• Time to be a Gracious Loser ✓
    Vital Posts
    I planned to be a gracious winner the week after the election.  I wasn’t going to rub it in the faces of folks who had been Donald Trump supporters. My social media presence would be demure, and while I expected to dance a little jig inside, …
  • Global Warming and Global Ministry ✓
    Webinars
    In the year 2000 a Nobel Prize winning atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, and a leading biologist, Eugene Stoermer, made a startling proposal. With the proliferation of the steam engine during the industrial revolution, human influence on Earth's sys…
  • Churches, Public Policy, and Elections ✓
    Tools
    Confused about limitations on church-sponsored dialogue during this political season? Check out these resources for guidelines related to church engagement in the electoral process and public policy.
  • I Want to be Like Bean Blossom
    Vital Posts
    Like most of the country, I had never heard of Bean Blossom (also spelled Beanblossom) Indiana, before this weekend. It’s honestly the kind of name someone on the blue parts of the coasts might make up to mock the perceived backwardness or hokey-…
  • When I Spoke, You Listened
    Vital Posts
    Most of us have been taught to avoid triangulation in communication, but it can be a valuable tool for promoting peace and justice. Triangulating by asking Jesus to “re-speak,” through the power of the Holy Spirit, words we are unable to receiv…
  • Ministry After November 8
    Vital Posts
    “Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected a…
  • Witnessing Faithfully Beyond the Walls
    Webinars
    This webinar explores neighborhood-based house church ministry as one form of mission that can bring Episcopalians from established congregations into communion with others in their wider parish to witness together to the presence of Christ and the K…
  • Sing for Peace
    Vital Posts
    The 67 members of Bishops United Against Gun Violence understand that lobbying legislators and writing letters to the editor are not everyone’s strong suit. But this fall they are joining an effort that makes it possible for Episcopalians …
  • Creating an Engaged Local Electorate: Your Faith Community Has a Role
    Vital Posts
    Lacy Broemel’s post, Church Participation in the Political Process, outlined the guidelines for engaging the electoral process in a nonpartisan way. Now it’s time to start thinking about the opportunities you have for local engagement ahead of …
  • Church Participation in the Political Process
    Vital Posts
    This fall, Episcopalians have a unique opportunity to do the holy work of building the Kingdom of God here on earth by engaging in the electoral process. Engaging in the election is an opportunity to be with and speak out with people who are oppres…
  • In Good Faith: Let the Games Begin
    Vital Posts
    Since deadlines don't respect vacations, I've filed the August edition of my In Good Faith column from an undisclosed coffee shop somewhere in the world. I write about that thing that's on many of our minds this week -- the Olympics in Rio. Enjoy. …
  • Exploring “Public Faith in Action”
    Vital Posts
    Maybe it comes with the job. I couldn’t help but notice the ways people prayed at both political conventions. There was a good deal of what I call horizontal praying going on. What do I mean by horizontal praying? Though the message is bracketed …
  • Peace Garden
    Vestry Papers
    In 2012, neighbors believed the church was closed. It wasn’t. Four years later, there are visible signs of life at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis. “Peace Garden” by David Paulsen, with an introduction by Nancy Davidge, tells the…
  • Travel Dreams Compete with Terrorism Fears
    Vital Posts
    People warned us not to go. With the Euro soccer tournament and the wounds still fresh from last November’s terror attack in Paris, France was on high alert. Belgium was reeling from the bombing at the Brussels airport. Germany is flooded with re…
  • Thank You for My Freedom
    Vital Posts
