• “I could fill this job in about a week!” ✓
    Vestry Papers
    "Why should we spend a year trying to get a new minister? I could fill this job in about a week!" the vestry member proclaimed. "Yes," I replied, "but it's not a good idea."
  • What Does a Rector Do?
    Vestry Papers
    With his own job about to change, Greg Syler explores what the role of a rector is from perceived expectations to the church-wide Canons.
  • The Best Gift – A Visit
    Vital Posts
    As we prepare for the festive season of Christmas and New Year with family and friends, we are also reminded that for many these are days of great despair. Whether through illness, being shut-in, loneliness, loss of loved one, or estranged family m…
  • “Persuaded That What We Teach Is True, Undertake To Live Accordingly”
    Vital Posts
    “As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we pray and fast with…
  • Turn Toward Love: An Interactive Art Installation
    Vital Posts
    Turn Toward Love, an interactive art installation at Christ Church Cathedral and the Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer, in Houston,Texas launched Sunday, July 24, 2016 as a response to current events. Isiah Carey on Fox 26 covered it…
  • Telling the Difficult Stories
    Vital Posts
    Editor's note: Our summer 'reruns' continue... For today's offering we're bringing back a post by Jeremy Sierra inviting us to find the time to practice telling our own difficult stories. Summer, with longer days and more relaxed schedules, might be …
  • A Place for Those who Came Before
    Vital Posts
    Sometimes four generations of family sit together in my church. Even after nearly five years, I’m still learning who is related. New priests for this congregation should get a family-tree chart as part of their welcome package! Honoring those…
  • Monday Matters: Yes, it's Friday and...
    Vital Posts
    “After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the har…
  • Beloved Children of God
    Vital Posts
    Her response was plaintive and clear: I think the bishop would be mad at you if the kids weren’t there, if the whole family didn’t come to dinner. I had asked my 14-year-old if she wanted to stay home (or go out with friends) on Saturday night…
  • Paying Attention: What's Under the Surface?
    Vital Posts
    The other day in church, we sang a song called “What We Need is Here.” I was overcome with an almost suffocating feeling I couldn’t quite name, something between nostalgia and sadness. The song is a lovely simple melody that the church sings …
  • Year-End Pastoral Care
    Vital Posts
    Our parish administrator’s office is a bit more cluttered than usual these days, the top of her desk buried under piles of papers and boxes. Not only has she been pushing out the giving envelopes for the year ahead, she’s also printing and deli…
  • Social Media as a Pastoral Tool
    Vital Posts
    Even from a hospital bed, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is a pastor. Over the weekend, Bishop Curry suffered a subdural hematoma, a small collection of blood between his brain and his skull. He is scheduled for surgery today and is expected to …
  • Administrator’s & Treasurer’s Lunches
    Vestry Papers
    Growing out of the popularity of the annual diocesan church administrators and treasurers’ conference, Nancy James and Ann Turner share a roadmap for how they setup networking events for administrators and treasurers in their diocese.
  • Reconciliation
    Vital Posts
    When she walked down the aisle, I caught my breath. We had prayed for this moment, hoped for it. But we weren’t sure if we would ever witness it. This was forty years in the making. Forty years since she lost a child, an infant whose …
  • A Ministry of Encouragement
    Vital Posts
    Folded between faded newspapers and birthday cards were the notes I had written. My husband and his family found them as they were cleaning out his grandmother’s house. I didn’t remember writing them. But apparently I did. The notes…
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Resources for Planned Giving
    Vital Posts
  • In Community
    Vital Posts
    The sun slid down the mountains, and the game was on.    Cornhole, a very Midwestern pastime, kicked into high gear. A father and son played on one team, a high school freshman and a thirty-something on the other. The cheer team packed the picn…
  • In Good Faith: Pardon the Interruption
    Vital Posts
    There’s a show that airs on ESPN called Pardon the Interruption and it gives me agita. It’s a roundup of the day’s sports news hosted by a couple of loud, contentious talking heads with strongly voiced opinions about…everything. It’s kind…
  • Public Displays of Affection
    Vital Posts
    Priests should practice PDA. Before someone files a complaint, let me explain. First, I mean married priests. And second, I mean chaste and sweet PDA. Holding hands at an open house, an arm around the waist or shoulder, a peck on the check or…
  • Writing Resolutions: Yes? No?
