• Episcopal Asset Map ✓
    Webinars
    A joint project of The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development There's a new platform available to The Episcopal Church for congregations and other institutions to share our many ministries and gifts (www.episcopal…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • Pray for Pirates
    Vital Posts
    Amid the various back-to-school traditions of churches, one congregation has struck gold. They tap into the community’s strong support for the schools – and particularly for its athletics – by offering yard signs: Pray for a Pirate. Pray for …
  • Backpacks: God’s Work
    Vital Posts
    Back to school time! Pencils, pencil boxes, notebooks, markers, glue sticks, tissues, hand sanitizer... Lists of required school supplies are long and diverse for each grade, each school. Many churches engage their members to “shop the list” a…
  • August 2016 Editor’s Letter: Buildings & Grounds [& Mission]
    Vital Posts
      As our hearts continue to break with news of continued violence and division, our churches, like the 12 who served Jesus, find when they share all they have with their neighbors in need, there is more than enough. Here are their stories: …
  • 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…
  • Reconciliation House
    Vestry Papers
    For Janice Ford and Peter Kosciusko, their commitment to the full recovery and rehabilitation of men incarcerated in the local county jail was the catalyst for the transformation of the rectory at their Episcopal Church into a sober house, providing …
  • Pokémon And Pilgrimages
    Vital Posts
    CNN calls it “the 90s fad that never died,” [1] and in fact Pokémon is on another upsurge. Nintendo’s new smartphone-based app / game, Pokémon GO, has been released in the US, New Zealand and Australia – topping the US iOS and Android cha…
  • Bottle Stall
    Vital Posts
    I’m always interested in unique and easy fundraisers. So I was drawn to the bottle stall at Church of the Ascension in Munich, Germany (Anglican/Episcopal). Various bottles filled a card table. Wine, of course. But also shampoo. Peanut butter…
  • Mission Focused Buildings
    Vestry Papers
    In many ways, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Canandaigua, New York is not so different from other parishes. Their 143-year old roof leaks. Their website could use some work and they are trying to hone in on the perfect mission statement. None of th…
  • VBS for the Community!
    Vital Posts
    We thought we were going to have to cancel it, just like another local congregation did for theirs. This summer’s Vacation Bible School, held at St. George’s and sponsored by both Church of the Ascension, Lexington Park, and St. George’s, Val…
  • What's Your Claim to Fame?
    Vital Posts
    How or what is your congregation known for in your community? In my town, the two Episcopal Churches may be best known for their fundraisers. Both St. Michael’s and St. Andrew’s Episcopal churches in Marblehead, Mass have long established fu…
  • On July 4th --Take it to the Streets
    Vital Posts
    Editor’s note: With the 4th of July weekend approaching, perhaps this is the year to take a look for opportunities to make your church more visible at your community’s 2017 4th of July celebration.  We have found that when we take “us…
  • 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… …
  • Are We the Church of Jesus?
    Vital Posts
    “It is not enough that we love God. It is not enough that we love one another. We must also love the world for whom Christ died.” George Bernard Shaw once wrote: “If some enterprising clergyman with a cure for souls in the slums wer…
  • Piano-Strings Evangelism
    Vital Posts
    Festival season is gearing up, and hopefully congregations are spending some serious creative time thinking about how to make the most of these evangelism opportunities. St. James Episcopal Church in Piqua, Ohio, has one idea: Invite folks to…
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Church Garden Resources
    Vital Posts
    In the April Vital Practices Digest, we offer 5 resources churches can use to start or continue to develop a thriving church garden ministry, with the 5th a resource to help develop year-round stewardship in your congregation. It’s eas…
  • Follow-up: St. Paul’s Open Letter to Presiding Bishop Curry
    Vital Posts
    Priest Morris Thompson readily admits that, “All my life I have been afraid of evangelism.” Yet he and his fellow Christians at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus, Mississippi, decided that they wanted to be part of the Jesus Movement pr…
  • Live Out – Incarnate God’s Good News
    Vital Posts
    Our recent Vestry Papers article urged church leaders to shift their focus from “inside” to “outside,” and from church-sponsored outreach to individuals understanding themselves as “on mission” in their everyday lives. We’ve already o…
  • Take Out – Re-Package Your Rituals
    Vital Posts
    Our recent Vestry Papers article urged church leaders to shift their focus from “inside” to “outside,” and from church-sponsored outreach to individuals understanding themselves as “on mission” in their everyday lives. Last week we offe…
  • St. Nicholas: Goody2Shoes
    Vital Posts
    The Feast of St. Nicholas is a wonderful way for families and congregations to explore and understand the great tradition behind the commercialized Santa Claus. A bishop of Myra (what is now Turkey), Saint Nicholas is remembered as a grace-filled, …
  • How Do I Plug in?
