At Diocesan Convention in January, Bishop Mariann commissioned the Creation Care Task Force and called upon its members “to engage with congregations and regional leaders to identify current practices and offer concrete ways we can collectively strengthen our commitment to the care of God’s creation.” After months of steady work, the Task Force is pleased to share its initial findings: Taking Stock of Parish Engagement on Creation Care.
“We invite the engagement of all interested parishioners in this work,” say Task Force co-chairs Doug Holy and Melissa Sites. If you have additions to the data provided in the report–or wish to help our creation care efforts in other ways, please email the Task Force.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings this week on two of the most divisive issues in American society, striking down handgun restrictions in New York and overturning Roe v. Wade.
While both rulings were anticipated, the news of them sends reverberations across the country, and I write to acknowledge the pain and fear they invoke among those of us who had hoped the highest court in the land would uphold a woman’s right to full reproductive health and use its power to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in our land.
In neither case will these rulings settle the issues they address. Greater access to guns will only increase gun violence and death, and history shows that restricting legal access to abortion disproptionately impacts the heath and safety of low-income women. Moreover, overturning an almost fifty-year precedent of constitutional protection for women, will, in the words of Dean Randy Hollerith, “only further inflame the country’s profound division on abortion.”
The Episcopal Church’s positions on both issues–gun violence and women’s reproductive rights–seek to strengthen the moral fabric of our society, protect individual rights as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and address the inequities among us that are an affront to God. Thus we will continue to seek common ground where possible and constructive dialogue among varied points of view. This week’s rulings make our work harder and all the more important.
I pray God’s mercy and strength as we face the days ahead, giving thanks to all in our church and beyond who persevere in hope.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington
Our diocesan strategic plan calls us to “engage [equity and justice] issues such as racial justice, gun violence prevention, LGBTQIA+ equal rights, and immigration reform through on-going trainings, workshops, pilgrimages, and public witness.” This year, we’ve done notable work engaging in each of these areas and making progress on our Year Three measurable objectives.
In January, we offered a 6-week course on LGBTQIA Humility and Competence through the School for Christian Faith and Leadership to raise awareness of the experience of LQBTQIA persons in our communities and identify key theologies and practices to welcome and affirm them.
Also in January, at Diocesan Convention, Bishop Mariann commissioned the Creation Care Task Force. The call to this work was met with much enthusiasm and the Task Force set about the task of surveying the congregations about their creation care work. They have prepared a report which will be shared soon. Their next steps will be to look at possible initiatives for us to adopt regionally or as a diocese.
In fulfillment of General Convention resolutions mandating that all congregational leaders take anti-racism training, we have continued to offer anti-racism training twice a year, now online through the School for Christian Faith and Leadership. Watch for fall dates. This Spring the anti-racism course was offered for the first time in Spanish, an offering that will be repeated in coming years.
A change in name to the EDOW Refugee Response Team helped to reflect that this group is engaged in welcoming all refugees and migrants, from those coming from Afghanistan and Ukraine to the more recent migrants arriving on buses from Texas and Arizona. You read more about the work of the RRT in this article by Nancy Stockbridge, interim chair.
The Prison Ministry Task Force continues to provide welcome home bags to returning citizens along with phone and transit cards. They also provide short term mentorship to returning citizens.
In May, the Reparations Task Force offered “Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing,” an evening with Dr. Catherine Meeks and other leaders, as they continue to do the work of laying the foundation for EDOW’s commitment to remembering, reckoning with, and reconciling our histories pertaining to racism. This event is part of the lead up to the October 1st event Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations with a keynote address by the Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas. This symposium, as well as a curriculum for congregations to learn about the work of reparations, will lay the groundwork for a resolution publicly acknowledging these harms to be presented and the 2023 Diocesan Convention. Register for the symposium and download the flyer for the curriculum.
Earlier this month, members of the Diocese celebrated at DC’s Pride March and, for the first time, the Diocese hosted a booth at the Pride Festival the following day.
In June parishes also participated in March for Our Lives, calling for an end to the country’s rampant gun violence crisis and the enactment of sensible gun safety laws, and the Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March, calling for the restoration of voting rights.
We are pleased to welcome Rudy Logan as our interim missioner for Equity and Justice who will continue the good work of Hazel Monae, our former missioner.
Christ has no body but ours, no hands, no feet on earth but ours. Ours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Ours are the hands with which he blesses all the world (adapted from Christ Has No Body, Teresa of Avila). In the Diocese of Washington, we are committed to living Jesus’s Way of Love by leading with compassion, blessing our communities, and striving for equity and justice in our words and deeds.
The Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery
Canon for Congregational Vitality
Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
As we work together to revitalize our churches to grow the Jesus Movement, one of our primary Strategic Plan goals is to “become a spiritual home for our children and grandchildren.” We’ve been active on a number of fronts in 2023 in supporting that vision.
