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

News & Features

Con Agradecimiento

April 09, 2020

Personal diocesano durante una reunion de la mañana y siguiendo la enseñanza de Jesús de amarse unos a otros.

Al igual que ustedes, aquellos de nosotros en el personal diocesano hemos pasado las últimas semanas tratando de averiguar “la nueva normalidad” y, caramba, se siente como que cambia cada día. Al igual que ustedes, hemos girado desde las reuniones en persona hasta todas las cosas en Zoom--con un montón de mensajes de texto, llamadas teléfonicas y correos electrónicos para llenar los vacíos. Hemos descubierto las cosas por prueba y error; riendonos, llorando, preocupándonos y encontrando alegría en momentos preciosos de conexión. Hemos hecho mucho de eso juntos cada día de semana por la mañana durante las reuniones regulares de nuestro personal. Durante esta Semana Santa, como ustedes, hemos seguido el camino de Jesús a Jerusalén en nuestro estudio bíblico diario. Cada pasaje de la Escritura nos fundamenta, recordándonos por qué estamos aquí, por qué servimos a la gente buena de la Diócesis Episcopal de Washington, y por qué amamos a Dios.

Category: News

Copyright Best Practices

April 09, 2020

The new realities of doing church online have brought questions regarding copyright for both print and webcast to the forefront for those creating bulletins and recorded or live streamed services. 

In 1976, a lawsuit against a Roman Catholic Archdiocese brought to light the common practice of churches printing materials without copyright permissions, especially music. After a guilty verdict was reached in 1990, the Archdiocese paid out over 4 million dollars. For a time, this raised awareness of the need to purchase licenses and acknowledge in print materials the creators of the music and texts used.  

Since then however many in the church have grown lax in their practices of acknowledging copyright. Added to that are some common misunderstandings about copyright, the most popular being that, if we have copies of the material in the pew, we can print that many copies each week.  

Over the last year of serving as the diocesan liturgist, I have seen copyright violations in almost every bulletin from the smallest to the largest churches in our diocese. 

Copyrights are not there to produce headaches for church administrators and clergy, but rather to give credit--and compensation--to church poets, musicians, and liturgy creators for their work. This is a justice concern and one the church should get correct. 

The wonderful news for all of us is that many of the licencing companies have made reporting and finding copyright for music and texts simple. 

Even better, if we are producing works in print or online on a regular basis, the weekly costs are reasonable and based on weekly attendance records, soo smaller churches pay less. And best of all, the two  major copyright licensing companies for church music--OneLicense and CCLI--have agreements with multiple individuals and publishing houses so most of us no longer have to seek individual copyright permissions through multiple publishers.

Some things to keep in mind as you produce materials for your congregations:

  1. All materials have been created by someone--even those in the public domain--and as such an acknowledgement should be noted in your work whether it is in print or online. 
  2. When material is not in the public domain, permission for use must be obtained. 
  3. In your copyright acknowledgement, always state the origin, creator, copyright date, and publishing house for each of the liturgical text(s) and music pieces used. 
  4. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer is public domain, but not all material produced by Church Publishing is--so check for copyright (and remember point 1 above).
  5. Licensing statements for podcast/live streaming must be posted near the links to your online offerings on your website. 
  6. If you post content with copyrighted material to a YouTube channel, you must include any copyright acknowledgement in the description. If you use another platform (Facebook, Vimeo, etc.), research and follow the best practices for copyright adherence for that platform.
  7. Most purchases of music for choirs and instrumental works include a performance clause and do not need copyright acknowledgement when sung or played, but follow point 3 above in your productions whether in print or online. 
  8. Report usage of all materials to the licensing company that grants your permission for use. 
  9. Assign a troubleshooter to monitor any live productions for issues that might arise.

For more information about copyright and licensing companies, check out the Liturgy and Music section of our Worship and Pastoral Care page on the website

I welcome your questions and am happy to guide you through the process of selecting which company is better for your congregation, what kind of a license you may need, how to do acknowledgements and report usage for your congregation’s  licensing company. 