    Vital Posts
    It’s a simple question that can have a surprisingly complicated answer. This year, I’ve decided to devote more time to my parish, particularly to our various outreach ministries. After years of fretting about whether I truly had the time …
  • Little Free Library: Practicing Giving and Receiving
    Vital Posts
    You may have seen a Little Free Library or two in your neck of the woods. They are popping up all over the place -- a small creative mode of freecycling that allows strangers and neighbors to share books with one another. They are basically just bo…
  • Being Church
    Vital Posts
    Her eyes rimmed with tears, red from a night of mourning. “I had to come, to take my communion,” she told the priest. Her husband died mere hours earlier. She had a lot of places she could be: in bed, on the couch, numb and unseeing, drow…
  • 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…
  • Let it be, Eleanor Rigby
    Vital Posts
    There’s tradition, Episcopal style, and then there’s rock royalty. A congregation in the heart of Kentucky decided to marry the two for a good cause. When the local food pantry needed help, the folks at St. John’s, Versailles, got c…
  • A Good Start
    Vital Posts
    We still have the dog days of summer ahead, but fall isn’t far beyond. And with the start of school comes the start of the program year for churches. Hopefully yours already has been talking about how to kick off the year in grand fashion. …
  • Small Church, Big Impact
    Vestry Papers
    How does a congregation live into its sacred role as a healer?
  • 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…
  • Receiving and Giving and Receiving Again
    Vital Posts
    When one learns about the tremendous outreach ministries of Trinity Episcopal Church in Logansport, Indiana, a natural question might be, “How do they afford it?” As it turns out, many years ago, the church invested a large estate gift at the C…
  • 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…
  • Laundry Love Ministry
    Vital Posts
    Holy Trinity, Manistee recently completed month 8 of its Laundry Love ministry. We learned about this idea last summer from a video sent out by The Episcopal Church. We hadn’t thought of this as a ministry opportunity until then, but it was immed…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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.
  • Three Blogs on Stewardship: #3 Buy the Numbers
    Vital Posts
    Okay, so my last post about paid and unpaid, professional and amateur Christians sparked some discussion. I need to be clear about something from the beginning. I am not a cynic. I know that it is tough to discern tone from prose, but am not jaded,…
  • At the Dinner Table: Stories of Giving
    Vital Posts
    Last night my family was invited over to our friends’ house for supper. With kids similar in age, this meant we had four kids at or under 6 years of age. It was fun and boisterous. In the midst of our roasted chicken, laughter, and interrupted conv…
  • Resolutions
    Vital Posts
    The new year is always a great time to think about what we want to accomplish. But all too often we make overly ambitious, impossible resolutions with their focus on our selves, our bodies, our pocketbooks. And when we fail, we revert to our old wa…
  • In the Name of the Refugees
    Vital Posts
    A few years ago I was part of a large staff that afforded me a big, cushy office. I had lots of wall space for posters – Jesus Died to Take Away Your Sins, Not Your Minds – and the like. Beyond the standard fare, I also had a reprint of a…
  • 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…
  • Advent Lessons from The Sound of Music, or A Few of Our Favorite Things
    Vital Posts
    In my past life, I was an active theatrical director and designer. For a few years, I taught theater at a wonderful private school in Texas. During this time I helped to establish a theater program for the school. One of the highlights of this prog…
  • Don't Presume: Ask!
    Vital Posts
    Why is it important for all voices to be heard? I was at a midsized parish that was in the midst of a feasibility study to determine what support was available for capital improvements. The plan was to look specifically at building accessibility…
  • 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…
  • Going That Extra Mile
    Vestry Papers
    A present day ‘man on the road to Jericho’ story that reminds us that Christianity is a living thing, that our faith stories of today mirror the ancient stories in the Gospels, and that each of us has the opportunity to follow Christ through our …
  • Outreach 101: Relationships and Transformation
    Vital Posts
    “Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, This month in the ECF Vital Practices mid-month digest, we share articles and resources focused on how outre…
  • Witness
    Vital Posts
    Sometime Facebook gets it right, serving as a wonderful vehicle to see how God is working in the world. All too often we think that we don’t have the right words to tell about our faith, we don’t know what to say, or whether we’ll come …
  • A Second Collection
    Vital Posts
    File this under “Borrowed from Another Church” or “How a Decentralized Budget Works.” I’m talking about how we raise awareness and investment for outreach at St. George’s, Valley Lee – what we call the Second Collection. It’s re…
  • All Hallow's Eve
    Vital Posts
    Oversized spiders hanging on front porches and cobwebs strewn across shopping aisles remind me that Halloween is just around the corner. I’ve never been a big fan of this holiday, myself, although I’m equally keen to re-claim it as a Christian …
  • There will be Trespasses!
    Vital Posts
    Lately I’ve been paying attention to what Jesus asks of us in prayer and relationship. I understand the instructions not just in terms of what we are to do, but also as a sign of what God knows about the formation of human community. Sometimes we…
  • Together as Brothers and Sisters We Go to Meet the Lord
    Vital Posts
    Nota - Este artículo es disponible en español aquí. Ten Episcopal women of Afro-Caribbean descent are moving quickly back and forth in the community room of the church of their ancestors. Today they’re smiling more than ever. The glowing f…
  • From Outreach to Relationship
    Vestry Papers
    Anyone can be spread too thin. Even a congregation. For many years, our outreach efforts at Christ Church Cranbrook (CCC) were very widespread.
  • Can a Starbucks Barista Find a Place in The Episcopal Church
    Vital Posts
    It’s no secret that the Episcopal Church has historically been associated with a particular stratum of society—white, educated, socially connected, middle- to upper-class. The Presiding Bishop used to live in Greenwich, Connecticut—and now li…
  • You've Been Challenged
    Vital Posts
    Can you handle one more ALS ice-bucket challenge video? I promise. There’s a twist. When my husband was challenged on Facebook, we talked about how to make it fun – and engage the whole congregation. This is what we came up with: (fu…
  • Second Chances with Hour Children
    Vital Posts
    For the past couple Fridays I've been volunteering with Hour Children, an organization that serves formerly incarcerated women and their families. Trinity Wall Street has been partnering with the organization for several years now, and each year I'…
  • 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…
  • Restoring To Wholeness And Strength
    Vital Posts
    “As you are outwardly anointed with this holy oil, so may our heavenly Father grant you the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit. Of his great mercy, may he forgive you your sins, release you from suffering, and restore you to wholeness and streng…
  • The Art of the House Call or...
    Vital Posts
    Everything I needed to know for ministry I learned as a union organizer. As a 22-year-old union organizer -- my first job out of college -- I discovered that my main job was to knock on strangers' doors and engage them in conversation about the…
  • Ask For Help
    Vital Posts
    Telling the truth and asking for help have been the best and hardest things I have learned in ministry. I was ordained into a highly consumerist moment in the church. Watching suburban megachurches boom, the struggling mainline was under pressu…
  • Community Engagement: A Little Church that Could
    Vital Posts
    Good Shepherd Episcopal church is a little church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, the northern most suburb of Madison, Wisconsin. Its average weekly attendance is around 125.  The 1st weekend of May this year marked a significant turning point for th…
  • Who is Your Audience?
    Vital Posts
    Last week I went to a goodbye party for a longtime Trinity employee. I also went to a community forum, an Ascension Day Eucharist, and stopped by Trinity's Brown Bag lunch program which serves meals to people in need.  Different people were in a…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • Relationship Building: Through Art
    Vital Posts
    The other day my church rented out our new space for an art show. An organization called Fiercely Curious took our space (which is very much an empty room at the moment) and made it into a gallery for a weekend.  Using church to display art is …
  • Small Church Feeds Big Athletes
    Vital Posts
    If you want to know how much food it takes to feed two hungry college basketball teams for nearly three weeks, just ask the people of St. Timothy’s, Iola. They can tell you, because that’s what they did in early January for the men’s and wome…
  • Reflections on Ashes on the Go 2014
    Vital Posts
    We didn’t go very far with our ashes-on-the-go this year: just the front steps of the church, then the back entrance. We went out at the times when school lets out -- elementary on one side, HeadStart preschool on the other -- joining the multitu…
  • Lent Madness
    Vital Posts
    The brackets are due. If you haven't yet labored over which saint should win the Golden Halo, you have a few mere hours to complete your bracket. Voting begins today. We’ve written about Lent Madness before but here’s a brief recap: Lent …
  • 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.  …
  • Mentoring High School Students
    Vital Posts
    This blog post is a translation of this article. The last two years of high school are extremely important for all young people in our communities, not least in Latino communities. Regardless of their social class, cultural or ethnic values t…
  • Souper Bowl Sunday
    Vital Posts
    It started with a simple prayer:  “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat.” That was fourteen years ago, in Columbia, South Carolina. The movement, led by yo…
  • A Gift from Pete Seeger
    Vital Posts
    The closest I ever came to meeting Pete Seeger was helping to field a phone call from his wife Toshi to a small non-profit where I was working. While I answered phones, my boss and others were on a hunger strike, calling attention to the injustices…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • Full Faith, Empty Churches
    Vital Posts
    The other day, I heard an old saying for the first time – “Full faith means an empty church.” The implication of the aphorism is that a church that is preaching the fullness of the Gospel will quickly find itself without a congregation. The d…
  • 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…
  • 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 …
  • Diaper Bank Ministry
    Vestry Papers
    One of the country’s first diaper banks began in a small Episcopal Church in McHenry, Illinois. “Diaper Bank” by Lu Stanton León shares the story of how given the increased need for diapers, St. Paul’s changed their strategy and invited othe…
  • College Ministry to Go
    Vestry Papers
    Ruth Meteer’s “College Ministry to Go” describes how the relationship between St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church and the University of Rhode Island has become stronger thanks to two students interested in addressing issues of hunger on campus.
  • Laundry Love
    Vestry Papers
    Sometimes the way to get people ‘back to church’ is by starting a different kind of church. Better yet, offering individuals or small groups the freedom to design their own form of worship. In “Laundry Love,” Nancy Davidge shares the story of…
  • Editor's Letter November 2013: Answering Jesus' Call
    Vital Posts
    Go.  Each time we worship in the Episcopal tradition, we are reminded of the Great Commission: You’ve been filled and fed, now go in peace to love and serve the Lord; go forth in the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit. Across our…
  • Heading Out Into Mission
    Vestry Papers
    Out is where mission happens at Southside Abbey. Bob Leopold introduces us to a community church committed to lifting up hope where that hope has been obscured.