    Oh beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years On a downtown sidewalk in Plock, Poland, a small city about 70 miles from Warsaw, my husband and I were approached by a woman who motioned to us to stop. The year was 1992, just two ye…
  • A Church that Fails (Reprise)
    Vital Posts
    “When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?” Peter, Paul, and Mary sang these words in protest against the war in Vietnam. Today, in the aftermath of the terrible hate crime in Orlando, leaving too many dead and tragically affectin…
  • The 400-lb Gorilla in the Room
    Vital Posts
    We should talk about the 400-pound gorilla in the room. That and a four-year-old boy. In case you’ve been in silent retreat on a desert island without wifi, newspapers, or a message in a bottle, here’s the recap: Last weekend, a four-year-o…
  • A Few Not-so-obviously Great Things That I Wouldn't Want You to Miss
    Vital Posts
    3rd in a series of 4 posts - see below for the previous articles. Like many people at this time of year, I find myself reflecting on the great and not-so-great things that have happened over the past year. Among the things that fall into the …
  • Too Good to Miss! (Here’s your second chance…)
    Vital Posts
    1st in a series of 4 posts. Long ago I gave up any expectation that people would read everything I wrote or posted. Not everything shared on ECF Vital Practices’ reaches thousands of eyeballs, despite the more than 100,000 unique visito…
  • Uncomfortable Realities and Hope
    Vital Posts
    This Sunday we began Advent with the usual apocalyptic lectionary readings. Jesus says, “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.”  I …
  • “It’s Truly a Calling in My Heart”
    Vital Posts
    About the only time I listen to the radio is in the car. And, since I work from home and often walk when running errands, I'm not in the car very often. Which makes me categorize my choice to drive recently as a “God moment.” On the air w…
  • Never Forget
    Vital Posts
    I lost it when I pulled the Buzz Lightyear doll out of the boy’s closet. Until then, I’d been okay. Even after discovering what at first appeared to be flocked wallpaper was instead, an eerily beautiful pattern of black mold. And, after the dis…
  • Holy Trinity, Holy Seeds, Part 2
    Vital Posts
    This is the second of a 3-part series about the relationship ministry of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in South Bend, Indiana. Read part 1 here.  In 2011, in the midst of “mayhem” in inner city South Bend, Indiana, Holy Trinity Episcopal Ch…
  • Social Media: Who are We Promoting?
    Vital Posts
    I've been thinking and writing recently about social media. Two posts ago, I mentioned that when I go places to speak, I am asked – and it is assumed – that we have social media guidelines in place at Southside Abbey. Well, we don't. What we do…
  • Holy Trinity, Holy Gifts
    Vital Posts
    First of a three part series...  In one of the poorest neighborhoods in South Bend, Indiana, the Feast of the Virgin Mary was celebrated this month with ecumenical neighborhood joy radiating from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Since 1948, Holy T…
  • Social Media in Times of Crisis
    Vital Posts
    It happened two weeks ago today, at the time I send this for publication, and I still can't believe it. An armed gunman opened fire on United States military recruiting offices in our town of Chattanooga. I think a lot about my identity as a pr…
  • 7 Steps to Prepare for Hate Attacks
    Vital Posts
    It is time for congregations to develop protocols for responding to hate initiatives on their doorsteps. As the intolerant lose any self-discipline in lashing out at others, we can expect a fresh round of cross-burnings, gay-bashing graffiti,…
  • Lift Every Voice
    Vital Posts
    This post is also available in Spanish here. Este artículo está disponible en español aqui. I knew it was going to be life-changing I just didn't know how I knew I was going to shed some tears I just didn't know when I knew I…
  • The Minnesotans are Coming! The Minnesotans are Coming!
