming a healthier and more effective Diocese, using signs identified by DTT – in most areas, participants indicated signs of progress:

  1. Gatherings ablaze with laughter, joy, and hope, with many more individuals and congregations engaged in diocesan life
  2. A renewed sense of trust
  3. Mutual accountability and the capacity to encourage one another as we live into new patterns
  4. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically safe spaces for all – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identification, physical ability, or theological views
  5. Calling forth, sharing, and celebrating the gifts and abilities of every member of the Body of Christ for the good of the whole body
  6. A capacity to celebrate creativity and encourage entrepreneurial efforts
  7. A capacity to listen deeply and respectfully to one another’s stories with pastoral care provided for clergy and laity
  8. Consistent and open communication of information
  9. Agreed upon and published resources that provide guidelines for congregational development
  10. Generous stewardship of our abundant resources; every congregation pledges and gives for the ministry of the Diocese
  11. Reclaim and draw upon the strengths of our past
  12. Attend to the most vulnerable among us
  13. We are able to deal with different or conflicting perceptions, opinions, and views in constructive ways
  14. We are conscious, intentional, and inclusive about the ways in which we plan and execute changes that affect others
  15. Place our trust in and give glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imaging (Ephesians 3:20)

The next workshop will take place at the clergy conference in December; further information will be presented at our Diocesan Convention; and plans are underway for next steps in 2015.  We appreciate your continued prayers as we work together in our Diocese to move forward.


Diocesan Transition Team Members (as of September 2014)

-       The Rev. Ledlie Laughlin (St. Peter’s Philadelphia) Co-chair

-       The Ven. Pam Nesbit (St. Paul’s Doylestown) Co-chair

-       Ms. Nora Adelmann (St. Peter’s Philadelphia)

-       The Rev. Sam Andoh (Church of St. Andrew and St. Monica Philadelphia)

-       Ms. Ann Booth-Barbarin (Church of the Holy Trinity West Chester)

-       Mr. Pat Connelly (Church of the Good Samaritan Paoli)

-       The Right Rev. Clifton Daniel (Bishop)

-       Mr. Ron Francis (St. Peter’s Philadelphia)

-       The Rev. Matt Holcombe (St. David’s Radnor)

-       The Rev. Bud Holland (St. Peter’s in the Great Valley Malvern)

-       Ms. Arlene McGurk (St. Luke and the Epiphany Philadelphia)

-       Ms. Victoria Sicks (Grace Epiphany Philadelphia)

-       The Very Rev. Judy Sullivan (Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral)

-       Mr. Paul Yaros (Christ Church Philadelphia)



The Diocesan Transition Team continues to work by focusing on the two main phases, as we shared initially with you: first, to tend to healing and reconciliation within our diocesan family; and second, becoming a more healthy and effective Diocese. We began the second phase of our work in the season of Epiphany.

In the midst of our labors we experienced the death of Jack Henn a devoted member of the Team, diocesan leader and strong participant in our work together. We mourn his loss and celebrate his exemplary life and commitment to God's Church.  Jack's example continues to inspire the Diocesan Transition Team. In that spirit we are excited to update you about what we have been working on.

In addition to regular monthly meetings, the Transition Team is pleased to announce that Ki ThoughtBridge (our consultants) trained eight diocesan lay and clergy leaders in February to facilitate the diocesan history timeline workshop entitled "Re-Membering Community: Sharing our Stories". "Re-Membering Community: Sharing our Stories Workshop," reconnects groups through the sharing of individual and corporate stories using a history timeline. The timeline helps to develop a common understanding of our diocese and the people, events, issues, challenges, and successes which have shaped our diocesan culture and identity. The history timeline exercise weaves diocesan and individual stories together while engaging the group in the discernment of our corporate identity, core beliefs, and sense of calling. It is an experience and opportunity for healing and reconciliation, fostering trust, strengthening relationships, and improving communication within our diocese.

This foundational experience is a starting point for other Leadership Workshops that will be offered throughout 2014.  In the coming months various diocesan groups and committees will participate in this dynamic workshop: Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, Diocesan Staff, and many others. Once that is accomplished, interested groups and churches will have the opportunity to call on the Diocesan Transition Team to participate in the "Sharing our Stories" workshop in your local parish setting. Our hope is that everyone will want to share in this experience.

If you or your parish or diocesan group is interested in learning more about this workshop and participating in it, please contact the Rev. Matt Holcombe (Workshop Convener) atmholcombe@stdavidschurch.org.

Stayed tuned for more opportunities for healing and reconciliation and to make ourdiocese healthier and more effective!

The Diocesan Transition Team


The Reverend Pamela Nesbit, Chair pamelamnesbit@gmail.com

The Rev. Sam Andoh

Ms. Debora Brown

Mr. Pat Connelly

The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel

Mr. Jack Henn

The Rev. Matthew Holcombe

The Rev. Ledlie Laughlin

Ms. Arlene McGurk

The Rev. Marissa Rohrbach

The Very Rev. Judith Sullivan

The Rev. Paula Lawrence Wehmiller


We hope that your summer has been one of reflection, respite and reconnection with those central in your life and work.   Since our last update your Diocesan Transition Team (DTT) has continued to work on developing a plan to address the diverse needs of our diocese. We are now ready to start sharing what we believe will help restore us to being a healthier and more mission effective Body of Christ. Changes of this size and importance always take considerable thought, time, patience, faith, prayer and just plain hard work. Creating this change we all desire is a big investment and will need your commitment if we are to succeed. As we begin to share this plan, starting with the Clergy in October and the Diocesan Convention in November, we will need your help.  We know that we are all One Body in Christ; and we also know that we don’t always see things the same way.  We are not in the same place when it comes to the need for  healing as well as the ways in which we can reclaim the trust and relationship that is foundational to becoming a healthy diocese.   The plan is one that is predicated on norms of open, honest dialogue; respect for differences; collaborative communication; responsible decision-making; and flexibility.

In so many ways the DTT mirrors the composition of our Diocese and the spectrum of needs. In working together we have come to understand the reality that there can be no quick fixes or short term solutions. We also know that our transformation as a Diocese will only happen with your involvement and commitment to help. What the Plan offers are opportunities for healing and reconciliation that can bring us together and that will equip us with the resources needed to do the work God is calling us to do.

We appreciate your continuing prayers and welcome your questions as we work in partnership with you to become an effective and healthy diocese.

Diocesan Transition Team

The Reverend Pamela Nesbit, Chair  pamelamnesbit@gmail.com

The Rev. Sam Andoh

Ms Debora Brown

Mr Pat Connelly

The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel

Mr. Jack Henn

The Rev. Matthew Holcombe

The Rev. Ledlie Laughlin

Ms Arlene McGurk

The Rev. Marissa Rohrbach

The Very Rev. Judith Sullivan

The Rev. Paula Lawrence Wehmiller


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The Diocesan Transition Team has met with the Bishop and with the consultants from Ki Thoughtbridge on two occasions in the past month.   We have formulated policies and procedures for our own work together and we will continue to meet over the summer to formulate a plan to provide tools, venues, and opportunities for healing and to help promote and build a healthy and effective diocese.  We will present our plan of action to the clergy and diocesan leaders in September.  We are committed to communicating with the Diocese at least monthly through the diocesan list serve and the website.   The Diocesan Transition Team is representative of the Diocese and has members who are part of the Standing Committee, the Diocesan Council, the Council of Deans and the Diocesan Leadership Group.  They will be reporting regularly to these bodies and eliciting feedback.   If you have any questions, I can be contacted at PamelaMNesbit@gmail.com or at 215-345-4437.

We ask for your prayers for our work and for the Diocese.

The Rev. Pamela Nesbit, Chair


Members of the Diocesan Transition Team are:

The Rev. Sam Andoh

Ms Debora Brown

Mr Pat Connelly

Mr. Jack Henn

The Rev. Matthew Holcombe

The Rev. Ledlie Laughlin

Ms Arlene McGurk

The Rev. Marissa Rohrbach

The Very Rev. Judith Sullivan

The Rev. Paula Lawrence Wehmiller




Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

After Bishop Bennison announced his retirement last Fall, Diocesan leaders acknowledged the need for a process of preparation before we would be ready to call a Bishop Diocesan.  Part of getting ourselves ready was our decision to call a Bishop Provisional, the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel 3rd, to help lead us through this important time of transition and new beginnings.  As discussed in previous communications, a Diocesan Transition Team was appointed by the Standing Committee to work closely with Bishop Daniel in shepherding the diocese through this process of healing and renewal.  The Transition Team is not a Search Committee, and it will have no responsibilities or authority regarding the search for a Bishop Diocesan. A Search Committee will be selected at an appropriate time in the future.

The Diocesan Transition Team has selected consultants from outside the Diocese to help us.  We are working with the team of Ki ThoughtBridge (www.thoughtbridge.com), based in Indianapolis, to put together a process to help us prepare to move forward.   We are now in a process of assessment and preparation, involving interviews with Transition Team members and we will be meeting together with the bishop for feedback and planning out next steps.  We will be reporting back to the Diocese early in June about the plan.

We are aware that there are those in the Diocese who were badly hurt during the previous episcopate and who are calling for an opportunity for healing.   We are also aware that there are those who feel that our mutual trust has been damaged and that we are in need of opportunities for reconciliation.  We also know that there are those who just want to move forward, as well as some who may be feeling disengaged.  In the face of these diverse perspectives and concerns we are committed to respectfully listening to everyone.  We believe that we are at a place of new beginnings and we want to make this opportunity be one of increased trust, open communication, increased cohesiveness, and revitalized mission and purpose so that the ground for calling the next bishop will be ready. 

We will be providing regular updates about the status of the work.  and we ask that you continue to hold our diocese in prayer as we move through this transition time together.

If you have any questions, please contact me.


Deacon Pam Nesbit

Chair, Diocesan Transition Team




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