“We walked four blocks to get to the Convention Center in bitter cold weather – I’ve never been so cold in my entire life!”
Every time I talk about Minnesota, a couple of close colleagues in the Episcopal Church recall coming to my ordination to the Episcopate – paying particular attention to the weather!
As I do every year on the anniversary of my ordination I would like to share with you my perspective of the lay of the land in ECMN. I do so in our organizing framework, through the lens of our strategic initiatives here in ECMN.
Ministry: Every faith community is fully living into the ministry of all the baptized, manifested in relationship with all 4 orders of ministry.
We aspire to have every person in ECMN regularly engaged in discerning his or her gifts, and then provided with opportunities for formation to greater utilize those gifts. All four orders of ministry – lay, bishop, priest and deacon – require ministry gifts. Each order plays a role in the work of the Church.
To this end, more and more opportunities are being developed through the School for Formation and corporately through the Missional Assessment Process (MAP) and the Gifts Discernment Process. There are an increasing number of opportunities for ministry with our young people through our gatherings with youth, college students, and young adults, as well as expanded experiences at camp. More focus will be put on cultural context and geographical access as we continue to develop opportunities.
Mission: Every faith community has discerned their particular gifts and passions and have engaged with their neighbors to determine needs and potential partnerships.
In ECMN, we are striving as faith communities who have discerned their gifts and passions to move out into their neighborhoods to join with God in the good work that God and others are engaged in.
One of the greatest blessings I experience while serving as your Bishop is daily witnessing the many ways that the faithful are joining in God’s mission. With great pride, folks regularly share with me how they have partnered with others in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, showing hospitality to the stranger and working for justice and mercy for all.
It is clear that God is continuing to invite us to join in God’s mission. Our continued work is to discern the gifts we bring to this mission and the partnerships we need to develop in doing this good work.
Management: Every faith community has sustainable resources.
In ECMN we seek to build faith communities that have a sustainable model that allows them to use their gifts for God’s mission. At its roots, this is about people, property and pennies. Every faith community is different in terms of what resources they have. Success happens when there is clarity of resources and alignment with ministry opportunities.
A significant number of our faith communities have found their ‘sustainability sweet spot.’ Yet still, work continues in finding best practices and new thinking that helps faith communities fully embrace their available resources.
From my perspective, the lay of the land in ECMN is very positive. The key to our health is our people. Every faith community in ECMN has dedicated, faithful people striving to follow in the Way of Jesus. Supporting and resourcing this good work is a very competent cadre of Episcopalians who are serving on our Elected Bodies and on the Team of Missioners.
Minnesotan Episcopalians are phenomenal people and I give thanks for the blessing and privilege it is to serve as your Bishop.