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

Revitalización de nuestras Iglesias: Ministerios de bienvienda y conexión

July 20, 2020

A principios de 2020 lanzamos el Plan Estratégico en nuestra convención anual. En el lanzamiento se incluyó una lista de tres objetivos medibles, vinculados a las tres áreas de enfoque del plan, que se nos ha propuesto priorizar durante los primeros doce meses del plan. Bajo revitalización de la Iglesia, el objetivo es proporcionar evaluaciones de salud de la iglesia y estrategias de revitalización, e introducir a diez congregaciones representativas. Poco después de la Convención, reunimos a líderes y feligreses de toda nuestra diócesis con el propósito de identificar los signos vitales de la salud parroquial y las variables concretas detrás de esos signos vitales en nuestro contexto aquí en la Diócesis de Washington.

Febrero fue un mes ajetreado de reuniones y para cosechar nuestra sabiduría colectiva. Después de muchas discusiones llenas de gracia, el equipo de revitalización discernió siete signos vitales y una lista de variables concretas. Marzo nos trajo una interrupción, una pandemia que ha cambiado la forma en que lo hacemos casi todo en la vida cotidiana y comunitaria. Sin embargo, incluso cuando la diócesis respondió a la crisis en nuestro medio, el equipo mantuvo reafirmando esos signos vitales y probando las variables, observando y probando cómo podrían funcionar en estos días inesperados de pandemia.

El personal diocesano se reunió a principios de julio para revisar dónde nos encontramos con nuestros primeros objetivos de doce meses y para crear un nuevo conjunto de metas, a corto plazo para el otoño y a largo plazo para el próximo año. Como resultado, el Equipo de Revitalización está haciendo los refinamientos finales a los signos vitales y variables antes de compartirlos con la diócesis más amplia. ¡Esté atento al paquete de señales vitales y variables que serán compartidas dentro de un mes, más o menos!

Un signo vital que nuestra sabiduría colectiva identificó es que las iglesias saludables y en crecimiento tienen sólidos ministerios de bienvenida y conexión. Este signo vital habla de que una parroquia es estratégica sobre cómo dar la bienvenida a los nuevos huéspedes y ayudarlos a conectarse con los próximos pasos como oportunidades de ministerio, grupos pequeños y comunicaciones parroquiales. Para que una parroquia pueda medir lo bien que están haciendo con este signo vital, podemos buscar cosas medibles como qué porcentaje de feligreses están activos en dar la bienvenida a nuevas personas, y si la base de datos de nuevos contactos está creciendo. Este signo vital tiene todo que ver con la planificación de nuestras acciones con relación a los huéspedes por primera vez y a como traerlos de vuelta para más.

Hay un valor real en reconocer que todos compartimos este trabajo de acogida y conexión, tanto laicos como clero. Al pensar en esto en su propia parroquia, podría preguntar: “¿Quién está hablando de esto y planificando estratégicamente nuestros esfuerzos de bienvenida?” O “¿Qué pasos próximos e identificables ofrecemos y qué invitaciones estamos preparados para hacer a nuevas personas?” Tener tanto de nuestra adoración y ministerios en línea hoy  agrega una nueva dimensión a hacer este tipo de conexiones vitales. Como paso inicial, estamos organizando dos discusiones de 90 minutos el 12 y 19 de agosto sobre la bienvenida y la conexión de los ministerios con un enfoque especial en cómo los hacemos en línea. Obtenga más información sobre los debates y regístrese aquí.

En estos días de pandemia, hemos visto a líderes laicos y ministros que están dando pasos para asegurarnos de que nuestros contactos pastorales están ocurriendo y ofreciendo habilidades técnicas y talentos para nuestros desafíos en línea. Es una tendencia que puede expandir exponencialmente el alcance y el impacto de una parroquia. Esto es algo tan emocionante para nuestras parroquias. Como alguien relativamente nuevo en la diócesis, me encantaría charlar, tomar un café virtual, juntar tus pensamientos y soñar. Espero verte pronto.

El Rvdo. Todd Thomas
Misionero para la Revitalización y Ministerio de Jóvenes Adultos

Category: News

Staff Transitions

July 09, 2020

July is a time of transition among the diocesan staff.  