A major part of our focus has been on reaching rising generations. This effort kicked off with the Diocesan Convention Friday night event, Listening to Rising Generations , where we heard powerful testimonials from four young adults of the diocese and Mark Yaconelli cast a vision of what’s possible when elders take the time to make genuine connections with the youth and young adults in our communities (watch the video). We have also invited congregations to read the book, Growing Young, which shares research about churches that attract and support young people and the practices that facilitate that work. We hope to have a cohort of churches that embark on a learning journey of Growing Young with coaches from the Fuller Youth Institute.
A key part of this revitalization effort will beto launch/relaunch three worshiping congregations, and we have begun laying the groundwork for this work for the years to come by identifying possible geographic areas and leaders interested in this work. ACS Technologies is assisting us, beginning with a demographic MissionInsite study, to help us discern areas with the most potential to reach rising generations.
Another important piece of our revitalization work is being done by the Task Force on Black Ministries. Formed following the adoption of a resolution at Diocesan Convention, the Task Force is called to identify recommendations to enhance, revitalize, and empower Black churches and Black parishioners in the Diocese of Washington. The Task Force will report its findings and recommendations to the diocese in September.
The first cohort of 12 congregations completed Year One of the Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative–our flagship revitalization program. In Year Two, they will begin to address specific strategic goals. This fall, a second cohort of 12 congregations will begin their journey, focusing on getting into their neighborhoods and reconnecting with their mission to discover where God is leading them. Throughout the initiative, the activities that participating congregations engage in are being offered to all the congregations in the diocese, multiplying the impact of the initiative throughout our diocese.
The Seven Vital Signs of Parish Health continue to be the foundation of our vitality work. The signs ground parish visitations, transition work, the Tending our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative, and the work of congregations in Canon 54. Earlier this year, an Introduction to the Vital Signs course was launched through the School for Christian Faith and Leadership.
Join the work of revitalization with a July 30th workshop — Connecting with your Community — an opportunity to practice going out and interacting with those outside our church wall.
The Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery
Canon for Congregational Vitality
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12
The School for Christian Faith and Leadership, birthed at the beginning of the pandemic, continues to hold this proclamation by Paul to the Corinthians as a core driving principle. Every baptized person is a full member of the body of Christ, with gifts to fulfill the mission of the Church.
The School for Christian Faith and Leadership offers both online and in-person events as well as curriculum for congregations. Since September 2021, we have offered 25 courses to equip more than 500 congregational leaders across the diocese for their ministries of administration, justice, stewardship, formation, pastoral care, and parish vitality with both online and in-person events. More than a dozen congregations have used our curricula, including CREATE and A Faithful Life, resources developed for the Diocese of Washington for both youth and adults to learn more about The Episcopal Church and the Christian life.
You can view our offerings at www.edow.org/school. Fall 2022 offerings will be announced soon.
In addition to courses, the School for Christian Faith and Leadership has developed a Path of Discipleship with a suite of resources to help members of your congregation grow in faith.
The Rev. Jenifer Gamber
Director for the School for Christian Faith and Leadership and the Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative
Dear EDOW Clergy and Warden Colleagues,
I write with greetings, prayers of gratitude for you, and hopes that, amid the many responsibilities you carry, you are able to find time for rest and renewal this summer. While the world never stops and we are among those called to lead and to care for others, we are also in need of care and time to fill the inner wells from which we draw strength and compassion.
Summer is also a time of planning, and as you cast your gaze toward the fall, I commend to you the offerings of the School for Christian Faith and Leadership. Of particular value are the courses on faith exploration, Discover, Embrace, Become; an online confirmation class called CREATE, and a wide variety of other on-demand offerings. The School can also assist in tailoring a class to your particular context. Please contact the Rev. Jenifer Gamber for more information.
Another resource that may be of value to you is our Annual Giving Campaign toolkit that provides you with all the materials you need for your congregation’s financial stewardship efforts. This year’s theme is See, I am doing a new thing. Look for sessions through the School to introduce this program soon. Members of the Financial Resources Committee are standing by to be of help to you. Register to attend a workshop.
Your diocesan staff is also planning ahead, and I’ve included below the dates of diocesan events through the summer and fall. Please add to your calendars whatever is helpful or pertinent to you and the people of your congregation.
Let me close with words of encouragement and exhortation from the Apostle Paul that provide us with a compelling vision of what it looks like to follow Jesus in His Way of Love:
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. . . .Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I thank God for all of you.
UPCOMING DIOCESAN EVENTS
Annual Giving Workshops
Saturday, July 9 | 10:00 a.m. | Grace, Silver Spring
Saturday, July 28 | 7:00 p.m. | Online by Zoom
The Financial Resources Committee of the Diocese of Washington is pleased to offer two summer workshops using the Annual Giving Toolkit. In addition to sharing specific materials from the EDOW Toolkit, we will also be discussing the possible impacts of fundraising as we emerge from a global pandemic.
Questions? Contact the Financial Resources Committee.
Saturday, July 23 | 10:00 a.m. | Washington National Cathedral
By the Grace of God and the people consenting The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde will ordain to the Sacred Order of Priests, Catherine Manhardt and David Frederick Potter on
Saturday, July 23, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Washington National Cathedral.
Your prayers and presence are requested and clergy who are planning to process are encouraged to RSVP. The color of the day is red.
The service will be livestreamed and the link will be posted on the EDOW calendar.
Questions? Contact Archdeacon Sue von Rautenkranz.
Connecting with Your Community
Saturday, July 30 | 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. | Church of the Ascension, Sligo Parish
Connecting with your community is central to the vitality of every congregation, but it can seem daunting to step outside our doors into the neighborhood. Drawing on the practices of Asset Based Community Development, we will gather for a half-day to practice going out into the neighborhood to notice what God is up to. Participants will leave with tools to bring back to their congregation.
Click here to learn more and register. Come as an individual or a team.
Questions? Contact the Rev. Anne-Marie Jeffery, Canon for Congregational Vitality.
Congregational Growth Grants Fall Application Cycle Dates
The application cycle opens Monday, August 1 and closes Friday, October 7
EDOW Congregational Growth Grants support the efforts to grow healthy and vital congregations and create fresh expressions of Episcopal worshiping communities. The diocesan congregational growth grants offer an opportunity for parishes and ministries to dream, explore and undertake “a new thing.”
Questions? Contact Mildred Reyes, Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries and Diocesan Initiatives.
Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations
Saturday, October 1 | 10:00 a.m – 3:30 p.m. | Calvary Episcopal Church, DC
We will come together as a diocese for a full day of programming to continue our shared work to reckon with our diocesan history of participation in anti-Black racism and learn more about the legacy of benefit we’ve received from that participation.
Click here to learn more and register – and please invite members of your congregation to attend.
The Reparations Task Force will have a two-session curriculum ready in July for your congregation to learn about reparations and prepare for the symposium. Click here for the flyer.
Questions? Contact the Rev. Peter Jarrett-Schell, chair of the Reparations Task Force.
Fall Diocesan Confirmation Service
Saturday, October 15 | 10:00 a.m. | Washington National Cathedral
Registration for the fall Diocesan Confirmation Service will open on September, 9, 2022. For resources to support candidates as they prepare for confirmation, including EDOW’s online confirmation program, contact the Rev. Amanda Akes-Cardwell, Missioner for Faith Formation and Development.
Questions? Contact Archdeacon Sue von Rautenkranz.
Monday, October 24 – Wednesday, October 26 | the Maritime Center, Linthicum Heights, MD
Diocesan staff and your regional deans are at work planning the Clergy Conference program. The focus this year will be on clergy wellness and how we walk alongside one another in our call to serve God’s people. We will provide ample time for you to gather with peers and to explore new collegial relationships. The Rev. Dr. Allison St. Louis will be our conference leader. More details to follow soon; for now, please hold these dates on your calendars.
Questions? Contact Allen Fitzpatrick, Executive Assistant to the Canons.
Workshop Day on the Diaconate
Saturday, October 29 | 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Location to be announced
The Ven. L. Sue von Rautenkranz, Archdeacon of the Diocese of Washington, along with members of the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee, deacons, and priests with experience serving with deacons, will share their knowledge of diaconal ministry as well as practical next-steps in a day filled with presentations, small group information sessions, and worship. Registration will open on August 29, 2022. Learn more about the Workshop Day, including requirements for who must attend.
Questions? Contact Archdeacon Sue von Rautenkranz.
Tuesday, October 18 | 6:30 p.m. | Online | South DC, North Prince George’s, Southern MD
Thursday, October 20 | 6:30 p.m. | Online | North, Central and South Montgomery
Tuesday, November 17 | 6:30 p.m. | Online | North and Central DC
This year, in an effort to be mindful of our resources, regions will meet in combined groups. Please add the applicable date to your calendar and notify your congregation’s Diocesan Convention delegates and alternates. Registration, materials, and voting information will be shared closer to regional gathering dates.
Questions? Contact the Rev. Andrew Walter, Canon to the Ordinary and Chief Operating Officer.
Christian Formation Leaders Retreat
Friday, November 4 – Saturday, November 5 | Claggett Center
Join children, youth, and family formation leaders for rest, rejuvenation, and spiritual refreshment. This overnight retreat is a time for formation leaders to be in communion with one another and with the Rev. Amanda Akes-Cardwell, Missioner for Faith Formation and Development. The retreat will feature teaching, worship, downtime, and fellowship. 1-2 Formation leaders from each parish are invited to attend, however, space is limited. Registration opens September 1.
Questions? Contact The Rev. Amanda Akes-Cardwell, Missioner for Formation and Development.