Pray for the Church – June 17

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Pray for Ministries of Justice and Compassion in The Episcopal Church.
Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

About this prayer cycle
The Acts 8 Moment calls on Episcopalians to pray for the church, each day between now and the start of General Convention on June 25. To help you in your prayers, we have suggested a specific prayer intention for each day, along with prayers that might be helpful to you as you pray. We hope you will pray at various times of the day, but especially at 5:08 p.m.! (The number 5 is for the 5th book of the New Testament, the Book of Acts, and 8 is for the 8th chapter.)

The Acts8 Moment is a Missionary Society made of lay and clergy members of the Episcopal Church who seek to change the conversation in The Episcopal Church from death to resurrection; equipping The Episcopal Church to proclaim resurrection to the world. Read about the Acts8 Moment here.

Pray for the Church – June 16

prayercycle-june16

Pray for your Bishop and Diocesan Staff
O God, by your grace you have called us in this Diocese to a goodly fellowship of faith. Bless our Bishop(s) N. [and N.], and our diocesan staff, and all other people of this Diocese. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard, your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received. By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

About this prayer cycle
The Acts 8 Moment calls on Episcopalians to pray for the church, each day between now and the start of General Convention on June 25. To help you in your prayers, we have suggested a specific prayer intention for each day, along with prayers that might be helpful to you as you pray. We hope you will pray at various times of the day, but especially at 5:08 p.m.! (The number 5 is for the 5th book of the New Testament, the Book of Acts, and 8 is for the 8th chapter.)

The Acts8 Moment is a Missionary Society made of lay and clergy members of the Episcopal Church who seek to change the conversation in The Episcopal Church from death to resurrection; equipping The Episcopal Church to proclaim resurrection to the world. Read about the Acts8 Moment here.

Pray for the Church – June 15

prayercycle-june15

Pray for the Episcopal Church Center and its Staff
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, and especially for the officers and staff of the Episcopal Church Center, who serve our church faithfully, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

You can find a listing of staff by department here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/department

About this prayer cycle
The Acts 8 Moment calls on Episcopalians to pray for the church, each day between now and the start of General Convention on June 25. To help you in your prayers, we have suggested a specific prayer intention for each day, along with prayers that might be helpful to you as you pray. We hope you will pray at various times of the day, but especially at 5:08 p.m.! (The number 5 is for the 5th book of the New Testament, the Book of Acts, and 8 is for the 8th chapter.)

The Acts8 Moment is a Missionary Society made of lay and clergy members of the Episcopal Church who seek to change the conversation in The Episcopal Church from death to resurrection; equipping The Episcopal Church to proclaim resurrection to the world. Read about the Acts8 Moment here.

Pray for the Church

The Acts 8 Moment calls on Episcopalians to pray for the church, each day between now and the start of General Convention on June 25. To help you in your prayers, we have suggested a specific prayer intention for each day, along with prayers that might be helpful to you as you pray. We hope you will pray at various times of the day, but especially at 5:08 p.m.! (The number 5 is for the 5th book of the New Testament, the Book of Acts, and 8 is for the 8th chapter.)

Monday, June 15: Pray for the Episcopal Church Center and its Staff.

prayercycle-june15Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, and especially for the officers and staff of the Episcopal Church Center, who serve our church faithfully, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

You can find a listing of staff by department here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/department

Or alphabetical by name here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/staff

Tuesday, June 16: Pray for your Bishop and Diocesan Staff.

prayercycle-june16O God, by your grace you have called us in this Diocese to a goodly fellowship of faith. Bless our Bishop(s) N. [and N.], and our diocesan staff, and all other people of this Diocese. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard, your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received. By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, June 17: Pray for Ministries of Justice and Compassion in The Episcopal Church.

prayercycle-june17Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, June 18: Pray for your Parish and its Leaders (Clergy, Vestry, Ministry Leaders, and Others), and for your own Christian Witness.

prayercycle-june18Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, June 19: A Day of Prayer and Fasting for General Convention, the Decisions to be Made, the Presiding Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the President of the House of Deputies, The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, and the Executive Officer of General Convention, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe

prayercycle-june19Almighty and everlasting Father, you have given the Holy Spirit to abide with us for ever: Bless, we pray, with the Spirit’s grace and presence, the laity, bishops, and other clergy soon to be assembled in your Name in the 78th General Convention, that your Church, being preserved in true faith and godly discipline, may fulfill all the mind of him who loved it and gave himself for it, your Son Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the 78th General Convention for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it. We pray especially for the leadership of Katharine, the Presiding Bishop, and Gay, the President of the House of Deputies, that they may exercise the ministry of leadership wisely and faithfully; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one: Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom you have sent, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, June 20: Pray for the Election of a New Presiding Bishop.

