February 23, 2013

It's Time to Grow!

How can your congregation engage your community? We offer this collection of articles and resources for congregations to look outside and see how you can become a vital part of your community. As winter season winds down, now is a great time to start planning of ministries that can take advantage of being outdoors.

Interested in receiving the ECF Vital Practices mid-month digest? Click here to register and subscribe to ECF Vital Practices.

Meeting God in a Faith Garden

Spring and summer will be here soon and we'll be enjoying many outdoor activities. Now is the time to start planning a community garden, CSA box program, farmers market, or other activities. In Meeting God in a Faith Garden, Timothy Goldman shares how his parish’s garden grew from a small plot tended by one person into thriving community garden. As the garden grew, so did the congregation’s involvement with its neighbors as they work together in the garden, come together regularly for meals, and harvest thousands of pounds of food for local food pantries.

A Snapshot of our Urban Neighborhood

Who are your neighbors? How might your congregation become a better neighbor? Not only for urban churches, this fun project is perfect for a vestry or other group from your church. Ana Olson’s A Snapshot of our Urban Neighborhood shares how the vestry at her church not only saw things their church had been blind to before, but how this new vision is helping them to connect with the people in their community.

Blog Posts:

10 Ways to Engage Your Neighborhood: A San Francisco congregation uses video to share how they are connecting with their neighbors and invites you to do the same. 

How Does Your (Church) Garden Grow: Spiritual healing can be a powerful tool that we may not think of when we need it.

The Locally Owned Church: Central to St. Cyprian's revitalization effort is robust engagement with their neighborhood. One key aspect has been opening their leadership beyond the traditional vestry model.

Tools and Resources:

Vestry Resource Guide: This award-winning guide for vestry leadership is the go-to source for congregations. Get your copy today!

Creating Strong Teams: Ready to start your project? Learn about recruiting and organizing a great team of volunteers.

Press Release Tips: Get the word out about your ministries! Tips and a link to a template make it even easier to spread the news.

Understanding and Celebrating Differences

We say that we want to grow, that a diverse parish is a good thing. How can we move from wanting to be a diverse community into being one? Sometimes it's easier said than done. In Understanding and Celebrating Differences, William Kondrath explains the key may lie in how we are envisioning our community and how we can respectfully move into this vision while respecting those who dissent from our own vision.