Episcopal Diocese of Washington

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love
for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice

Tending Our Soil

The Tending Our Soil thriving congregations initiative seeks to cultivate the changed soil of our congregations so that God’s love might grow in our time and place.

The application deadline for the cohort beginning Fall 2021 has closed. Email the Rev. Jenifer Gamber if you are interested in exploring this initiative for your congregation in 2022. 

Watch a recording of an open house 

Learn about the initiative

Aprender sobre la iniciativa

Indicate intent to apply

Apply Online


We will welcome up to 12 congregations in September 2021 into a three-year peer journey of learning and practicing to draw people to Jesus and embody his love for the world. An additional 12 congregations will begin in September 2022 and 12 more in September 2023.


5 Key practices

Accompanied by trained coaches, congregational leaders will be guided by five key practices of

  • listening to God, each other, and your neighbors.
  • reconnecting with core spiritual practices, theological commitments, and Episcopal identity
  • discerning what God is up to and our call to join God on mission
  • cultivating new and refreshed ministries and equipping leaders
  • celebrating new learnings and successes

Through the process, congregations will build capacities for adaptive leadership through action and reflection for lasting impact. 


Cultivate Relationships + Build Skills + Launch Ministries

Leaders, lay and ordained, will cultivate relationships marked by vulnerability, honesty, accountability, and partnership as they build skills and capacities to adapt to changing contexts. Congregations will learn together about themselves, their neighborhoods, and God’s will for them in this time and place as they experiment with innovative ways to fulfill a shared  mission to “engage in a changing world with an enduring faith in Jesus Christ so that more people may know God’s love.” 

Together, we will strengthen the culture of learning, creativity, and partnership in the Diocese and be transformed to thrive for years to come.

Applications due March 19, 2021.  Please know that if this isn't the right time for your congregation to engage in this dynamic process, we understand. An additional 12 congregations will have the opportunity to participate beginning September 2022 and 12 more in September 2023. 


Interested in serving as a coach for Tending Our Soil? 

The Tending Our Soil project is seeking four coaches to accompany congregations in the Tending Our Soil thriving congregations initiative. These are paid positions. In addition, EDOW will pay for every coach to receive 60-hour International Coaching Federation-certified training that can be applied to ICF coach certification. If you have at least three years of experience in a congregational leadership position, lay or ordained, and are interested in learning more, click the link below to read about the position. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a coaching open house.

Applications for the 2021 cohort of coaches is now closed.

Four more coaches will be hired and trained in 2022 and four more in 2023.

Read this Position Description Watch the Coaching Open House Replay

 For questions about participating in the Tending Our Soil initiative or about coaching, please contact the Rev. Jenifer Gamber. Jenifer is available to give presentations to your vestry. 

The Tending Our Soil thriving congregations initiative is funded through a $1 million grant by Lilly Endowment Inc.  as part of Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative to support organizations as they work directly with congregations and help them gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs.