Dear EDOW Clergy Colleagues, Junior and Senior Wardens,
Blessings to you and the congregations you serve as we begin the grace-filled season of Epiphany.
I write to request your presence for an evening gathering at Washington National Cathedral Friday, January 25th, the eve of Diocesan Convention from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. I have invited Mr. Tony Morgan, author of The Unstuck Church and Executive Director of The Unstuck Church Group to address diocesan leaders.
Tony is known to the those who attended clergy conference last May. I’ve invited Tony back because of the positive, energized response of several of our clergy to his insights.
The guiding principle of the Unstuck Church Group is simply that churches, like people, have a natural life cycle. With the passage of time certain habits and patterns that once served the church well, if left unexamined, will eventually cause the church to get stuck. This is because health, in churches as in individuals, requires some degree of adaptation to changing circumstances. With stuckness eventually comes decline. If decline isn’t somehow interrupted, it in itself becomes a trend increasingly difficult to reverse.
It’s a sobering line of reasoning, but Tony is a man of faith. He believes, as do I, that God has both the power and the desire to break into our lives, our world, and our churches with new possibilities–with what he calls “a holy interruption.” It is not our doing; it is the grace of God coming to us in tangible ways and invites our response.
For those blessed churches that are experiencing a season of vitality, Tony also provides insights on how to sustain positive momentum and to strategically manage growth. Sustained health, with positive momentum, is the goal for all our churches. Thus, I believe that Tony’s message will be of value to all.
We’ve chosen “Holy Interruption” as our theme for Diocesan Convention on Saturday, January 26th. My sabbatical was such an interruption, a time when I felt Christ ask me to rededicate my life to Him and His Kingdom and in service as your bishop. I felt him challenge me not to change course, but to be even bolder in efforts for congregational vitality and collaborative endeavors for the greater good.
At Convention, I will present a formal plan for a diocesan-wide strategic planning process, rooted in the particular contexts of each of our eight geographic regions. The Unstuck Church Group will help guide that process, which is why I request your presence on Friday night, whether or not you are a delegate to Convention. We’ll also have testimonies from EDOW churches that have begun applying some of the Unstuck Church’s insights in the past year. You are welcome to bring as many people from your congregation as you like. I ask that each congregation be represented by at least two people.
I am persuaded that the strategic planning process is the logical next step in all that we have worked toward together in the last seven years. Equally important, I believe that it will help us address some of the ways that we, as a diocese, are stuck. And it will help me and all in diocesan leadership be more fruitful and accountable in our daily efforts, as we work toward specific goals and objectives that together we will discern as being most faithful to Christ now.
Friday night’s gathering will have some levity–good food, live music, and a chance to spend time with friends and colleagues. We have invited the award-winning Adrian Dunn & the Adrian Dunn Singers to minister to us through song.
For those traveling a good distance to attend Convention, we’ve reserved a block of hotel rooms nearby. We are also happy to match you with friendly members of the diocese that live close to the Cathedral who are glad to have overnight guests.
To register for the Friday night session: Register here
For overnight accommodations at the hotel: Please click here to register or call the Kimpton Hotel at (202) 337-9700 and indicate you are making a reservation in connection with Diocesan Convention to receive the group rate of $99.
If you would like to be matched to stay overnight with an EDOW household near the Cathedral please contact Cheryl Wilburn at [email protected].
One final note to Clergy and Delegates, please remember to register for Convention.
I look forward to seeing you on January 25th.
Faithfully in Christ,
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington