February 1, 2012

Editor’s Letter - February 2012


One of the joys of my role as editor of ECF Vital Practices is the discovery of resources to share through this website. Each day I comb through email messages, online publications, Facebook, as well as a variety of websites and print publications, seeking stories or mentions of resources that may prove to be of interest to congregational leaders. What I often find are gems – such as the Diocese of Texas’ Newcomer Ministry Project – hidden away on a diocesan, agency, congregational, or institutional website, with only the people belonging to that group aware of its existence.

I am grateful for the generosity of so many in our church who are partnering with me and the team at ECF Vital Practices to share these vital practices through a central clearinghouse, making it much easier for congregational leaders to find them.

For February, we have four new articles related to our theme of Real Basics for Vestries, each of which offers a practical response to a common congregational challenge.

Here’s what you’ll find this month:

  • At the End of the Day,” by Mary Parmer provides an introduction to the Diocese of Texas’ Newcomer Ministry Project and its rich array of resources for congregations. Welcoming the stranger well continues to be one of the more challenging aspects of our ministries and this project, piloted at St. Francis in Houston, provides both a roadmap and an array of resources.
  • In “Google+ (Jesus+You)=Vital Practices” Greg Troxell invites you to take a look at and try out the free resources available through Google+ including Google+ Hangouts. Greg’s enthusiasm for this new social media resource has spilled over to the team at ECF Vital Practices; we are partnering with him to introduce Hangouts to you by inviting you to come and hangout with us later this month.
  • A Snapshot of our Urban Neighborhood” by Anna Olson, tells the story of how a congregation with most of its members – and its entire vestry – now living in the suburbs, has begun to move off of the church property and begin to reconnect with the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Laurie Kazilionis’ “Parity in Healthcare” offers information and resources to help vestries as they prepare for the addition of their qualified lay employees to The Episcopal Church’s denominational health plan by January 2013.

We also have new Vital Post blogs and Your Turn resources which vestry leaders my find helpful. Topics range from some practical ‘how to’s’ for using Google’s free tools to get reach people seeking engagement with a faith group, to a different approach to church reporting and hospitality, and way to begin to make the shift from an associative to a missional congregation. Here’s a selection of our recent content.

I invite you to add to this content by sharing your healthy practices in the Your Turn section and by posting comments related to our articles, blog posts, or other content.


Nancy Davidge 
Editor, ECF Vital Practices