Annual Giving Campaign Helpful Hints

Annual Giving Campaign Helpful Hints

As we begin to see roadside pumpkin stands make their annual appearances and leaves start to burst into riots of color, we know that fall is fully upon us. In many congregations, autumn is stewardship season. For those of you who may chair or otherwise serve on the stewardship committee in your parish, we would like to point you toward the Annual Giving Toolkit which is packed with useful, ready-made resources to help you conduct an effective and efficient stewardship campaign.

Here, we’ll lift up three important things to keep in mind as your begin your campaign:

    • Lift up meaningful moments. When thinking about how to frame your stewardship story, take a few moments to think about the meaningful moments of worship, education, mission, or outreach in which your church engaged over the last year. In your fall campaign, be sure to highlight those things that make you proud to be a member of your parish.
    • Nurture personal connections. Is your congregation still facing issues of regathering for in person services or events? If so, you are not alone. Some of the changes brought about by the global pandemic are still reflected in how and when people return to Sunday services at their church and related activities. If possible, before you begin your Annual Giving Campaign, reach out to your parishioners, especially those who have not returned fully to in person activities, so that their first contact from the church isn’t related to the Annual Giving Campaign. If you have the time and resources, engaging in conversation with your parish prior to the Annual Giving Campaign, can be invaluable. This conversation can take place in a variety of ways: virtual, email, phone, in person, or even by small groups. The conversation should focus on how people are doing, how they are feeling, what issues would they like your church to be aware of, and what are they looking forward to?
    • Make online easy. While many of the standard ways of sharing information about your Annual Giving Campaign may still work well, it is also helpful to make sure that all materials are available online. Particularly important is the ability to access the pledge form online, and if possible, complete the pledge form online. Make sure that participating in your Annual Giving Campaign is not solely dependent upon being present in church each Sunday.

As you look toward the future, be assured that the Holy Spirit is with each of us, and if we can be of support to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Financial Resources Committee.

Spiritual Nourishment Through Encounters with Poetry

Spiritual Nourishment Through Encounters with Poetry

“Becoming a church that our children and grandchildren will love to attend…”

As Bishop Mariann reminded us earlier in September, embedded in our diocesan strategic plan is an audacious goal to close the generational gap in our congregations, for all of our faith communities to become compelling places for our children, grandchildren and their peers, inspiring them to live Jesus-centered lives. We believe getting to that place will take time, creativity, and a willingness to try new things–including getting outside of our churches and providing opportunities for people to encounter the sacred. The poetry event we describe below is one such exploration. – The Rev. Canon Anne-Marie Jeffery

This autumn, poetry is coming to Northeast DC as the Episcopal Diocese of Washington welcomes the Rev. Dr. Travis Helms, founder and curator of the LOGOS Poetry Collective, to facilitate a liturgically infused reading at the launch of a new arts-based ministry in Brookland.

Helms launched LOGOS in 2018 with a view towards cultivating a space where persons of all faiths and none could build connections with the divine and each other through shared encounters with poetry. The project later merged with EcoTheo Collective, a nonprofit founded to “celebrate wonder, enliven conversations, and inspire commitments to ecology, spirituality, and art.”

LOGOS first came to DC in November 2021 via the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts & Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary, where EcoTheo board member Dr. Devon Abts serves as Assistant Director and Visiting Assistant Professor. Abts invited Helms to curate a LOGOS reading as the concluding event for the Luce Center’s “Art of Discernment” project, a major study of arts-based theological education funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. Abts worked closely with Helms to plan the event, which saw a huge crowd turn out to Brookland’s City-State Brewery on a dreary Tuesday evening for a reading with acclaimed poets Jericho Brown and Marilyn Nelson.

Inspired by her experience of LOGOS, Abts–a Brookland resident–began to discern a vision for a new missional project designed to foster creative forms of spiritual nourishment in her community. The Diocese has partnered with her to bring this vision to fruition, and it is fitting that the new project should launch with another LOGOS reading.

All are warmly invited to this liturgically infused reading, which will take place at City-State Brewery on Wednesday, October 19 from 7:00–8:30 p.m., and will feature legendary DC poet and activist E. Ethelbert Miller and emerging talent Kirsten Porter.

The event is free of charge, and food as well as libations will be available for purchase.

Poor People’s Campaign Congressional Briefing 

Poor People’s Campaign Congressional Briefing 

Poor People’s Campaign Congressional Briefing
September 22, 2022

Statement from the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington

My name is Mariann Budde and I serve as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, a geographic region of our denomination which encompasses all of the District of Columbia and four of the most populous Maryland counties.

Within this region are some of the most affluent communities in the nation, and some of the poorest. There are children who attend the finest schools that money can buy, and others consigned to schools that are understaffed and woefully under-resourced. Some families live in luxury; others in rat-infested apartments and, in the rural areas, in homes with no running water or electricity.

This region boasts of some of the finest restaurants and grocery stores, which everyone in this chamber has enjoyed, and yet food insecurity is pervasive not only among those who are homeless and unemployed, but also among the working poor. In one such program run out of one of our churches, 1100 families depend weekly on distributions of food; in another, located in what appears to be an affluent neighborhood, hundreds of people line up each week for an allotment of two grocery bags. Most who seek this assistance work are working more than one job, yet do not earn a living wage.

Every day, we as clergy must decide whom we will serve. And I daresay, so do you.

The economic disparity in our nation, that has shockingly increased over our lifetimes, is the root cause of nearly every one of our society’s seemingly intractable problems. It is the result of public policy decisions made under the undue influence of those who stand to benefit most from that disparity.

We are not naive. Those who benefit from the policies as they are would prefer, and work hard, to keep those consigned to poverty silenced and invisible. But this movement exists to ensure that they will not be kept silent–and neither will we.

We are here to remind you of your sacred duty as elected officials of this democracy.

Specifically, we are here to speak in one voice, asking you to take a position before the midterm elections on three critical issues: voter suppression, designed to keep those most adversely affected by economic disparities out of our political process; legislation to ensure a living wage for those who work hard each day and often through the night, and still do not earn enough to meet basic needs, and to simply to extend the policies proven to have lifted millions of families out of poverty–namely the child income tax credit.

Why on earth would we consign families to poverty again, when a change in policy and resource allocation had such a life-affirming outcome? It is not cruel; it is short-sighted.

We are asking you to be brave. We are asking you to lead, to address the shameful disparities that public policies and laws have created, and that public policies and laws can correct.

Thank you.

Shield Your Joy

Shield Your Joy

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
John 15:11

I’ve noticed something this September in my Sunday visitations, various gatherings with clergy and lay leaders throughout the diocese, one-on-one conversations, and the wondrous celebration of ordination and consecration of Bishop Paula Clark in the Diocese of Chicago–a palpable spirit of joy in our churches.

In some instances, the joy is exuberant, as was certainly the case in Chicago; in others, it is more subdued, but no less real. At times, the joy is a direct correlation of a happy event; at others, a welcome respite from grief or fatigue that remains, but no longer has the final word.

How to account for this joy, I find myself wondering. While it is not universal, there is a noticeable energy among us for which I give thanks.

For many, I suspect, the joy is the result of being together, and having the freedom to enjoy social events and simple human interactions that we once took for granted. Although Covid 19 is still present and causing many to suffer, we don’t have to live with the same levels of fear and extreme caution that defined our lives for nearly two years. Worshiping God with one another once again in our sacred spaces can bring us to tears.

Joy, we know, is not the same as optimism or cheerfulness. It goes deeper than happiness can reach, into the realm of meaning. It comes to us, often in unlikely times and places, giving us hope, even as we face real challenges and struggles. “Happiness,” wrote the late Frederick Buechner, “turns up more or less where you’d expect it to–a good marriage, a rewarding job, a pleasant vacation. Joy, on the other hand, is as notoriously unpredictable as the One who bequeaths it.”1

The Scriptures speak of being filled with joy, or of joy breaking forth, descending upon those who live in darkness or fear, underscoring the fact that joy is a gift. They also describe what is surely the most costly joy of all, that we can experience on the other side of what the 23rd Psalm describes as “the valley of the shadow of death.” Jesus spoke of the way of the cross as the way of life. It is the joy of having made it through the hardest things, forever marked by them, but with our hope and love intact.

That’s what we saw on Bishop Paula Clark’s face during her consecration on September 17th–the joy of having come through the loneliest valley to the other side. She bears the marks of suffering, yet she is still Paula, only wiser now, clearer about what is most important, and without fear, for she knows that nothing can separate her, or anyone of us, from the love of God revealed to us in Jesus.

I have seen that same joy on many of your faces here in the Diocese of Washington; I’ve felt it in our midst and as we continue on the path God has set before us. And I say to you what I said to Bishop Paula and the Diocese of Chicago on Saturday: shield your joy.

Protect, cherish, and nurture joy in one another. Make space for it. Where it is lacking, pray for the gift to be given you, so that it might continue to be, or become once again, a defining characteristic of your ministry. For without it, the church is a dreary place, and life itself becomes a routine of daily obligations. Remember that Jesus came–he lived, died, and rose from the dead–so that our joy may be complete.

