“For the Diocese of Washington reparations is the spiritual practice of the beloved community. It involves a process to remember, repair, restore, and reconcile historical and continuing wrongs against humanity that can never be singularly reducible to monetary terms, but must include a substantial investment and surrender of resources. Reparations is principally concerned with the harms done to those most hard pressed by the system of injustice and speaks to the health of all humanity.”
– Working Definition of Reparations by EDOW Reparations Task Force, 2022
Holding this definition, we are honored to invite you to join “Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing – EDOW’s evening with Dr. Catherine Meeks” on Saturday, May 21, 2022, 4:30-6:00 p.m. EST at Calvary Episcopal Church in DC.
This dynamic presentation & panel discussion will focus on “Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing” in an effort to continue laying the foundation for EDOW’s commitment to remembering, reckoning and reconciling our histories pertaining to racism. With such an amazing keynote speaker found in Dr. Catherine Meeks, Director of The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, we knew it would be a gift to put her in conversation with powerful leaders in our community. We are excited to have our local clergy, the Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher Stewart and the Rev. Peter Jarrett-Schell join as panelists alongside Mr. Don Edwards, a trusted diocesan and wider church colleague and advisor for the work of racial equity & healing. We are in for a treat!
About the speakers:
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Catherine Meeks, Director of The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing
Panelist: The Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher Stewart, President of the DC Chapter of The Union of Black Episcopalians
Panelist: The Rev. Peter Jarrett-Schell, Chair of the EDOW Reparations Task Force and Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church
Panelist: Mr. Don Edwards, Founder, CEO and a principal of Justice and Sustainability Associates
The Work Continues – Save the Date!
Building from the Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing – EDOW’s evening with Dr. Catherine Meeks event, we’ll have the opportunity to continue with this work in the coming months. We invite you to mark your calendars for The Diocesan Reparations Symposium on Saturday, October 1, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church.
We’ll hear from historians researching the history of Diocesan participation in chattel slavery, EDOW congregations investigating their own legacies with race and racism, and Black community leaders working on the question of repair in the DMV.
The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas will deliver the keynote, laying out the theological and spiritual foundations for reparations work. Participants will leave with concrete next steps to share with our congregations.
Registration for this event will open in late May. For now, please save the date!
Consider taking one or more of the following short-courses as a vestry or leadership team. The first course is a stand-alone introduction to vitality. The final four are meant to be taken in sequence. To take any as a team with private access, please contact The Rev. Emily Snowden, Coordinator for the School.
Introduction to the Vital Signs of Parish Health
Learn about the Seven Vital Signs of Parish Health, including prompts and ideas about engaging the signs more deeply in your congregation. Instructor: Anne-Marie Jeffery (Register here)
We Need Alignment
This short-course overview, based on the Unstuck Process, clarifies for teams that “why” we do ministry comes before the “how”. The materials presented will set the foundation for how your team will be moving through a strategic process that aligns every team and every team member to the work they are called to do and teams will learn the life-cycle of a congregation, vital signs of parish health and the strategic alignment pyramid. Instructor: Mark Meyer (Register here)
We Need to Face Outward
Who is God inviting you to reach out to share Jesus’ liberating, life-giving love both in acts of service and invitations to know and be in relationship with God in community? Learn how to become a congregation that reaches out to neighbors. Instructor: Mark Meyer (Register here)
We Need a Vision
Vision and values are terms often talked about but rarely implemented within parishes. Without vision, congregations tend to look inward and talk (and sometimes bicker) about smaller things. This short course offers an opportunity to develop and cast a vision to be part of something bigger than any of us could do on our own. Instructor: Mark Meyer (Register here)
We Need a Plan
How your team fundamentally operates will have a huge impact on whether your team and your people will accomplish your faith community’s vision plan. Breaking down goals into next steps, equipping your team, and keeping folks’ focused on the vision are all necessary elements for success. This short course covers organizational goals, path of discipleship, and growth engines. Instructor: Mark Meyer (Register here)
The new EDOW Creation Care Task Force has leapt into spring 2022, learning and listening to the many exciting ways our parishes are taking care of God’s Creation – and is looking for more examples from you!
Various parishes in the Diocese of Washington have redesigned their grounds to include pollinator gardens, regenerative agriculture, and to better manage water runoff. They’ve planted trees, contemplative gardens, and community food gardens. They’ve eliminated pesticides and gasoline-powered landscaping equipment. Parishes have also seen big savings on energy costs through more efficient lighting and heating equipment, switching to solar, wind power, and geothermal heating and cooling.
Creation care has fostered spiritual growth through developing outdoor worship areas (a real advantage during the pandemic!), labyrinths, Earth care-centered retreats, hikes along the C&O Canal, and stream clean-ups – a favorite activity for energizing young people to join in.
Parishioners have become expert at recycling, reusing, and reducing to zero waste. They’ve also reached outside their church walls through advocacy, educational forums, book discussions, parish presentations, community action for environmental justice, and fruitful partnerships with organizations like Interfaith Power and Light, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, the Washington Interfaith Network, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Anacostia Watershed Society, Georgetown Ministry Center, Charlie’s Place, Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, So Others Might Eat, Montgomery County Interfaith Council, and many more.
Charged by Bishop Mariann to learn how our parishes understand God’s call to care for Creation and to take stock of their Creation care activities, the Creation Care Task Force is in the process of making personal calls to all parishes in each of the eight EDOW regions. It has been exciting for Task Force members to hear about all the fruitful work already underway, to gather best practices and information about Creation care efforts, and to brainstorm how the Task Force can offer the most effective assistance.
If you can help us learn more about what your parish is doing or planning, please reach out to the Task Force leadership at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information we acquire will be shared with EDOW parishes, and will guide the next efforts of the Task Force.
The Task Force’s co-chair, Doug Holy, of St. James, Potomac, is enthusiastic about the Task Force, whose 18 members bring an array of talents and passion for God’s Creation from around the Diocese. “We have a team with the experience and the passion to learn from the successful efforts of many of our parishes and to assist all parishes in strengthening their focus and actions regarding Creation care,” he said. “We know that, with the continued strong support provided by Bishop Mariann and the diocesan staff, we will be successful.”
The Creation Care Task Force was commissioned at January’s Diocesan Convention to promote Creation care practices in all our communities by:
- Amplifying and expanding the efforts of our Creation care leaders
- Sharing best practices among us; and
- Establishing regional and diocesan goals for reducing waste, preserving natural resources, and lowering our carbon footprint.
As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, we hear parishes asking important questions: Where are we? What’s next? How do we move forward from here?
One helpful lens for assessing where it might be most fruitful to invest parish resources is to engage with the Seven Vital Signs of Parish Health. The Vital Signs identify key markers that indicate the relative health of a parish. When used as a diagnostic tool, the vital signs can quickly show what areas of parish life are well-tended – and those that might need increased care and attention.
To help parishes better engage the Vital Signs, the School for Christian Faith and Leadership has developed an “on demand” course led by the Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery – An Introduction to the Vital Signs of Parish Health – that parish leaders can access at any time and complete at their own pace. Each Vital Sign is a stand alone module within the course and provides both a deep dive into the various aspects pertaining to that Vital Sign and how work done to improve one area may benefit other Vital Signs. Each module includes a reading, video, and ideas to try.
Because this is self-paced, there is no need to complete “the whole course” before getting started. Simply choose which Vital Sign the parish feels would be most beneficial to focus on, work through the materials and resources in the module for that Vital Sign and begin.
Need a little more guidance before getting started? Contact the Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery, Canon for Congregational Vitality.