Strategic Plan Year Three Mid-Year Report: School for Christian Faith and Leadership

Strategic Plan Year Three Mid-Year Report: School for Christian Faith and Leadership

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

Digging into the Work: St. Paul’s, K Street

Digging into the Work: St. Paul’s, K Street

How do we faithfully live into 4th century creeds, surrounded by 19th century musical and liturgical traditions, in a 21st century context? It’s true, the exact compounds that go into this alchemy are specific to St. Paul’s, an Anglo-Catholic parish snuggled on a shady stretch of K Street in Northwest DC. But while St. Paul’s may pride itself on its differences from our fellow Episcopal parishes–incense! Stained glass! Marian altars! Solemn Evensong!–the disconnect between our parish and the wider community is sadly common. And the root question–how we can be faithful to who Christ has called us to be, while also mindful of what He is already doing in the lives of our neighbors?–is also common to Christians at all times and places.

So we’ve assembled a team that represents not just our parish but our neighborhood, Foggy Bottom, writ large. Some of us are young, some of us are old, and some are old but would rather not think of ourselves that way, thank you very much. One is ordained. Four of us have law degrees (and one other will, someday). And four of us actually live in the neighborhood–which means that our team is more representative of 25th and K Streets than our parish.

Appropriately enough, we started with the physical and tangible. On a cold and rainy November morning, we led a contingent of parishioners around the boundaries of our parish. We were surprised and delighted that the crunchy tan gravel of the C&O Canal, the gleaming alabaster steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and, most of all, the charming brick rowhouses are all ours to tend, the people inside them all ours to discover and celebrate.

As the weather grew colder, we sensibly retreated indoors, to redirect our focus from the tangible diorama of our city streets to who exactly lived in these places. We poured over demographic reports telling us about our neighbors’ age, race, income, occupation, preferred social media–you name it, we have it. The sheer volume of information seemed, at times, overwhelming, even scandalous. Should we really know this much about our neighbors?

Then again, did Jesus really need to know that the woman at the well had been married five times (John 4:18)? Knowledge is the key to intimacy. As winter rolled into spring, and as spring has ripened into summer, we’re still trying to learn as much about our neighbors as possible. We’ve gone on more walks around our neighborhood. We’re creating avatars to represent the ‘average’ resident of Foggy Bottom (not an easy task–you try aggregating a college student with a retired person!) And we’re considering some goals for the coming year, ways that we can get out of our heads and open our doors to those around us. We’ve seen there’s a lot to harvest. But we need laborers–in our parish and beyond (Matthew 9:37).

Dylan Thayer
Parishioner, St. Paul’s, K Street

Digging into the Work is an on-going series reported by Tending Our Soil congregations as they implement some of the practical steps to growing in strength as vital bearers of God’s love in the world. St. Paul’s, K Street’s experience with getting to know their mission field is the first of the series.

Tending Our Soil: New Coaches for 2022

Tending Our Soil: New Coaches for 2022

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10: 24-25

Coaching is a proven technique to effect fruitful and lasting systemic change. The verses above from Hebrews ground our commitment to incorporating trained coaches who support and encourage the work of leadership teams from each participating congregation in the Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations initiative. Coaching conversations provide space for each team to identify learnings, expand possibilities, name action items, experiment, gain support, and build accountability.

We are pleased to announce that Benjamin Bynum, Carolyn Carr-Ragland, the Rev. Sheila McJilton, The Rev. Dr. Anna Olson, and the Rev. Sara Thorne have accepted the invitation to serve as coaches for the Tending Our Soil initiative. We invite you to pray for them and read more about them below.

If you have questions about Tending Our Soil, contact the Rev. Jenifer Gamber, Director of the initiative.

Benjamin Bynum headshot

BENJAMIN BYNUM

Benjamin (he/him/his) is a leadership coach and organizational development consultant. Based in Washington, DC, Benjamin has worked in Africa and Asia with USAID, the State Department, various US agencies, the UN, international schools, and multiple non-profit organizations.

In The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church in Southern Africa, Benjamin has served as an HIV/AIDS fieldworker and educator, an executive director of a literacy-focused non-profit on the diocesan staff, a youth minister, a deputy to General Convention, and a summer camp director and counselor.

Benjamin holds a MA in Leadership and Organizational Development, and a BA in Psychology, Education, and Religion, and a leadership coaching certification. He enjoys paddleboarding, beekeeping, hiking, baseball, reading, and going on adventures.

