The positive energy was palpable! Folks had come from near and far to be “teachers and learners” to each other on this Lay Leadership Day.
Personally, I was overjoyed to see so many deeply committed Minnesotan Episcopalians come together in their new ECMN Gathering Space to enhance their ministry and that of their faith communities. I could not be more proud of who we are and who God is calling us to be as the Episcopal Church in Minnesota!
Last week I began my ninth year serving as the Bishop of ECMN. Part of my practice at this annual benchmark is to take a few moments to prayerfully reflect on our vision to be a network of faith communities called to transformation through engaging God’s mission. Our “operating system” and the lens that I like to use in breaking down what this vision looks like in action is that of Mission, Ministry and Management.
Our programmatic theme for this year is, “Engaging God’s mission of the Beloved Community.” Based on Jesus’ teaching around the Kingdom of God, Presiding Bishop Curry’s preaching on God’s dream and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s proclamation, there comes a clarion call to be participants in creating a world where the dignity of EVERY human being is respected. Across Minnesota our faith communities are partnering with their neighbors to bring an end to racism, hunger, gun violence, homelessness, the opportunity gap, and so many other things that stand in the way of dignity and respect. While we are clearly not the largest denomination, our impact in our communities and across the state is significant.
Our ministry goal in ECMN is that, “every faith community is fully living into the ministry of all the baptized, manifested in relationship with all 4 orders of ministry.” For this to take place, we are continuing to work with our faith communities to provide opportunities for gifts discernment and formation for all. Our School for Formation is providing an ever-increasing array of classes and the offerings for children, youth and young adults continues to expand, including more and more camping programs.
Our primary management objective is to ensure that every faith community finds a sustainable model to do the missional work God is inviting them to participate in. An ever-expanding network of resources and relationships means that more and more of our faith communities are finding a model to steward their people, property and pennies. Through good and faithful stewardship we see a movement from scarcity to sustainability.