    Vital Posts
    As the end of the year approaches I’ve been thinking about resolutions. What do I want my year to look like? Where do I want to be at the end of 2015? I like the practice of coming up with New Years’ resolutions. Setting goals and evaluating…
  • Endurance And Rest
    Vital Posts
    “How are you, young man?” he said to me as we were both headed into the gym locker room. We’d said hello from time to time before, and it sure is nice to be called ‘young’ these days. Technically, I am younger than he is; he’s probably …
  • Faith Connections
    Vital Posts
    Most Friday afternoons the office at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Del Mar, California, is a quiet place. Locals head out of work early to hit the beach, but get stuck in a jam on the freeways. Though we staff the front desk lest the phone ring o…
  • Ghosts
    Vital Posts
    I went on a ghost tour a few years ago in Lower Manhattan . We walked by old buildings and parks and our guide told us about the people who had died there and also about the occasional hauntings that had been reported. It was more of a history and …
  • Sunday Morning Funeral
    Vital Posts
    "A funeral can be a profound expression of what we believe and what we hope. It can form or reinforce that hope where it may have grown thin. Not only does the Sunday morning context strengthen the experience of the funeral, then, but the funeral c…
  • In His or Her Shoes
    Vital Posts
    Something I love (and sometimes hate) about living in a city is the variety of people I encounter: businessmen and women, hipsters, undergrads, homeless people and tourists and everyone in between. Many people I simply pass by on the street, but occa…
  • Living Community
    Vital Posts
    The invitation was unexpected. So too were the lessons I learned during the dinner party. We were the youngest by thirty years, and our nine-year-old son leaned over and whispered, “I’m guessing there won’t be other kids.” Right, son.…
  • Living with Darkness
    Vital Posts
    This past week I was in a bad mood for what seemed like a long time. Maybe it was stress. Maybe there was a relationship I needed to fix. Maybe my life was a bit overbooked and I needed to slow down. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was, so I …
  • Seeds of Hope: The Power of Belonging
    Vital Posts
    On a cold March morning I joined the City of Biddeford’s General Assistance Director to visit the home of one of our neighbors. I had contacted the neighbor the week prior to inquire about his sister, a regular at Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Cente…
  • Pets: Resources from the Episcopal Network for Animal Welfare
    Tools
    September 2016 update: This page no longer exists. The Episcopal Network for Animal Welfare offers resources for animal advocates.
  • In Christ the Bottom Holds
    Vital Posts
    This is the week that Christ dies for us, which can obscure the reality that Jesus lives for us. This life is made holy by Jesus' presence. Through Christ, God has sung songs, danced at weddings, wept at a friend's grave, been put on trial, and pra…
  • We Learn More in Spacious, Intimate, and Safe Places
    Vital Posts
    Nota - Este artículo es disponible en español aquí.  How can we be part of the realization of the dream of adult Latino immigrants to return to the schools, vocational schools or universities in our communities to finally be able to finish o…
  • Letting Go
    Vital Posts
    I'm sitting on the beach, as my niece and daughter sift for seashells. They find treasure in the triangle of a broken sand dollar, in the top slice of a conch shell, in the marble smooth fragment that conjures God as artist.  My son and nephe…
  • Familiar Language
    Vital Posts
    I will never forget the first time I heard the joyfulness, regardless of any pain or stress, I heard in the voices of the hospitalized Latino patients I visited when I was a pastoral volunteer. I was able to communicate with them in their native lang…
  • The Community as Pastor
    Vital Posts
    Pastoral care is a basic expectation of clergy and probably high on the list of any given parishioner’s understanding of what they get in return for their participation. I know that church isn’t a give-and-take but our current base of support i…
  • Pastoral Care
    Vital Posts
    I’ve come to see pastoral care as much more than visits from the priest at the hospital or a stream of casseroles delivered post-discharge. I don’t want to short-change those. Believe me, as I have spent the last two months in recovery f…
  • Sabbath Insecurity
    Vital Posts
    The latest theory about the chronic (and nearly universal) decline in Average Sunday Attendance is that not only are we not attracting very many new people to our churches, the people we’ve already got are coming less often. I don’t study churc…
  • In the Cards
    Vital Posts
    I used to be a skeptic, but Hallmark might be on to something. Getting a card in the mail (the snail kind) matters. Normally the trip to the mailbox is perfunctory, a time to collect bills and throw out the junk. But in the weeks before Chris…
  • Sleepy Sundays
    Vital Posts
    I had a grieving parishioner who started coming to church regularly during a terrible year of tragedy and loss. This person would arrive, sit down in the pew, and promptly fall asleep, waking only to take communion, and then only if jostled. Sc…
  • You Pastor? You Pastor!
