April 28, 2020

Celebrating Our Partnerships

Dear Friends,

While the COVID-19 lockdown over the past several weeks has been difficult for all of us, it has created incredible opportunities to connect with one another in new and innovative ways, even while physically apart. I have truly enjoyed my telephone and video conversations with many of you during which we have shared our struggles, fears and doubts as well as our hopes, dreams and yes, moments of joy. I cherish the many clients, colleagues and friends of ECF struggling to be faithful disciples during an unprecedented period of isolation and stress. This strange and difficult time is bringing out the very best in so many of us and it’s helpful to know that we are not alone.

We are also using this time to think, pray, discern and dig deep. We are trying to put aside those things that seem rather insignificant and rediscover values that lie at our very core – faith, family, friends and partners. Organizations like ECF are also engaged in this process, and we are reconnecting with our core values including partnership. I firmly believe that the only way the Church will move forward during and beyond this crisis is by identifying, developing and nurturing strategic, missional and transformational partnerships. I often say that partnerships are fun because they provide opportunities to meet and connect with other people who share our passion and commitment. But partnerships are also critical to our ability to survive, and even thrive, as the Episcopal Church. As we slowly emerge from this first phase of the pandemic and begin discerning what the Church and the world may look like, partnerships will provide us with the strength and courage to work together and carry us into a hopeful future.

ECF has the privilege of working with several organizations throughout the Church and I want to take this opportunity to celebrate and highlight some of these important partnerships:

Forma, now a ministry of ECF, supports and connects leaders who form followers of Jesus. Join Forma’s vibrant Facebook group or the Rooted in Jesus Facebook group for online conversation and community.

ECF’s growing collaboration with The Gathering of Leaders (GOL) enables both organizations to enhance our common mission to identify and empower entrepreneurial leaders who will help shape the future direction of the Church. Learn more about GOL here.

Forward Movement produces all ECF publications including our most recent Finance Resource Guide. Together we also partner on initiatives like the Good Book Club and Faith@Home – now expanded to a Monday through Friday resource for all ages. Find other Forward Movement resources here.

ECF has collaborated with the CEEP Network in producing two of their recent and relevant webinars: Endowments and Parish Finances During Times of Uncertainty, and Mourning Our Changing Church. Find CEEP’s other webinar offerings here.

ECF is working with FaithX to develop its Congregational Vitality Assessment diagnostic inventory into an online tool. FaithX has a blog series on COVID-19, featured both on their website and on ECF Vital Practices, as well as other resources.

Partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development and the Office of Government Relations, ECF brought together several experts to discuss the CARES Act, especially as it relates to our Church and other nonprofits in this well-attended webinar.

The Ecumenical Stewardship Center has a variety of resources on faithful generosity here, including a white paper on “Giving Beyond the Offering Plate 101”.

ECF continues to update a curated selection of relevant resources on our Vital Practices Resource hub and will be producing several new webinars in the coming weeks.

Please know that ECF holds each of you in our thoughts and prayers. Stay in touch and let us know what else we can do to help you navigate these challenging times. I am confident that, with God’s help, we will get through this together.

Yours faithfully,

Donald V. Romanik