The presence of joy in Christian community is, I daresay, one of the most accurate indicators of vitality and of what is possible in its future–far more so than size, money in the bank, or programmatic sophistication. That joy is Jesus’ promise, and gift. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience and share it in your congregation.

Link to Sermon for the Consecration and Ordination of the Rt. Rev. Paula Clark, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago English | Español


13. Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABCs, (HarperOne, 1993) 57-8.

Protege Tu Alegría

Protege Tu Alegría

Estas cosas les he hablado, para que mi gozo esté en ustedes, y su gozo sea completo.
Juan 15:11

He notado algo este mes de septiembre en mis visitas dominicales, en varias reuniones con el clero y los líderes laicos de toda la diócesis, en conversaciones individuales y en la maravillosa celebración de la ordenación y consagración de la Obispa Paula Clark en la Diócesis de Chicago – un espíritu palpable de alegría en nuestras iglesias.

En algunos casos, la alegría es exuberante, como fue ciertamente el caso en Chicago; en otros, es más tenue, pero no menos real. A veces, la alegría es una correlación directa de un acontecimiento feliz; en otras, un bienvenido respiro de la pena o la fatiga que permanece, pero que ya no tiene la última palabra.

Me pregunto cómo explicar esta alegría. Aunque no es universal, hay una energía notable entre nosotros por la cual doy las gracias.

Para muchos, sospecho, la alegría es el resultado de estar juntos, y de tener la libertad de disfrutar de eventos sociales y de simples interacciones humanas que antes dábamos por sentadas. Aunque el Covid 19 sigue presente y hace sufrir a muchos, no tenemos que vivir con los mismos niveles de miedo y extrema precaución que definieron nuestras vidas durante casi dos años. Adorar a Dios juntos una vez más en nuestros espacios sagrados puede hacernos llorar.

La alegría, lo sabemos, no es lo mismo que el optimismo o la felicidad. Va más allá de lo que la felicidad puede alcanzar, al ámbito del significado. Viene a nosotros, a menudo en momentos y lugares improbables, dándonos esperanza, incluso cuando nos enfrentamos a retos y luchas reales. “La felicidad”, escribió el difunto Frederick Buechner, “aparece más o menos donde uno espera que suceda: un buen matrimonio, un trabajo gratificante, unas vacaciones agradables. La alegría, en cambio, es tan notoriamente impredecible como Aquel que la da”.

Las Escrituras hablan de estar llenos de alegría, o de que la alegría irrumpe, descendiendo sobre los que viven en la oscuridad o el miedo, subrayando el hecho de que la alegría es un don. También describen lo que seguramente es la alegría más costosa de todas, la que podemos experimentar al otro lado de lo que el Salmo 23 describe como “el valle de sombra de muerte”. Jesús habló del camino de la cruz como el camino de la vida. Es la alegría de haber superado las cosas más duras, marcadas para siempre por ellas, pero con nuestra esperanza y nuestro amor intactos.

Eso es lo que vimos en el rostro de la Obispa Paula Clark durante su consagración el 17 de septiembre: la alegría de haber llegado al otro lado del valle más solitario. Lleva las marcas del sufrimiento, pero sigue siendo Paula, sólo que ahora es más sabia, tiene más claro lo que es más importante, y no tiene miedo, porque sabe que nada puede separarla, ni a ella ni a ninguno de nosotros, del amor de Dios que se nos ha revelado en Jesús.

He visto esa misma alegría en los rostros de muchos de ustedes aquí en la Diócesis de Washington; la he sentido en medio de nosotros y mientras continuamos en el camino que Dios ha puesto ante nosotros. Y les digo lo que le dije a la Obispa Paula y a la Diócesis de Chicago el sábado: protejan su alegría.

Protejan, cuiden y alimenten la alegría de los demás. Hagan espacio para ella. Donde falte, oren para que se les conceda el don, para que siga siendo, o vuelva a ser, una característica definitoria de su ministerio. Sin la alegría, la iglesia es un lugar aburrido, y la vida misma se convierte en una rutina de obligaciones diarias. Pero Jesús vino – vivió, murió y resucitó – para que nuestra alegría sea completa.

La presencia de la alegría en la comunidad cristiana es, me atrevo a decir, uno de los indicadores más precisos de la vitalidad y de lo que es posible en su futuro, mucho más que el tamaño, el dinero en el banco o la sofisticación programática. Esa alegría es la promesa y el regalo de Jesús. No pierdas la oportunidad de experimentarla y compartirla en tu congregación.

Enlace al sermón para la Consagración y Ordenación de la Reverenda Paula Clark, Obispa de la Diócesis Episcopal de Chicago Español | Inglés