April 12, 2024

“Pivoting” Mindsets: A Reflection from The Rev. Maria Sanzo

Last Fall, five faith communities from across the country embarked on their Pivot journey, an experience that now leaves them full of excitement, energy, and a sense of abundance for what’s ahead.

The Pivot program is a year-long, cohort-based online learning experience that allows smaller, under-resourced communities of faith to discern what God is calling them to be in their particular place and time while building relationships with other congregations from across the country. It also provides space for small church leaders to “pivot” their mindsets away from scarcity and failure, into identifying the key assets their congregation offers and the opportunities to engage and support their wider communities.

Read a reflection from The Rev. Dr. Maria B. Sanzo, Vicar St. Raphael the Archangel, Brick, NJ, one of our most recent Pivot participants:

As we began our Pivot program, I held in tension the changing church experiences of our congregation, and the need to stay planted in firm ground. Too much had shifted since the recent COVID-19 challenges, yet we knew that in order to survive we needed to accept that God was calling us into something new. Pivot helped us realize that we could be the people of St. Raphael's in our own unique way, embracing who we are, how we might continue to grow in our relationship with God, and how we fit into our community while challenging ourselves to try new ways of interacting with the community around us.

We learned that most families in our area spend a large percentage of their income on housing costs, which made us think about what they might miss out on in terms of entertainment or enrichment. Now, we are exploring ways to provide no-cost activities for children such as Saturday sing-alongs, and Fall pumpkin painting. The Pivot experience of interacting with other churches throughout the United States opened up conversations to learn that our challenges are common among churches. The exchange of ideas based on our common experiences opened us up to possibilities that we would not have considered if we did not have this Pivot program. I am grateful for ECF, and its wonderful staff for offering us this opportunity.

ECF’s mission is to lead Episcopal faith communities into the future as a partner for transforming ministries, and the Pivot journey is a new and exciting way to do just that! You are invited to take the Pivot Preview online course to learn more about the program and to see if Pivot is right for you and your community.