  • Cathedral in the Night
    Vestry Papers
    The story of a church – with links to a diocesan ministry – that believes the openness of space creates an openness of community in Jesus’ spirit.
  • Saying ‘Yes’
    Vestry Papers
    What happens when a church keeps saying “yes?” At St. Francis, their first “yes” 10 years ago has grown into a thriving ministry and relationship between their congregation and the many refugees who live in their neighborhood.
  • Who is the Audience for your Newsletter?
    Your Turn
    Trying to encourage people to think about how their newsletters are presented.
  • How To: Using Social Media When Phones and E-Mail Fail
    Vital Posts
    When Yvonne Cassidy set up the social media program for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York City, she envisioned using it as a tool for fundraising, for increasing the ministry’s volunteers and supporters, and for getting the word out about th…
  • i-care, We Care
    Vital Posts
    I was cruising around the Internet the other day when I stumbled on a site that inspired me. The Anglican Diocese of Wellington, in New Zealand – way across the world from my little hometown of Fort Thomas, Ky., exhibited its care and compa…
  • Jesus Was Right There, in the Bounce House
    Vital Posts
    Until last week, I'd never been involved in a worshipping community's celebration of the completion of its first year; Southside Abbey's one year anniversary changed that. Think about all that takes place throughout the church year. Ordinary Ti…
  • Homegrown Communion: Faith, Land and Neighbor
    Webinars
    Many of our faith communities are experiencing a movement that is grounded in our spiritual and physical hunger for food, community, justice and relationship with God. This movement is manifesting itself in church gardens, faith-based farms, feeding …
  • The “ABCD’s” of Asset-Based Disaster Response
    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…
  • Missional Churches = Real Churches – Regardless of Size
    Vital Posts
    I recently had the pleasure of presenting at Episcopal Appalachian Ministries' Mountain Grace Conference, “We(e) Small Voice – Exploring Small and Non-Traditional Church in Appalachia." While there, I was honored to be part of wonderfully hones…
  • Unpacking the 700,000
    Vital Posts
    According the 2010 parish profile, there are 693,000 people living within three miles of my church. The other thing the parish profile said was that the church hopes to grow. Seven hundred thousand people and a desire to grow? How could we miss?…
  • Backpacks and Baptism
    Vital Posts
      I don’t know how to say this without sounding selfish. I know we’re shopping for donation and I know that my backpack is in good shape and I don’t need a new one. But I can’t help it—that tie-dye backpack is awesome. And thus it …
  • Creating Space for Yes
    Vital Posts
    I'm a “yes” man. I'll admit it, though maybe not the way you are imagining. As facilitator of a non-traditional community, people approach me with all kinds of questions:  This All Souls' Day, can we host a meal and worship service at our…
  • Fishing Together
    Vital Posts
    The way the Church has historically done outreach ministry is embodied in the familiar adage: Give a person a fish and he or she eats for a day; teach a person to fish and he or she eats for a lifetime. Through the Middle Ages the Church was in the…
  • Seeds of Hope
    Vestry Papers
    Like many small churches, Christ Episcopal Church in Biddeford, Maine had seen its resources rise and fall with the economic tide of the community. Shirley Bowen’s “Seeds of Hope” shares how this congregation multiplied their ability to serve C…
  • Mission Trip? Think Local
    Vital Posts
    The past two weekends I’ve volunteered with Hour Children, an organization that works with formerly incarcerated mothers and their children. They teach job skills and provide housing and childcare and help the mothers readjust to life outside pri…
  • Just Ask
    Vital Posts
    I know New York has a reputation for being filled with rude, unfriendly people, but I have discovered that New Yorkers love to give directions. Giving directions is a chance to demonstrate that we’ve lived here awhile and know our way around. New…
  • On July 4th--Take it to the Streets
    Vital Posts
    We have found that when we take “us” out to meet folks where they are at—the result is usually a warm reception. Last year, after seeing good responses to offering Ashes on Ash Wednesday at the college campus, and offering Pet Blessings n…
  • Flat-Out Mission
    Vital Posts
    Have you met Flat Stanley? If there’s an early elementary student within your orbit, you’ve probably been asked to include Stanley in a family event, take him on vacation, or share in one of his adventures…and take lots of photos along the wa…
  • 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…
  • 10 Icebreaker Questions to Ask on Your FB Page
    Your Turn
    Great tip for starting a conversation on Facebook.
  • Facebook Tip: Scheduling and Previewing Posts
    Vital Posts
    I am starting to set a regular weekly schedule of posts for my church. I hope this will help me speed up the process of creating posts, and also allow our followers to know what to expect. Our congregation seems to be most active on Facebook on wee…
  • Reclaiming Relevance
    Vestry Papers
    How could St. Andrew’s welcome its Brazilian neighbors? Lori Mills-Curran shares how a ‘boot camp’ leadership experience spurred new ideas and connections.
