November 1, 2011

Editor's Letter: November 2011

“Can you hear the heartbeat? Mission, mission, mission.”

Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, used this metaphor at her opening sermon at the Church’s 76th General Convention. More recently, this phrase served as the framework for the October 2011 “Everyone, Everywhere” conference as presenters and participants explored the question “What gates and walls need to be opened in order to take up the work God sends us to do?"

In the opening sermon of the conference, Jefferts Shori preached, “ We have been sent here to discover how to send others more effectively – so that each one can go out into the world to heal and reconcile brokenness. There are times when that work can feel as hopeless as trying to collect all the sand and rock at the base of these mountains, and put it back up there on the mountain. Yet we’re here because we believe God works even through erosion and what looks like the destruction of creation. It is the destruction of human communities and ecological systems that has brought us here, hoping to find ways of healing.”

In our November and December content, Vestry Papers shares stories of congregations and dioceses large and small engaged in the work of healing and reconciling brokenness. Articles include:

  • Changing the Lives of Mexico’s Poorest” by Hannah Wilder tells the story, through text and video, of the Diocese of San Diego’s Dorcas House ministry in Tijuana, Mexico including their recent partnership with two other organizations to bring a microcredit program to low-income women. 
  • Harvesters BackSnack Ministry” by Fran Wheeler shares one parish’s experience with a Diocese of Kansas initiative to combat hunger. Working with Harvesters, a member of the Feeding America network of food banks, the local school district, and other community groups, her small congregation helps feed 305 students each week.
  • Making Space: Parish sewing room invites come-as-you-can participation” by Karin Hamilton represents a dream come true. By transforming a former nursery school room into a dedicated workroom, congregation members now have a place to come together to work on their many sewing and related work projects done in support of the parish’s mission partnerships.
  • Companion Relationships: From Parish Lenten Program to a Diocesan Partnership” by Pat McCaughan tells the story of how the Diocese of Los Angeles’ companion relationship with the Holy Land grew out of a 2004 Lenten program at an Episcopal Church in San Gabriel.

Each article includes links to resources and/or videos designed to help a congregation learn more about the work described in the article.

Do you have a “Mission” story to share? If so, please drop me a note at, post a comment on our Facebook page, or share your mission resources in the Your Turn section of this site.



Nancy Davidge 
Editor, ECF Vital Practices

PS: To make it easier for congregational leaders to find the resources offered through ECF Vital Practices, please consider adding a link to ECF Vital Practices to your website. Here’s how: Using your websites ‘add a link’ tool, insert our full URL –