The Rev. Daryl Lobban, who first came to us as Missioner for Communications in 2018 and this year moved to serve as Missioner for Advocacy and Justice, has accepted the position of National Director of Strategic Partnerships at One America Movement, an organization dedicated to building societal resilience to polarization. It’s mission is “to bring people together across political, racial, and religious divides to work together to address issues in communities across the country.” While we’re sad to see Daryl go, we’re thrilled for him and those he will serve in this new ministry. Daryl’s last day with the diocese is July 17th. We will miss his joyful spirit, wisdom, and passion for justice. 

Mr. Don Crane, who joined the staff in January 2019 as Interim Chief Operating Officer and Special Counsel to the Bishop, quickly earned the respect and affection of all in the diocese. Don has worked tirelessly to equip congregational leaders, and to strengthen nearly every aspect of diocesan ministry. After 18 months in what we thought was a 6-month position, Don is attempting retirement once more. We’re happy for him and for his life partner and best friend Gail, and that he is still among us as an active member of St. Columba’s. Don’s last day is July 30.  

This month we also officially welcome the Rev. Jenifer Gamber, who joins the diocesan staff as Special Missioner for the School for Christian Faith and Leadership. In truth, Jenifer has been working as a clergy leader in the diocese since her ordination to the priesthood in June, 2019, and before that as an active lay leader with a particular passion for helping children, youth and adults grow in faith, and live their faith in ways that change the world. Most recently, Jenifer served as Associate Rector and Chaplain at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church and Day School. 

Please join us in thanking Don and Daryl for their ministries among us, and in officially welcoming Jenifer to the diocesan staff. 


Farewell messages from Daryl and Don:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 
Hebrews 11

It is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from the Diocesan staff, to pursue an exciting opportunity to help reduce the increasing polarization in our country. I have loved my ministry with you to make God's preferred vision of justice and love a reality. 

My decision to leave is a response to what I believe is a clear call from the Lord to start a new chapter in my life. So in this way, I join the ranks of the ancestors who listened and believed God, and went to another space trusting that God--who started the good work--will complete it. Please continue to hold me in your prayers as I will continue to pray for you. 

A luta continua!
Daryl Lobban


In January 2019, I was honored to be asked by the Bishop to serve as the interim Chief Operating Officer of the Diocese. Eighteen months and an epoch of events later, it is a fit time to conclude my ‘six-month’ term of office. The past year and a half have been exciting and challenging, but above all a privilege to work with such a profoundly committed, congenial, and talented group of clergy and lay leaders. Please accept my gratitude for welcoming me to the Diocese--with special thanks to the diocesan staff, and to the governance body leadership--without whose support I could not have accomplished any of the modest achievements of my tenure. I take leave with a gift of greater insight into the depth and vitality of the Episcopal Church, and its significance in our Society.  

For a long time, it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
- Father Alfred D’Souza

I look forward to new challenges, if not obstacles. I am now able to devote my attention to my family and to personal goals long postponed, with guidance from the Holy Spirit for my wife and me on the next stage of this journey.  

Peace,
Donald Crane

Category: News

Transiciones en el Personal Diocesano

July 09, 2020

Julio es un tiempo de transición entre el personal diocesano.

El Reverendo Daryl Lobban, quien vino a nosotros por primera vez como Misionero de Comunicaciones en 2018 y este año comenzó a servir como Misionero para la Defensa y la Justicia, ha aceptado el cargo de Director Nacional de Asociaciones Estratégicas en el Movimiento One America, una organización dedicada a construir resiliencia social en medio de la polarización y la división social. Su misión es "reunir a las personas en las divisiones políticas, raciales y religiosas para trabajar juntas y abordar los problemas en las comunidades de todo el país". Aunque estamos tristes de ver a Daryl irse, estamos emocionados por él y por aquellos a quienes él servirá en este nuevo ministerio. El último día de Daryl con la diócesis es el 17 de julio. Extrañaremos su espíritu alegre, sabiduría y pasión por la justicia.

