Often there is more going on than we realize. The signs of flourishing ministry in congregations have moved far beyond Sunday worship attendance and the amount of offerings in the plate. Today we are measuring the signs of resurrection life that spring up in and through the church in a variety of ways other than traditional modes of ministry.
Read, What if We Are on the Road to Emmaus?, written by Carla Leon, Innovation & Special Projects Co-ordinator for the EDGE – A Network for Ministry Development (published by Flourishing Congregations.org).
Religious affiliation is shifting greatly in our society. One concerning demographic change is the rise of what we call the 'nones' - those who claim no connection to a faith community. In fact, this is the fastest growing “religious group” in Canada. They represent 24% of Canadian adults, 28% of Canadian millennials, and 32% of Canadian teens.
Curious? Read, Understanding the Nones, by Ann A. Michel, published by the Lewis Centre for Church Leadership.
(See also Flourishing Congregations Institute) - https://www.flourishingcongregations.org/post/2018/06/27/flourishing-update-july-4-2018
Most enduring, life-giving relationships begins with some sort of hospitality.
Whether it's a new friendship, joining a small group or two congregations merging together, radical welcoming is the key.
Here's another real-life story featuring congregational partnering in Episcopal Church Foundation Vestry Papers. It's entitled, How Two Became One, written by Sandy Webb and Jack Nelson.
Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices - Blogs - How Two Became One
The invitation was simple: “No agenda, just conversation. No pressure, just invitation.” With these words, the rector and newcomers coordinator at Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis invited the members of St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church in nearby Bartlett, Tennessee to a service of Evening Prayer followed by a time of conversation.
STRONGER TOGETHER Partnering, yoking, clustering, merging - whatever the term, collaboration in various forms is a great option for congregations. Our Diocese has several parishes and a couple of regions, who are seriously considering some type of sharing - ministers, programs, training, etc. Not only are we 'stronger together', but the variety of voices and gifts to be shared, along with reductions in costs, means each congregation has more capacity to focus on missional ministry.
Read about a real-life case involving Anglican churches in Maryland in Greg Syler's blog, Merging Parishes. https://www.ecfvp.org/blogs/3870/merging-parishes
In the last few years, we are striving to know our neighbours better, and to explore the rewarding ways of loving service. Our diocesan emphasis on the missional call to connect with the wider community has parish leaders reframing how we actively minister. As we learn and grow, we also rediscover our baptismal identity. Read more about this in, THE WAY OF LOVE: GO - Go Cross Boundaries, Listen Deeply, and Live Like Jesus. The article is written by Jerusalem Greer, staff officer for evangelism for the Episcopal Church in the Office of the Presiding Bishop.
NEW LIFE: CONNECTING WITH GOD
Next week theEaster season begins, spring is sprung, and people are longing to be outdoors. These are three good reasons to encourage parishioners and the faith-curious to discover the Divine outside. Whether it's in small groups or as individuals, offering spiritual guidance to assist in communing with the Creator can nurture people in faith formation. Read Beth Norcross's article from Lewis Centre for Church Leadership, called Helping People Connect with God through Nature. Check out her free podcast too! htthttps://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/helping-people-connect-with-god-through-nature/ps://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/helping-people-connect-with-god-through-nature/