News & Features : Archives April 2019
April 04, 2019
“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
In Genesis 12, God commands Abraham and Sarah to go “to the place I will show you.” Abraham and Sarah struggled, as anyone would, with not being aware of the destination, after all they didn’t have Google maps or Waze! All they had was faith. They set out on their journey, by faith, one step at a time until they realized the promise God made to them. Like our spiritual forefathers and foremothers, God has led the Diocese of Washington on a journey to Become Good Soil and our response to God’s call mirrors that of Abraham and Sarah--by faith--one step at a time.
We know God’s preferred future for us will result in greater fruitfulness in spiritual growth, vibrant congregational life, more confident evangelism and deeper engagement in our communities, in faithfulness to Jesus and his mission of love. We get there by taking One Faithful Next Step.
As Bishop Mariann has expressed, there is no need to wait until the end of the Diocesan planning process to move forward strategically within parishes and regions. One Faithful Next Step that parish leaders can take to sustain momentum is to sign up for the Unstuck Course. Covering 12 core issues, this course will help you learn principles and practices that break down barriers to church health and growth.
Through this course you will gain the ability to help your church:
- Find clarity around mission, vision, values, and strategy
- Grow by expanding the “front door”
- Learn the best ways to close the “back door”
- Discover practical ways to enhance weekend services
- Build a plan to develop more leaders
- Learn to build teams & increase volunteer engagement
- Develop a Senior Leadership Team that works
- Learn how to staff for growth
- Clarify roles for the board & staff
- Improve communications at your church
- Learn how to establish healthier finances
- Build tools to monitor health & growth
Each lesson contains eight sections: overview (read), the big idea (watch), consider this (read), picture this (to-do), talk it out (to-do), dive deeper (to-do), self-evaluation, and leadership appreciation (to-do). Each of the eight steps takes approximately 3-4 weeks, so the entire course could be done in 8-12 months. There is a PDF accompanying each lesson that can be shared with the team.
To sign up for this course and receive more information, contact Mildred Reyes, missioner for Formation.
One more Faithful Step is for your prayers as we continue the work of Becoming Good Soil. The Rev. Joseph Constant, rector of St. John's, Beltsville, wrote a collect for the Becoming Good Soil process.
Gracious God, thank you for your love and faithfulness toward us. Your Son Jesus Christ commissioned the Church to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. We come to you as members of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington asking for your guidance as we engage in our Strategic Planning Process. Give us wisdom to discern your vision for the diocese and courage for our churches to implement the vision through programs and ministries. We pray for our sister, Bishop Mariann, and members of the diocesan staff as they provide inspiration and guidance to our churches. Open our hearts to your Holy Spirit and lead us to follow the Way of Love with creativity and purpose. We offer our prayer and petition in the name of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
April 04, 2019
“Why should faith communities care about justice?”
“What tells us more about the values of a community than what it spends money on?”
“In order to get from the world as it is to the world as we want it to be, we need power.”
These snippets can be heard on Thursday afternoons at The Epiphany Power Hour, a new social justice conversation series held weekly at The Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. (map) Each week, we discuss systemic injustices, and ways we can affect change.
For years, Epiphany has operated homeless services such as The Welcome Table and Street Church - programs that provide meals, supplies, opportunities for creativity, and ministry to the downtown poor. Like many churches, we have operated within a paradigm of charity; that it is our duty, as people of God, to serve those who are perceived as “less fortunate” and “underprivileged.” Meals, extra socks, and a few hours of shelter are necessary for those surviving day-to-day, but they do little to combat the root causes of widespread poverty. “We believe that it is our duty to shift the charity paradigm toward one of agency and justice.” says The Rev. Glenna Huber, rector of Epiphany and host of the Power Hour.
We have an obligation to come together as a community, as people of God, to address the issues that threaten our common humanity - systemic poverty, ecological devastation, racism and militarism. These myriad overlapping issues come down to the question of power - who has it? How is it acquired? What are the best ways to empower those at the margins who are routinely left out of the conversation?
The Power Hour explores these questions each week. We regularly feature local faith leaders, nonprofit workers, and community organizers to bring their experience and wisdom; in April, we will have Nisha Patel of Robin Hood, the D.C. chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign, and Ed Lazere of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. Check out Epiphany’s website for upcoming events, and come join the conversation on Thursdays at 12:10 for education, empowerment, and community.
Epiphany, D.C. received a Congregational Growth Grant from the diocese to launch The Epiphany Power Hour.
Sharing Faith cards can be printed (double sided) from the document located here: Faith Cards Avery 8387. They are on Avery 8387 postcard stock and need to be cut in half once printed.