July 2017 Vestry Papers: Small and Rural Churches

July 5, 2017

Dear Friends,

In 2015, 71% of our congregations had an average Sunday attendance of 100 or less, and the median average Sunday worship attendance was 58. A majority of us worship in small or rural churches, and these communities have a unique set of circumstances and challenges. In this issue we begin to share ideas, inspiration and resources especially for smaller churches, to highlight that we are not alone in this experience, and that transformation is possible in a variety of God-led ways.

Do you struggle with social media? Is there simply not enough time or resources to maintain an active Facebook page? In Facebook for Small Churches, Parish Administrator Jenny Shutt shares her experience of successfully creating and maintaining a Facebook page for her small church.

Sometimes a unique solution is the best one. Kimberlee Auletta and Sarah Kooperkamp are co-Priests-in-charge at their parish; an arrangement that they say allows for more time to truly live into their ministry and personal lives, as well as model a healthy example of shared ministry. Read about it in Sent Out Two by Two.

Is your church aware of the resources and support your diocese administrator can provide? In Church Administration and the Diocese, Martha Goodwill, Parish Administration Resource for the Diocese of Southwest Florida shares some benefits, like being a part of a strong peer network and learning from each other’s best practices.

There are some exciting things afoot in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota in the area of leadership formation. In Reimagining Leadership in Small and Rural Churches, Kelsey Schuster, Susan Daughtry and Karen Olson bring us news about the ECMN School for Formation, which is transforming small church communities by creating a thriving network of local leadership.

Do you use the Vestry Resource Guide? Strong lay and clergy leadership teams are at the heart of healthy, thriving Episcopal congregations. ECF's Vestry Resource Guide contains information and recommendations for congregations of all shapes and sizes to help vestry members and clergy work together to become an effective, even transformational leadership team. Purchase a copy for your vestry here.

To learn more about ECF and our programs, please visit our website.

Faithfully,

Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECFVP