• 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, …
  • Model Intentional Giving ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Interviews with ten Latino/Hispanic congregations reveal best practices of stewardship.
  • Strangers to Neighbors
    Vestry Papers
    The tradition of Las Posadas involves leaving the church walls, and going into the neighborhood for a time of shared tradition and hospitality.
  • Fear of the "Other"
    Vital Posts
    The news was frightening – and frighteningly familiar. An attack on students at Ohio State University. Accounts of an active shooter turned into active assailant who by all counts purposefully plowed into a group of students and professors, and t…
  • 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-…
  • Bartering for Bands
    Vital Posts
    Music has always been a struggle in our Spanish service at St. Mary’s. As we have slowly built membership in our largely low-income neighborhood, we are not anywhere close to generating the kind of offerings that would fully support the clergy ti…
  • A Carpenter's Gift
    Vital Posts
    Commemorations and TV specials marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11. I know many priests, including my own, preached stirring sermons. At my church, we also experienced the words of the sermon come to life. The day before we had a special delive…
  • 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…
  • Lessons from Families: Listening and Love
    Vital Posts
    This past weekend I was in Arizona visiting family. I live in New York City; most of my Arizona family live in small mining towns in the southeast part of the state, so I don’t see them often. It’s very hot there, but it’s also beautiful. The…
  • On Building Walls, Offering Peace, Brexits, and the 4th of July...
    Vital Posts
    There are so many different ways to imagine a country. In the US, we often focus on politics and power. Who’s the president? Who’s in Congress? Who are our friends and enemies? How can we make deals that are good for us? How strong is our econo…
  • Friendship Beyond Language
    Vital Posts
    Editor’s Note: Summer, with its longer days and relaxed schedule, can be a time of exploration or trying new things. In today’s summer ‘rerun,’ first posted July 31, 2014, Anna Olson uses a childhood memory as a springboard for action… …
  • Church and State
    Vital Posts
    The dinner conversation was light and fun, sharing jokes and stories of work, until my dad turned to me. “Richelle, you’re smart in so many ways, but you’re also naïve when it comes to politics.” I braced myself. This wasn’t my f…
  • Conflict: Is Everyone Being Heard?
    Vestry Papers
    “One size fits all” never fits anyone well. Anna Olson identifies two dominant norms for managing conflict that, given the cultural context of a congregation, may undermine attempts to support healthier communication.
  • Other People’s Beautiful
    Vital Posts
    My kids learned a phrase at summer camp that has come in handy during many family meals: “Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.” In church, yum-yucking is probably less of a problem than at summer camp. There’s usually enough food on the p…
  • His Name was Wild Bill: An Advent Story
    Vital Posts
    Our community was blessed with the presence of a man named Wild Bill. For two years, Bill was a regular: at times a hugger, loving and wise; at times drunk, incomprehensible, and loud. That was Bill. When he was with us, really with us, our c…
  • When Having Difficult Conversations, Empathy Helps
    Vital Posts
    About a week ago, I posted a video on my Facebook page about race and what white people can do to combat racism. A friend of mine found some aspects of the video a little upsetting, particularly the idea of being grouped together with other white p…
  • Paris
    Vital Posts
    My grief for this broken week in the world caught up with me during church on Sunday, as our associate rector led a beautiful and gentle children’s sermon about hearing scary news. The sermon ended with our kids carrying candles to place on the a…
  • Walking the Road of Relationship
    Vestry Papers
    In “Walking the Road of Relationship” Sarabeth Goodwin talks about her burning call to plant a Spanish-speaking congregation at an English-speaking parish, the obstacles they faced, and the success they have had as they keep walking el Camino tog…
  • Lessons from My Dog: Letting Go
    Vital Posts
    Sometimes my dog barks. I know, this is not unusual, but I wish he wouldn’t. We have neighbors. Sometimes he startles me. But he’s a dog so he barks. In fact, he does all sorts of things I wish he wouldn’t. He growls at other dogs, li…
  • Lessons from Families: Listening and Love
    Vital Posts
    This past weekend I was in Arizona visiting family. I live in New York City; most of my Arizona family live in small mining towns in the southeast part of the state, so I don’t see them often. It’s very hot there, but it’s also beautiful. The…
  • 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, …
  • When We Go Out, They Come In
    Vital Posts
    When we go out, they come in. It seems like too simple a formula. But it’s by far the closest to a sure bet that I’ve seen in parish ministry. It sure beats, “If we build it, they will come,” which I have heard an awful lot of times as chur…
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Resources for March: Connect with Your Community
    Vital Posts
    5 Resources for March: Connect with Your Community In this month’s Vital Practices Digest, we’re highlighting 5 ways congregations are learning more about and making connections with their neighboring communities. Our 5th resource is a su…
  • Ingredients for Joyful, Inclusive Bilingual Liturgy
    Vital Posts
      Bilingual liturgy can be difficult, especially in our word-driven Anglican tradition. It’s worth doing when there is a clear community-building purpose behind it. Articulate that purpose. Don’t expect everyone to like it. Introducing…
  • 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…
  • 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.