I promise, once you have done it a few times, this process gets easier. 

The Ven. L. Sue von Rautenkranz, archdeacon and diocesan liturgist


Category: News

Counterprogramming in the Time of Coronavirus

March 26, 2020

There’s only so much hitting the refresh button we can do before we reach peak news burnout during an extended crisis. And in this time of coronavirus, even the extroverts among us may have crashed into the “too much ZOOM, too many Hang Outs” wall. We took an informal survey to see how we on the diocesan staff are counterprogramming COVID-19 during our off-work hours. From books to gaming, podcasts to Netflix bingeables, and from the purely escapist to the deeply thought-provoking, here’s our best of the best: 



Podcasts and Streaming

TV shows


  • The Princess Bride
  • To Sir With Love
  • Bandits
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Antoine Fisher
  • Leap of Faith
  • Pygmalion
  • Stardust
  • Murder by Death
  • O Brother Where Art Thou
  • My Man Godfrey
  • The Thin Man
  • Kinky Boots
  • Paper Moon
  • Off Limits
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy
  • The In-laws
  • The Harry Potter movies



Apps and Other Things

  • Coffitivity (white noise app for when you want something on in the background, but you get too distracted if it’s music!)
  • Bemyeyes (app that assists vision impaired folks with shopping)
  • Practicing yoga (see a list of free classes)
  • Cycling
  • Running
Category: News

Lent 2020

February 12, 2020


Resources for Lent 2020, including Lent Sermons, Lenten devotional, Lent Madness, Lent Calendars

 Bishop's Writings

Building Faithhttps://buildfaith.org/lent/ 

The Episcopal Churchhttps://episcopalchurch.org/lenten-resources  
Episcopal Relief & Development's Lenten Meditationshttps://www.episcopalrelief.org/church-in-action/church-campaigns/lent/  
Living Compass: Living Well through Lenthttps://www.livingcompass.org/lent 
Living the Way of Love: A 40-Day Devotionalhttps://www.churchpublishing.org/livingthewayoflove
Lent Madnesshttps://www.lentmadness.org/about/  
Category: News

Celebrating Black History Month Around the Diocese

February 06, 2020

Young musicians from East of the River Steelband at the recent More Jesus, More Love revival service

In honor of Black History Month, a number of parishes in the Diocese of Washington will host events and services uplifting the contributions and culture of African-Americans in U.S. society and our local communities. From a play about Rosa Parks to a celebration of Gospel music to an exploration of the role race has played in the Episcopal Church,  you're invited to participate. 

  • The D.C. Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and St. Andrew's, College Park  invite you to a Commemoration of the life and legacy of Absalom Jones, the first African American ordained priest in the Episcopal Church on Sunday, February 9 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Andrew's (map) Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, celebrant; the Rev. Absalom Jones (Dr. Anthony Alexander), preacher. Clergy are asked to vest, process, and wear festive stoles. 

  • St. Augustine's, DC  (map) will host leaders from Virginia Theological Seminary, Empower DC, and Howard University for three discussions (February 9, 16, and 23) highlighting Black History. Come hear about Verna Dozier, the Rev. Alexander Crummel, and African-Americans and the Vote. All are welcome.  Learn more

  • St. Thomas', Upper Marlboro (map) celebrates Black History Month with a Celebration of Gospel Music on Sunday, February 23 at 11:30 a.m. The history of Gospel Music from African Spirituals to today's modern Gospel will be featured through dance, poetry reading and gospel choir singing. 

  • The center of many African-American family gatherings is sharing food. the Episcopal Church Women of Church of the Atonement, DC (map) invite you to join them as they share their favorite Traditional Soul Cuisine in celebration of Black History Month on Sunday, February 23 at 11:30 a.m. Wearing Afrocentric attire is strongly encouraged.

  • The D.C. Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians invites you to explore the role race has played in the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Vincent P. Harris will facilitate a conversation on Saturday, February 29 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at St. Luke's, DC (mapLearn more and register for this free discussion
 Is your church planning a service or event celebrating Black History month? Let us know
Category: Events

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.