    Vital Posts
    Several nights ago, I was startled by a knock at the door. While we are used to a steady stream of visitors at our house, this knock was startling as it came at nearly one o'clock in the morning. As I drew back the curtain to see my visitor, I knew…
  • I’ll Go With You
    Vestry Papers
    There is no more sacred moment in our lives than when we are able to serve those around us with love and humility. In “I’ll Go With You: Pastoral Accompaniment to Medical Visits” Ema Rosero-Nordalm shares how she discovered a gift we can offer …
  • Thanksgiving Means Giving-Thanks
    Vital Posts
    My wife is a band director at a public middle school. A few years ago the principal of the school led the teachers through a process of how to apologize (loosely based upon the process outlined by Randy Pausch). This way students can buy-in to why …
  • Leaving in Love
    Vital Posts
    This weekend I went to church with a friend, a priest. He had taken a new job, and this was his last Sunday as a curate at this church. He preached a gracious sermon about love. He told me afterward that he had been given this advice: Just make sur…
  • Beyond Average Sunday Attendance (ASA)
    Vital Posts
    In all the talk about church growth and new ways of doing church, there’s one statistic that’s impossible to quantify: the number of people impacted by a parish’s online ministry. For some time now, the gold standard for measuring church …
  • It's All Real: Resurrection is Everywhere!
    Vital Posts
    Driving home from a meeting of church professionals last week, I was pretty down. I don't know how common this knowledge is, but a fair number who serve the church are pretty down, pessimistic, or otherwise worn out. This assembly was no exception.…
  • Advocacy
    Vital Posts
    We have been called in scripture to be Christ to one another. We often speak of being God’s hands in the world. But it is not often that I hear anyone speaking of our call to personify the Holy Spirit in our midst. And yet—I find that is precisel…
  • Here and Now
    Vital Posts
    This weekend I was at a retreat with Judson Memorial in Connecticut. While not my usual church, which is St. Lydia’s, it is a place I am somewhat connected to. On Sunday morning we sat in the chapel, overlooking the lake, as the congregation named …
  • Assessing Risk to People and Property
    Vital Posts
    September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program equips Episcopal dioceses in the United States to prepare for local disasters, mitigate their impact and help the vulnerable make a full and s…
  • Are You Prepared?
