Every spring across the wonderful state of Minnesota, Episcopalians gather for Mission Area Gatherings (MAGs). This is a wonderful time for the faith communities in every Mission Area to gather for fellowship, worship, learning, resource sharing and networking. This year, thus far, the MAGs have been outstanding.
Our faith communities in the metro are awesome! So many folks doing incredible work! Okay, now that I’ve been about my appreciation and affection for the greater Twin Cities, let me now turn my attention to our faith communities in greater Minnesota.
Most every weekend in April and May, your Team of Missioners and I load up our cars and drive across the state to gather with greater Minnesotan Episcopalians.
The vast majority of our faith communities in greater Minnesota come from small communities – both the cities and the congregations. There are a small number who attend on any given Sunday morning, and for the vast majority of them it has been decades since there has been any kind of paid, full-time staff.
Recognizing these demographics, one might assume that because of these small numbers and the lack of staff, these congregations might be on a downward spiral to extinction.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, some of our smallest faith communities are the most resourceful and vibrant. Born out of necessity, these faithful folks have figured out how to steward their resources of people-property-pennies to make a significant impact in their neighborhoods. And a huge part of their success is centered on their ability to partner with others in their communities. With greater partnership comes a greater capacity to be a part of creating the Beloved Community in their part of the vineyard of ECMN.
Our “smaller” faith communities, frankly, have a great deal of resources to share with our much larger faith communities across ECMN. As we continue to build our network of faith communities through learning from and sharing resources across ECMN, let us pay particular attention to our faith communities in small towns – for they have much to teach and share with all of us.