  • Laundry Love
    Vital Posts
    No, this isn’t a blog about meeting Mr. or Ms. Right at your local Laundromat. It is about God’s love and how people in a growing number of locations are sharing that love by doing someone else’s laundry. …
  • Are Nice People REALLY Killing Our Churches?
    Vital Posts
    Are nice people really killing churches? The Episcopal Café is calling attention to this blog post by Todd Rhoades which suggests that church leaders, while being good at treating others with grace and love are not as good at treating each other w…
  • Community Partners
    Vital Posts
    This past weekend I listened to a panel discussion on Community Schools. These are schools intended to be community centers, offering education, of course, but also services for children and adults, such as programs promoting health. These initiati…
  • Snow Days: 2013 Edition
    Vital Posts
    While the Northeast's present blizzard made it necessary for me to stay in NYC for the weekend (Amtrak cancelled all trains to Boston) - I'm fortunate enough to resources and family in the city, so staying is really not an inconvenience or a hardsh…
  • The Locally Owned Church
    Vital Posts
    Last week, ECF concluded a two-part web conference series on “Becoming Local” presented by Will Scott. Will is the vicar of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco, a community of faith that has discerned the key to its revitalization…
  • Lord, Help Me to See (and Hear)
    Vital Posts
    If seeing through the eyes of another were easy, imagine what a different place our world could be. Fewer hurt feelings; fewer misunderstandings. Recently a friend shared the disappointment and hurt some of her family members felt after prepa…
  • Beans and Grapes
    Vital Posts
    All Saints Episcopal Church in Pleasant Ridge, a first-rung suburb of Cincinnati, could easily have been a statistic.  With fewer than 100 people on Sunday mornings, it’s not a corporate-sized congregation that can weather significant shifts i…
  • 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…
  • The Church that Plays Soccer
    Vital Posts
    El Iglesia Episcopal Buen Pastor is a Latino mission in Durham, North Carolina. As the mission grew, many of the young people were looking for a place to play soccer. The front lawn of the church was very small and dangerously close to the road and…
  • Christmas Messages
    Vital Posts
    We all know that Christmas and Easter are the times when our churches will be more crowded than other times of the year. How are you using social media to share your congregation’s message of welcome during Advent and Christmas? I’ve recent…
  • Would Christmas Disappear? (Ad)
    Your Turn
    Video is a great way to catch people's attention, especially on social media. Here's a simple - yet effective - Christmas ad that you could produce with a phone camera, scissors, and colored paper.
  • Baptismal Covenant
    Vestry Papers
    In “Baptismal Covenant, ” Howard Kently Williams offers a look at the way his Brooklyn, NY, congregation lives into the familiar phrase “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself,” by building congregatio…
  • Through the Kitchen Door
    Vital Posts
    Now let us praise famous church kitchens… When I was once a "spiritual but not religious" person living in a Midwestern community of artists, musicians, dumpster diving punks, organic farmers, & aspiring permaculturalists, one of the ways I f…
  • Underneath -- and Beyond -- the Kilt
    Vital Posts
    The teasing started almost as soon as the box arrived. My husband, a strapping 6’3”, would be wearing knee socks. And a kilt. My stern admonition: he must wear something underneath. Yesterday, we participated in our …
  • 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…
  • Sandy
    Vital Posts
    We lost power as Hurricane Sandy hit on Monday night and got it back at 4:00 am on Saturday. We had gas and water, so we cooked and watched movies, made trips uptown occasionally to charge our computers and check our phone messages. We were fortuna…
  • 10 Ways to Engage Your Neighborhood
    Vital Posts
    Thanks to the Episcopal Church Foundation, I was given the opportunity to create a video to share some of things we are learning at St. Cyprian’s as we seek to connect with our vibrant urban neighborhood. We hope the tips shared in "10 Ways to E…
  • My Essentials: iPhone & Church?
    Vital Posts
  • 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…
  • Our Buildings: Precious Gems or Liabilities?
    Vital Posts
    Your local church is a major community asset! The more common headline is “local church buried in its deficit and had to close.” With church buildings from many denominations being closed, many congregations see their beloved buildings as l…
  • Let’s Move: Olympic Fun Day
    Vital Posts
    Growing up, we were taught not to plan our lives around a television program. It is advice I follow to this day unless it is an Olympic year: Watching the opening and closing ceremonies is required. Television schedule in hand, I map out the events…
  • Sweet 16
    Vital Posts
    It was Daisy’s Sweet 16 party and the guest of honor was nowhere to be seen. “She’s in the bedroom, under the bed,” said Jackie, “ and she won’t come out…” The patio was decorated with pink and purple Sweet 16 napkins, balloons,…
  • I Read About Your Church…
    Vital Posts
    A lifetime of happiness Couple married 70 years to renew vows at festival (A captioned photo of an elegant looking older couple accompanies this headline and subhead.) The headline, photo, and subhead drew me in. I was familiar with the Dan…
  • What's Working at St. Mark's, Chenango Bridge, NY
    Your Turn
    Andy Pierce serves as the "web guy" for St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Chenango Bridge, New York. Here he shares a short list of what's working for them!