    Vital Posts
    September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program equips Episcopal dioceses in the United States to prepare for local disasters, mitigate their impact and help the vulnerable make a full and s…
  • Fitting in--And Adam's Rib
    Vital Posts
    Sometimes it’s shaving your head. Volunteering for the dunking booth. Or staying to clean up after the women’s tea. In all of our congregations, there’s been a moment when things shift. It’s almost imperceptible but like finally break…
  • Accountability
    Vital Posts
    Denise, my fiancé (we got engaged a little over a week ago) is out of town for a few days at a retreat. Left to my own devices, I am prone to eating too much cereal and watching too much television. Fortunately, she left me some groceries and reci…
  • Bullies
    Vital Posts
    Normally a yellow-light note means bad news.    In kindergarten, teachers judge behavior on a green, yellow, and red light system. A red light is pretty serious; yellow, as you might imagine, indicates a problem.    The note attached to the…
  • Facebook Snark
    Vital Posts
    Sometimes snark isn’t helpful.  Especially this weekend, with deep wounds being laid open again by the decision to acquit George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. This blog isn’t about justice, or lack thereof, racism, or even…
  • Becoming a Resurrection People
    Vestry Papers
    With churches often seen as places of sanctuary and safety, the May 2012 shooting at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, Maryland was devastating. For the families of the three people killed, the congregation, and the community, their gr…
  • Prayer Fatigue and the Search for Hope
    Vital Posts
    Some weeks it’s tough to keep up spiritually and emotionally with all that swirls around us. In the last couple of days we’ve seen images of devastation coming out of Oklahoma. We continue to be pummeled with disheartening world news and violen…
  • How to Make a Shareable Photo Prayer Card
    Vital Posts
    I make shareable photo prayer cards for my Episcopal Prayers for Sharing project on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. This a popular prayer card from the compline service in The Book of Common Prayer: Here’s how to make a prayer card:
  • Trivial Pursuit
    Vital Posts
    My day was not off to a good start. I had taken my car in for a routine oil change and tune-up. Something unrelated had gone wrong in the process and now it refused to let the mechanic make it happy. It was entirely possible that I would be shop…
  • A Ritual of Reconciliation
    Tools
    A Service of The Holy Eucharist and Healing A Ritual of Reconciliation developed as part of ‘Holy Conversations,’ a process developed in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington to help congregations paralyzed by conflict, anger, grief, and/or fear beg…
  • Suwa Bona… I See You, I Hear You
    Vestry Papers
    “Suwa Bona… I See You, I Hear You” by Kay Collier McLaughlin introduces ‘Holy Conversations,’ a process developed in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington to help congregations paralyzed by conflict, anger, grief, and/or fear begin the healing…
  • Finding God in the Raging Storm
    Vestry Papers
    The April 2013 events in Boston and West, Texas have again attuned our minds to the reality of crises in our lives. When crises occur, people often turn instinctively to the church, in the same way a stumbling person reaches for a handrail. Are our c…
  • Come and See
    Vital Posts
    A few things have reminded me recently of how inextricably connected we all are, and how easy it is to forget. The first was a visit from the Rt. Rev. Oge Beauvoir, suffragan bishop of Haiti, to Trinity Wall Street. He told us about the challen…
  • Running for Our Lives
    Vital Posts
    “Run with perseverance the race that is set before you.” This quote from St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews sustained me the one year I ran the Boston Marathon — in 2008. Along with the supportive crowds along the entire 26.2 mile course, thi…
  • Patriot's Day 2013
    Vital Posts
    Patriot’s Day Weekend had been going so well. Old North had opened a colonial chocolate shop on Saturday to rave reviews and large crowds. Our Annual Lantern Ceremony on Sunday was virtually flawless. Dr. Jill Lepore’s keynote speech about Benj…
  • Holy (and Heck) Week
    Vital Posts
    Facebook posts by clergy and church workers trumpet the beginning of Holy Week. The posts share a similar mix of emotions: excitement, anticipation, reverence. There is also the collective breath before the weeklong sprint. For Christians, Ho…
  • God Revealed...
    Vital Posts
    ... in pastoral visits to single elderly Latino women (Spanish)  There are a great number of elderly Hispanic women living alone in the United States. Many are forced to fend for themselves. In traditional Latino familial environments we t…
  • My Hands, God’s Hands
    Vital Posts
    On the final Sunday of 2012, our priest offered a special invitation: Come forward and have your hands anointed with oil. I’ve never experienced this, but seeing as how I’m married to the priest, I thought it would be a good example for m…
  • Christmas Hope & Healing
    Vital Posts
    In these remaining days before we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, we pause to offer some resources for hope and for healing. The pain experienced by the tragic mass shootings of the children and teachers at Sandy Hook have opened wounds fo…
  • Blue Christmas
    Vital Posts
    From Luke’s Gospel: Jesus said: “The fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, …
  • Help for the Holidays
    Vital Posts
    I love the holidays. I enjoy Advent candles and the Christmas decorations, picking out a tree, the midnight service on Christmas Eve. And, I occasionally find them stressful. There’s always a lot to do. As an employee of the church I’ve had to …
  • Giving Peace a Chance
    Vital Posts
    Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Then he goes on to say a bit later to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your father in heaven.” With …
  • 404 Error, Page Not Found???