prayercycle-june20Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a Presiding Bishop, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries. We pray especially for the nominees, Thomas, Michael, Ian, and Dabney, that they may feel your loving care through this election, and that your will for each of them may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

You can find the candidates here: http://www.generalconvention.org/pbelect

Sunday, June 21: Pray for the Mission of the Church.

prayercycle-june21O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred 
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world 
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself: We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your Name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours for ever. Amen.

Gracious Father, we pray for your holy catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Monday, June 22: Pray for Ministries of Evangelism in The Episcopal Church.

prayercycle-june22Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O God, who has made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you, bring the nations into your fold, pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, June 23: Pray for Ministries of Christian Formation in The Episcopal Church.

prayercycle-june23Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom: Enlighten by your Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn, that, rejoicing in the knowledge of your truth, they may worship you and serve you from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, June 24: Pray for the Deputies and Bishops from your Diocese.

prayercycle-june24O God, the fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and gracious, and whose law is truth: We beseech you so to guide and bless our deputies N. and N., and our bishop(s) N. [and N.], that they may make wise decisions and enact faithful resolutions that please you, to the glory of your Name and the welfare of this Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

You can find a list of deputies by diocese here: http://www.generalconvention.org/deputations

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Pray for the Church at 5:08 pm

You are invited to join in a practice of daily prayer for the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church! The Acts 8 Moment asks Episcopalians to set their smart phones and watches to alarm each day at 5:08 pm in their own time zone to pray for the church.

Why 5:08? For Acts 8. Acts is the 5th book of the New Testament, and the 8th chapter is the one in which the church responded to a culture hostile to the Gospel with greater faithfulness. The stoning of Stephen at the end of Acts Chapter 7 created a crisis. But the Holy Spirit led the church into new neighborhoods, and out into the wilderness to proclaim the gospel in new ways.

In advance of the 2012 General Convention, a movement called the Acts 8 Moment came together to call the church to make room for prayer, discernment, and reflection on the scriptures. During the General Convention, interested people met to do just that, to join together in prayer for the church. The Acts 8 Moment has continued since 2012, calling the church to faithfulness, prayer, and proclaiming the Resurrection. Before and during the 2015 Convention, join the Acts 8 Moment in praying daily for the Presiding Bishop’s election and discernment for deputies and bishops as they prepare to discuss and vote on restructuring, reimagining, and new ways to follow God’s call.

Pray for inspiration. Pray for discernment. Pray for us all to have the courage to go where the Holy Spirit will send us. We are in a moment pregnant with potential, and we hope for a Church up to the task of being the Body of Christ to a lost and hurting world.

$1.7M for New Ministry in the Episcopal Church: What Happens Next?


It is challenging to name a way of changing the church for the better through budgeting alone. In 2012, The Episcopal Church’s budget decided to do just that.

Believing that funding innovative ministries at the local level could provide new models from which the whole church could learn, The Episcopal Church distributed 38 grants totaling roughly $1.7 million for Mission Enterprise Zones and Church Plants in 2013 and 2014. As these grants required matching funds, $3.5 million was raised toward fostering creative ways to be the Body of Christ in differing contexts.

Ultimately, though, the measure of the success of each of these grantees isn’t measured in their ability to raise funds. It’s in their ability to spread the Good News of God in Jesus Christ in each of their communities, and in the process, change lives.

