Building a Strong Foundation for Ministry in Each Region

by | Oct 4, 2018

Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like the wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”
Matthew 7:24-25

Members of the diocesan staff and I have been traveling around the diocese this fall to meet with clergy. By the end of October, we’ll have spent time in every EDOW region: North, Central, and South Montgomery Counties; Northern Prince George’s County, North, Central, and South DC, and Southern Maryland.

Our purpose for these gatherings is three-fold:

First, I want to make sure that every priest and deacon is familiar with the newest members of the diocesan staff. We’ve experienced considerable transition and staff restructuring in the past year. That work is now complete, and all of us are here in service to Christ’s mission with and alongside you. We take our roles as servant leaders seriously: we consider our ministries a success when yours are bearing fruit.

The four newest members of the  EDOW team are: the Rev. Dr. Patricia Lyons, Missioner for Evangelism and Community Engagement; the Rev. Dr. Robert Phillips, Associate for Leadership Development and Congregational Care; Ms. Mildred Reyes, Missioner for Collaborative Formation, and the Rev. Daryl Lobban, Missioner for Communications.

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Top row, left to right: the Rev. Dr. Patricia Lyons, the Rev. Dr. Robert Phillips
Bottom row, left to right: Ms. Mildred Reyes, the Rev. Daryl Lobban

Second, we asked the clergy’s input in planning our regional gatherings this year. Because we have shifted preparation for Diocesan Convention to online forums and online elections (see the online Pre-Convention Forum page), we are free to be creative and responsive to parish and regional interests and needs. Now we are hard at work planning the first regional gatherings, to be held in South DC, Southern Maryland, Central Montgomery County, and South Montgomery County this fall. We’ll schedule the regional meetings in Central DC, North DC, Northern Prince George’s County, and North Montgomery County in early 2019.

The offerings this fall are exciting, including a regional gathering of young adults, and sessions on elder spirituality, and ministries of hospitality and welcome. In three regions, we’re convening all of the vestries together, to discuss the unique leadership role of those called to serve in this vital parish ministry, and to begin laying the foundation for more intentional strategic planning by region in 2019. If you are in one of the four regions with gatherings this fall, we’ll be sending more information to you very soon.

The third topic I discussed with the clergy, and at a joint meeting of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, and the Strategic Financial Resources Commission is that of strategic planning. I returned from sabbatical with a strong desire to be even more intentional in leadership as your bishop in the next season of our life together. Thus I am proposing that, as a diocese, we undertake a strategic planning process for each region in 2019. This important undertaking will help us align our sense of purpose as the Episcopal Church, our vision of where God’s preferred future for our ministries lie in the next 3-5 years, and the prayerful and strategic steps we can take together so that, by God’s grace and our efforts, we might realize that future.

I will share more about the strategic planning process in my fall address to the diocese, which will be available online in a few weeks. It will be a learning process for all of us, one that I pray will guide our collective endeavors toward faithful and fruitful ministry.

It is, always, a privilege to serve as your bishop.