El Sr. Don Crane, que se unió al personal diocesano en enero de 2019 como Director de Operaciones Interino y Consejero Especial de la Obispa, rápidamente se ganó el respeto y el afecto de todos en la diócesis. Don ha trabajado incansablemente para equipar a los líderes de las congregaciones y para fortalecer casi todos los aspectos del ministerio diocesano. Después de 18 meses en lo que pensábamos que era un puesto de 6 meses, Don está intentando retirarse una vez más. Estamos felices por él y por su compañera de vida y mejor amiga Gail. Ellos continuarán entre nosotros como miembros activos de la iglesia San Columba. El último día de trabajo de Don será el 30 de julio.

Este mes también damos la bienvenida oficialmente a la Reverenda Jenifer Gamber, quien se une al personal diocesano como Misionera Especial de la Escuela de Fe Cristiana y Liderazgo. En verdad, Jenifer ha estado trabajando como líder del clero en la diócesis desde su ordenación al sacerdocio en junio de 2019, y antes de eso como líder laico activa con una pasión particular por ayudar a niños, jóvenes y adultos a crecer en la fe, y vivir su fe de maneras que cambian el mundo. Más recientemente, Jenifer fue rectora asociada y capellana en la Iglesia Episcopal y la Escuela de San Patricio.

Por favor únanse a nosotros para agradecer a Don y Daryl por sus ministerios entre nosotros, y para dar la bienvenida oficial a Jenifer al personal diocesano.

 

Mensajes de despedida de Daryl y Don:

Por fe, Abraham, cuando Dios lo llamó, obedeció y salió para ir al lugar que él le iba a dar como herencia. Salió de su tierra sin saber a dónde iba, y por la fe que tenía vivió como extranjero en la tierra que Dios le había prometido. Vivió en tiendas de campaña, lo mismo que Isaac y Jacob, que también recibieron esa promesa. Porque Abraham esperaba aquella ciudad que tiene bases firmes, de la cual Dios es arquitecto y constructor. Hebreos 11

Es con emociones mixtas que anuncio mi partida del personal diocesano para buscar una oportunidad emocionante para ayudar a reducir la creciente polarización en nuestro país. He amado mi ministerio con ustedes para hacer realidad la visión preferida de Dios de la justicia y el amor.

Mi decisión de irme es una respuesta a lo que creo que es un claro llamado del Señor para comenzar un nuevo capítulo en mi vida. Así que de esta manera, me uno a las filas de los antepasados que escucharon y creyeron en Dios, y fueron a otro espacio confiando en que Dios, quien inició la buena obra, la completará. Por favor, continúen orando por mí mientras yo continúo orando por ustedes. 

A luta continua! 

Daryl Lobban

 

En enero de 2019, tuve el honor de recibir la invitación de la Obispa para servir como Director de Operaciones interino de la Diócesis. Dieciocho meses y una época de cambios más tarde, es un momento adecuado para concluir mi mandato de seis meses. El último año y medio han sido emocionantes y desafiantes, pero sobre todo un privilegio trabajar con un grupo tan profundamente comprometido, agradable y talentoso de clérigos y líderes laicos. Por favor, acepten mi gratitud por darme la bienvenida en la Diócesis -con especial agradecimiento al personal diocesano y al liderazgo del cuerpo de gobierno- sin cuyo apoyo no podría haber logrado ninguno de los modestos logros de mi mandato. Me voy con un don de mayor comprensión de la profundidad y vitalidad de la Iglesia Episcopal y de su significado en nuestra sociedad.

Durante mucho tiempo, me pareció que la vida estaba a punto de comenzar - la vida real. Pero siempre había algún obstáculo en el camino, algo que se debía conseguir primero, algún asunto inacabado, tiempo para ser servido, una deuda que se debía pagar. Entonces la vida comenzaría. Al fin me dí cuenta que estos obstáculos eran mi vida. La felicidad es un viaje, no un destino. - Padre Alfred D’Souza

Espero con interés nuevos desafíos, sin importar los obstáculos. Ahora puedo dedicar mi atención a mi familia y a objetivos personales pospuestos durante mucho tiempo, con la guía del Espíritu Santo para mi esposa y para mí en la siguiente etapa de este viaje. 

