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

Stress Relief in Stressful Times

November 12, 2020

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord  in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14 (NRSV)

Stress became an ever-increasing dynamic in my life at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Some semblance of relief was my fervent prayer, so I found myself constantly trying to live my faith in new ways, albeit without any familiarity of the emotional and spiritual terrain in which I found myself.

Everything about coronavirus was virtually unknown except the viciousness with which it devastated our lives, hurling our levels of grief and loss to all time highs. Work life, personal life, and family life all seemed to blur together with a total disregard for healthy boundaries and balance. A colleague shared a Facebook posting which restated an old familiar mnemonic to remember the number of days in each month… “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have thirty-one, except March which has 8,000!” I agreed, for my life had become one extended period of hours leading to the next extended period of hours leading to whatever came next.

To my dismay, what came next was an onslaught of racial injustice that ripped the country apart in ways that had not been experienced since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. As an African-American man, I felt anxious and afraid that I lived in a country that was actively killing people who looked like me. I remember rerouting my daily walks through predominately white residential neighborhoods to busy thoroughfares in an attempt to avoid any confusion that I may have been staking out their house for a future violent intrusion. The days continued to blur together, but now with an energy that was even more disturbing than before.

In the midst of it all, I strived for a rhythm that would enable me to navigate through the emotional volatility of the current time. I “ZOOMED” with friends. I exercised regularly. I continued my spiritual practices of reading scripture, prayer, and meditation. 

I tried everything and allowed myself to fall into a false sense of security, thinking that I was surely closer to a space of mental health than I was before all this madness started. 

But then the 2020 election season kicked into high gear, bringing with it a madness and chaos that further exacerbated all of the happenings of the previous eight months. I didn’t think the emotional terrain could get any more treacherous, but it did. And all I could do was to wait for some semblance of a breakthrough, for better or worse.

I was stressed out! But I also knew that claiming my emotional state would not be enough to shift my emotional state. 

So, I reflected upon the reality that situations, in and of themselves, are not stressful. What makes a situation stressful is your assessment of your ability to handle the situation. Well, my assessment of my ability to handle the madness of the current time was fair, at best. Sure, I had been in many situations in the past in which I had to multitask very difficult and seemingly impossible situations, but currently, I found myself in a space in which past tools for stress relief just didn’t seem to do the trick. Past tools helped, but there was something missing and I was at a loss to identify it. 

Truth be told, all of the current happenings had a personal common denominator--racial injustice and inequity. My keen sense of the obvious kicked in and I realized that I had not been specific enough in identifying my core emotion…anger. 

I remembered that anger is a manifestation of two emotions; greatest fear and deepest hurt. 

As an African-American man, one of my greatest fears is that I will be totally devalued. That fear is connected to my deepest hurt, which is living in a nation that endorses such a fear solely based upon the color of my skin.

When I identified what I was feeling, my next step was to identify what I needed. I needed encouragement. Encouragement that affirmed me as a child of God made in God’s image. Encouragement that affirmed me as a product of my family that worked diligently to equip my younger brother and me with an excellent education which opened doors of opportunity that had been closed to them. And encouragement that affirmed me as a sojourner in faith connected to a God who has consistently looked beyond my faults and seen my need.

Intentionally waiting for both personal and spiritual revelation is a game in life that can relieve your stress by stretching your being. So in the midst of this stress-inducing season, I invite you to be encouraged by the Psalmist who affirms,

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Phillips
Canon for Leadership Development and Congregational Care

Category: News

Ministerio Latino en EDOW: futuro y oportunidades

October 15, 2020

El futuro a corto y mediano plazo de la Diócesis Episcopal de Washington está anclado necesariamente al Plan Estratégico que la diócesis ha aprobado recientemente. Los tres ejes principales de este plan son: revitalizar la vida de las congregaciones, fomentar la formación espiritual de todos los feligreses (niños, jóvenes, adultos, ancianos) y promover la justicia y la equidad en todo lugar -- pueden ser una oportunidad para que nuestras congregaciones latinas continúen siendo testigos de la obra de Dios en nuestro medio. 

¿Cómo este Plan Estratégico es ya una realidad en los ministerios latinos de nuestra Diócesis y cómo puede ser un instrumento para que nuestras congregaciones re-piensen su misión y ministerios?

