The Gathering of Leaders 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 bishops, priests and lay people of demonstrated leadership potential who have at least 15 years of active ministry remaining in their leadership careers. At all Gatherings, participants pledge to respect differences of theology and approach and to leave disputes about divisive church issues at the door.
The Gathering of Leaders is dedicated to the vision of the Church growing in spiritual depth, breadth and number, committed to serving all sorts and conditions of people through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
The idea for the program emerged from meetings held in October 2005, at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Claude Payne, retired, Bishop of Texas, and in January 2006 at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray, III, Bishop of Mississippi, to discuss a missionary vision for the Episcopal Church. The inaugural Gathering of Leaders program was held in Phoenix, Arizona, at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, Bishop of Arizona, in May of 2006. As momentum has grown so has the vision for expanding this opportunity to include more participants and meetings and to circulate these Gatherings throughout all regions of the country. As of March 2017 Gathering of Leaders had 543 Participants. Three gatherings are scheduled for 2017 and 2018, plus a reception at General Convention in Austin.
Each event is limited to 40 persons to encourage collegiality and the building of peer networks. At each Gathering, roughly half of the attendees are prior participants and half have never attended. This combination has created continuity and an infusion of fresh perspectives and experiences. The Gathering of Leaders is a refreshing opportunity for persons seeking to be instruments of transformation. It is an invitation to growth and renewal as leaders in the Episcopal Church.