News & Features
May 17, 2018
The Reverend Daryl Paul Lobban has been named the diocese’s new missioner for communications. A fourth-generation Holiness Pentecostal ordained minister from Brooklyn, N.Y., Daryl comes to Church House with a rich background of ecumenical experience in parish and organizational contexts, having served in Pentecostal, UCC, RCA, African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, and Evangelical churches. Most recently Daryl served as director of external relationships for the Massachusetts Council of Churches, where he managed the Council’s communications strategy and helped lead engagement with government officials, donors, and local churches.
“We are excited to have Daryl Lobban round out our team at Church House as the new missioner for communications,” said Canon Paul Cooney, chief operating officer of the diocese. “During the search process it became clear that Daryl’s gifts for communications combined with his infectious passion for the Gospel made him the ideal candidate. I suspect he will be able to hit the ground running with the various needs in supporting our diocesan communications--both internally in our parishes and externally with our wider commitment to social justice.”
Daryl’s first day in the office was May 3. Since then he has spent his time getting oriented to the ministry of the diocese and its many communications priorities. Daryl will be charged with a broad range of public relations topics, including editorial oversight of our internal publications and website, leveraging our social media presence, and presenting a unified message from the diocese.
“I am thrilled and humbled to join the dynamic staff of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and to work alongside Bishop Mariann at this pivotal time in our nation's history,” said Daryl. “While we are bombarded daily with so many messages that strike fear and hopelessness into many hearts, we who have passed through the baptismal waters, and tasted the bread of heaven, have a hopeful, loving, life-giving, and liberating message to share with the world. I am excited to join the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement and partner with parishes to get the message of Christ’s Gospel to the people in the diocese and the wider world.”
Daryl earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Boston University School of Theology, and is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, graduating from Nyack College with a Bachelor's degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. He has traveled to Nigeria, Cuba, Canada, Jamaica, and across the United States as a conference and church speaker. He has served as the chair of the Senator Edward Brooke Educational Foundation and also on the boards of directors for the Homebound Leadership Institute, Generation Excel, and Ray of Hope Children Services. Daryl is happily married to his beautiful and gifted life-partner Dr. Shavonne Moore.
May 17, 2018
More than 50 leaders from the diocese gathered last month at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., for a learning day with the Rev. Dr. Delman Coates, senior pastor of Mt. Ennon. The invitation came following Dr. Coates’ sermon at Diocesan Convention in January, and builds upon a burgeoning friendship between the diocese and the people of Mt. Ennon, led by Bishop Mariann Budde and Dr. Coates.
In the day-long workshop, Dr. Coates talked about how his church has grown from a few hundred to more than 10,000 over the past two decades. His primary argument was that churches need to respond to the changes in the world around them to remain relevant in our twenty-first century. How? In his leadership, he said, he has developed a number of practices that make for “contagious churches”--churches that share the love of Christ in such an infectious way that the community grows while responding to the changes in culture to meet the needs of a busy and fractured world.
Here are Dr. Coates’ Nine Practices of Contagious Churches:
- Maintain a biblical model of governance. Church leadership needs accountability, checks and balances, and a healthy governing body, says Coates. Churches with too much power vested in one body or one leader do not reflect a contagious love of the Gospel.
- Practice servant leadership. Our leadership should be grounded in a biblical model of the leader as a servant. Every disciple is a servant of God, even pastors. When we show servant leadership we are modeling what it looks like to follow Jesus in leadership.
- Protect team chemistry at all costs. Coates stresses the importance of strong relationships between staff and leaders--but to the end of creating a team that enjoys being together, and working together toward a common goal. Rather than having individual players who shine on their own, Coates claims that contagious churches have a team of leaders who work together well and enjoy their collective mission.
- Have a clearly defined “win” statement. Coates asks, how can we know if we are succeeding as a church if we haven’t defined what “winning” is? In other words, have a clear vision statement for where you aspire to be. Mt. Ennon’s “win” statement is: “We aim to create and produce unparalleled spiritual experiences that foster growth and enthusiasm.” Each week the staff assess itself based on how their win statement is resonating as true.
- Be relentless about evaluation. Related to the “win” statement, Coates advocates for always reflecting back after a service, event, or project. While celebrating the success of anything, Coates says being relentless about evaluation in terms of constructive ways to improve, leaves the team always wanting to do--and be--better.
