June 1, 2011

Editor's Letter: Caring for Each Other

This month Vestry Papers continues to explore the theme Caring for Each Other, with a special focus on caring for the newcomer in our midst and the ways we care for ourselves as a congregation so as to maintain – or restore – our vitality.

Here’s what you’ll find in this issue of Vestry Papers:

  • In The Importance of Being… Barnabas, Charles Robertson reminds us of the gifts new pledging members may bring to our congregations and challenges us to evaluate our ‘welcome’ programs by looking at them through the eyes of the newcomer. 
  • Transforming Churches: Growth to Sustainability, by Peter Lane offers ‘the next chapter’ in the story of the growth of Chicago’s Church of St. Paul & The Redeemer which was recently featured in the Episcopal Church’s Transforming Churches: Changing the World video series. 
  • Let’s Paint the Doors Red, by Paul Bresnahan shares the story of La Iglesia San Pedro-St. Peter’s Church - a historic congregation brought to new life by the intentional engagement of the vestry, a new priest-in-charge, and a request from the Bishop that they open their doors to a Spanish speaking congregation looking for a new home. 
  • Misión de Unión e Integración: Episcopales Unidos en La Fe y en La Práctica Cristianana by Daniel Velez-Rivera, who serves as co-priest with Paul Bresnahan at San Pedro - St. Peter's, describes how the congregation formed a bilingual house of worship where everyone feels welcome. This article is in Spanish. 
  • Introducing the Denominational Health Plan offers congregational leaders basic information and resources related to the resolution passed at the 2009 General Convention calling for a Church-wide program of health care benefit plans requiring equal access to and funding of health care plans for eligible clergy and lay employees.

Also new to the site are the transcripts from last month’s VP Talks. In “So You Think You Don’t Know One…,” retired Bishop of Maine Chilton Knudsen explores the theological dimensions and symptoms of addiction and codependency and offers strategies for congregational healing. “Creating a Sustainable Community,” our conversation with Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, and Richard Horton, chair of Trinity’s Green Team, offers both theological and practical resources for congregations interested in sustainability as a tool for evangelism, church growth, and living lightly on the earth.

As always, I invite you to share your “Caring for Each Other” resources in the Your Turn section, by participating in VP Talks, and/or posting comments related to our articles, blog posts, or other content.


Nancy Davidge 
Editor, ECF Vital Practices