Coming Home – News from The Bishop’s Ranch

Fall 2019


Paul Vasile and Generations Camp

Spirit Songs

by Jack Dowling, Advancement Director

Recently I was sleeping outside in the redwoods near a creek in the western part of Sonoma County. Before drifting off, I heard a single frog call out, shortly its song was followed by a chorus of other frogs. Something would cause them to go silent and then one frog would start up, again echoed by a chorus of neighboring frogs.
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Let Me Introduce Myself

by Megan Anderson, Chaplain at The Bishop’s Ranch

I am absolutely thrilled to be serving as the new Residential Host and Chaplain at The Bishop’s Ranch. From the moment that I first read the job description, I have felt deeply drawn to this ministry. The Ranch’s mission of nourishing people’s body, mind, and spirit, while bringing them closer to God, spiritual practice, and community, aligns perfectly with my passion for ministry.
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Summer Camp 2019

BREAD Camp: Explorers
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Annual Fund Update

$204,000 raised to date
The Annual Fund impacts all aspects of life at the Ranch. Donate today to help us exceed our $300,000 goal.
$40,000 challenge grant
We have secured $36,500 of the grant so far. New and increased donations will be matched dollar for dollar. Donate today to help us meet the November 30 deadline.
287 Households
We are grateful to the 287 households that have given to the Annual Fund so far. Donate today and be part of the community that supports the mission of the Ranch.


Help Keep Us On The Move

Sarah Hart, a quilter who comes to the Ranch Quilt Retreat, saw from our wish list that we needed a new mobility scooter. She called to find out the price range and now thanks to her donation we have a shiny new red scooter!
We are still looking to upgrade our transportation fleet. If you have a vehicle that is in good condition that you are ready to part with, please think of us. A mini van would be especially useful, but a passenger car or truck would be great, too. Email Jack Dowling at to let him know.
Check out the rest of our wish list on our website with links to items the Ranch staff has chosen to best serve their departments: check it out here.

Camp Staff

Growing Leadership at Camp

To kick off the summer, our camp staff comes together at the Ranch for a week of leadership training and fun activities that prepare them for the weeks ahead. Together we participate in team building exercises, discuss inclusion philosophies that help build community, go over camper scenarios like home sickness and picky eaters, and much more. Training week helps counselors figure out their leadership style and equips them with the skills needed to oversee activities and discussions with campers of all ages.
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So, what really happens at READ Camp? Reading contests? Speed reading lessons? Fluency quizzes? Comprehension guidance? Rewards? Recognition? Prizes? Big and impressive charts of who read how much how fast? Nope. None of that at all.
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Cheesy Zucchini & Red Onion Flatbread

Get this delicious seasonal recipe. here.

Remembering Reverend James Thompson Brown

The Reverend James Thompson Brown passed away peacefully just after dawn on July 31, 2019 at 92 years of age. Jim was the Chaplain of the Chapel of St. George at the Ranch for 22 years, from 1989 to 2011. During that time a congregation of local people, Ed and Nancy Markell being among the first, were drawn to come to the chapel on Sundays by Jim’s unique and personal ministry. This worship community continues today.
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Legacy Circle News

Joseph Fazackerley, age 25, became our youngest Legacy Circle member when he made the Ranch a beneficiary of his 401k retirement plan. Joe has been coming to camp since he was a young boy and last year joined our Acorn Society. When he decided he wanted to be part of the Legacy Circle, he found out one of the easiest ways to make a planned gift is with a designation in a retirement plan.
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Staff News

We are pleased to announce that Aaron Wright has the new job title of Associate Director. Since May of 2017 the Ranch has been fortunate to have Aaron ably fulfill the position of Hospitality Director, leading the staff teams that make the Ranch ready for the hundreds of retreats, camps and conferences the Ranch hosts each year. During this time Aaron’s responsibilities have expanded and the new title of Associate Director more fully describes his role. Thank you, Aaron, for your guidance of the Ranch’s ministry with such energy and thoughtfulness!
Graduate MariMari Gonzalez, our Housekeeping Manager, graduates! A number of Ranch Staff joined Mari’s family and friends to watch her receive her GED diploma on May 1st. She was one of the students to give a graduation address and she radiated confidence and joy. “I can happily say that with great effort and dedication I achieved that goal and now I have my High School Equivalency. Also, I feel I am a strong person and now I believe that goals can be achieved if I fight and work for them.” Congratulations Mari!

Baby Solomon
Sean and Caroline Swift celebrate the birth of their first grandchild, Solomon Everett Kingsbury Swift. Daughter Calen, her partner Myron, and the baby are doing well. When asked what it’s like to spend time with Solomon, Sean replied, “He’s just amazing and a lot of fun to look at. You see him taking in the world and he’s brand new and he experiences the world as brand new. Each new feeling . . . the wind blowing and the patterns of the leaves moving with the sunshine on them make Solomon so rapt. I get to re-experience the world through him. He’s just a little miracle.”
Ivan Thorpe, son of Jack Dowling and Lisa Thorpe, shares with the Ranch community that, “I am attending Unity College, ‘America’s Environmental College,’ in Unity, Maine to study Adventure-Based Environmental Education. After spending many summers honing my leadership skills as a counselor at BREAD camp and teaching as a classroom aide at West Side Elementary School, I found my love of working with children in the outdoors. At Unity, the Adventure-Based Environmental Education program takes a hands-on approach to teaching us the skills to make outdoor adventures into a meaningful learning and growth experience for participants. I am very excited to get started and see where this interesting path takes me, and to explore the beautiful, lush woodlands of rural Maine!”