  • What Gives You Hope?
    Vital Posts
    Pssst. Have you heard? Great things are happening in the Episcopal churches every single day. This weekend I reviewed survey responses from subscribers to ECF Vital Practices. While there was a lot to review, I was particularly struck b…
  • 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,…
  • 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 …
  • Imagine
    Vital Posts
    Imagine if every church meeting began by asking the same question: “How will what we are doing here affect or involve people living in poverty?” In 1991 the late Roman Catholic Bishop Kenneth E. Untener of Saginaw, Michigan, issued a decr…
  • 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 …
  • Weaving Straw into CDs*
    Vital Posts
    The baskets were breathtaking. Even more so when we saw what the straw looked like before Monica split it (with her teeth), then soaked, twisted, and sometimes dyed, before weaving into a beautiful, and functional, work of art. Monica, a widow …
  • The Bishop Danced
    Vital Posts
    As the men and boys dance group in Yelwoko were winding down their dramatic dance of rhythmic stomping and leaping, Jacob Ayeebo, the Anglican bishop of Tamale stepped onto the stage and performed the traditional steps to the enthusiastic applause …
  • The (Written) Word Made Flesh
    Vital Posts
    Sometimes telling the story can feel less important and more removed from the mission field. After all, a story about repairing a roof in Appalachia or cooking meals for the homeless isn’t dirty-hands, feet-on-the-ground ministry. Or is it? A…
  • Feeding Others – And Ourselves
    Vital Posts
    Feeling a bit down today – the grayness of the day, pressure to write my weekly blog post – and, not wanting to resort (at least not yet) to the chocolate zucchini cake in the kitchen – I let my mind wander…. The iTunes gift card on my …
  • One Church One School
    Vital Posts
    In 2010 our Presiding Bishop called on the Church to respond to Domestic Poverty in her keynote address at a three day conference in Newark titled Called to Serve: The Episcopal Church responds to Domestic Poverty. As part of this address she pointed…
  • 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…
  • Little Church, Big Mission
    Vital Posts
    I used to think I belonged to a small Episcopal Church. Both the parish where I grew up, in Lake Geneva, WI, as well as my congregation in New York City probably have about 60 people in worship on Sundays. I’ve known the rectors and their familie…
  • 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…
  • Ugandan Hospitality
    Vital Posts
    In the four days that I have been in Nakiwogo, Uganda, I have already visited in the homes of 14 members of St. Stephen’s Church. At every home, I am offered wonderful hospitality with snacks and water or soft drinks provided. Last evening, I fea…
  • Changing the Scorecard
    Vital Posts
    Does your congregation’s parochial report represent what is really happening in your parish? How might you change your ‘scorecard’ to represent the many ways your congregation is serving God’s mission? These questions were raised at the…
  • What is ABCD?
    Vital Posts
    After reading the book, Community—The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block, I’ve been consumed with learning more about ways to live in and build better community (for myself and others). Shortly after having been transformed by the words I re…
  • A New Church Begins
    Vital Posts
    After weeks of praying and planning our vestry and bishop on Tuesday night founded GEORGE: The “Church in the Round” Community Center. With a unanimous vote a new model for ministry was born. Here is a brief description of what has come into be…
  • What's Your Next Step?
    Vital Posts
    What are you doing after graduation? Do you remember this question? Did you dread it like I did? I confess that 15 years ago I was one of those college seniors who had no idea what I was going to do with my life after leaving the safe confines o…
  • Doing a New Thing
    Vital Posts
    (The next in a series on the new Church in the Round Episcopal mission in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle.) The most exciting outcome of the design process that we have used to create the Church in the Round has been the impetus to begin …
  • Midnight Breakfast
    Vital Posts
    It’s getting closer! In this time of preparation, it’s hard not to think about what’s coming: final exams. In the next week or two college students will hunker down into reams of paper, laptops, and group projects, trying to finish semeste…
  • December 2011 Editor's Letter
    Vital Posts
    Advent is the season for preparation and waiting: Watching for signs of God’s presence as we await the birth of Christ. And, as we wait and pray and listen and look, opportunities to heal and reconcile the brokenness in the world appear. For …
  • 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.
  • Partnership in the Round
    Vital Posts
    Monday night we completed the nine-week design process to launch the Church in the Round. It has resulted in a concept of partnership that will invite in three new ministries or programs to join our existing groups and launch five more brand new e…
  • In All Things
    Vital Posts
    Give thanks in all things….St. Paul exhorts us. "And whatever you do, in work or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus; giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17). Our actual work – all we do – should become a …
  • 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…
  • 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...
  • 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…
  • Damon and Clint: Asset Based Community Development
    Vital Posts
    Real change can happen when we make the shift from meeting needs to recognizing and accepting gifts. I’d like to share a story I heard last week during a workshop on Asset Based Community Development at the Everyone, Everywhere conference … …
  • D.A.N.C.E.
