Episcopal Convention Tells its Members to “Get Off Your Donkey!”

Palm Desert, Califfffornia - The annual gathering of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, the diocesan convention, takes place at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9. With a theme of “Mission Possible,” the convention features the Rev. Dr. Reggie McNeal as its keynote speaker. A Baptist minister with a mean wit, McNeal will entertain as he chides the church delegates to “get off their donkeys and help somebody,” as he said in a recent phone interview.

“I’m trying to get church leaders out of the church business,” said McNeal. “I’m trying to get them in the people business. The church is not the point.”

McNeal’s newest book, released this month by Baker Books, fleshes out this idea of mobilizing people to help others. Get Off Your Donkey: Help Somebody and Help Yourself shows readers that loving our neighbors is the heart of Jesus’ gospel; “everything else is just religion,” said McNeal. The book will be available at Convention for $16. Cash, check, MC and Visa are accepted. McNeal will sign books after the gala dinner on Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells. He will also sign books on Saturday afternoon at St. Margaret’s.

“It’s not about helping the church do churchy things outside the church. It’s about emptying the church into the streets and releasing the church to be everywhere that people are – that’s the real church,” said McNeal.

Speaker Bio: McNeal currently serves as the missional leadership specialist for the Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas. His experience as a denominational executive, leadership development coach, founding pastor, professor, consultant, seminar developer and presenter helps him to help others pursue more intentional lives. He has resourced the US Army Chief of Chaplains Office, Air Force chaplains, and the Air Force Education and Training Command. McNeal’s work also extends to the business sector, including The Gallup Organization. His education includes a B.A. degree from the University of South Carolina, as well as an M.Div. and Ph.D., both from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Cathy, have two daughters and make their home in Columbia, South Carolina. He has summited Mt. Sinai and Mt. Everest but the truly unique thing about him is that he responds to his email.

In the first chapter of his new book, Get Off Your Donkey, McNeal writes: “There is hope! But that hope is not just going to materialize before you. You are going to have to work for it. As you and I and millions of others get off our donkeys, we can deal with our most vexing problems and the people chewed up by them. We can deliver hope to others who are bleeding out and at the same time gain renewed conviction that we can be part of making our communities and our country better.”

About Diocesan Convention: By canon law and church custom, convention is an annual gathering of representatives from every church in the diocese. These delegates vote on resolutions, approve the budget and elect new board members. This is the business of convention.

Beyond doing business, convention is an inclusive, far-reaching gathering – a gathering of the whole diocese to learn and share experiences about the ministries of the diocese. All are welcome to come and participate fully in this learning and sharing.

Schedule available here: www.edsd.org/diocon2013/agenda

Service Project: A service project led by the youth of the diocese will occur during convention; all are welcome to pack supply bags, or “care bags,” for people who are needy or homeless. For more information, contact Jacqueline Bray: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Diocesan Choir: Another highlight to convention this year is the diocesan-wide choir. Choristers from throughout the fifty-church diocese will join voices as they sing in one masterful chorus during the convention Eucharist. The Eucharist will take place at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 47-535 Highway 74, Palm Desert at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. All are welcome.

Workshops: Twelve workshops will instruct and inspire on topics ranging from church finance and administration to healthy conflict and eco-justice. For more information, visit: www.edsd.org/diocon2013/workshops

Additional information