CAROLYN CARR-RAGLAND

Carolyn Ragland is a graduate of the Leadership Coaching Program at Georgetown University and is accredited at the PCC level. Coaching is a second career for her after working for many years at international development organizations in Washington, DC. Carolyn is a longtime member of St. James’s Episcopal Church in Potomac, MD. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a dual Masters in Business Administration and Public Policy.

Carolyn is an active member of the Robert Carr Fund (robertcarrfund.org) devoted to funding civil society initiatives around the world. She is a proud mother, daughter, friend, and an Episcopalian who loves traveling, reading, yoga, and poetry.

Carolyn Carr-Ragland
The Rev. Dr. Sheila McJilton

THE REV. DR. SHEILA McJILTON

Sheila McJilton recently “retired” after serving as rector of St. Philip’s in Laurel for over 14 years. Throughout her ministry, she has led vestry retreats and Mutual Ministry Reviews, and mentored at least ten seminarians and interns. In 2021, she completed the Fundamentals course on professional Coaching with the Co-Active Training Institute, affiliated with the International Coaching Federation.

Currently, she is on an EDOW team, guided by the Rev. Canon Robert Phillips, to help congregations in search transitions. In June, she also completed the professional coach training with the Holmes Coaching Group, which equips her to partner with Tending Our Soil parishes in the diocese. Sheila intends to continue coach training, so that she can coach both groups and individuals in the church and business world. She hopes to help people live more fully into their God-given potential.

Sheila is pictured near St. Columba’s Bay in Scotland, as a pilgrim on a challenging hike: a fitting exercise for any person of faith!

THE REV. DR. ANNA OLSON

Anna Olson is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary and Stanford University. She serves as pastor to Misión Buen Pastor (formerly Misa Magdalena) and interim Rector of Good Shepherd Parish, in Silver Spring.

Ordained in 2000, Anna has served four bilingual, urban congregations prior to Buen Pastor and Good Shepherd, all in the Diocese of Los Angeles: St. Mary’s, Koreatown; St. Luke’s, Long Beach; Trinity, East Hollywood; and Holy Faith, Inglewood. She has also worked in international human rights, interfaith economic justice advocacy, and union organizing.

She is the author of Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church: Freedom Beyond Survival (Westminster John Knox, 2016). She lives in Wheaton, MD, with two other humans, three cats, and a big dog.

The Rev. Dr. Anna Olson
The Rev. Sara Thorne

THE REV. SARA THORNE

Ordained in November 2020 following the Deacon School formation process in the Diocese of Washington, Sara Thorne serves as a deacon at Christ Church Kensington with a call to bring the world’s needs to the church and guide the church out of its buildings to meet those needs.

Sara holds a B.A. in Intercultural Studies from Trinity College and an M.A. from Michigan State University my M.A. Sara was a member of St. Alban’s DC for over 30 years where she served on the vestry, headed the Vestry/Transformational Grants program, led Lenten study groups, served on a search committee, led Annual Giving, and mentored Education for Ministry. Her most fulfilling service was on the founding Governing Board of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys in Congress Heights, DC. She currently serves on the Board of Grace Episcopal Day School.

Sara and her husband, John, have four adult children and six grandchildren. She enjoys Cape Cod Bay beaches, Cathedral bells (listening, not ringing), and cooking for family and friends.

Interim Missioner for Equity and Justice – Rudy Logan

Interim Missioner for Equity and Justice – Rudy Logan

Please join us in welcoming Rudy Logan, who begins work as the Interim Missioner for Equity and Justice on June 27th. Rudy comes to us from IMPACT Silver Spring, where he served as the East County Network Builder. His work included organizing events and trainings centering on antiracism, conflict resolution and local Maryland Black history; advocacy efforts addressing racial disparities in Montgomery County Public School with special emphasis on promoting robust mental health resource options; and facilitating literature programs focused on race, identity, community, criminal justice, and the relation between interpersonal life and social advocacy with age groups ranging from 10 to 35.

A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Rudy, strives to orient the spaces he walks in toward antiracism and transformative justice. He believes it is imperative to ground movement work in interpersonal care for the other and finds this focus fosters the deeper conversation, trust, knowledge sharing and relationship building requisite for sustained advocacy in ministry and the larger community.