    Vital Posts
    A few years ago, I was putting the Advent schedule on the parish website and had the impetus to make some other improvements to the site, but I managed to crash most of the pages of our website and a 404 error was generated when you tried to view i…
  • We ARE the Church
    Vital Posts
    The headline reads “Churches respond in many ways to help storm-battered communities;” reading the article, it is very clear that people are the church. In this time of declining church attendance and the pressing need for money to mainta…
  • Many Ways to Listen
    Vital Posts
    I spend a lot of time consuming information and entertainment, from television to news, blogs and books, music and podcasts and NPR. I’ve been following the election and watching the debates, as well. There’s always new information and new cult…
  • Small Things Matter
    Vital Posts
    Small things matter. This is something that I am occasionally reminded of during the busy times of the year. Many church staff and vestry members are busy in the fall as new programs start up, and it can be easy to forget how important it is to spe…
  • Healing Hands
    Vital Posts
    For the first time in three weeks, I stood without clutching a wall or bracing myself on a nearby table or chair, pain roiling up and down my back. Pain plays a time-twist trick: when you’re in the throes, it’s hard to remember pain-free,…
  • Pet Blessings
    Tools
    Many congregations recognize the Feast of St. Francis by offering some form of blessing of the animals. Here's a collection of resources from across the Episcopal Church.
  • Reaching Out to Touch Someone…
    Vital Posts
    Facebook has made birthdays fun again…. I’ll confess: I was looking forward to opening my Facebook account this morning, with the expectation that it would be filled with birthday greetings. I wasn’t disappointed. Being noticed – and ac…
  • Liturgies for Marriage and Blessing of Lifelong Covenants
    Tools
    PDF versions of "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage" and "The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage" as approved at the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.
  • Raising PK’s
    Vital Posts
    I want a village to help raise my PK’s (priest's kids) – as long as they’re not defined by their parents’ profession. I’m sure this is an issue for families of a variety of occupations, but there are some peculiar expectations place…
  • Creating Space for Brokenness
    Vital Posts
    Most days, our Facebook pages are filled with good news: the amazing dinner our friend cooked last night or all the exciting things everyone did this weekend. There’s pressure in our lives, exacerbated by social media, to put only our best selves…
  • Is Spiritual Tranquility Possible?
    Vital Posts
    Is our fast paced, change driven culture compatible with congregational spiritual tranquility? As Episcopalians we pray each week "Sanctify us also...that we may serve you in unity, constancy, and peace." - Holy Eucharist II We pray for what …
  • Spiritual Consolation
    Vital Posts
    How do congregations decide the spiritually ripe time to make their most difficult decisions? Many Episcopal congregations are facing urgent decisions on the ways they can grow their parish, increase their pledges, and bring in more young fam…
  • Spiritual Desolation
    Vital Posts
    [Post #2 of 5 - "Do You Recognize the Signs of Your Congregation's Spiritual Crisis?"] Spiritual desolation occurs when we cease to experience and or question the reality of God's love for us. Augustine's words bring us back to our spiritual c…
  • Baptism in Community
    Vital Posts
    The Quakers have a wonderful marriage tradition that my husband and I borrowed for our wedding nearly 15 years ago. States require the signatures of a couple of witnesses on the official marriage certificate. But in the Quaker tradition, ever…
  • Everything...
