Special guest Corban Qualls joins us for a conversation about the Incarnation. Plus – music for Pentecost!
This week’s collect:
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 252)
Featured music: “Breathe on Me” performed by Michael van Patter, distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND license. “Pentecost” by Haden Laas, arranged and performed by Grant Valdes, distributed under a CC BY-NC-SA license. “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” performed by Aaron Devries, distributed under a CC BY-NC-SA license.
Though intended to be digitally remastered picture disk edition of our seventh show, the original sound files were lost so this is just a rebroadcast for the sake of completeness. We’ll be back with new content soon!
This Week’s Prayer
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
A digitally remastered picture disk edition of our sixth show! We didn’t know what we were doing when we started, so the audio was terrible…now, with our acquired skills, experience the early episodes of The Collect Call like never before.
This Week’s Prayer
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A digitally remastered picture disk edition of our fifth show! We didn’t know what we were doing when we started, so the audio was terrible…now, with our acquired skills, experience the early episodes of The Collect Call like never before.
This Week’s Prayer
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A digitally remastered picture disk edition of our fourth show! We didn’t know what we were doing when we started, so the audio was terrible…now, with our acquired skills, experience the early episodes of The Collect Call like never before.
This Week’s Prayer
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people; Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A digitally remastered picture disk edition of our third show! We didn’t know what we were doing when we started, so the audio was terrible…now, with our acquired skills, experience the early episodes of The Collect Call like never before.
This Week’s Prayer
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This is the fifth of a series of follow up reports by Acts 8 on the recipients of Church Planting grants funded through The Episcopal Church budget. The $100,000 grants are matched by local money to make new church starts possible to communities that would not otherwise have the resources to start a new congregation. Brad Bates reports here on Our Lady of Guadalupe, Seattle, which received a grant from the 2012-2015 budget of the church.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Episcopal Church, Seattle, is a bicultural, bilingual, progressive Latino ministry in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Bolstered by a contribution from the Episcopal Church and a matching endowment from the Diocese of Olympia, the Rev. Alfredo Feregrino planted the Our Lady of Guadalupe congregation in 2014 with a focus on urban Latinos, new-generation Latinos, while also reaching Anglos and non-Latinos.
Our Lady of Guadalupe takes Latino culture and traditions and put them in the midst of Anglo-Catholic worship. They celebrate five Latino cultural festivals each year – Cinco de Mayo, Fiestas Patrias, Dia de Muertos, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Las Posadas and Pastorelas – while incorporating artistic elements of faith and spirituality throughout the liturgical year. This approach can appeal to Latinos and many of whom have never heard of the Episcopal Church, as well as long-time Episcopalians, even if they speak little or no Spanish. All are welcomed and feel loved at our Lady of Guadalupe.
Feregrino was the first Latino ordained in his diocese, and is currently the only church planter. He his ministry is one of radical inclusion and hospitality to men and women who may find themselves socially and economically marginalized. “The goal,” he says, “is to bring those who are out on the margins back to the center,” which is why the Virgin of Guadalupe was selected as the patron saint. The Virgin of Guadalupe is “a symbol of unity that ties perfectly with the mission of the church, which as stated in the Book of Common Prayer’s catechism, is ‘to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ’” (p. 855).
“Unity is the core of my theology,” said Feregrino, “which finds its roots in two specific biblical passages. The first is Jesus’ Prayer for unity found in the Gospel of John, which conveys the idea that Jesus kept believers in their faith through divine power: ‘Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one’ (17:11, NRSV).
“The second passage is Paul’s letter to the Galatians: ‘there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus’ (3:28). Paul is declaring the distinctions of race, social status, and gender, which may generally divide people, no longer apply to those in Christ. A new creation is possible; one in which ethnic distinctions no longer matter because we all are one in Christ. It is not that people cease to be male or female; rather, these distinctions are not grounds for exclusion from the life that God offers all persons in Christ. This is not only what I believe as a steward of God’s mysteries, but this is the foundation of the theology of our ministry. Furthermore, this is the reason everybody is welcome to the table at Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a small congregation that shares worship space with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Feregrino appreciates this relationship. “Although difficulties can and often do arise when sharing space with another church, not having our own building is a good thing because we do not have to worry about expenses associated with owning a building.” Moreover, without permanent building, Our Lady of Guadalupe is better able to “foster unity with other congregations in the community. Not having a facility to limit us to one location gives us more of an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community. Instead of focusing on numbers and rooms, we are able to concentrate on the mission of transforming people into mature disciples for Christ.”
When asked what information, or bits of wisdom, he might pass on to people thinking of planting a church, Feregrino discussed the importance of thinking a plan through, understanding the theology of ministry, and having the willingness to work with different people. “The oneness of the church is a sign and witness to the world that Jesus was who he said he was. The implications of getting this wrong are significant. Therefore, by building bridges of radical hospitality and inclusion, we can all participate in God’s dream of unity where everyone is not only invited to the table, but also able to experience the source of love that is indiscriminate, abundant, and unconditional. Most importantly, though, be humble enough to understand you are not in control. It is God’s church,” he reminds us, “and it will make it with or without you.”
A digitally remastered picture disk edition of our second show! We didn’t know what we were doing when we started, so the audio was terrible…now, with our acquired skills, experience the early episodes of The Collect Call like never before.
