Be strong and of good courage . . . for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

A commitment to inspiring every person to grow in faith and equipping our leaders to lead well is an integral part of our Diocesan Strategic Plan. These were our specific objectives for 2022:

  • Provide resources and support for congregations seeking to offer a compelling Christian witness to rising generations.
  • Work to rebuild trust and deepen relationships among faith formation leaders across the diocese through one/one conversations, regional gatherings, and a diocesan formation leaders’ retreat in the fall of 2022, in order to better support formation leaders and work collaboratively for greater impact, particularly with youth and young adults.
  • Continue to develop and expand the School for Christian Faith and Leadership, providing offerings that support spiritual growth, the path of discipleship, parish vitality and leadership skills, and our work for equity and justice.

We are grateful to report progress on each of these objectives. Below, we highlight the various pieces that went into creating the whole of our collective work in this area. We also look forward to Year Four of the Diocesan Strategic Plan and share with you our Faith and Leadership objectives for 2023.

Two final notes before we dive in. In the fall of 2022, the Rev. Jenifer Gamber answered the call to become Rector of St. Peter’s, Arlington in the Diocese of Virginia. We are grateful for her leadership, vision, and the deliberate care she took in establishing a solid foundation on which the School for Christian Faith and Leadership will continue to grow and all she did to breathe the Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations initiative into being. Her dedication is a blessing to the diocese that will be felt for years to come.

With Jenifer’s departure, Canon Anne-Marie will assume the role of project director of both Tending Our Soil and the School for Christian Faith and Leadership, and the Rev. Emily Snowden has been promoted to Missioner for Church Revitalization and will assume significant programmatic responsibility.

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers preaching at the first Tending Our Soil learning lab
Confirmands and clergy at Washington National Cathedral


To inspire, equip, connect, and empower the people of God for life and leadership.

— Mission statement of the School for Christian Faith and Leadership

Since its inception in 2021, the School for Christian Faith and Leadership has become the organizing and resource platform for leadership development and faith formation in the diocese. 

In 2022, the School: 

  • Expanded our use of Pathwright, the learning management software that provides the framework for our courses, to support more diocesan events, facilitating engagement, communication, and ongoing conversation after events have ended
  • Offered 24 courses in topics ranging from church administration best practices to parish vitality, evangelism to stewardship, discipleship to justice, and more. 
  • Served as the registration portal for 6 diocesan events, including Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations and Clergy Conference
  • Offered courses in person and online, for individuals and groups, and both live and on demand in an effort to maximize accessibility
  • Served over 2,000 students with over 1,000 course registrations
  • Developed the CREATE confirmation program; 4 EDOW congregations utilized this curriculum in 2022 and 3 other dioceses adopted the curriculum for their use
  • Invited more than 20 subject matter experts from inside the diocese to lead courses


The School in 2023

Next year, the School will focus on sustainable expansion as we continue to live into the realities of the post-pandemic church, providing up-to-date and well-curated offerings that support spiritual growth, parish vitality, leadership skills, and work for equity and justice. 


To cultivate the changed soil of our diocese so that God’s love might grow in our time and place.
– Mission statement of the Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative

In the fall of 2020, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington received a 5-year grant of $1,000,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative

Through this initiative:

  • Up to 36 congregations will gather in peer-to-peer learning cohorts
  • The diocese will train 12 coaches to accompany congregations in the process
  • Congregations will clarify mission and innovate toward greater health 


In 2023,

  • We onboarded 11 congregations from 7 regions into the second peer learning cohort of Tending Our Soil.
  • We selected 4 members of the diocese to serve as coaches for congregations participating in the second cohort
  • Both cohort years participated in quarterly learning labs. In year one, they develop their mission, vision, and goals. In year two, they begin practicing the skills needed for implementation of those goals.  
  • Resources crafted for the Tending Our Soil initiative are available for every congregation 


In the coming year, the Tending Our Soil initiative will continue following its mission.

  • Congregations are invited to apply for the final peer cohort. The deadline to apply is April 21. 
  • Up to 12 congregations will be selected for the third and final Tending Our Soil cohort and begin preparations to start in June.
  • 4 new coaches will be trained to accompany the third peer cohort congregations. Applications to serve as a coach must be submitted by March 31. Apply here


In 2022, we welcomed the Rev. Amanda Akes-Cardwell to diocesan staff as Missioner for Faith Formation and Development. During her first year, she delved into the role, working faithfully to establish relationships with formation leaders around the diocese and discerning the next steps for leveraging diocesan resources to equip parishes in their faith formation efforts. You can read Amanda’s report to the diocese here.

In 2022: 

  • Children from EDOW congregations attended Summer Camp at Claggett, where Rev. Amanda was a summer chaplain.
  • Faith formation leaders met quarterly to connect, share ideas and encourage one another in the faith. 
  • Leaders gathered for a retreat at Claggett Center for renewal, community building, and resource sharing. 
  • Rev. Amanda accepted the invitation to serve on the Episcopal Youth Event planning team. EYE will take place at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD, July 4-8. Learn more 
  • Rev. Amanda convened the young adult clergy of the diocese online in the Spring and in person at Clergy Conference in the Fall.
  • A new monthly online Faith Formation publication was developed to create space for creativity, growth and connection.
  • Updates were made to the Safe Church, Safe Communities online training and diocesan standards were updated to reflect this.
  • Rev. Amanda launched Faith Formation News, a monthly newsletter filled with formation opportunities, events and resources. (sign up here)
  • Rev. Amanda accepted the invitation to serve on the Claggett Board and act as a liaison between the Diocese and the Center.
  • As part of our commitment to rising generations, the diocese partnered with the Fuller Youth Institute to launch a ten-month journey dedicated to Growing Young. Six congregations form this cohort dedicated to researching, discerning, and doing the important work it takes to ensure their parishes are places of welcome for rising generations.


We have made great progress in developing an infrastructure that better enables us to be a diocese that equips leaders well and helps deepen faith. As we enter into the coming year, our focus turns to strengthening that framework and tending to faith and leadership areas still in need of attention. 

In 2023, we will: 

Expand the School for Christian Faith and Leadership as we continue to live into the realities of the post-pandemic church, providing up-to-date and well-curated offerings that support spiritual growth, parish vitality, leadership skills, and work for equity and justice.  

Clarify and take the next steps in developing the Path of Discipleship to ensure that it is user friendly, easily adaptable and accessible for individuals and worshiping communities. 

Establish a new mission and vision for Episcopal campus ministry, identify our first goals, and work toward their implementation by the fall of 2023.  

Establish a vision for active youth ministry in the diocese that will be supported and guided by a Youth Committee.

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice.