History of the Program
In 2007 Greg Rickel became the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in Western Washington. Bishop Rickel brought with him a vision to develop the diocese in three areas: concentration on those under 35 years of age, congregational development, and stewardship of all resources.
To realize his vision for a comprehensive and diocese-wide congregational development training program, he turned to The Rev. Melissa Skelton.
The Rev. Melissa Skelton, in addition to being the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Seattle, had served as a Church Development consultant in the Diocese of Maine and as a Trainer for the Congregational Development Institute for over a decade. She brought these skills, as well as certifications from The Church Development Institute and National Training Labs to her role as Program Director for the new effort to create the College for Congregational Development. Working with significant input from Father Dennis Campbell, who was serving in the Diocese of Arkansas at the time, The Rev. Melissa Skelton sketched out broad areas of theory and educational practice from the fields of Organization and Congregational Development to engage in the College curriculum.
The Rev. Melissa Skelton then undertook a concentrated period of reading research and conversation in the areas of organization development and congregational development, drawing on resources from Alban Institute and University Associates, phone calls with Alice Mann of The Alban Instutite, and materials from the Organization Development Network and Leadership Skills Institute (a program run for many years within the Diocese of Olympia).
She also engaged in a broad data collection process within the Diocese of Olympia, and worked with the already present network of congregational consultants in the diocese to refine and implement the program. Under her guidance the College for Congregation Development has flourished since its inception in 2009, with participants from parishes and diocesan entities, both within and outside the Diocese of Olympia.
Further development of the College for Congregational Development is always ongoing, through feedback from participants and trainers, and new developments in the fields of CD and OD.
On March 1, 2014 Melissa Skelton was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Skelton remains influential in The College, working closely with CCD and the School For Leadership in New Westminster on curriculum development and design.
Since its founding in The Diocese of Olympia, CCD programs have spread to other dioceses in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. In addition to the Olympia programs, CCD is now also offered in the Diocese of Northern California, the Diocese of Spokane, in collaborative weekend sessions for the Diocese of California and Diocese of Northern California, and in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster as The School for Parish Development. The Diocese of Chicago will be launching a local CCD program in summer of 2016.