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