The Acts 8 Moment is following up with each grant recipient to report on the work and discover what grant recipients are learning. With more than a quarter of the stories in, here is some of what we have discovered:

1. Thomasville, GA  – Breaking Down Divisions
Three Episcopal churches in Thomasville, Georgia, founded in racial and doctrinal differences are working together to help the residents develop a plan to help themselves-a plan that will initially allow them to address neighborhood hunger, and later, empower them to address many of the other issues that are facing their community.
(See more: Community Development in Georgia)

2. Minneapolis, MN – Reaching Lost Sheep
Toua Vang recalls how his Hmong community felt like lost sheep, without a place for them to gather as God’s people. A Church Planting Grant underwrites the work Vang is doing in Minneapolis, but also “Hmong/Southeast Asia Ministry Probes” among Hmong in Olympia, Washington and Colorado.
(See more: Flinging open our doors to Hmong among us)

3. Santa Paula, CA – Sustainable Discipleship
See what grows out of an Episcopal/Lutheran campus ministry when they acquire a 4-acre farm and open up The Abundant Table in radically inclusive hospitality. This church start is also an Episcopal Service Corps site offering an internship combining communal living, work on the farm, learning about food injustice and self-sufficiency skills.
(See more: Communion on the farm)

4. Boynton Beach, FL – Unplug from the Noise of Life
St. Joe’s Unplugged is a mission of St. Joseph’s in Boynton Beach, Florida, whose focus is to attract people in their 20s and 30s, the unchurched, the de-churched, and those looking for a Fresh Expression of worship. They are learning to risk experiential opportunities in worship and to provide means for leadership and outreach.
(See more: Finding a new groove in Florida)

5. Birmingham, AL – A Coffee Shop with a Church
The Abbey is a new church start in Birmingham, Alabama, influenced by the tradition of monks and nuns teaching, nursing, crafting, and even brewing beer to both support themselves and to bring ordinary folks into contact with religious life. This dedicated team has learned a lot from the courage and faith needed to start something wholly new.
(See more: Sinners. Saints. Coffee.)

6. Pa’auilo, HI – Rebirth of Community and Connection
More than a century after its founding, St. Columba’s Episcopal Mission in Pa’auilo, Hawai’i, was down to a handful of the faithful as a preaching station of a neighboring church. They are now experiencing the joy and growing pains of rebirth into a multi-denominational, multicultural, multi-generational congregation.
(See more: Resurrection on the Big Island)

7. Asheville, NC – The Church in the World
As sacred space in a secular world, Kairos West Community Center in West Asheville, North Carolina, empowers emerging local leadership through art, liturgy, and social service in the spirit of Jesus. Kairos offers a neutral, open meeting ground and place for collaboration across sub-cultural, socio-economic and racial lines.
(See more: A subversive catalyst for the Gospel)

8. Spokane, WA – Youth Discover Mission in Spokane
In the Diocese of Spokane, the assets and needs of both community and church came together to form a mission exchange bringing youth groups in for short-term missions in two locations. The Pacific Inland Northwest Exchange takes youth out of their home town and shows them poverty somewhere else, where they can see it clearly, so they will have eyes to see the impact of poverty once they are back home.
(See more: Seeing Christ in others)

9. Biddeford, ME – Blue Collar Ministry
Since its founding in 1869, Christ Church in Biddeford, Maine, existed for the mill workers near the church. Attendance dwindled after the mill closed. Rather than focus inward, the remaining church members charted a course that could result in the discontinuance of regular worship services in order to focus on the creation of what the church was to become—The Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center.
(See more: Finding Jubilee in Maine)

And the Rest…
This series is continuing as new reports on these ministries are added week by week to the acts8moment.org site. You may also subscribe to these reports via RSS: http://www.acts8moment.org/category/stories/feed/

Spanish Ministry in Los Angeles

This is the ninth in a series of reports on initiatives funded through the budget of The Episcopal Church in its grants to Mission Enterprise Zones. Acts 8 Moment also has a series of reports on those receiving Church Planting Grants.

On the westside of Los Angeles there is a compact community called Palms that is known to have a dense and diverse population. Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 3.54.39 PMAt the intersection of Watseka Avenue and Faris Drive you will find St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Due to Palms’ dense population, St. Mary’s plays a vital role by hosting the only hispanic service within five miles of the church. Folks can attend a Spanish mass on Sundays at 1:00 pm along with English speaking services throughout the week as well.

With 40% of the congregation being hispanic, it is hard to ignore the need for a ministry dedicated to this population. With the grant money St. Mary’s was able to hire a quarter time priest. So far St. Mary’s has received half of the grant. The grant pays for the Rev. Juan Barragan’s salary and for other expenses. These expenses include things like educational materials and musicians. The grant is simply allowing St. Mary’s to keep this existing ministry going under the leadership of a new priest.

