July 5, 2011

Editor's Letter July

One of my earliest memories of church is of the kindergarten room in the basement of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Wakefield, Mass. It is Epiphany, and there is a large felt board on the wall with figures representing the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus. Among the felt figures are Mary and Joseph, various shepherds, the three wise men, and of course the baby Jesus. Also represented were a donkey, sheep, camels, and other animals. In the background was the manger, the stable, some palm trees, and the star. 

The characters taking part in this Bible story represent the diversity of our common life. Parents and children. Young shepherds. Older sages from foreign lands. A variety of animals. Each character contributes to the richness of the story; if one were missing, we would feel the void.
Our common life continues to be enriched by the diversity among us. The July/August issue of Vestry Papers explores ways that congregations and dioceses bring people from different generations together in common purpose, creating opportunities for meaningful connection.

Our July articles relate to the younger members of our congregations. We’ll share the story of a congregation interested in promoting healthy lifestyles for children as well as strategies for helping youth and young adults navigate their personal faith journey.

In this issue you’ll find:
  • Letting Our Light Shine,” by Stephen Trever, demonstrates how a small group of parishioners from Grace Episcopal Church applied the principles of the Leadership Development Initiative to bring about Let’s Move Medford, a community-based program directed at building awareness around children’s health. 
  • Virginia Citrano’s “Youth Comes Knocking” shares the story the faith and determination of two high school age students who, as part of a conscious effort by the Diocese of Newark to more fully involve young people in every part of the life of our church, will represent the diocese at the Episcopal Church’s 2012 General Convention as delegates.
  • In “The Diaconate of Young Adulthood,” Jason Sierra reflects on the gifts that young adults searching for their place in the world can bring to the Church, and invites us to reexamine our expectations of their role in our church and the world. 
  • Ed Ziegler’s “The Wander Years” offers an approach for helping students navigate their spiritual journey as they prepare to leave the safety of their home congregation in pursuit of educational or vocational opportunities. 
To make it easier for congregational leaders to find the resources offered through ECF Vital Practices, we are introducing a new ECF Vital Practices button and inviting congregations, dioceses, and organizations to include ECF Vital Practices as a resource on their websites.

To save any of these images on your computer, upload the image to your CMS using the link provided, and then link to the ECF Vital Practices homepage by clicking the add a link icon in your CMS, and pasting in the URL (http://www.ecfvp.org).

In August, we’ll continue our “Connecting Generations” theme with articles relating to how congregations are supporting young families and military families, as well as sharing stories of congregations enlisting members of all ages in common mission.

As always, I invite you to share your “Connecting Generations” 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