This Week’s Prayer
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is the question we’ve received in our inboxes, on Facebook, and via phone in the days after Frank Logue posted his article about Grace Yukon (New Life Emerges from a Dying Congregation). We are grateful for his invitation to share the story of Grace and we are grateful for a chance to address this big question that many people raised. Essentially, what can we learn about the factors that are helping Grace Church grow? And what role does funding play?
We started brainstorming factors that have helped Grace Church grow, and the good news is that most of them are FREE! The biggest factors are a vision and an emphasis on reaching new people, welcoming them, and including them in the life of the church. There is an energy at Grace Church that new people feel. They realize that we want them there – we want to learn their story and to share our story with them. This is engrained in our Rule of Life when we talk about Authentic Relationships. So, Grace Church really wants to grow and we’ve created a culture of invitation, hospitality and inclusion and set up intentional processes to do this. We strive to put this into practice everyday.
If you are looking for a place to start on this work, check out Mary Parmer’s work in the Diocese of Texas with Invite, Welcome, Connect. It is a gold mine of ideas, checklists, and resources for inviting people to church, welcoming them (and following up), and then integrating them into your church. And it is FREE. There is no one right way to do this – it is about setting a culture, not copying a method. But many best practices can be found with IWC.
Every church re-vitalization is unique. Ministry is an art, not a science, they say. Re-vitalizations and redevelopments are about creating energy and momentum. There are many re-vitalizations tactics that could do some of the above work and create missional energy and health within a congregation causing it to grow. But it depends on how much momentum a church has and how quickly you need/want to ramp up the momentum.
In the case of Grace Church, the diocese felt like there was a lot of growth opportunity (Yukon is Oklahoma City’s fastest growing suburb) and momentum needed to be built quickly. Bishop Ed Koneizcny and our then Congregational Development Officer, Canon Kevin Martin, felt that a hard re-start would create the most momentum. This meant ceasing Sunday morning worship and entering a Sabbatical period of discernment with the previous congregation. This allowed us to bring along as many people as we could towards a new ministry. About a dozen of those members were excited enough to join us in the full process of discerning and visioning for Grace Church (several more returned when we re-launched as Grace Church).
This essentially left us with the start of a launch team for a new church, which would become Grace. We started meeting and inviting new people to attend community events and some to join the Launch Team. The Launch Team started creating the vision for Grace Church, our Rule of Life, clarity of our mission field, etc. The hard re-start/church plant method created a lot of Spirt-driven momentum and a lot of energy, as church plants frequently do.
But choosing a hard re-start meant essentially starting a whole new church out of an existing facility and maintaining the expenses of that facility while we didn’t have a congregation. This is why grant money was so essential for us. Plus, to have one full time and one half time clergy dedicated to this project, you need financial support. All church plants do.
Our goal from the beginning has been to plant a program sized church in Yukon, OK of at least 300-350 ASA. In addition to us as the clergy, the grant money allowed us to hire a part-time music minister and paid nursery staff from the start. Essentially, grant money allowed us to provide some staff before we could otherwise have afforded it. That is what grant money can buy. But money is useless without the vision and clarity of mission – without a passion for evangelism and including new people in the body of Christ.
Our grant money is spread out over 4-5 years and steps down as our congregation becomes financially self-sufficient. We are essentially a church plant and we are on our way to becoming a parish, but still have a lot of work to do.
Simply put, it takes money to do ministry. It takes dioceses and bishops willing to invest in people and resources. This is absolutely essential for re-starts and church plants. Maybe your diocese has it or maybe you will have to raise it. But money does follow mission. If God has planted a call in you to start a new church or to re-start a church, the money is out there. It just needs to be invited to be used for the Kingdom of God.
Maybe you are in a smaller church and wondering, “Is there a cheaper way to do re-vitalizations?” Absolutely. Get to work now. The harvest is plentiful, Jesus said. So spend some time reading the Apostle Paul and channel his urgency and zeal. Let’s get passionate about evangelism, about hospitality, about reaching out and including people. Let’s get intentional about our processes and practices! Let’s open ourselves to change and being flexible. And let’s do it before we are so limited on people and financial resources that it takes an infusion of cash and a re-start to get things rolling!
Do we believe the Episcopal Church has Good News to share?
If so, then figure out what your church has to offer. If you aren’t passionate about your worship and ministry or you don’t know what your church does well, then no amount of money can help – only prayer and discernment. But figure out what you do well and what enlivens your congregation. Maybe it is a fantastic Outreach Ministry. Maybe it is connecting people to the Sacraments though inspiring and accessible worship (so many evangelicals are thirsty for this). Maybe it is your small group ministry or kid’s ministry. Whatever it is, do it well, and get excited about it.
Knowing what you have to offer is important. But also look around and see what your community needs. Where do your gifts align? Can you be a different kind of church in your city? Start hanging out with new people… get to know them for who they are… show them you want authentic Christ centered relationships. Invite. Welcome. Connect.
Earlier today, Nurya Love Parish and Frank Logue tried out a new technology in public, and Episcopalians around the country joined in. Blab.im is still in beta, but early indications are that this live videostream technology is both simple and enjoyable. There are many ways the church can make use of this new social platform.
Today, we used it to discuss the Acts 8 Movement’s video evangelism project. The conversation included call-in guests who shared their experience with the video and gave ideas for future projects.
Watch the video:
Or, if you prefer just the audio, grab it here (and ignore that huge face which I can’t figure out how to change!):