- Create margin and prioritize radical differentiation. In other words, Coates says, ask yourself how your church community is unique amid the competition. And the competition, Coates argues, is not just other church communities--but the secular world as well. What is your church offering that people can’t get anywhere else? How are you different? Do you prioritize resources around that which is unique and different about you, or are you trying to be all things to all people?
- Focus on what we do and don’t do. Also related to radical differentiation is a willingness to be clear not only about what we focus on, but also about what we do not prioritize. Leaders of contagious churches do not expand the mission of their church just because someone has a good idea. “Some things are a ‘good’ idea but not a ‘God’ idea,” Coates says. Churches have to stay focused on God ideas--not all the good ideas out there.
- Embrace change! Perhaps this goes without saying, but Coates maintains that churches with a culture of embracing change, rather than resisting it, are the ones that succeed. An openness to change is an openness to the ways the Spirit is calling the Church to respond to the changing world around us.
- “Maintain revival in the kitchen.” Is your leadership and your practice of ministry grounded in joy? Don’t forget, says Coates, that your primary role as a leader is to be a worshiper, too. “Your job is to worship,” he says. Don’t be in church work just as a worker. It can get old on the inside. We can get burnt out. Instead, maintain a connection to why you were called to ministry in the first place, and ensure that your team is maintaining that same sense of joy and worship.
By The Rev. Richard Weinberg, assistant rector at St. Margaret's, D.C. and diocesan Strategic Communications Advisor
May 10, 2018
We had a young adult baptism on the Georgetown University campus; an outward sign of an inward conversion. I was responsible for the outward sign; God was responsible for the inward conversion. But what I did do one day was ask, “Hey, do you want to talk?” The answer was yes.
And so we talked every week for months.
We talked about God. About what it actually means that Jesus died “for” our sins. We talked about Scripture. We talked about vocation and call, we talked about Holy Week and what it meant. We talked about spiritual gifts, we talked about the bodily resurrection. We talked about the church and its future. We talked about how God had been working in her life from the very beginning. We talked about the possibilities of lived discipleship, about religious identity, about a real relationship with the Living God, and Jesus, and the Spirit that was blowing around us each time we came together.
In other words, we talked about the stuff of faith, the stuff of life itself.
Then one day, in the midst of our talking, we both realized that she had to be baptized, that Jesus had a hold on her heart and was not going to let her go. With joyful tears, we welcomed her into our family on April 24th, the last service of the school year. Students of different faiths, and even no faith, joined us in celebrating the beginning of her new life in Christ.
These life-giving conversations are the work of the church. But we can’t have them if we’re not there.
It’s no surprise to me that “conversation” and “conversion” are closely related, both meaning, “turning with.” Only God turns hearts, only God converts. What happened was sheer grace. But those conversations matter, and being present on campuses matters. God is working there already. We need to be there, too.
by The Rev. Becky Zartman, Episcopal Missioner to Georgetown University.
May 03, 2018
By Billy Kluttz and Elizabeth Boyd, Seabury Resources for Aging
Postcards to homebound parishioners, telephone prayer services, spiritual resources for aging: these are just a few of the ways that parishes and Episcopal-associated non-profits in the Diocese of Washington are reaching out to local older adults.
Recognition and relationships: A common concern as we age is maintaining strong social connections. Churches are fighting social isolation among elders and recognizing older adults for their service to the church and community. St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Silver Spring has created a postcard ministry to connect younger and older parishioners. Young churchgoers regularly create and send beautiful prayers and artwork to homebound members. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill is creating a new liturgy in recognition of older adult life transitions. The new celebration will celebrate elder milestones in the congregation this summer. Likewise, the annual Seabury Celebration of Service recognizes the work of older adult volunteers from across the Diocese.
Classes and connections: Congregations are also creating new resources for both practical and spiritual learning for older adults. St. Mark’s Episcopal Anglican Church in Silver Spring worked with Seabury Resources for Aging to create its Conversations at Eleven series. In this weekday forum, St. Mark’s welcomes community organizations to present on common aging interests and concerns. St. Mark’s will continue this popular series this year with an emphasis on women’s heart health. In 2017, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Seabury also partnered to create Sightlines, a new pilot curriculum exploring the nexus of spirituality and aging. This multi-part course exposes older adults to spiritual resources for aging, reframes broader questions associated with aging through a spiritual lens, and helps participants reflect theologically on their experiences and relationships as they grow older. Seabury has offered the Sightlines series twice and looks forward to expanding the program to serve congregations across the Diocese.
Creative worship: Congregations are also using creative worship to connect with older adults. St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Silver Spring started a weekly phone-in Evening Prayer service for parishioners of all ages. Older adult members are finding new connections through the service. “The idea came about because we realized that most of our housebound parishioners were not able to access our Facebook page to watch Sunday services,” said Rev. Sarah Lamming, rector. “We wanted to see if they would use the phone, instead.” The answer was a resounding “Yes!,” with longtime members reconnecting with each other--and the church--after hiatuses not of their choosing. The age range on the calls actually stretched from 9 to 89, making the service also intergenerational. In a similar way, during 2018 and 2019 Seabury will partner with Episcopal and United Church of Christ congregations to create a series of participatory intergenerational worship services specifically designed for older adults and people with disabilities. This program is made possible through a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.
Does your congregation’s ministry with older adults need a boost? A new direction? Or, something--you’re just not sure what? A few thoughts to keep in mind:
- Ask older adults what they need! Continuing a ministry model just because it’s always been done a certain way nearly always leads to its demise.
- Don’t be afraid to innovate (see examples above).
- Reach out for ideas and expertise (Don’t “reinvent the wheel.”).
Seabury Resources for Aging will consult with you about older adult ministry design and development. Contact Elizabeth Boyd, Congregational Resources Coordinator.
April 26, 2018
I have a symbol of the sankofa bird in my home office that reminds me to both look back and keep my feet moving forward. This year we, as a nation, looked back to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the April 4, 1968 death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Here in our Diocese, I participated in the interfaith rally on the National Mall, April 4, 2018, as a means of looking back. Moving forward comes through my volunteer work with the Diocese as chairperson for its Race and Social Justice Task Force. Let me give you a sense of my journey.
April 4, 1968, I was in the spring semester of my first-year at a college outside of Chicago. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. thrust our newly formed Black Student Association into action as foot soldiers for civil rights. As Chicago burned, we marched for equal/open housing in the all-white suburb where the college was located. In that environment, I was introduced to epithets like jungle bunny, the n-word, jigaboo, go back to Africa. To protect me, my birth family had said that only in the South could dogs “sic” Negroes, but at college I learned otherwise. Throughout my career I continued to be a foot soldier, both professionally in university settings and personally in the community. The election of our first Black President, Barack H. Obama, gave me hope that a part of King’s Dream had been realized. There was still work to be done, however, I was not clear how to pursue this work when retirement came.
How am I going to structure these 168 hours per week that are all mine? What am I being called to do now that I have more time than money? My discernment process was underway. When I asked my clergy friends how they came to be ordained, two words stood out: discernment and call. While on a pilgrimage in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the August 20, 1965 death of Jonathan Myrick Daniels in Hayneville, Alabama, I literally felt the call. At the time of this martyr’s death he was both an Episcopal seminarian and a civil rights activist. This 26-year-old white male died shielding a 17-year-old black female; both were in Alabama to register black voters. The call was clear: resume being a foot soldier, as a lay person, for race and social justice in the religious arena.
The mission of the Race and Social Justice Task Force is:
“Answering God’s call by building relationships across boundaries, advocating and educating for racial and social justice.”
Answering God’s call: Being a foot soldier in 2015, 50+ years later, means crossing more than race, black and white, boundaries. Relationships are a bridge to understanding, and like bridges, they must be built.
Building relationships across boundaries: In addition to the April 4, 2018 rally on the National Mall, I participated in the intergenerational March for Our Lives on March 24th to protest gun violence. Another boundary crossed has been to march with the Dreamers on March 5th for a Clean Dream Act. Many members of the Task Force are building relationships and seeking justice for sisters and brothers whose immigrant status makes them vulnerable.
Advocating and educating: Since October 2015, we have held seven “Seeing the Face of God in Each Other” anti-racism workshops, which have been completed by over 120 people from 28 parishes in our Diocese. Moving forward, we are preparing materials to help those interested in participating more fully in being a Sanctuary Diocese. As often as possible we facilitate ways to tell the truth, seek multiple means to repair the breach, all while practicing the way of love and proclaiming our dream of building the beloved community.
Enid LaGesse, Ph.D.