    Vital Posts
    Well, they actually have already come, and gone. One of the blessings of being an ECF Fellow for 2015 is the opportunity that it affords Southside Abbey to grow with other communities that will come visit us as part of the Innovative Leadership Rou…
  • Saving the Church: By Our Actions
    Vital Posts
    A few years ago I started to worry a lot about climate change. Reading more about it wasn’t helping (this article in Rolling Stone magazine was particularly motivating). The only thing I could find to assuage some of my worry and anxiety was to f…
  • The Bubble Bursts in Baltimore
    Vital Posts
    There was an adage growing up in white Baltimore that declared, "70% of Baltimore is black; the rest of us all know each other." I recall being vaguely uncomfortable whenever I heard it -- the product of liberal parents -- but also thinking, well, …
  • Living His Faith: CEO Models Wage Parity
    Vital Posts
    “The more you have, sometimes the more complicated your life gets."   - Dan Price On April 13, 2014, 30-year-old CEO Dan Price of Gravity Payments made a startling announcement  to his 120-person staff. Over the next three years, Price intend…
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Resources for Caring for Creation
    Vital Posts
    Greening Our Faith In this month’s Vital Practices Digest, we highlight 5 ways for congregations to practice their commitment to caring for our earth home and all who inhabit it. Our 5th resource is a suggestion for congregations interested…
  • Earth Day Resources
    Tools
    Earth Day resources for congregations focusing on liturgy, green congregations and climate change, and church gardens.
  • Too Shy to Get Out There? My Story....
    Vital Posts
    Do you feel too small or too shy to get out there? Let me tell you a story. I am a fairly shy person. In my early 20s, I was certainly not given to drawing attention to myself in public. But my first job after college was as a union organ…
  • April 2015 Editor’s Letter: Advocacy
    Vital Posts
    In her Easter message, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reminds us we can find Jesus still rising, “if we will go stand with the grieving Marys of this world, if we will draw out the terrified who have retreated to their holes, if we wi…
  • Listen. Connect. Act.
    Vestry Papers
    A question from a senior warden looking for advice on ways to engage with her suburban community sparked the idea for “Answering God’s Urgent Call. Together.” What processes are congregational leaders using to help them learn how to listen for …
  • Church with Garden and Food Pantry Seeks Same
    Vestry Papers
    “Church with Garden and Food Pantry Seeks Same” by Nathan Davis names a challenge many congregations have experienced: You’re about to begin something new and would really like to talk with others already engaged in that ministry, when you disc…
  • God Called. We’ve Got Work to Do
    Vestry Papers
  • Hearts and Hands of Jesus
    Vestry Papers
    Because of the commitment of Lee and Charlie Manning and with the support of the St. James' Episcopal congregation in Payette, Idaho, 20 men at the Snake River Correctional Institution know that God loves and cares for them, even while they are in ex…
  • Jesus + Community = Changing the World
    Vital Posts
    A few years ago, I went to the monthly meeting of a local environmental group. It was long and tedious, and at the end I wasn’t sure what I should do next to get involved. I never went back. I eventually got involved in other ways, but I thin…
  • Belleza y defensa
    Vestry Papers
    El intrincado y hermoso mundo natural en el que usted y yo nacimos está siendo agredido a una escala masiva y sin precedentes. La perturbación del clima, la extinción de las especies, la explosión demográfica, la desforestación, las toxinas amb…
  • Llamados a ser catalizadores
    Vestry Papers
    Las feligresías pueden ser grandes germinadores de Buenas Nuevas, lo que nosotros decimos que son las mejores nuevas que jamás tuvo el mundo. Como puestos de avanzada locales del Cuerpo de Cristo mundial, estamos invitados a recibir, integrar y sem…
  • March 2015 Editor's Letter: Advocacy
    Vital Posts
    What is it that inspires us to move from intent to action? It’s often a very personal decision, one that may be difficult to put into words. In this Vestry Papers we share stories from four Episcopalians who understand, as shared in the Parable o…
  • A Voice For The Voiceless
    Vestry Papers
    In both Spanish and English. Three ways people of faith can stand up for people who are most vulnerable, voiceless, and marginalized.
  • Beauty and Advocacy
    Vestry Papers
    How congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts are responding and exploring ways to “reclaim the sacredness of the natural world and to respond to our God-given call to protect it.”
  • Una voz para los que no tienen voz
    Vestry Papers
    In both Spanish and English. Three ways people of faith can stand up for people who are most vulnerable, voiceless, and marginalized.
  • Called to be Catalysts
    Vestry Papers
    The mission of God is about transformation – personal, societal, global. In “Called to be Catalysts,” Kate Heichler shares how members of the interfaith community in Stamford, Connecticut are partnering with local agencies to convene monthly to…
  • All Our Children: It Starts with a Story
    Vestry Papers
    All Our Children is a network to support congregations engaged in one-on-one partnerships with local schools.
  • Crossing the Street
    Vital Posts
    I walk to church from my home, about a mile and a half away, a couple of times a week. Lately I've started using a new route, which led to the discovery of a small mystery. Every morning, hundreds of people line up on the sidewalk of a side str…
  • Resilient Communities
    Vital Posts
    On November 8, 2013, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded hit the central islands of the Philippines. The islands of Leyte and Samar were hit the hardest, with more than 6,000 dead and 1,000 missing. Southern cities like Tacloban and Suriga…
  • Wait for the Lord
    Vital Posts
    Wait for the Lord. Patiently wait. Wait for the Lord. It’s the congregational response for the sung psalm we are using in my parish for the season of Advent. How do we wait in times like these? In an Advent where #blacklivesmatter and #…
  • Holy Water: Constructing A Rain-Water Reservoir
    Vital Posts
    In the area where I live in Sri Lanka, we are currently experiencing an extended water cut, a result of inadequate maintenance of public infrastructure. The last water-cut we experienced in early-August (for similar reasons) lasted four days. House…
  • Mobile Health Clinic: A Path to Dignity and Wholeness
    Vital Posts
    I first met the people of the Diocese of El Salvador in 2001 when I visited there in response to a series of earthquakes that had flattened the country. I traveled with a dedicated slate of church leaders who carried water and food to isolated mounta…
  • Keep Awake
    Vital Posts
    Not too long ago my church, St. Lydia’s, moved into its own storefront location. Previously, we had borrowed or rented space for just a few hours each week. It wasn’t an easy process in New York City, and in some ways it mirrored the process my…
  • "Come and Follow Me"
    Vital Posts
    I often tweet about climate change. Occasionally I’ll go to meetings of an organization called 350.org and every now and then sign a petition or post some flyers. All of these things feel small in the face of a big problem. On Sunday, however…
  • Memorial and Veterans Day Resources
    Tools
    On Memorial Day and Veterans Day we honor and remember the men and women who have served in our Country's armed forces. On these days, churches have an opportunity to remember those who are living - current members of the armed forces and veterans wh…
  • The Tragic Gap
    Vital Posts
    On Sunday, Emily Scott, the pastor of St. Lydia’s, preached a sermon about “standing in the tragic gap,” a phrase that comes from Parker Palmer, and a reminder that we must stand in the space between idealism and cynicism. Palmer sums it up w…
  • 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.
  • Climate Risk and Communion
    Vital Posts
    Note: The application deadline for ECF's Fellowship Partners Program is March 14, 2014.  In his 2013 application to the Fellowship Partners Program, P. Joshua Griffin (Griff) noted that “Even within the Episcopal Church, environmental risks an…
  • God’s Counting on You, God’s Counting on Me
    Vital Posts
    A long-time friend reports that comments on her Facebook post following Pete Seeger’s death were a poignant cross-generational tribute to a man who made a difference for all of his 94 years—with the exception of one man who quipped “I got over …
  • Fact Checking Prophets
    Vital Posts
    Whether we watched it or not, we’ve all heard the news: the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl. We probably also heard another set of news stories: that sex trafficking increases during the Super Bowl. Except, it’s not clear this is true.  …
  • How Did You Know What to Do?
