Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Engaging a changing world with
an enduring faith in Jesus Christ

News & Features

Deacon Ordination Service, November 16, 2019

November 21, 2019

Savannah Ponder listens intently to Bishop Mariann, supported by friends and family, including members of L'Arche Greater Washington, D.C.St. Stephen and the Incarnation, and St. John's Lafayette Square, where she serves as the assistant for ministries to children, youth, and families.  (All photos: Donovan Marks)

The Rev. Bruce McPherson offers the litany of prayers.

J. Matthew Ponder, Savannah's husband, and Eileen Schofield vest the new deacon.

The Rev. Savannah Ponder, newly ordained deacon, prepares the table.

Bishop Mariann blesses the people, and the people respond, Amen.

The Rev. Savannah Ponder among the many present  to witness her ordination into the Sacred Order of Deacons. 

The Rev. Savannah Ponder with three of her presenters (l-r: The Rev. Rob W. Fisher, Savannah, Ms. Jane Bishop, The Rev. Dr. Samuel Dessordi Leite, missing is The Rev. Emily Griffin).

Category: News

BorderLinks Pilgrimage

November 14, 2019

Members of the EDOW BorderLinks delegation

The U.S/Mexico border wall 
This week 13 people from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington have been on pilgrimage at the Arizona/Mexico border, learning more about the challenges facing immigrants seeking a better life crossing into the United States. The trip was arranged through BorderLinks, a residential program dedicated to teaching participants through various experiences, the plight of US immigrants.

The group hiked through the desert to simulate the experiences of those crossing the Mexican border into Arizona; visited the border wall in Nogales, Arizona/Mexico; visited a shelter sponsored by Cruzando Fronteras, a ministry of Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Nogales, AZ, for persons trying to immigrate into the US in Nogales, Mexico; and the group sat in on Operation Streamline proceedings, criminal court hearings where 61 persons arrested by the US Border Patrol were adjudicated with federal detention facility sentences in 59 minutes!

The pilgrims will be returning to the Diocese of Washington with experiences to share and insights into how we can cross borders to support and empower the people of God. 
The Rev. Canon Paula Clark says of her time among the men, women, and children whose communities are inextricably affected by what happens along the border, "This was a life-changing, meaningful experience."

Families and communities affected by U.S immigration policy

EDOW delegation members, including the Rev. Canon Paula Clark, with two of the youth they met on their pilgrimage to the border

The EDOW delegation stands beside the border wall

Category: News

A Call for Champions

October 31, 2019

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Luke 10:1-2, NRSV

How about them Nats?!!! Whether or not you’re a baseball fan, the story of the Washington Nationals quest to become the MLB’s 2019 World Series Champions is compelling. The Nationals started out the season poorly, and as Nationals Manager Dave Martinez said in his post-game interview, “Guess what? We stayed in the fight. We won the fight! ...We were down and out. We were 19-31. We didn't quit then, we weren't going to quit now.”

As a die-hard sports fan, and a native Washingtonian, I’ve been longing for some championship teams for some time. Yet, in 2018 and 2019, our blessings were abundant. The Capitals winning the Stanley Cup last year, the Mystics winning the WNBA Championship earlier this month, and the Nationals winning the World Series last night just fills my sports junkie heart with joy, and I dare say, joy abounds in the DMV today.

But, as a die-hard cheerleader for the Diocese of Washington, I can’t help but wonder how we can translate that winning, never-quit attitude to our efforts to spread the love of Jesus and build up the Body of Christ in our diocese. 

The Diocesan Strategic Plan was approved in early October, after months of meeting with faithful people of God all across the Diocese.

From these efforts, we identified three areas of focus for our collective work over the next five years: 

  • Revitalize our churches to grow the Jesus Movement

  • Inspire every person to grow in faith & equip our leaders to lead well

  • Partner in ministries of service & justice for greater impact in our communities

We then chose three specific measurable objectives to accomplish in the first 12 months of Strategic Plan implementation, one under each area of focus.  

Those objectives are:

  • Church Revitalization -- We will provide church health assessments and revitalization strategies, and introduce these strategies to ten representative congregations.  

  • Spiritual Formation -- We will establish a school for Christian leadership.  

  • Justice -- We will work with each region to identify a primary ministry of justice on which to collaborate for greater social impact. 

As Jesus appointed the 70 to go out, we are seeking “champions,” people passionate about Church Revitalization, Spiritual Formation or Justice and willing to invest their time, talent and expertise in tilling the soil of our potential so that we may harvest the bounty we believe God has in store for the diocese. To that end, we have started putting together leadership teams of lay and ordained people who can help us advance in our first three ministry objectives. 

If you are excited about our Diocesan initiatives, and are fired up by our mission, “To draw people to Jesus and embody his love for the world by equipping faith communities, promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice,” we’d like to talk with you further about serving on one of our teams of champions and we invite you to complete this brief online form by November 30.  

We plan to announce and commission these Strategic Plan leadership teams at Diocesan Convention, January 25, 2020.  

We are excited about what God has in store for the Diocese of Washington. God calls us to “stay in the fight” for our church, God’s people, the nation and the world. We believe that with the support of Church Revitalization, Spiritual Formation and Justice champions, we will gather a joyous harvest. 

Category: Events

Out of the Archives: EDOW and Major League Baseball

October 31, 2019

EDOW Goes to the Birds, September 2004

Congratulations to the Washington Nationals for achieving the #finishthefight status that has decorated t-shirts throughout the DC area in recent weeks. Go team! 

A search of Diocesan Archives found no references to World Series appearances by the Senators in 1924 and 1933, but in 1961, the Washington Diocese magazine did begin running features on Episcopalian Nights: “The night game between the Senators and the Baltimore Orioles will be promoted by the Church of the Holy Communion as a fund-raising event for the site-purchase program. Each parish will be asked to sell blocks of tickets at the usual $1.50 grandstand seat price. Of this amount, 50 cents will go into the special fund.” 

Parishes were asked to send representatives to a final plan meeting in July, before the August 18 game. The May 1963 magazine advertised the third annual “Episcopal Night” for June 7, “when the Washington Senators play the Cleveland Indians in the new D.C. Stadium.” This time the recipients of the largesse of the 50 cents from each ticket was the Department of Missions program for a total of $1700. The Diocese of Virginia had joined the group the previous year and their donations of $800 went for its advance work. In 1967 the Diocesan Department of Information Service sought an individual or group with time and energy to organize the event.  The appeal advises, “The time commitment would be considerable as the event nears.” No one must have stepped up to the plate because that is the last mention of the Senators and the Diocese in the Diocesan magazine or newspaper.

When the Senators left Washington in 1971, there was a drought of EDOW baseball events until Bishop John Chane’s arrival. While Bishop Chane was a stalwart Boston Red Sox fan, the Diocese went to a September 2003 game of the Orioles vs. the Seattle Mariners. Not only were there almost 550 Episcopalians there, their center field seats also came with home run balls from Ichiro Suzuki and B.J. Surhoff. There was also “free” baseball, since the Mariners ended up winning, 6-4, in 13 innings. 

The Rev. Canon Nan Peete, formerly on Church House staff, receives a handshake and a baseball

Newly named “EDOW Goes to the Birds”, the second annual trek to Camden Yards brought both the New York Yankees and 900 parishioners on I-95 in September of 2004. Runs abounded as the O’s beat the Yanks 14-8. Jim Naughton, the Diocesan Director of Communications and organizer of the events, said he “would happily promise Orioles owner Peter Angelos that EDOW would go to the Birds again next season if Angelos would drop his opposition to locating a major league team in the District.”

The next year brought EDOW back to RFK (DC) Stadium for the inaugural season of the Washington Nationals. That September game saw the Nats come from behind to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-6. More than 40 of the then 93 parishes bought 1,550 tickets for the event, larger than the two previous years combined and was one of the largest groups that the Nats hosted for the first season. Naughton requested assistance with organizing future trips, especially in light of accessibility issues for the upper deck seats that are usually assigned to groups. Unfortunately, no one was in the on deck circle, although I have seen individual parishes listed on the list of groups attending games over the years at Nationals Park.

And, in case you weren’t sure about the connection between Major League Baseball and the Episcopal Church, read this archived column from the Episcopal Cafe. Written by the Rev. Andrew Gerns and shared worldwide, please especially notice the date of the article.

Mrs. Susan Stonesifer
Diocesan Historiographer

Washington Nationals mascot, Screech, hanging out with some young Episcopalian fans

Category: News

A Weekend of Healing

October 23, 2019

Trees ablaze with fall color at the Claggett Center

On a recent October weekend, parishioners from across the diocese gathered at the scenic Claggett Center for the Visions of Healing Fall Weekend Retreat. The Rev. Dr. Robert Philips, Director of Leadership Development and Congregational Care for the diocese, led participants through a program that addressed healing from personal brokenness using the Lament Psalm structure, empathic communication techniques, and introspective exercises.

Retreat participants put learning into practice in one-on-one listening sessions

Some of the creative healing activities included walking the labyrinth, meditation, and the opportunity to practice active listening skills in a series of one-on-one small group sessions.

The labyrinth (photo courtesy of the Claggett Center)

“It was a transformative experience,” says Rev. Philips. “Some folks came not knowing what to expect and left feeling energized and encouraged to navigate some of life’s more challenging roads.”

Learn more about the purpose of these retreats

Fog and rain on Sunday helped set a contemplative mood for the group

Category: News

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.