Paz, 

Donald Crane

Category: News

Statement of the Rev. Virginia (Gini) Gerbasi Before the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Committee on Oversight & Reform, U.S. House of Representatives

June 29, 2020

Chairman Raskin, Ranking Member Roy, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to today’s briefing.  My name is Gini Gerbasi, and I serve as the Rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown.  Before assuming my current role, I previously served on the clergy staff of St. John’s Lafayette Square.  

I would like to begin today by acknowledging the millions of Americans who have participated in peaceful protests in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, and so many others.  I believe this is a defining moment in our nation’s history, and I would be remiss if I did not give appropriate attention to these brave Americans who have experienced, witnessed, or recognized injustice and have decided they must take action and make their voices heard.  It is their pursuit of justice—by the thousands and even millions across the country and across the globe—that has brought us here today.  In fact, the only reason I am testifying before you is because I witnessed, firsthand, what happened when this movement—a profound force for good—was met with the arbitrary and brutal force of its government, quashing the ability of protesters to peaceably assemble and demonstrate on the defining issues of racism, racial justice, and the respect and dignity to which every human being is entitled.

My ministry brought me to Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020.  The day before, during my sermon, I looked directly into the camera on my laptop—because that’s how we preach these days—and called the church to account for its lack of leadership in dismantling systemic racism.  That Sunday was the feast of Pentecost, when Christians celebrate receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and I lamented that for centuries the church has squandered this mighty gift, and has not had the courage to stand up and cast out the evil of racism from our civic body in the name of love.  

Throughout my career, I have been committed to standing up for those on the margins.  These convictions drew me to Seminary, and they likewise drew me to Lafayette Square almost a month ago.  Racial justice, rooted in Scripture, is a critical ministry of the Episcopal church in the Diocese of Washington.

As I previously served at St. John’s Lafayette Square, I am intimately familiar with that church, its surroundings, and the unique role it has played in American history as the Church of Presidents.  While enjoying historic proximity to power, St. John’s Lafayette Square has also been a constant witness to those who would speak truth to power, on issues across the political spectrum and as diverse as our great country.  That Monday, I was there on behalf of the Church to provide comfort and support to these peaceful protesters, and to stand in solidarity with them and the cause of racial justice.  And then, before my eyes, the government brutalized peaceful protesters. 

To be clear, the day was marked by peaceful protests.  Our group of clergy was based on the “patio” of St. John’s Lafayette Square—an outdoor area regularly used by the church for gatherings and ministry.  We were passing out water, snacks, hand sanitizer, masks, and trying to ensure that the patio area was a place of respite for the people gathered.  It struck me that the patio had also become a deeply spiritual place that day—you wouldn’t think that Episcopalians do this, but we were praying with people, laying hands on people, and offering spiritual comfort.  I would occasionally venture into the crowd to ask people if they wanted water.    You could hear the people with megaphones shouting, “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police.”   

Part of our purpose, as clergy, in going down to Lafayette Square that day was to be a presence of peace.  And for nearly the entire day, peace is what we found there.  By 6 p.m., it seemed clear that there was not a lot of tension, and many of my colleagues began to leave.  We gave our extra water bottles to the Black Lives Matter medics who had also set up on the St. John’s patio.  I resolved to stay as long as I could be useful.  I could still pray with people and pass out the case or so of water I had left.

And then, sometime after 6:15, things changed in an instant. Suddenly, I saw protesters running from Lafayette Park, followed by clouds of acrid smoke billowing through the crowds. People began to run north on 16th Street and onto the St. John’s patio, some coming for eyewash, wet paper towels or water.  The first flash grenade rang out, sounding like gunfire, and some people dropped to the ground, thinking the police were shooting.  More people ran in our direction, crying from the smoke and from fear.  I remember looking at my watch because I could not understand what was happening. It was 6:36 p.m.—well before curfew.  I hadn’t heard any announcement or warning; there was nothing that I had seen or heard that could explain the police’s actions.  People were running, crying, and dropping to the ground in terror.  It was dehumanizing.

As the protestors ran from the park, I called out, “Water! Eyewash!” in an attempt to assist the fleeing protesters. A man knelt in front of me, coughing and terrified, his eyes swollen and red. He begged for something to help the stinging, and I began to rinse his eyes. Someone yelled “rubber bullets,” and I looked up to see a man holding his stomach, bent over.  He moved his arms, and I saw marks on his shirt.  I looked over his shoulder, and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  A wall of police, in full riot gear, was physically pushing people off the St. John’s patio, maybe 15 feet away from me.