    Vital Posts
    A few days after my arrival in Nanyuki, Kenya, my friend Carol Erickson and I stopped by the chapel on the grounds of the British-owned Cottage Hospital to visit with a few friends she hadn’t seen since her return to Africa. When she relayed to t…
  • You Will See Me There [in America] One Day
    Vital Posts
    We were about to start our Epiphany play when Sarah walked in the door of Imara House – a rescue center in Nanyuki, three hours north of Nairobi. Sarah is 17 years old and 7 months pregnant. She bears scars on her face from the repeated beatings …
  • Wise Men meet Homeland Security
    Vital Posts
    I’ve been thinking a lot about the Wise Men lately. Like them, I will be traveling to the East in just a few days – East Africa. I, too, am looking forward to meeting a poor teenage mother – and six others like her – and their babies. God w…
  • How We Are Different
    Vital Posts
    Last week I traveled to Haiti with other staff and parishioners from Trinity Wall Street. The purpose of the trip was exploratory, to determine whether mission trips to the northern area around Cap Haitian are feasible. We saw villages, churches, a…
  • Include Advocacy for Vulnerable People in Disaster Response
    Vital Posts
    For congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, responding to the needs of vulnerable people affected by Hurricane Sandy has meant a long-term commitment to rebuilding homes, bolstering feeding programs, providing case management and connec…
  • December Editor’s Letter: Answering Jesus’ Call: Go Out
    Vital Posts
    On the first Sunday in Advent, I was catching up on my reading and discovered this article on the front page of The Boston Globe: “A gift of warmth for and from the homeless.” This ministry - started by people who formerly were homeless and who…
  • 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…
  • Please Help Me
    Vital Posts
    I want to make the world better. I want to help alleviate poverty and care for the planet and stand against injustice. I also want to watch television. The problem is that it’s a lot easier to watch television than do any other of those things. W…
  • Human Trafficking: Resources for Congregations
    Tools
    Did you know more people are enslaved today than have been enslaved throughout history? That law enforcement experts believe human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. What can con…
  • A Church That Fails
    Vital Posts
    The church has failed. A few weeks ago I listened to Joan Chittister give the keynote address at Trinity Institute (you can watch it here). Evolution, she said, teaches us that we are all participants in an ongoing creation. It shows us both th…
  • Making the Impossible…Possible
    Vital Posts
    "A couple of months ago I was asked to speak to the children at Voice of Hope Ministries in West Dallas about mosquito nets, with the possibility that the children could make their own contributions toward purchasing mosquito nets in sub-Saharan Af…
  • Advocacy Resources
    Tools
    The following resources may be helpful as we prepare for another election year. These non-partisan resources can be used by individuals, small groups, and in adult education offerings.
  • Why We Shouldn’t Avoid Politics Completely
    Vital Posts
    September 17 marks the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Working as I do near New York’s financial district and across from Wall Street, it’s impossible to ignore the people that have gathered in the parks or occasionally march down t…
  • HWJV? (How Would Jesus Vote?)
    Vital Posts
    Given Jesus’ teachings around civic life and political engagement, I have to wonder what he would have to say about a world that would have been unimaginable to his hearers: A world in which we render unto a Caesar of our choosing, a Caesar whom …
  • Getting Started on the Genesis Covenant
    Tools
    The Genesis Covenant challenges faith institutions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions of their facilities by 50% in ten years. The Getting Started Guide will help parishes take action on this important goal.
  • World Malaria Day: April 25
    Vital Posts
    Fighting malaria and ending hunger are my priorities for charitable giving and volunteer work. Memories of waking up inside my mosquito netting \at Girl Scout camp and finding the net full of mosquitoes that had entered through a tear are as fresh …
  • Earth: “And God saw that it was good.”
    Vital Posts
    Sunday is Earth Day. And, despite my best intentions, I haven’t prepared anything to acknowledge the day. Every year, Earth Day sneaks up on me. Like spring in New England, I know it is coming: I get little tastes and hints of it during the d…
  • Public Liturgy
    Vital Posts
    I spent Holy Week in the Diocese of Chicago trailing my good friend Dent Davidson, Missioner for Arts and Liturgy. Most of the week we participated with the people of All Saints, Chicago, in the unfolding mysteries of the walk to the cross and the …
  • Immigration: Who Should be Concerned About It?
    Vital Posts
    Editor's Note: This is the English translation of Leticia's 3.16.12 blog post. The United States cannot be indifferent to the effects of immigration; migratory movements have influenced this country since its founding. These groups of people h…
  • Slavery in Zanzibar
    Vital Posts
    The second stop of my Africa trip was Zanzibar. This island had always existed as an exotic dream to me and my visit in no way dispelled its mystery. While there I became fascinated with the long-standing slave trade that made up such a central par…
  • I Have Seen the Future: It is Kampala
    Vital Posts
    In my first 10 days in Uganda I have been taken to the capital city, Kampala, three times. All roads lead to the capital, it’s just that all those roads are in terrible condition. The freakish traffic can create jams of three hours or more. The mut…
  • Strengthening Communities From Within
    Vestry Papers
    El Hogar and the Church in Honduras are providing a safe space where kids like Emanuel can learn, grow, and help create a better future for their communities.
  • Welcome Neighbor
    Vestry Papers
    “Imagine our shock when she got off the plane with only one plastic bag. We thought there must be luggage, but that was all they had.”
  • From Casseroles to Congress
    Vestry Papers
    Ohio Episcopalians have found a way to boost low-wage neighbors out of poverty even if their own parish budgets are shrinking.
  • Editor's Letter: November 2011
    Vital Posts
    “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 ser…
  • Toward a Cultural Center in Jerusalem
    Vestry Papers
    It has taken about seven years for the dream of a school in the Galilean town of Shefa’amr to blossom into the recently dedicated Episcopal Cultural Center—but that’s just one part of this wonderful story.
  • Parish Sewing Room Invites Participation
    Vestry Papers
    “Phenomenal!” That was the word that parishioners of St. Ann’s, Old Lyme, Connecticut, kept saying as they visited the new sewing room in their undercroft.
  • Harvesters BackSnack Ministry
    Vestry Papers
    Hunger is not just a Third World problem. Hunger does not discriminate. Young and elderly, black and white, male and female… the many faces of hunger are different, but the pain and the need are the same.
  • Changing the Lives of Mexico’s Poorest
    Vestry Papers
    In a city where 80,000 children do not attend school and 6,000 children live on the street...
  • Sewing Factory For Hondurans Living With HIV/AIDS
    Vestry Papers
    Our Episcopal congregations in Province 9 as well as our Anglican brothers and sisters in the two-thirds world can offer valuable lessons related to innovative models of financial sustainability and asset based community development.
  • Three Cups of Coffee
    Vital Posts
    This past July, Tim Schenk, Episcopal priest and blogger at Clergy Family Confidential, tweeted “Forget the tea. I should write a best-selling book called ‘Three Cups of Coffee.’ Subtitle: A Day in the Life of Fr. Tim." As might be expected,…
  • Marking 9/11
    Vital Posts
    With the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon falling on a Sunday next month, most churches are developing some way to respond. At St. Andrew’s, Seattle, we will hold a service of Light and Remembrance on the eve…
  • Taking it to the Streets
    Vital Posts
    Members of another urban congregation are picketing the second service of St. John’s in Columbus, Ohio. The service is Street Church, where for the past five years, the Rev. Lee Anne Reat presides over a full Eucharist on a street corner in…
  • Getting Started
    Vital Posts
    Our vestry voted last night to accept Bishop Rickel’s offer to take over operations at the former St. George’s Episcopal Church in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle. Here we go. The mission is daunting. We start from zero in a neighborho…
  • Going Global: Where to Begin?
    Vital Posts
    Every once in a while, I come across a book that knocks the wind out of me. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn’s Half the Sky is one such book. On the one hand, Half the Sky is a devastating account of global sex trafficking and forced prosti…
  • 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…
  • On Patience & Planning
    Vestry Papers
    I write to you from our temporary offices in Baton Rouge where we are the guests of St. James’ Episcopal Church.
