in Vestry Papers
By Adriane Bilous
The Fellowship Partners Program has been in existence since 1964 and supported the work of over 200 creative and future-focused Episcopalians. In this month’s edition of Vestry Papers, we celebrate the work of several of these incredible individuals. These stories highlight the current projects, interests and programs ECF Fellows are engaged in and delighted to share with the ECF community. As part of our continued efforts to share more about our ECF Fellows, we are featuring Fellows’ work in both the July and August issues of Vestry Papers, in addition to a blog series focusing on the role of scholarship in the future of The Episcopal Church.
By ECFVP editorial team
In Lucinda Mosher and Building Bridges, the ECFVP editorial team describes ECF Fellow Lucinda Mosher’s (ThD, General Theological Seminary) journey that begins during her dissertation work which addressed fostering dialogue between Muslim and Christians through the lens of comparative theology. Dr. Mosher is a prolific writer on Christian-Muslim work, exemplified in the annual Building Bridges seminary which brings together Christian and Muslim scholars at Georgetown University. While Dr. Mosher’s extensive publications speak to her skills as a researcher and scholar, her ECF Fellowship made those early scholar days easier. Dr Mosher says, “According to recent research, during the many decades that General Seminary offered a Doctor of Theology degree, the overwhelming majority of those who earned it were men; only eight women completed that program. I am one of those eight. Having the support of the ECF was such an important part of attaining that goal!”
By Daniel Vélez Rivera
In Alianza de Mujeres con Amor, Daniel Vélez Rivera shares the story of how the first multigenerational spirituality, support and co-mentoring group for Latinas raising children was born in Salem, Massachusetts. It has been fifteen years since the first Alianza group was formed, and they are still going strong. Read how the Alianza brings together women supporting other women in their roles as mothers, abuelas and caregivers (raising their own or mothering another mother’s children). Each group honors the wisdom these women embody and supports their shared lived experiences as caregivers who have felt isolated as immigrants or as women raising children in another country. La Alianza affirms these women’s gifts and welcomes them into God’s community.
By Albert R. Rodriguez
In A New Paradigm for Reaching U.S. Latinos, Albert Rodriguez discusses the multi-layered identity created and fostered by both his Mexican and American identities. Rodriguez highlights that lived experience as one of liminality as he and many other American-born, U.S.-acculturated, and English-prone Latinos work to find their place in the Episcopal Church. Albert writes about his work on Transcultural Latino Ministry, an expanded and more inclusive evangelization practice that celebrates these multi-layered identities and works to include the lived experience of many generations of Latinos in the Episcopal Church.
By Derek Minno-Bloom
In Charity and Solidarity Must Come Together, Derek Minno-Bloom’s original Fellow’s work sought to develop an intersectional Food Justice ministry and transform the charitable soup kitchen and pantry at Trinity Church Asbury Park, New Jersey, into a social justice mission enmeshed in the local community. Derek tells the story of how this project successfully developed Trinity’s mission into one that exposes the intersectional relationship between homophobia, racism, and poverty and how they want to dismantle these institutions. Minno-Bloom’s work shows how one individual’s work can be the beginning of bigger changes and greater impacts not just on a community but together with community members in collaborative and life-giving ways.
By Catherine Thompson
The Rev. Catherine Thompson talks about her church’s partnership with Khesed Wellness and their mental health services for the uninsured and underinsured.
By Jim Murphy
In this short video, James W. Murphy Managing Program Director at ECF, reviews the benefits of this beneficial and easy-to-use philanthropic tool, the Donor-Advised Fund (DAF).
By Charis Bhagianathan
In parking lots and picnic grounds. By rivers and along the mountainside. On TikTok and the Metaverse. Church is happening all around us, and we are discovering new spaces in which to praise, to pray and to build Christ’s community. In this issue, hear from people doing profound and deeply inspiring work in non-traditional church settings, creating meaningful relationships through powerful ministry.
By Ben Maddison
Leaving your comfort zone and trying new things is always a learning experience. Sometimes it’s also incredibly fun. In TikTok and Real Ministry, Ben Maddison describes his foray into TikTok which started out as a way to make people laugh and has now become a powerful source of real ministry.
By Jon Davis
What is our modern day understanding of the mission of the church? In The Third Place, Jon Davis tells us about spaces where people gather outside of home and work, to witness and experience redemption, reconciliation and repentance, making these sacred communal places also ‘thin places’, where the Holy Spirit can be felt working in and through us.