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Fresh Start comes to Fort Worth

If there is one thing Episcopalians in Fort Worth are familiar with, it is transition.

Whether part of a congregation fortunate enough to be in its building or one operating out of rented and/or shared space, Fort Worth Episcopalians have been living in a state of almost constant transition – if not physical transition, then emotional transition, and often both. And more change is expected when we reunite with our sisters and brothers in the buildings still controlled by the Southern Cone diocese.

So how to handle transition in a healthy way? Well, there’s an app for that ‒ or at least a program in The Episcopal Church. It’s called Fresh Start.

Here’s how the organization describes itself: "Fresh Start is a diocesan-led program that seeks to foster healthy relationships among clergy, their congregations and their dioceses during critical periods of transition. Encouraging open and honest discussion of transitional issues affecting both clergy and congregations, the program’s goal is to build a culture which encourages the mutual ministry of the clergy and congregation. Fresh Start is a collaborative ministry of the Episcopal Church, with creative contributions from the Anglican Church of Canada."

More than 60 dioceses have a Fresh Start program. Thanks to funding from The Episcopal Church and Fresh Start, the Diocese of Fort Worth has four trained Fresh Start facilitators who stand ready to work with the congregations in the diocese: Mo Lewis, Jackie Meeks, Demi Prentiss, and Norm Snyder.

And on June 3 & 4, two of Fresh Start’s national staff will be in the Diocese of Fort Worth, leading workshops which will offer a taste of Fresh Start.

On Friday, June 3, all diocesan clergy are invited to join with The Rev. Mike Ehmer, Fresh Start managing director, and Lynn Schmissrauter, coordinator of facilitators, in an exploration of how Fresh Start can support their ministries. The workshop will be 12:30-4 pm at All Saints’ Fort Worth, and will begin with lunch.

On Saturday, June 4, each congregation in the diocese is urged to send a team to discover the many uses for Fresh Start resources in the congregation – vestry retreats, leadership training, ministry development, strategic planning, and more. Ehmer and Schmissrauter will offer the team workshop 10 am – 2 pm at All Saints’ Fort Worth. Lunch will be served.

There is no cost for the workshops, but participants need to register so that lunch can be provided. A free-will offering will be collected to cover lunch expenses. Register online (see registrations button to the right) or by telephone, 817-921-4533 by Thursday, May 26.

For resources about transition, ask Demi Prentiss, the diocesan Fresh Start coordinator. For more information visit or contact Fresh Start by phone (901-275-3125) or e-mail (

Register for Fresh Start Workshop