    Vital Posts
    Our communities need our help. But in some places, the needs are so many, so overwhelming, that we don't know where to start. So we never move past conception stage to get into the gritty work of helping people. One way to move past this mi…
  • Charting a New Path
    Vital Posts
    The economic news in Dayton, Ohio, isn’t good. Long a manufacturing hub, the city has acutely felt the national financial woes. One in 10 workers are unemployed, and job loss is among the highest in the state. But leave it to the Epis…
  • 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.
  • Postcard from Memphis
    Vital Posts
    I’ve been traveling this past week. From New York to Memphis to San Antonio, I am visiting friends and family after a lengthy time away. In the process, however, I’ve also had the opportunity to check out a few innovative ministries taking plac…
  • What to Do When a Ministry Outlasts a Church?
    Vital Posts
    Editor's Note: Earlier this year, Bishop Rickel (Diocese of Olympia) approached Peter Strimer and the vestry at St. Andrew's to ask if they would consider taking over operations at St. George's Episcopal Church which closed in May.  Peter wrote abo…
  • 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,…
  • Crossing Generations: August Editor's Letter
    Vital Posts
    I’ve been thinking about summer camp. My earliest memories of camp are as a toddler. My grandmother directed the local Girl Scout day camp; I recall being on the beach at Lake Quannapowitt as campers prepared for their swimming lessons and have b…
  • 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.
  • Multigenerational Reading Camp
    Vestry Papers
    In the first year of his episcopacy, Bishop Stacy Sauls was assessing the gifts and challenges facing the Diocese of Lexington. He saw the problems plaguing the Appalachian region: high levels of poverty and rampant illiteracy.
  • Adopt-A-Family Bikes
    Vestry Papers
    About ten years ago, parishioners noted that many families requested bicycles for their children and themselves. For many, bikes served as their primary transportation to school and work.
  • Work Hard, Play Hard
    Vital Posts
    I am writing from New Orleans where I am chaperoning a youth mission trip through the Beacon of Hope program founded by St. Paul’s, New Orleans. It is my fourth trip to the city to help rebuild after Katrina. Once again this incredible, tragic, b…
  • Shabbat Shalom
    Vital Posts
    Two Fridays ago, I found myself walking through the doors of an Episcopal Church to attend a Shabbat service with friends.  Let me clarify...  Two friends recently invited me to attend a Shabbat service at their synagogue Congregatio…
  • 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…
  • Why I Won't Sell a Website to your Church
    Vital Posts
    If you're like most churches, then spending $2,000 for a new website can seem like a lot of money ... and it is. But as you know, more and more consumers are researching online the products they buy offline before they ever head to a store. …
  • 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…
  • Sharing the Good News
    Vital Posts
    Do you remember the Pentecost story? I'll admit that at the beginning of this week, I had to look it up. If it wasn’t for Facebook and the various online theological resources I subscribe to, Pentecost wouldn’t make the list of things I would t…
  • Drawing Heaven
    Vital Posts
    “Heaven, oh heaven….” I close my eyes and hear in my mind the smooth style and soul filled music of Duke Ellington.  My first encounter with Ellington’s “Sacred Concerts” songs came during Sunday worship, when Caroline, a parishione…
  • How Does Your (Church) Garden Grow?
    Vital Posts
    I had lunch with Brian Sellers-Petersen of Episcopal Relief and Development and heard about ERD’s Abundant Life Garden Project. We are adapting that program along with the RENEW curriculum from the Lutheran Church for our Back to the Garden: Rene…
  • Ginormous
    Vital Posts
    When I saw Ephraim taking pictures of Ms. Scott, my heart just melted,” said Lisa, the organizer of my congregation’s second annual “Ginormous Flea Market.” We were standing by a tree in the small garden watching a neighborhood boy run the …
  • 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.
  • Lunch is on Me
    Vital Posts
    Each Eastertide I try to inject some fun and relaxation into the lives of parishioners. For the third year running, I will host “Joy Walks;” a four-mile trek around the glacial lake that gives our Green Lake neighborhood its name. But the n…
  • 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…
  • Where are the Young Adults?
    Vital Posts
    Maybe it was the lemon cake, but by the end of Friday’s dinner at Julian House in Chicago the constant hand wringing about young adults and the future of the Episcopal Church seemed a distant memory. Where are young adults in the Episcopal Church? …
  • Tips for Parishes Considering a Food Pantry Garden
    Your Turn
    Is a food pantry garden right for your parish? Here is a list of things to consider.
  • Let’s Move! Faith Community Garden Guide
    Your Turn
    Interested in faith gardens? This resource from the USDA includes many source more information about the gardening for faith communities.
  • Does God Love Facebook?
    Vital Posts
    I say ‘yes.’ And so does Jennifer McNally. Her Episcopal Café post, “More Facebook for Lent!,”  offers a well-reasoned and theologically sound alternative to ‘I’m giving up Facebook for Lent.’ Jennifer writes: In the l…
  • A Man Named Roscoe
    Vital Posts
    Roscoe doesn’t look like the rest of us. Whatever word he had tattooed across his knuckles has faded into unrecognizable squiggles. His hair, though neatly combed, hangs over his ears, several months past a cut. He talks about Jesus and the e…
  • 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.
  • Buildings as Transformational Tools
    Vital Posts
    The question at our church is not who has a key to the building – but rather, who doesn’t? We’ve joked that we can’t change the locks; we’d have to order enough keys for the entire town. Our church facility is in constant use …
  • 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.
  • There IS an App for That
    Vital Posts
    Our diocese just added a mobile phone app. It’s not fancy – but it allows folks to have at their fingertips the key parts of our website: a news blog, upcoming events, directories of clergy and lay leaders, and a church finder with maps. …
  • Episcopal Foodies Network
    Vital Posts
    When I think of food and the Episcopal Church, I believe we’re much more than just wine and cheese. Within just the past few months I’ve come across:  John Hornbeck’s work with Episcopal Community Services in the Dioceses of Kansas & W…
  • Outreach Sparks Optimism, Vitality
    Vestry Papers
    It used to be just a myth: Do something for someone else and you’ll have less time to think about your own problems.
  • Faith in Action: A Parish Audit
    Vestry Papers
    What does your congregation do for others in Jesus’ name? Knowing your history is helpful in terms of planning your future.
  • Outreach: Getting Started #101
    Vestry Papers
    We have been the Church Gathered, We are now the Church Dispersed.
  • Giving Away the Church
    Vestry Papers
    “Giving from Our Abundance” sounds like a tired stewardship campaign slogan, but what might happen if a church did this?
  • Feed the Poor or Fix the Roof?
    Vestry Papers
    There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but it was raining at St. Tiffany’s-in-the-Fields. Inside.
  • What’s Your Church’s Economic Worth?
    Vital Posts
    When St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas closed their school in 2006, it impacted both the congregation and the community. Students and families needed to find new schools. School faculty and staff were unemployed. The empty school buildi…
  • Snow Days...
    Vital Posts
    Eastern Massachusetts is in the midst of its fourth or fifth ‘major’ snowfall since Christmas. The governor has asked all ‘non-essential’ workers to stay home; the TV crawl is filled with notices of closed schools and organizations, includi…
  • 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…
  • Spreading Jesus’ Light
    Vital Posts
    I miss the tree burning. For many years my community celebrated 12th night by burning Christmas trees at the beach. As darkness approached people would add their trees to the pile collected by town workers. A member of the local clergy offere…
  • Strategy and Relationships
    Vital Posts
    We’re kicking off the year in a big way. Tomorrow I head to the Diocese of Spokane to spend three daSys training about seventy-five lay people, clergy, and bishops in organizing for mission. Why? To equip us to respond to God’s call to serve th…
  • Resurrection Leadership
    Vestry Papers
    Do we really believe in resurrection? That is the question that the people of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas, asked themselves after closing St. Alban’s Memorial School, an Episcopal school that had served the children of Waco for 60…
  • 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…
  • Resolution: Believe
    Vital Posts
    My dad can hold a grudge.  When someone has really wronged him, it’s hard for him to forgive. And forgetting doesn’t even enter the equation. This is one of the reasons I believe in a God that changes hearts and transforms lives. …
  • 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…
  • 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 …
  • Bringing Bethlehem Alive….
    Vital Posts
    Christians around the world can deepen their understandings of Jesus' birth – and the current context of Bethlehem and the Middle East – by making direct connections with Holy Land communities in Advent, Christmastide and year-round. Two quick …
  • 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. …
  • 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…
  • Listen to Your Mother
    Vital Posts
    She said they were the best conversations she’d ever had with her three kids. And the best birthday present ever, in all her 70 years. Little did I know when I suggested to my brothers that we tell stories for mom’s birthday last November, …
  • Tree of Life
    Vital Posts
    I spent the Saturday night before our All Saints celebration as the stage manager for an event at our cathedral entitled, “A Celebration of the Tree of Life in the Time of the Great Turning.” It was an incredible event anchored by a talk by Joa…
  • 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…
  • 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.
  • 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…
  • The Good Earth Farm: Beginnings
    Fieldwork
    The language of abundance is everywhere in the Bible and at Good Earth Farm. In the summer of 2008. Paul Clever and his wife, Sarah, were seeking support and guidance concerning common living. Their focus was how to structure their lives to serve Chr…
  • An Uncommon Video from the Common Friars
    Fieldwork
    Who are the Common Friars and what is the Good Earth Farm?
  • Part 2 of Becoming Local: Wide open spaces
    Webinars
    How might the Spirit be speaking to those of us on the inside of the church through the voices and stories of those beyond our walls? What if the line between insider and outsider is made less clear? ECF Fellow the Rev. Will Scott, Vicar of St. Cypri…
  • Part 1 of Becoming Local: On Every Side
    Webinars
    How might the Spirit be speaking to those of us on the inside of the church through the voices and stories of those beyond our walls? What if the line between insider and outsider is made less clear? ECF Fellow the Rev. Will Scott, Vicar of St. Cypri…
Site by Bandwidth Productions