  • Strengthening Neighborhoods
    Vital Posts
    Three months ago, I was awoken by the distant sound of a woman screaming for help. Shocked and partially asleep, I opened the window: where were those screams coming from? Fourteen floors above a busy Brooklyn neighborhood, it was impossible t…
  • Trash or ???
    Vital Posts
    Outside, the street sweeper is making another pass. After the snowiest winter in years, the streets are full of sand – and trash. Earlier this week I had a conversation about trash with Tracey Lind and Richard Horton from Cleveland’s Trinit…
  • Cherry Blossoms and the Body of God: Connecting Earth Day with Holy Week
    Vital Posts
    Pink petals fading to ivory, softer than air, filtering sunlight. Tears streak my cheeks as I meander luxuriously under the DC cherry blossoms. I am reminded of how I feel on a crisp fall day, vine maple leaves orange and yellow, blueberry leaves b…
  • Tips for Parishes Considering a Food Pantry Garden
    Tools
    A food pantry garden is a wonderful ministry for a faith community. These gardens foster disciplineship, stewardship of the earth and social justice. They are places of gathering, hospitality and celebration. Given proper planning and upkeep, a faith…
  • Caring for Creation 2
    Vital Posts
    As we approach Earth Day – which falls on Good Friday this year - the fragility of our earth and the global impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan have been very much on my mind. Living equidistant from two aging nuclear reactors,…
  • Faith in Action
    Vestry Papers
    Faith in action – loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength by loving our neighbors as ourselves – is the hallmark of Jubilee Ministry.
  • Greening Our Faith – Putting Belief into Action
    Vestry Papers
    More and more people believe that protecting Creation is a religious value.
  • Meeting God in a Faith Garden
    Vestry Papers
    Gardens have always been places to meet God and God’s people.
  • Blessing (and welcoming) the bikes
    Vital Posts
    What would you do if a bunch of bicyclists rolled their wheels up to the front of your sanctuary? Would you bless them? For the past 13 years, St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City has welcomed bicyclists for an annual Bless…
  • Is Faith Bad for Our Health?
    Vital Posts
    Okay ABC News, you got my attention. A recent news story, based on a recent study from Northwestern University postulates that “those who regularly attend church are 50% fatter than those who don’t.” (ABC News).  Is this story offer an…
  • Earth Hour 2011: Turn Out the Lights
    Vital Posts
    My husband says I’m a ‘pain.’ I’m a ‘pain’ because I close doors and turn out the lights. Even if he’s stepping outside for ‘just a minute,’ I’ll close the door if it is colder than 60 degrees ou…
  • Transition Towns...and Churches?
    Vital Posts
    The Holy Spirit is a renewable resource. It’s been fueling Christian communities for over 2000 years, since the first great unleashing at Pentecost. Fossil fuels are not.         Although they’ve been fueling our modern society for about …
  • Where There is Despair, Hope
    Your Turn
    Four Southern Ohio priests and two laypeople have written a curriculum to equip congregations to apply Scripture, prayer and home-grown case studies to their community ministry.
  • You are Dirt
    Vital Posts
    The familiar words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” returned to us today, the only time in the liturgical year when we hear this startling and compelling pronouncement. It’s Ash Wednesday, when we’re reminded of ou…
  • Caring for Creation
    Vital Posts
    Subtle changes happen to the earth as the spring equinox approaches. The sun is higher in the sky and days are noticeably longer. Hints of new growth appear on trees and shrubs. The drab colors of winter give way to the bright colors of new life. …
  • A Lenten Carbon Fast
    Vestry Papers
    Forty days of Lent. Nine hundred and sixty hours. Fifty-seven thousand, six hundred minutes.
  • The Genesis Covenant: Action for Climate Change
    Vestry Papers
    Global climate change models predict that extreme weather events will become increasingly common.
  • Tending to the Earth with Children
    Vestry Papers
    Issues of creativity lie at the very heart of Christian formation, because to live a life of grace is to live creatively.
  • God is My Rock
    Vestry Papers
    When I was eight or nine, I was playing outside on a hillside near the sea in Rhode Island, where my family spent time during the summer.
  • Divvying Up the Loot
    Vital Posts
    Having recently finished reading Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, and currently reading A Tale of Two Cities, I’m thinking a lot about the divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots;’ a divide that has existed for centuries…
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains
    Vital Posts
    My weekend plans were simple: pack the remaining Christmas items away and visit my mother. Bake something to bring to my mother and to share with our next door neighbor who clears our sidewalk with his snow blower. That all changed when my husb…
  • Baby Boomers: Put down the microphone
    Vital Posts
    When the Twin Towers tumbled down, I held my newborn daughter tightly and prayed that we would work to end the violence, to find a way to connect despite different faiths and cultures. I suspect Christina-Taylor Green’s mother felt the same…
  • What’s On Your Plate?
    Vital Posts
    Eight months ago I sent a response to a question posed by the White House on LinkedIn: “What are your ideas to end childhood obesity within a generation?” This query was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s work with the Childhood Obesity Task…
  • Seeing with New Eyes
    Vital Posts
    We’re two days out from the celebration of St. Lucy, but her story resonates strongly in this season of Advent. A patron saint of the blind, Lucy was martyred around 304. Legend has it that guards, unable to move or burn her, poked out her …
  • When Waiting Isn’t Joyful…
    Vital Posts
    Last week I was reminded of the not-so-joyful side of waiting. The reminder came after speaking with a young woman who was stressed out and upset. A few weeks ago, Susan (not her real name) injured her shoulder. She works six days a week, almos…
  • Winter Shelter
    Vital Posts
    I regularly commute by bike to work. The hour-long ride gives me a chance to see details of the city I’d otherwise miss: the older women practicing Tai Chi in a park; the amber sunrises seen as I pedal along the curves of the East River. Of course …
  • What Can One Person Do?
    Vital Posts
    A lot. Ask Eric Hillegas, former associate minister at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Upham’s Corner. Today’s new Fieldwork posting begins the story of how Eric is bringing his vision of free tutoring programs to an inner city neighborhood.…
  • Getting Hunger on the Agenda
    Vital Posts
    I recently heard a provocative interview with the Rev. David Beckman, Lutheran minister, President of Bread for the World and this year’s recipient of the World Food Prize, a prize frequently described as the equivalent of a Nobel in the field of…
  • Church and State
    Vital Posts
    The separation of church and state is a key cornerstone of the U.S. government. At the same time, everyone at my noonday meeting on Tuesday had cast their vote in a local church. This juxtaposition struck me today as we move from one of the most…
  • Conventional Wisdom
    Vital Posts
    We had our elections for General Convention deputies at our diocesan convention this weekend; I was chosen to go to Indianapolis in 2012. The head of our deputation is Katrina Hamilton, the first layperson elected. This will be her third convention…
  • Voting as a Christian Responsibility
    Vital Posts
    Have you voted today? I love Election Day. Anywhere. For me, it epitomizes the essence of democracy: citizens taking time from their busy lives to vote, to make a choice that at the end of the day, determines the future direction of their comm…
  • Know thy Neighbor
    Vital Posts
    It’s easy to assume you know a place until an unexpected encounter, story or statistic startles you awake. In the end, it probably the most familiar places that hold the greatest surprises.
 For this reason, I lov…
  • Faces of Ghana
    Your Turn
    Heidi Shott, Canon for Communications and Social Justice in the Diocese of Maine, shares an audio slideshow about her June 2010 to Ghana with Episcopal Relief and Development.
  • Receiving the Full Menu
    Vital Posts
    Every day if I need or want to leave my house, I do. Other than deciding which mode of transportation best suits my plans, I go. No one gives me permission, or denies me access, to drive my car or board a train, bus, subway, or plane. I take th…
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