Revitalización de las congregaciones: El Plan Estratégico Diocesano nos permite dar mayor prioridad a la revitalización de nuestras congregaciones latinas. Nuestras congregaciones latinas ya están mostrando signos de salud de acuerdo con nuestros Signos Vitales de Salud Parroquial recientemente adoptados. Por ejemplo, San Mateo/St. Matthew’s se encuentra entre las congregaciones de nuestra diócesis con la tasa anual más alta de confirmaciones y recepciones. El número de compromisos sacramentales que se hacen cada año en una congregación es una de las métricas clave que puede ayudar a los líderes de la iglesia a discernir la realidad de su circunstancia actual y ajustar su misión y ministerio según sea necesario para diferentes resultados en el futuro. Cada una de las métricas puede usarse de esta manera para enfocar mejor el tiempo y el esfuerzo dentro de una parroquia a las áreas más necesitadas de atención.

Formación Espiritual. En las sesiones de escucha del plan estratégico del año pasado quedó muy claro que los feligreses de nuestra diócesis valoran la formación espiritual. Y aunque se han ofrecido varias oportunidades formativas en la diócesis a través de los años, con temas que van desde la liturgia y la identidad anglicana hasta la raza y la diversidad cultural, carecimos de una estrategia coherente para la formación-- y una que abordaría las necesidades específicas de las congregaciones latinas para prepararlas mejor para llevar a cabo su misión. En respuesta, uno de nuestros objectivos iniciales en el Plan Estratégico fue desarrollar una Escuela diocesana de Liderazgo y Fe Cristiana. En septiembre, lanzamos las primeras ofrendas de la Escuela. Y aunque la Escuela está en sus primeros pasos, una de sus prioridades es asegurar que los individuos y las congregaciones latinas en nuestra diócesis se involucren más profundamente en su programación y puedan tener acceso fácilmente a oportunidades de capacitación en formación en idioma español y culturalmente competentes.

Justicia y equidad: Los temas de la justicia y la equidad son vitales para los ministerios latinos ya que nuestros feligreses y comunidades sufren diariamente de inseguridad, discriminación y dificultades para acceder a servicios básicos en este país. Estas dificultades han aumentado durante la pandemia y se han vuelto más evidentes para la comunidad en general. En medio de la lucha, hay una oportunidad para reconocer el racismo entre los latinos y lograr justicia racial y equidad más allá de la comunidad latina. La educación, la capacitación y las acciones para promover la justicia en temas específicos serán vitales en la expansión de la voz profética latina en nuestro medio.

El futuro es amplio y Dios está constantemente abriendo puertas para nuestro ministerio latino diocesano. Oremos para que Dios continúe proveyendo oportunidades de crecimiento y testimonio para todos.  

The Rev. Yoimel González Hernández, Dean of the Latino Deacons School
Mildred Reyes, Missioner for Diocesan Initiatives

Mildred Reyes

Category: News

Latino Ministry in EDOW: The Future and Opportunities

October 15, 2020

The short and medium term future of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is necessarily anchored to the Strategic Plan that our diocesan leadership bodies approved last fall. As we develop the three main areas of the plan -- revitalizing the life of our congregations, fostering the spiritual formation of all parishioners (children, youth, adults, the elderly) and promoting justice and equity everywhere -- the opportunity is ripe for our Latino congregations to continue witnessing God's work in our midst.

How is the Strategic Plan already a reality in the Latino ministries of our Diocese and how can it be an instrument for our congregations to rethink their mission and ministries?

Revitalization of Congregations: The Diocesan Strategic Plan allows us to give increased priority to the revitalization of our Latino congregations. Already our Latino congregations are showing signs of health according to our recently adopted Vital Signs of Parish Health. For instance, San Mateo/St. Matthew is among the congregations in our diocese with the highest annual rate of confirmations and receptions. The number of sacramental commitments made each year in a congregation is one of the key metrics that can help church leaders discern the reality of their present circumstance and adjust their mission and ministry as necessary for different outcomes in the future. Each of the metrics can be used this way to better focus time and effort within a parish to the areas most in need of attention. 

Spiritual formation: It became abundantly clear at the strategic plan listening sessions last year that the people of our diocese value spiritual formation. And while various formative opportunities have been offered in the diocese through the years, with topics ranging from liturgy and Anglican identity to race and cultural diversity, we lacked a coherent strategy for formation--and one that would address the specific needs of Latino congregations to better prepare them to carry out their mission. In response, one of our initial goals in the Strategic Plan was to develop a diocesan School for Christian Faith and Leadership. In September, we launched the School’s first offerings -- and though the School is in its first steps, one of its priorities is to ensure that individuals and Latino congregations in our diocese  become more deeply involved in its programming and can easily access training opportunities in culturally competent Spanish language formation. 

Justice and equity: The issues of justice and equity are vital to Latino ministries as our parishioners and communities suffer daily from insecurity, discrimination, and difficulties in accessing basic services in this country. These hardships have grown during the pandemic and have become more obvious to the wider community. In the midst of struggle, there is an opportunity to acknowledge racism among Latinos and engage racial justice and equity beyond the Latino community. Education, training and actions to promote justice on specific issues will be vital in the expansion of the Latino prophetic voice in our midst.

The future is wide and God is constantly opening doors for our diocesan Latino ministry. May God continue to provide opportunities for growth and witness for all.

The Rev. Yoimel González Hernández, Dean of the Latino Deacons School
Mildred Reyes, Missioner for Diocesan Initiatives

Category: News

El Ministerio Latino está dando frutos

October 15, 2020

He servido como misionera latino de la diócesis durante seis años. Ha sido un viaje gratificante para el alma, ver a nuestras congregaciones multiculturales de habla hispana avanzar hacia la madurez, bajo el liderazgo de un clero dedicado y talentoso.

Cinco de nuestras congregaciones latinas - Iglesia de la Ascensión, Iglesia Nuestro Salvador, Misa Alegría de San Esteban, St Matthews / San Mateo e Iglesia San Albano - tienen ahora al menos 10 años, y algunas avanzan hacia veinte años de ministerio. En 2017, surgió una nueva congregación multicultural de habla hispana en St. Mary Magdalene en Aspen Hill, un vecindario suburbano multicultural con una población mayoritariamente latina. Con una generosa bienvenida, Misa Magdalena ha tenido un comienzo saludable.

 

Aunque el 99% de nuestros miembros han sido recién llegados a la Iglesia Episcopal, han encontrado un hogar espiritual, abrazando con entusiasmo no solo nuestra liturgia, sino también nuestra teología de inclusión, justicia y amor. Estamos experimentando un crecimiento acelerado en el desarrollo del liderazgo y el discipulado. Los miembros latinos de nuestras congregaciones forman parte de las juntas parroquiales y sirven como delegados de la Convención Diocesana.

El Guardián Mayor interino de la iglesia Nuestro Salvador es Fernando Hermoza. El Guardián Mayor entrante, así como la mayoría de la Junta Parroquial de St. Matthew / San Mateo, una de las iglesias más grandes de la Diócesis, son latinos. Karina Rodríguez, de unos 20 años, es la miembro más joven de la Junta Parroquial de San Albano; ella no solo representa a la comunidad latina sino también a los adultos jóvenes.

La formación ha sido clave en el desarrollo de líderes y en fortalecer su confianza para el liderazgo. 

Actualmente hay tres postulantes latinos en el proceso de ordenación diaconal. El Rev. Yoimel González es el Decano de la Escuela de Diáconos Latinos. En conjunto con nuestra Escuela de Diáconos, dirigida por la Archidiácono Sue Rautenkranz, la Escuela de Diáconos Latinos es un modelo para otras diócesis que buscan abrir su proceso diaconal a los latinos de habla hispana.

La Diócesis Episcopal de Washington está a la vanguardia de un programa de formación y discipulado, una colaboración episcopal-luterana llamada Academia Ecuménica de Liderazgo. Cada grupo de aprendizaje está dirigido por facilitadores laicos capacitados. Nuestra amiga y miembro del personal diocesano, Mildred Reyes, es una de estas capacitadoras preparadas por la Iglesia Episcopal. Hemos utilizado este plan de estudios durante dos temporadas. EDOW ahora tiene 16 facilitadores listos para liderar este programa en sus congregaciones.

Mildred, una persona de muchos dones y salida de St. Matthew / San Mateo, es un ejemplo perfecto de los frutos de nuestras congregaciones latinas. Además de todo lo que hace en el equipo de trabajo de la obispa, también forma parte del Consejo de Asesoramiento al Rev. Anthony Guillén, Misionero de Ministerios Latinos / Hispanos de la Iglesia Episcopal y es bien conocida en la iglesia en general.

Nuestras comunidades latinas se han visto fuertemente afectadas por el COVID-19 y las muchas repercusiones económicas de la pandemia. Al conocer la necesidad, nuestras congregaciones latinas rápidamente se pusieron a trabajar para alimentar a los hambrientos, y algunas ahora distribuyen hasta 650 cajas de comida por semana, y encontraron una bendición especial al ampliar el círculo de atención y preocupación a la comunidad circundante. Estamos experimentando los frutos de ir al mundo para amar y servir a la comunidad fuera de los muros de la iglesia.

Mi tiempo como misionera pronto llegará a su fin. Me jubilaré a principios de febrero. Mi ministerio ha sido muy bendecido por haber sido llamada al Ministerio Latino. El amor de Dios, la comprensión de la comunidad y el bien común de las personas a las que he servido me han inspirado, me han dado valor y me han convertido en una mejor cristiana. De estos amigos he aprendido a diario sobre la fe y el amor. Han cubierto mi vida y la de mi familia, de color, fiesta y alegría. Qué rico viñedo es. Todos estamos viendo la belleza de estos buenos frutos. No tengo ninguna duda de que la mejor cosecha está por llegar.

The Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin
Latino Missioner

Category: News

Latino Ministry is Bearing Good Fruit

October 15, 2020

I have served as Latino Missioner of the diocese for six years. It has been a soul-satisfying journey to see our Spanish-speaking, multicultural congregations moving into maturity under the leadership of dedicated and gifted clergy. 

Five of our Latino congregations--Iglesia de la Ascension, Iglesia Nuestro Salvador, Misa Alegria de San Esteban, St Matthews/San Mateo and Iglesia San Albano--are all now at least 10 years old, with some moving toward twenty years of ministry. In 2017 a new Spanish-speaking, multicultural congregation emerged at St. Mary Magdalene in Aspen Hill, a multicultural suburban neighborhood with a majority Latino population. With a generous welcome, Misa Magdalena is off to a healthy start.

Although 99% of our members have been newcomers to the Episcopal Church, they have found a spiritual home, eagerly embracing not only our liturgy but our theology of inclusion and justice and love. We are experiencing a growth spurt in leadership development and discipleship. Latino members of our congregations are sitting on vestries and serving as Diocesan Convention delegates. 

Our Saviour’s interim Senior Warden is Fernando Hermoza. The incoming Senior Warden as well as the majority of the Vestry at St. Matthew/San Mateo, one of the largest churches in the Diocese, will be Latino. Karina Rodriguez in her early 20s is the youngest member of the St. Alban’s vestry; she not only represents the Latino community but also young adults as well. 

Formation has been a key in developing our leaders and building their confidence to lead. 

There are currently three Latino postulants in the diaconal ordination process. The Rev. Yoimel Gonzalez is the Dean for the Latino Deacons’ School. In conjunction with our Deacons’ School, led by Archdeacon Sue Rautenkranz, the Latino Deacons’ School is a model for other dioceses looking to open their diaconal process to Spanish-speaking Latinos. 

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is on the forefront of a formation and discipleship program--an Episcopal-Lutheran collaboration called  Academia Ecumenica de Liderazgo (Ecumenical Leadership Academy.) Each learning group is led by trained lay facilitators. Our friend and diocesan staff member, Mildred Reyes, is one of these trainers prepared by the Episcopal Church. We have used this curriculum for two seasons. EDOW now has 16 facilitators ready to lead this program in their congregations.

Mildred, a person of many gifts and a product of St. Matthew/San Mateo, is a perfect  example of the fruits of our Latino congregations. In addition to all she does on the bishop’s staff, she also sits on the Council of Advice to the Rev. Anthony Guillen, Missioner of Latino/Hispanic Ministries of the Episcopal Church and is well known in the wider church. 

Our Latino communities have been strongly impacted by COVID-19 and the many economic repercussions of the pandemic. Knowing the need, our Latino congregations quickly got to work feeding the hungry--with some now distributing up to 650 boxes of food per week--and finding a special blessing in widening the circle of care and concern to the surrounding community. We are experiencing the fruits of going into the world to love and serve the community outside the church walls.

My time as missioner will soon come to an end. I will retire in early February. My ministry has been richly blessed by having been called to Latino Ministry. The love of God, understanding of community and the common good of the people I have served have inspired me, given me courage and made me a better Christian. I have learned daily from these friends about faith and love. They have covered my life--and my family’s--with color, fiesta and joy. What a rich vineyard it is. We are all seeing the beauty of these  good fruits.  I have no doubt that the best harvest is yet to come.

The Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin
Latino Missioner

Category: News
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