    Vital Posts
    I'd like to share James Lee's story with you: a story of a young boy, devastating circumstances, and how a community - of children and adults - pulled together to help. It is a story that speaks for itself and exemplifies the importance of immediate,…
  • Love in the Midst of Suffering
    Vital Posts
    I had a blog post almost ready to post before I went to church on Sunday evening. Perhaps that’s what a sacrament should do: engage and disrupt. At St. Lydia’s on Sunday evenings we prepare a meal together and participate in a simple and ancien…
  • Church Secretaries are Saints
    Vital Posts
    Over the sink in our office kitchen is one of my favorite cartoons by priest and Church Pension Group calendar-creator Jay Sidebotham. A church has added three new stained glass windows. One depicts the church secretary. The tagline: the real…
  • Communication is Mission
    Vital Posts
    Author's Note: Last week I was at the Episcopal Communicator’s Conference at Kanuga. Our conversations, plenaries, and workshops celebrated communications as mission with the goal of sharing this message throughout our Church. On March 24, Kerry …
  • Suddenly Single: Cooking for One
    Vital Posts
    A warden heard it on CBC radio, how a northern community took the needs of the bereaved seriously. Men seemed to suffer nutritionally when a spouse dies. “We are of a certain age, “said Douglas. “where we would barbeque but mostly we had a sp…
  • Prayer: A Spacious Place
    Vital Posts
    The last few months my girlfriend has been dealing with nerve pain and I’ve been only intermittently employed. It’s been difficult for both of us, filled with uncertainty and frustration. There were sleepless nights and weeks during which we had …
  • Gift of Presence
    Vital Posts
    I realize, as I get older, that one of the best gifts is the gift of presence. Last night I visited a friend, in part to drop off Christmas packages for her kids. This past year I’ve had a habit of spending many Tuesday nights at their house.…
  • Offering Hope and Healing: Stephen Ministry
    Vital Posts
    On November 19, 2011 a service of Hope and Healing was held at The Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas Texas. This holiday prayer service provided a place of meaning and comfort for those experiencing the loss of a loved one. The parish’s Ste…
  • Veterans Day: 11.11.11
    Vital Posts
    Veterans Day: Is there a better time for congregations to ask how they might support returning troops and their families?  In today’s Huff Post Religion, G. Jeffrey MacDonald explores some of the ways faith groups…
  • Faith Forged in the Fire
    Vestry Papers
    On September 11th, as my husband Larry and I were finishing breakfast, we heard a plane go over our house – too low and too loud for the usual air traffic approaching Newark Airport, 20 minutes away. We looked at each other in concern, and I glance…
  • Vacation with a Difference
    Vital Posts
    Here was my job this week. On behalf of the diocese, I led Vacation With a Difference, five days of relaxation at our diocesan retreat center, the St. Andrew’s House Conference Center. A dozen people came to the most beautiful place on earth …
  • Sharing Time
    Vital Posts
    It's not easy to share my husband. The call came about an hour before we planned to leave for a short-but-much-needed vacation. An elderly parishioner died, and the family wanted the funeral on Thursday, smack dab in the middle of our four-day …
  • Filling the Void
    Vestry Papers
    As they tried to shake my hand, the father turned to me and quietly said, “see you in five years.” That was almost two years ago and I have not seen them since.
  • Care for the Troops
    Vestry Papers
    Every day, in airports across the nation, men and women in uniform are applauded for their military service. What a pleasant difference from my war.
  • Administrator as Minister
    Vital Posts
    When I called Gwen at 9:15 Monday morning the parish office was already abuzz. Gwen, our parish administrator, had just returned from a week vacation yet still took time for a long conversation with me. The purpose was a bit unusual – an intervie…
  • T.R.U.E. Stories (True Relief of Urgent Emergencies)
    Vital Posts
    Have you ever found yourself urgently needing cash assistance? Did you turn to your Episcopal Church? Last week, I found myself wondering about the major forms of outreach ministries taking place in Episcopal congregations. After reviewing the fol…
  • Editor's Letter: Caring for Each Other
    Vital Posts
    Our congregational life is a common life, complete with the joys and challenges that come from being in relationship. As congregational leaders, our role involves managing the sometimes ‘sticky wickets’ of relationship that hamper our work of b…
  • Valuing Lay Employees
    Vestry Papers
    This article readers to the church-wide lay employee pension system.
  • So You Think You Don’t Know One…
    Vestry Papers
    Congregations often include people impacted by addiction and codependency.
  • Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Harvard Minister, 68
    Vital Posts
    While driving outside of Boston on Tuesday morning, I heard the bad news: Rev. Peter Gomes had died. I was saddened by the news, but I also knew that I was not mourning alone. Like thousands of people in the communities of Boston and Cambridge,…
  • Food - A Story
    Your Turn
    I am a Parishoner in SC, and I have been writing my story for many months now. I wanted to offer something I wrote last summer.
  • Refresh and Renew
    Vital Posts
    On days when life gets overwhelming, I dream of leaving it all behind and going somewhere to nurture my soul and my dreams. A place where responsibility to family, work, and home can be forgotten; a place where I can explore and try on new identiti…
  • Final Affairs
    Vital Posts
    My 96 year old father-in-law passed away recently. Or, as the woman who called us at midnight said to my husband, "Your dad expired." Bob died the way he lived: on his own terms. Fiercely independent, he resisted recent attempts by family to se…
  • Care and Feeding of Priests
    Vital Posts
    Click here for a Spanish translation of this blog post. In 14 years as a clergy spouse, I’ve witnessed the gamut of how a congregation cares for its priest. Don’t get me wrong – I know that the congregation pays its priest – an…
  • A New Program Goes Old-School
    Vital Posts
    My church is going old-school with a new visitation program. Like many Episcopal congregations, we have a growing number of elderly people and shut-ins who can no longer attend worship services. These are folks who have been faithful members …
  • Closing the Planning Gap
    Vestry Papers
    As we begin a new year, perhaps you are trying to decide, once again, what resolutions might bring you health and peace. One goal might be to close the planning gap. Or, put another way, this may be the year to finally address end of life issues for …
  • Of Waiting and Ivory Towers
    Vital Posts
    I love Advent, now, but that hasn’t always been true. For almost my entire life, I described myself as impatient. “I hate waiting,” I used to say with a self-deprecating smile, as if this somehow made me a more productive person. Waiting. …
  • It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas . . .
    Vital Posts
    I remember the day I was flying home from the east coast on Halloween and as I was getting off the plane I heard on the muzak the first Christmas carol of the season. Living with a retailer (my wife runs the Cathedral Shop at St. Mark’s Cathed…
  • Three stitches. All better.
    Vital Posts
    Head wounds bleed.
 A lot.    
In Friday's contest between gate and girl, the gate won.
 When I picked up my 9-year-old, she hadn't cried yet. The tears hung on her lower lids until we left the school. Away from the sympathiz…
  • Writing from the 'None' Zone
    Vital Posts
    I’m Peter Strimer, rector of St. Andrew’s, Seattle, and I write this my first blog from my Berkeley/Yale 30th seminary reunion in New Haven. Back in 1976 as a 22-year old first-year student in my first week on campus I heard a report back from …
  • Reaching for that trapeze bar
    Vestry Papers
    Our responses to change and transition in congregational life vary because our understanding of them is influenced by our experiences and individual temperament.
  • Living hospitality
    Vestry Papers
    Dr. Alan Watton was ninety years old when he started coming to church, via a ride from our hospitality chairs (a husband and wife team). After the first service, he stopped on his way out and asked if I made home visits.
  • Gifts from God: Passing Them On
    Vital Posts
    Sunday’s Gospel reading (Luke 17:11-19), tells the story of the ten lepers healed by Jesus and the one who said ‘thank you.’ In response to this act of gratefulness and humility, Jesus said, “Rise and go your way, your faith has made you we…
  • Vestry Discernment Begins with the Soul
    Vestry Papers
    Nuts and bolts issues are more effectively and efficiently addressed when vestries focus first on key questions having to do with discernment and key values.
  • Caring for Clergy and Congregations
    Webinars
    The Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations (NECA) has partnered with ECF to offer a panel presentation on the difficult topic of clergy calls that end badly, not in celebration but in heartache. Panelists include: Bonnie Anderson, Dennis Fontinos, …
  • The Leader's Heart
    Webinars
    Research derived from a range of congregations, denominational and non-denominational, has indicated that a key factor contributing to the vitality of congregations has to do with the leader's heart, with the characteristics of those who lead congreg…
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