March 2020 Vestry Papers: Beyond the Red Doors

March 4, 2020

Dear Friends,

In a time of consistently declining church numbers, it’s natural to focus on filling the pews. Our vestry meetings are often about brainstorming ways to attract young families or how we will make stewardship season work. In these times, shifting the focus and asking what we can do for our neighborhood and community can be transformational. In this issue we bring you stories of faith in action, of love and generosity and the gift of witnessing God in everyone around us. Have we asked – what is beyond the red doors?

In 1975, a group of compassionate individuals gathered in the basement of Christ Episcopal Church and started something that would change their town. In Neighbor to Neighbor, Margaret Tjimos Goldberg, Bobbi Eggers and Sue Bodson explain the history of the incredible Neighbor to Neighbor organization and how it supports their town of Greenwich.

Are we still tangled in very specific, traditional ways to “do church”? In the podcast Sacred Stories and Listening, Alli Gannett and Karin Hamilton chat with Jane Hale, who explores three neighboring towns in Connecticut, listening to people’s stories and hearing God speak through them.

St. Mary Magdalene in Manor, Texas, is a church that is bursting with new ideas to be Christ’s hands and feet for those around them. In We are SMM, Karen Peña narrates the experience of this inclusive, diverse church family and describes the projects they’ve enthusiastically taken on to serve their community. This article is available in English and Spanish.

How can we equip our churches to serve families and young people in our communities? What can we do to support them? In Be A Blessing for Young Families, Timothy Carr answers these questions and shares practical ideas for supporting families and young people in your community.

Many of our Episcopal institutions exist because past generations cared so much about the future of the Episcopal Church and expressed their caring by creating planned gifts. ECF has provided planned giving services to the Episcopal Church since 1995. We have distributed more than $25 million in planned gifts to Episcopal dioceses, congregations and organizations nationwide, and we manage over $45 million in charitable gifts. To learn more about ECF’s Planned Giving program, click here.

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

Faithfully,

Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECF Vital Practices