Rudy’s experience as a Christian minister and justice advocate will bring a holistic lens to his work as Interim Missioner for Equity and Justice. Bishop Mariann writes, “From our first conversation, I was impressed with Rudy’s thoughtfulness, gentle spirit, and desire to pursue justice within Christian community.”

Rudy shares, “I’m excited to join the Episcopal Diocese of Washington! I look forward to getting to know the community and exploring what justice looks like together.”

Introduction to the 2022 Annual Giving Campaign Toolkit

Introduction to the 2022 Annual Giving Campaign Toolkit

“See, I am doing a new thing.”
Isaiah 43:19

If you are new to stewardship or would like to gather with others who are doing the same kind of work in congregations across the diocese, you are warmly invited to attend one of our Annual Giving Workshops.

Annual Giving Campaign Workshops
Saturday, July 9 | 10:00 AM | Grace Church, Silver Spring
Thursday, July 28 | 7:00 PM | Zoom

Register for a Workshop

Annual Giving Campaign Toolkit Resources page

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is pleased to share the 2022 Online Annual Giving Toolkit. The theme for this year, See, I Am Doing a New Thing, comes from the prophet Isaiah, and reminds us that God is always doing something new. As ever, undertaking an Annual Giving Campaign is an opportunity for parish leadership to remind congregations that their financial pledges are a crucial investment in the future life and ministry of the church.

For many, the recent past has been a mixture of uncertainty and concern, excitement and hope. We have continued to live with the ongoing pandemic, never quite knowing what the next day might bring or when the next surge in cases might come. At the same time, we have been able to regather inside our churches, worship together in-person, see old friends and welcome new ones, many of whom we have only known online.

While we continue to cherish the traditions that ground us and help provide some much-desired stability, the wilderness of the pandemic has also given us a chance to reevaluate how we can best follow Jesus into, as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry proclaims, a loving, liberating, and life-giving relationship with God, with each other, and with the earth. Long standing ministries have been revitalized with new ideas and focus. Buildings, sanctuaries, and worship spaces are being viewed with fresh perspectives. New ministries have sprung to life. Across the Diocese of Washington, we have:

  • Sponsored families fleeing war and hardship from around the world
  • Helped people experiencing food insecurity find healthy meals for their families
  • Supported community members on the edge of homelessness in finding resources to pay utility bills
  • Offered a warm and safe place to rest for people who are unhoused

Throughout the Scriptures, we see God and God’s people “doing a new thing.” In Genesis, God did the first new thing by creating the world out of a dark void, promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, and gave the 10 Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The prophets reminded the Israelites to look for new things in unexpected places. In the Incarnation, we see and experience the ultimate new thing as Jesus lives, dies, and rises again in our midst.

God is also inviting us to continue the work of discerning how best to preach the gospel afresh in this and in every generation. Through the financial support of our parishes, we join together with the Holy Spirit in breathing life, light, and hope into the world. This kind of engagement requires thoughtful and prayerful financial commitment from each of us.

No two congregations are the same in terms of available time and resources to conduct their Annual Giving Campaign.

With this in mind, we invite you to explore, modify, and use the materials collected in this toolkit in whatever ways will be most helpful to your parish. Your greatest success will come from adapting the timeline and other offerings to reflect your congregation’s unique needs and experiences. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if something seems unclear or if you’d like further guidance. The Financial Resources Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is ready to assist you in conducting a successful Annual Giving Campaign.

Email the Financial Resources Committee

2022 Clergy Conference – Save the Date

2022 Clergy Conference – Save the Date

Dear Clergy of the Diocese of Washington,

Your bishop, regional deans and diocesan staff look forward to your presence and participation at the 2022 Fall Clergy Conference, October 24-26 at the Maritime Center in Baltimore.

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. And – while the regional deans and diocesan staff are still working on a final agenda –we are excited to announce that The Rev. Dr. Allison St. Louis will be our conference leader.

Rev. St. Louis says:

“I am passionate about supporting individuals and groups in using their time on this earth wisely – to develop their strengths, attend to their growing edges, and live a joy-filled and purpose-centered life!“

We believe this will be well worth your time and that you will leave encouraged and supported.

Please remember that it is our bishop’s expectation that parish clergy will attend Clergy Conference.

Registration will open in early September. For now, we ask you to hold October 24-26 on your calendar for Clergy Conference 2022. Scholarships will be available.

We look forward to gathering with you in the fall.

Faithfully,

The Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery
Canon for Congregational Vitality