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • An Uncomfortable Home?
    Vital Posts
    At the small Episcopal church in San Antonio where I grew up, everyone knew me and I knew everyone. I felt completely at home every Sunday. That experience of being completely accepted and welcomed is part of the reason I am still part of the Episc…
  • Mary Louise Patterson
    Vital Posts
    In my first year as rector at St. Mary’s in Los Angeles I made several small pilgrimages. I spent two cold, windy days walking around Manzanar, the best preserved of the camps where Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II. …
  • Thoughts on Ferguson
    Vital Posts
    I grew up on the line between black and white in St. Louis County. Michael Brown was killed less than ten miles from my childhood home. Although I haven’t lived in St. Louis for two decades, I know firsthand the deep, persistent, and toxi…
  • Friendship Beyond Language
    Vital Posts
    I have been doing something recently that I had not done in a ridiculously long time. I am making friends without the help of a fluent common language. Given that I live in one of the most immigrant-dominated cities in the world, it's really nothin…
  • The spirit of God moves, moves, moves. Oh brother, let it move your heart!
    Vital Posts
    Editor’s notes: This reflection was written on the eve of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts’ gathering to elect a new bishop. Click here to read about the results of this election. This blog post is also availble in Spanish here / Este art…
  • What's the Church?
    Vital Posts
    At Southside Abbey, we handle sermons a little differently. They are more like conversations born from questions posed to the community at worship. People break into small groups, discussing the readings and responding to these questions. The group…
  • 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…
  • Local Ingredients
    Vital Posts
    I have been cooking new things lately. From scratch. I’ve been an expert restaurant eater for years, partaking of the wild variety of cooked food available in my Los Angeles neighborhood. But my cooking has been boring, in part because I don’t …
  • Culture and How We Give
    Vital Posts
    I once was asked to do an annual giving workshop at a parish which housed both an Anglo congregation and a Hispanic congregation. Viewed as two separate entities, there was concern about the lack of pledges submitted by those who attended the service…
  • That Old Time Religion: Looking Beyond Heyday History, Part 2
    Vital Posts
    My current parish is just over 100 years old, typical of Episcopal parishes near the heart of Los Angeles. It was founded in another Heyday, at a time when our city was being built, and when a whole lot of intrepid (mostly women) missionaries were …
  • The Only White Kid in the Room
    Vital Posts
    As a white parent committed to resisting racism, what do I want for my kids? I want my kids to know how to be the only white person in the room. I want them to know how to do this gracefully and without calling undue attention to themselves…
  • On the Street with Big Jesus
    Vital Posts
    Nota - Este artículo es disponible en español aquí.  Big Jesus is properly known as El Divino Salvador del Mundo -- the transfigured Christ, patron of the people of El Salvador. Calling him Big Jesus might border on sacrilege, but I just ca…
  • Expanding Our Understanding
    Vestry Papers
    Across our church, congregations are exploring new partnerships. Many times these include conversations between Anglo and Latino communities. In “Expanding Our Understanding,” Sam Dessórdi Leite introduces a resource developed in response to the…
  • Facing Differences
    Vestry Papers
    Bill Kondrath’s “Facing Differences,” demonstrates what can happen when, instead of dismissing our differences, vestries and other groups pay attention to their racial and cultural assumptions and behaviors. By changing their frame of referenc…
  • Pushing Past Fear
    Vestry Papers
    “Pushing Past Fear” by Karen Hunter shares what can happen when a congregation commits itself to being church in the world. The growth – and success - of Grace Episcopal’s mission church, La Gracia Farmland, is largely due to being comfortabl…
  • Why Serve?
    Vital Posts
    This past Friday I headed to Virginia Theological Seminary to take part in Why Serve 2012, Vocational Discernment for Young Adults of Color. Upon my arrival, I immediately regretted how short my visit would be; I loved meeting everyone who had gath…
  • Our Call to Leadership
    Vestry Papers
    People of Color have a special call to leadership. Lelanda Lee offers insight into cultural differences that may be hindering acceptance.
  • Using Technology to Increase Participation
    Vital Posts
    As committee chair, I take pride in our diversity. The New York Intern Program’s communications committee “meets” on a monthly basis and includes A mother clanging pots and pans while preparing dinner for her young children Exhaust…
  • A Snapshot of our Urban Neighborhood
    Vestry Papers
    The photo project was designed to give the Vestry the opportunity to take a closer look at our neighborhood. It was not intended to lead directly into strategic planning, but rather to shift our perspective and open our eyes to creative possibilities…
  • Voices of Transformation and Renewal
    Vital Posts
    I am attending the Transformation and Renewal Conference at Kanuga Conference Centers in North Carolina. Co-sponsored by the Office of Black Ministries, the Union of Black Episcopalians, and Kanuga Conference Centers, this year's gathering focuses on…
  • There's a Saint for That
    Vital Posts
    Okay. I confess. All Saints Day in The Episcopal Church has always struck me as a bit bland. Sure I know the official line: that All Saints Day is when we honor the martyrs, preachers, teachers and everyday witnesses whose examples we seek to foll…
  • The Spanglish Congregation
    Vital Posts
    NPR is currently doing an excellent series on how Latinos, the U.S.’ largest minority group, is “making their mark on religion, technology, education, Hollywood and the workplace.” There are many good stories in this series, but I believe tw…
  • Out of Many, One: New River Regional Ministry
    Vestry Papers
    The New River Regional Ministry is the result of the commitment of The Diocese of Southeast Florida, All Saints Church, St. Ambrose Church, El Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos, and St. Ambrose Pre-school to serve joyfully both in the abundance and …
  • 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…
  • Mission of Union and Integration
    Vestry Papers
    The mission I set for myself before becoming a priest was to help establish, expand, and sustain Hispanic/Latino ministries in the Episcopal Church.
  • The Story that Lives
    Vital Posts
    Did you sense it? This past weekend marked the end of an era. I admit I didn’t notice at first. But as I sat around the kitchen table with our convent/farm interns last Thursday night, I began to realize that the release of Harry Potter and the D…
  • Why Alberto Cutié Matters
    Vital Posts
    Una traducción de este blog post es disponible aquí.  Fr. Alberto Cutié’s new daytime talk show premiered yesterday. Did you watch? The premier of "Father Albert" generated a bit of conversation on the Episcopal Café’s Facebook page…
  • Is This Some Kind of Joke?
    Vital Posts
    An Asian-American, Native-American, African-American, two white women and I, all Episcopalian, walked into a bar. What is this, some kind of joke? No, just the end of our Lenten series at our church. We spent Lent exploring the connection …
  • Room 306: A Prophet Then and Now
    Vital Posts
    We turn the corner and walk into a photograph. All of my life, I've seen grainy photos of the Lorraine Motel, men hunched over, weeping, as Martin Luther King Jr. dies on the concrete. Today the motel in Memphis houses part of the Civil Rights …
  • Sharing Love Stories
    Vital Posts
    Most of the time, building community happens in the background. But every once in a while, the connections are so tangible, the relationship building so apparent, that it’s as if the Holy Spirit employed bricklayers and brought the mortar.  Fo…
  • Understanding and Celebrating Differences
    Vestry Papers
    Scientists tell us that biodiversity is a key measure of the health of any ecosystem. Many of us suspect that diversity within our congregations would also be a sign of health, creativity, radical welcome, and the possibility of growth.
  • Finding Room at the Inn
    Vital Posts
    “May I borrow some water?” Nine years ago, JT knocked on the back door of Christ Episcopal Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, a five-gallon jug in hand. JT lived in a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) apartment next to the church; the ci…
  • Making Room This Christmas
    Vital Posts
    Most of the time, there’s no room for a man-child like Brandon. He’s been asked to leave two churches. He’s 34 but with the mind of a 6-year-old. He can only see a glimmer of light out of the corner of one eye.  His mother died this…
  • Covenants
    Vital Posts
    This past Sunday I trooped up to St. Mary’s Manhattanville in Harlem, New York to facilitate a conversation about the Anglican Covenant. But before this discussion ever took place, I found myself regretting that I’d ever agreed to do this.
  • Back from Nuevo Amanecer
    Vital Posts
    I’m writing this blog post on my flight back from the Nuevo Amanecer Conference, an event I attended on behalf of the Episcopal Church Foundation. This conference is a once-in-two year gathering for those who are involved in Latino ministry. Atte…
  • Leadership in the Feligresía
    Vital Posts
    This past weekend the Episcopal Church Foundation visited the northern part of the Diocese of Puerto Rico. We were there at the invitation of Bishop David Álvarez and Fr. Juan Monge with the goal of presenting just about everything we possibly cou…
  • 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…
  • 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.
  • ¡Hola! A warm welcome in Spanish
    Vestry Papers
    Why do Latinos arrive to our doorsteps? What do they find? Why do they stay? What makes Latinos feel welcome in the Episcopal Church?
  • Reaching the American Born Latino
    Webinars
    Assimilated, English dominant and bicultural Latinos born in this country represent about 65% of the Latino population, not counting those Latino children who have been brought into the country at a very early age. However, most of our evangelistic e…
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