This scene was shocking, and the terrified faces of the protestors continue to haunt me. They were peacefully protesting the government’s use of violence against innocent people. And then the government used violence against them. That alone left me badly shaken. But when I later found out that the President had—just minutes later—stood in front of the church and held up a Bible, I was outraged.  My colleagues and I were there in the name of those same Scriptures.  We were praying with people, and giving them water and food and—after they were attacked by the police—first aid care.  To hold up those same Scriptures after using tear gas and rubber bullets and flash grenades against innocent people was horrifying.  I say this not to make a political point but to raise an objective truth—the scene I witnessed would have been equally devastating regardless of who occupied the White House. 

I couldn’t sleep that night.  I kept thinking about what had happened—and why.  But then, with the dawn of a new day, I asked myself: How can I be a force for goodness today?  I knew I had to return to Lafayette Square.  The days that followed were trying in their own way.  The following Wednesday, although there was no more tear gas or rubber bullets, police in full riot gear—not wearing any identifying information—blocked us from getting to a prayer vigil at the church.  Let me reiterate this:  we were not permitted to gather at our church to pray.  This, like the earlier events of June 1, is antithetical to everything we hold dear in this country, and should be abhorrent to people of all faiths.  

I will never forget what I witnessed in Lafayette Square, and I hope I never witness anything like it ever again.  But as I look at the nation’s response—not only to the events of June 1, but more importantly, to this critical moment and the pursuit of justice—I cannot help but be filled with hope.  I am here today to offer my account of these events, but more broadly, to add my voice to the chorus demanding racial justice, and to ensure that what happened in Lafayette Square that evening never happens again.  I look forward to answering your questions.

 

Category: News

Interfaith Call for Love in Action: Prayers for Justice

June 18, 2020

On Sunday, June 14, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Bishop Mariann hosted an interfaith, ecumenical prayer vigil calling for concrete action toward racial justice at St. John’s Episcopal Church Lafayette Square, overlooking Black Lives Matter Plaza. 

“We have an opportunity to change some things in our country and our world that have been crying out for change for a very long time,” said Bishop Mariann before the gathering. “Outrage is not enough. People of faith must unite in action to drive lasting change for justice and healing in our country.” 

Calls for action on the fence surrounding the White House.

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, head of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, called for a rejection of the uses of "threats, unlawful detentions, extra judicial killings and other forms of coercion to try to silence political opponents and those objecting to unlawful and immoral policies and practices."

  

Among the interfaith leaders who spoke were Dr. Rajwant Singh (pictured above), co-founder of the National Sikh Campaing; Imam Talib Shareef, president and imam of Masjid Muhammad, the Nation's Mosque and chair of the IFC board; and Rev. Dr. James Victor, vice-president of the Baptist General Convention of Virginia. Dr. Singh said, "In the House of God, there is always justice. Justice may be delayed, but it will always come. And that is this moment, here."

  

Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Jewish chaplain at Georgetown University and board member of Truth, the Rabinic Call for Human Rights, chanted from the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, "Do not hate one another in your heart. Rather love your neighbor as yourself."

Mythili Bacchu, Hindu faith leader and Interfaith Council executive board member, chanted a prayer first in Sanskrit then translated the powerful words into English: "May all be prosperous and happy. May all be free from disease. May all see goodness in everyone and everything and may no one suffer from pain. Peace, peace, peace be with all of us."

  

An EDOW young adult, Christian Omoruyi, active in campus ministry at American University, spoke with passion, quoting from the Book of Amos, "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Bishop William Barber addressed those gathered (watch the entire prayer gathering here), saying to the national media, "stop saying we've never seen multi-cultural, multi-racial movements before. It was multi-cultural, multi-racial movements that caused abolition."

"As our final corporate gesture today, I'd invite you to raise a hand, if you can, as a blessing to those around you. You might just take a look to those around you. May God grant us strength. May God grant us courage. May God grant our hearts to be filled to the brim with love. May God make us restless for the cause of what is right and good and just in this time." 

 

Category: News
secret