In regards to this ministry, it’s all hands on deck. Since Barragan is only there for a quarter of the time, he emphasizes the importance of support from the congregation. Through283045_250880514931377_6979339_n a dedicated network of volunteers, they help each other to do everything. Barragan notes that they are a young congregation in which they offer their time and are eager to help. They work together to go over financial needs, prepare bulletins, and music. Volunteers will also host yard sales, youth lots, and sell meals after mass to fundraise for other aspects of the ministry.

As of right now, there about 25 to 35 people attending the Spanish Mass on Sundays along with Sunday School and Christian Education. By going to door to door and visiting supermarkets and handing out information, Barragan insists it is the most ideal way to invite people to church. He explains that, “they come to the church because they feel the necessity to be a part of God’s Kingdom.” This is evident in their eagerness to love God and their neighbors. As purported by their website, “St. Mary’s congregation is small in number and large in love for God, for one another, and for all of God’s creation.”

One way to share God’s love is to welcome people by making church a more personal experience. Barragan does this by reassuring congregants, “you are not a number in the church, you are a person that we tgcare about.” An interesting way of communicating this message is through the phone. Through this outreach tool, Barragan is able to take pastoral care to another level, with Facebook, texts, phone calls, and the Internet. This seems like evidence that the Kingdom of God can happen here and now, at the speed of light.

Young Adult Ministry Development Team

This is the eighth in a series of reports on initiatives funded through the budget of The Episcopal Church in its grants to Mission Enterprise Zones. Acts 8 Moment also has a series of reports on those receiving Church Planting Grants.

The years from 18 to 35 offer a very difficult transition period for many young adults. Many worry about finding a job and more importantly finding something meaningful to do with their lives. They worry for the state of the world and want to positively impact their community. And for many who grew up active in churches as teens, this can also be a time of disengagement with any community of faith of any kind. The Diocese of Iowa is actively working with the young adults in the diocese to bridge this divide and a Mission Enterprise Zone from The Episcopal Church is helping to fund that work.

Lydia Bucklin (pictured here at EDS with her family) is a seminarian in the Distance Learning Program at Episcopal Divinity School and the Diocese of Iowa’s Missioner for Young Adults. As a part of here Field Education for seminary, she met with a group of young adults who had grown up in diocesan youth ministry, but who were no longer attending church. She wanted to know why there seemed to be a disconnect between the needs of young adults and what the church was offering. She reports, “I heard from them that they wanted to remain connected to one another and that distance did not necessarily need to be a barrier.”

She used her field placement as an opportunity to create an intentional community for young adults called “The Well”. The Well is a hybrid community that includes a Facebook page, regular gatherings through Adobe Connect video conferencing, and regional in-person gatherings inAmes, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, and Monticello. Currently, there are more than fifty members in this community throughout Iowa and beyond. Bucklin saysm “We celebrated Christmas with dinner at church, Passover at the bishop’s house, had a week-long summer retreat, went boating and had Eucharist at a park around a picnic table, and ultimately together have formed a spiritual community that holds one another in prayer and celebrates the joys and challenges of life together.”

Her work expanded to the creation of a Young Adult Ministry Development Team (YAMDT) for the Diocese. Ministry Development Teams are built around an understanding of baptismal ministry, a collaborative way of being, in which all gifts are honored and all voices are heard.

The Mission Enterprise Zone grant, which required matching funds through the Diocese of Iowa, has provided the ability to gather the Young Adult Ministry Development Team and to host a variety of events around the diocese focused on young adult ministry. The Young Adult Ministry Development Team now consists of a group of more than 35 people passionate about ministering with and among young adults in the Diocese of Iowa. They represent congregations in rural and urban areas, with young adults both on and off of college campuses. More than half of our members are under the age of 30.

One of the YAMDT’s first tasks, when they gathered in February, 2014, was to define young adulthood and to explore what life looks like for this particular social location. Young adults, for the purpose of our ministry, are those post high school, roughly between the ages of 18-35. The diversity of this population is great. With some in college (universities, private colleges, and community colleges), others working full time, some serving in the armed forces, some living at home with their parents, some with children of their own, and many financially insecure.

In late June, the Diocese and the YAMDT hosted “Camp Ruah”, a retreat for young adults ages 18-40 as an opportunity for refreshment and renewal. Each day included opportunities for spiritual direction, meditation, worship, fellowship, and physical wellness. The Pictured Rocks Camp provided a climbing wall, the Maquoketa caves, many hiking trails, outdoor worship space, an olympic sized pool, and a river for exploration and tubing.

As the YAMDT gathered, they could point to some hopeful signs of engagement with young adults happening around their Diocese. In addition to The Well, some examples include:

  • St. Paul’s, Grinnell which bakes birthday cakes and delivers them to students on campus. They have been doing this ministry for more than 60 years and hear from students and parents that this gift means so much, with birthdays as one of the hardest times to be away from home for many students.
  • A number of church communities, such as St. John’s in Dubuque, Trinity in Muscatine, and Trinity Cathedral in Davenport, have hosted meals for young adults, providing an opportunity for fellowship and deeper conversation.
  • The Cathedral Church of St. Paul launched a Saturday evening service that met both outdoors and in the smaller Chapel space. The alternative worship time and format seemed to draw in a number of young adults.
  • The Church of the Savior, Orange City, a relatively new church plant located in a house on the edge of campus that continues to fill their space each week with students from Northwestern College.
  • Threehouse, a campus ministry at the University of Northern Iowa in partnership with the United Methodist Church is truly a “third space” and an example of radical hospitality. Hundreds of students utilize the space, which includes a rotating art gallery, innovative worship space, a community kitchen, meeting rooms, a game room, and a large space for dance and fitness classes in the basement.
  • James Tener, Campus Chaplain at Iowa State University engages students through music with the choir, as well as other Episcopal students on campus in regular programing and formation. Jim and the students at ISU are in the process of planning a spiritual retreat for college students that will most likely take place during the upcoming school year.
  • The University of Iowa in Iowa City continues to invite students into the powerful ministry of the Agape Café, a weekly feeding program that serves breakfast free of charge at Old Brick, a historical building located on the campus of the University of Iowa. The Rev. Raisin Horn’s pastoral presence and engagement with students, faculty, and staff weaves the campus ministry into the fabric of Trinity, Iowa City.

So how can a congregation or diocese reach such a vastly diverse population as young adults? Bucklin says, “I believe the answer lies in the hands of the local community.” Congregations can ask “Who are your young adult neighbors?” The members of the YAMDT, bolstered by the examples above, believe there are things every community might do to reach out to this population. With assistance from the Mission Enterprise Zone Grant they are continuing to gather and to explore how best to support this ministry to the 18-35 year olds in their midst who are navigating a difficult transition period in their lives.

Latino Ministry and Going Door to Door

This is the tenth in a series of reports on initiatives funded through the budget of The Episcopal Church in its grants to Mission Enterprise Zones. Acts 8 Moment also has a series of reports on those receiving Church Planting Grants.

Is evangelism something Episcopalians are known for? What kind of reaction do you think you will get when you tell someone you’re going to go door to door to get more people into your church? More recently, you would get a negative reaction. Evangelism is not what we typically do. In fact, it is definitely something we should do.

After chatting with Dennis McManis, Canon for Mission and Outreach in the Diocese of Southwest Florida, he explained that is exactly what they do. This diocese is working on developing a Latino Leadership Ministry. He explains, for a priest to be successful, “the priest needs to walk the streets, go door to door.” By word of mouth and personal invitations, they were able to gain interest in a couple of families and then things took off from there. McManis emphasizes it’s about risk taking, “don’t be afraid to take a chance.”

0304-Cursillo-127-Spanish1When reaching out to the hispanic community, an important question to ask is, “what can we do for you and your family?” Right now St. Mary’s in Palmetto has a Hispanic Service every Sunday at 1 p.m. In addition, by offering first communion classes, the parents that come with their children end up being confirmed as well. Last easter there were 45 confirmands and last month they had 40 confirmations and nine baptisms. The diocese had their first Spanish Cursillo last spring and it was extremely successful, they already have a waiting list for the next event.

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After attending a conference on Latino ministry, McManis learned the key to a healthy congregation is lay leaders, and possibly a deacon to go out into the community. He also learned that you don’t necessarily need a Spanish speaking priest as Latinos know the sacramental part of the Mass. Thus, the grant is allowing this diocese to raise up Latino Ministry Leaders. McManis’ vision is to work with the diocese’s seven Lati10294499_399752306869030_880216754449742589_nno worshipping communities which will identify five English speaking and five Spanish speaking potential leaders from each church. Through training and workshops, the plan is to discern the gifts and needs of each church. Then, through their diocesan School for Ministry Development, training will occur for these leaders in the church’s seven canonical areas for licensing lay people.

