August 2017 Vestry Papers: Small and Rural Churches

August 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

What does a small church need to be effective? Small and rural churches have a distinct set of concerns and challenges, and generalized resources often aren’t helpful given their unique context. In this issue, we hear the experiences of rural and small church communities – their struggles, successes, and strengths, and learn how a small church often means that God has big plans.

In June and July, ECF invited part-time clergy of small Episcopal congregations to two online discussions to listen to the critical challenges their congregations face in the areas of strategic planning, leadership, and financial resources. In Resources and Support for Small Churches, Susan Elliott shares some key takeaways.

What is a scrappy church? In Sustainability in the Scrappy Church, Nancy Frausto describes how this type of church perseveres against all odds because they are rich in the gift of people who are fiercely passionate about their church and neighborhood.

Ever wondered what it’s like for a small church to carry out a successful capital campaign? In A Small Church Capital Campaign Experience hear first-hand from Wanda Copeland about their learnings on visioning, communicating and campaigning with clarity.

Each year the Rural Church Ministry Commission in the Diocese of Dallas organizes a gathering for rural churches in the area to learn new ways to minister to their community together. In Rethinking Rural Church Ministry, Rebecca Wellborn writes about the significance of this gathering and the difference it is making in rural church communities across Dallas.

Statistics reveal that many English-speaking church communities in the US are dwindling in number, while Spanish-speaking members are growing. In One Missional Way to Grow Your Small Church, Sandra Montes brings us examples of this imbalance that reveal how partnerships in diversity can help our Church grow in meaningful ways. This article is available in English and Spanish.

As part of ECF's on-going efforts to assist congregations in developing their strategic, leadership, and financial resources, we are offer a wide range of webinars for clergy and lay parish leaders. There is no cost to participate in ECF's webinars and all are welcome to join. You can find a complete listing of upcoming webinars here as well as view our archive of past webinars on a variety of topics.

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

Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECFVP