First things first. I want to begin by giving thanks for the ministry of Doug Sparks. Doug currently serves as Rector at St. Luke’s Rochester and as Treasurer for ECMN, and he is also a Whipple Cross recipient. As you are hopefully all aware, Doug was elected this past weekend as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana. We will all miss Doug’s gifts in ECMN, yet we are grateful for his willingness to bring those gifts to our sisters and brothers in Indiana.
This all serves as a nice segue into my annual reflection on the anniversary of my ordination and consecration.
In ECMN, it is our unrelenting focus to assist every faith community to become crystal clear about their unique identity. At the core of this identity is to encourage every faith community to be actively engaged in gifts discernment and formation for all the baptized. A significant number of our faith communities are reaping the benefits of this good work through the Missional Assessment Process (MAP) and ECMN’s ever expanding School for Formation. I have also been particularly impressed to see the opportunities for our youth and young adults to grow in their gifts with our emerging camping ministry and Episcopal Service Corps. As we move forward, I am encouraged by the continued focus on ministry of all the baptized, the growing number of deacons, and the exploration of greater ecumenical partnerships in greater Minnesota.
In ECMN, it is our unrelenting focus to assist every faith community to use their discerned gifts in relational partnerships to meet the needs of their neighborhood. Each and every week, faithful Episcopalians across Minnesota are being sent out into their neighborhoods to join with others to engage in God’s mission. This is particularly exciting to see in the growing number of Missional Innovative Partnerships (MIPs). As we move forward, I am particularly encouraged by the deep intentional work with others to combat systemic racism and to bring forth racial reconciliation.
In ECMN, it is our unrelenting focus to assist every faith community to find a model for longterm sustainability. When faith communities take a deep dive into the stewardship of their people, property, and pennies, innumerable creative opportunities begin to manifest themselves. Your ECMN Trustees are doing significant work to find ways to walk with our faith communities in finding creative solutions for longterm sustainability. As we move forward, I am encouraged by the strong turnout for the recent Vestry Resource Day, and the impressive willingness of the leadership of our faith communities as they gather to “teach and learn” from one another.
ECMN is a network of faith communities called to transformation by engaging God’s Mission. As we stay focused on identity: ministry, context: mission, and sustainability: management, all are transformed by God’s mission of reconciling love.