Formation for the Missionary Church: April 2021 Vestry Papers

April 7, 2021

Dear Friends,

This is our second issue celebrating ECF’s partnership with the Gathering of Leaders (GOL). The GOL network has grown over the years, and new, creative and innovative voices continue to be added to the peer learning dialogues. Especially in recent years, female clergy leaders from around the church have added incredible depth and experience to each event and Gathering. My colleague Haley Bankey, who also serves as Executive Director for GOL, has helped curate this list of articles and vlogs from some of the women leaders of GOL. To learn more about GOL click here, and in case you missed it, you can find our previous issue here.

How do we understand digital ministry, especially in a pandemic? In Digital Ministry Is Here to Stay, the Rev. Callie Swanland and Jeremy Tackett join in conversation to explain how they’ve been telling their stories in the digital realm, what they’ve learned and share their hopes about how this type of ministry has endless creative possibilities as we imagine new ways of exploring evangelism, formation and discipleship in a post-pandemic church.

Westina Matthews has had the privilege of interviewing and learning from five Black women who have been consecrated as bishops in the Episcopal Church. In Gird Up My Loins, she shares a snapshot of her conversations and an insight into this powerful and important band of sisterhood. This article is available in English and Spanish.

While the pandemic has been challenging for almost everyone, one group in particular has had an especially difficult time: parents of young children. In Faith Formation at Home, the Rev. Allison Sandlin Liles describes her struggle around providing Christian formation for her children during this time of isolation, and the guidance and support she is able to receive from GrowChristians.org, an online space for Episcopal adults eager to be more intentional about faith formation at home.

What can we do to raise our children to have an understanding and respect for other faith traditions?
When the Rev. Mary Vano came to St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, it was clear that there was energy around formation for children – just not the usual Vacation Bible School way. In Breathe on Me, Breath of Life, she shares how Friendship Camp came about – an interfaith summer day camp for children in partnership with the Interfaith Center of the Institute for Theological Studies at St. Margaret’s, whose mission is to reduce fear and hatred among the world’s religions.

The Gathering, a ministry of The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, is a space for Asian Pacific American spirituality. In A New Gathering for Asian Pacific American Spirituality, the Rev. Yein Kim describes the ministry and how they were able to pivot during the pandemic, expanding their community online and their pool of resources, lifting up voices and serving those in this underrepresented yet vibrant community.

Mental health, wellness and spirituality have become critically important during this time of isolation, grief and fear. In Thrive in The Hive, the Rev. Hillary Raining shares examples of work they’re doing at The Hive - an online spirituality and wellness community, formed to bring ancient Christian practices of faith to those who are looking to grow and learn.

How can an endowment breathe life into our mission? At ECF, we believe that any church can be an endowed church, and we believe that any endowed church can bring its assets to life. Click here to learn more about ECF’s Endowment Management program, and hear from Carsten Sierck, our Director for Endowment Management.

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

Faithfully,

Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECF Vital Practices