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August 9, 2022 News

Equipping Latino Lay Leaders - Spanish Pivot program to be offered in 2023

As you might have read in previous articles, the Pivot team at the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) spent the past year in conversation with Episcopal leaders, both lay and clergy, from around the church to better understand the needs of under-resourced Episcopal faith communities. During these conversations, several themes emerged, especially the theme of building stronger lay leaders. For example, one person noted -

“We have a few small churches that have some good lay leadership and sense of mission, but likely will not be able to get clergy any time soon. We would like to target these churches for strengthening lay leadership and making better use of the resources they have.”

To support the development of and support for lay leaders, ECF piloted a new program called Pivot to equip congregational teams with knowledge and tools for addressing leadership and financial challenges and building/sustaining a network for peer learning.

As we know, there are other resources and training programs on church leadership and finance, but Pivot’s unique approach makes it more effective. Pivot cohorts have particular focus areas so that congregations choose teachings most relevant to them. Moreover, the tools used in the delivery of Pivot need to be well-suited to the intended audiences, especially those who use multiple digital devices to access resources (for example, cell phone or Ipad), those who prefer hard-copy resources (ex: books) rather than digital reading and providing resources that are both linguistically and culturally appropriate.

During the piloting of our first Pivot program, we found that people were concerned about the suitability of several facets of the Pivot program, including teachings, resources, and tech platforms. As we move into the second year, we are planning to improve our delivery methods to address important issues of diversity and inclusion that focus on the contextualization and implementation of the Pivot learnings into multicultural/multilingual congregations across the church. We begin this important work by offering a Spanish Pivot program to equip lay/clergy teams in Latino/Hispanic faith communities with resources and tailored curriculum and teachings from our previous in-person Spanish Congregational Leadership Initiative (CLI).

Using our planned Spanish work in 2023 as a model, we plan to further expand Pivot benefits to a greater number of faith communities in the Episcopal Church. Beyond offering English/Spanish resources, we hope to establish infrastructure to support our work so that we might develop other ECF resources into digital offerings. Finally, we will formulate plans with ECF’s Director of Development to help establish a fundraising program. With fundraising plans in place, we are confident we can continue this work into the future and with added teachings to meet the unique needs of underserved communities.

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