To date they have completed workshops for one church, underwrote the Cursillo, provided training in the use of the Book of Common Prayer and the training of Eucharistic Visitors. McManis noted that just a couple of years ago, the diocese had two Latino congregations and today they have seven and are foreseeing more growth in the future.  It is his hope that they can develop Spanish courses for the formation of deacons in the future.

The concept arose from Richard Lambert’s doctoral thesis. The only setback McManis spoke of was when Lambert retired, the process was delayed. With this delay very little of the grant has been spent to date, but McManis feels they are well positioned to realize the full capacity of the grant this year.  McManis noted how there were so many people interested in volunteering their time and resources that the grant money allows them to explore opportunities for creative programming.

Cooking Up Justice in Virginia

This is the seventh in a series of reports on initiatives funded through the budget of The Episcopal Church in its grants to Mission Enterprise Zones. Acts 8 Moment also has a series of reports on those receiving Church Planting Grants.

Moving from merely feeding people to opening the door to long term lifestyle changes is far from easy. Trinity Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, is seeking to do just that as they tackle issues of food, health, and justice through a creative garden and kitchen ministry. Their Bread and Roses ministry seeks to transform lifestyle choices surrounding the acquisition, cooking and eating of food in an urban context. The ministry came together out of a year-long consideration in which members of Trinity studied Thomas Keller’s Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just. Using the book as a guide, they focused not only on the biblical foundation of justice, but also on what that justice might look in their community involvement.

“There’s not only a need to feed people, but to attempt to address some of the systemic issues behind that hunger,” said Bailey. “This ministry is really geared toward transformation, and really trying to change the way people think and relate to food. We are interested in long-term and lifestyle changes.”

One issue is that food assistance to low income families comes largely in canned food and instant soup and other non-perishable food. Not only are they poor on nutrition, but these low cost options high in sugar content which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health issues. Even when non-profit gardens offer mounds of fresh produce, that only works if those receiving the food know how to cook the fresh vegetables they receive.

Trinity’s Vicar, the Rev. Cass Bailey, says, “O.K., you get fresh food, but then how are you going to cook it? What ways do we need to learn and re-learn how we prepare our foods in order to get the most taste and the most nutrients from them?”

Founded in 1919 as a Diocesan mission in the historically black neighborhood of Vinegar Hill, Trinity has a history of being engaged in the community. Using a garden to better its neighborhood is a logical extension of that history. Partnering with health care professionals, farmers, and other churches, Bread and Roses uses its garden and kitchen to teach low-income residents to cook unfamiliar foods, to preserve produce so it can be eaten out of season, and to create meals that bring the family together.

In the initial phases of the Bread and Roses Ministry, Trinity raised $70,000 of the $90,000 project total to renovate its kitchen. The commercial-grade kitchen will be the hub of the project, offering a place to provide afterschool meals, as well as teach classes on cooking homegrown and farm-produced food. The church also received a $17,000 United Thank Offering grant which provided commercial equipment for the church’s kitchen.

In 2014, Trinity received its Mission Enterprise Zone Grant from the Episcopal Church to fund the second phase of the project in which a staff is hired one day a week during year one and two days a week during year two. The role of this staff person is to foster partnerships within community and oversee program development. Trinity matched the grant with funds from a diocesan Mustard Seed Grant, Region XV and three other Episcopal churches in the Diocese—Christ Church, Charlottesville; St. Paul’s, Ivy; and St. Paul’s Memorial, Charlottesville.

“One of the things we are trying to do with this effort, given our size and the scope of what we want to accomplish, we really can’t do by ourselves,” said Bailey. “We really need to rely on partnerships with other churches and community organizations. We began this ministry by really focusing on establishing those partnerships and relationships with other churches.”

By summer 2014, the garden in front of the chapel was burgeoning with raised beds of cabbages, tomatoes, greens beside the parking lot and a rock garden in the rear of the property. Benches for contemplation add to the inviting grounds. All ages, abilities of volunteers gathered at the garden on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4:30-6 p.m.; Saturday mornings from 9 a.m.-noon; and Sundays after church. The church uses this garden and their kitchen to teach about food from seed to soup.

www.trinityepiscopalcville.org