Beyond the Pews
Editor's Letter May 2022
Despite the suffering and loss, the pandemic has given us some good outcomes about church life. The primary one is that we were forced to think about church differently. We had to stop asking how do we bring people to church and start asking how do we take church to the people? And while the way we gather, worship and share has changed fundamentally and perhaps forever, our faith and love for Christ and our communities remains. Our offerings this month tell the story of unfaltering love and vibrant reimagining of Church through pandemic times.
In Church By The Pond, Nancy Jacobs describes how the people of Christ Church Cathedral realized their dream of bringing church to the park, a dream that was strengthened through the pandemic as the community continued to gather united in prayer. This article is available in English and Spanish.
How do congregations who lose their buildings and possessions refocus on what truly makes “church”? In Church Without Walls, Janet Waggoner shares the story of the Episcopal Church in North Texas, where its people have not just continued doing God’s work in the face of material loss, but have poured even more into their communities, never failing in love and faithfulness.
What are the benefits and challenges of building an online community in a virtual world? Could this be a significant space the Church occupies in the future? In The Ultimate ‘Online’ Church vlog, Sean Steele introduces Web3 Abbey, perhaps the first ever Anglican liturgy inside of the Metaverse.
Can ASA give us an accurate indication of a parish’s health? In How the Pandemic Cured my ASA Obsession, Alissa Newton talks about her fixation with attendance and numbers, and how the pandemic forced her to reframe ‘metrics’ in a new light.
Financial Literacy for the Church of the Future
Over the past six years, ECF’s Lilly Endowment grant has enabled us to develop a set of programs that provide clergy and lay leaders with practical and innovative resources to address the financial and leadership challenges of congregational ministry.
Using a holistic approach, ECF targeted times of transition and formative moments in the arc of ministry as critical opportunities for transformation and growth. Once identified, these important moments led to the creation of the following programs and opportunities: During Seminary, Leaving Seminary, Diocesan and Congregational Leadership Initiatives, Ministerial Excellence Grants, and Resources for the Wider Church. Read more about the work.
Editor, ECF Vital Practices