With your support and continued partnership, the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has had another successful year working to equip, resource and inspire lay and clergy leaders as they transform Episcopal faith communities for the future. Here are highlights from 2022 where we adapted programs, piloted emerging ideas and enhanced partnerships.
ECF Vital Practices: ECF’s Vital Practices team works to provide the wider church with innovative and relevant resources to support and inform ministry. During 2022, we shared ideas and resources around the themes: Transformative Tools, Caretakers of God’s Creation, Beyond the Pews, ECF Fellows – Innovating in The Episcopal Church, Stewardship in a New World and Young Leaders in Ministry. Subscribe to ECFVP here to receive our resources regularly.
Endowment Management: ECF’s Endowment Management (EM) program continued to add clients of all sizes from around the country and has expanded its staff to include a new Senior Director for Investor Relations. As part of its focus on client satisfaction, EM developed a new ESG-focused investment option for clients interested in responsible investing, created a Diocesan Investment Fund for churches to invest alongside a new diocesan client, offered a popular series of webinars on endowment giving and established a social media presence to help people know about its offerings.
Fellowship Partners Program: ECF named three individuals to the 2022 Fellows class – Matthew Lukens, Kerlin Richter and Dustin Seo. These innovative and emerging leaders are pairing their expertise with their passion to make a positive impact on the Episcopal Church and beyond. The three recipients’ ministry projects show a Church that is engaged in a changing world. The 2022 Fellows are exploring a new ministry on a college campus, rethinking sex education for clergy and using music as an outreach tool. Read more about the 2022 Fellows and their projects here.
Lilly Endowment Bridges to the Future Grant: ECF received an additional year of funding in 2022 from the Lilly Endowment to specifically target pastoral leaders and congregations that have been most impacted by Covid-19 and that needed immediate financial relief. The grant entitled “Bridges to the Future: Positioning Local Faith Communities for a Post-Pandemic Church” provided one-year funding to four dioceses: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, Diocese of Michigan, Episcopal Church in Minnesota, and Diocese of Rio Grande.
Spanish Finance Resource Guide: ECF released a new publication - the Spanish Finance Resource Guide, la Guía de Recursos para Finanzas (GRF), available through Forward Movement. The GRF serves as a handbook for congregations, vestries and parish boards, providing in-depth financial management practices and principles, and promoting year-round theological stewardship. Written for lay, clergy, and diocesan leadership, this publication is intended for readers from a wide variety of backgrounds and financial expertise and has been created specifically for Spanish-speaking leaders across our church. It offers tools ranging from how to talk about conflicting money stories in the Bible to conversation starters and budgeting models.
Congregational Vitality Assessment Tool en Español: ECF in partnership with the FaithX Project made the research-driven Congregational Vitality Assessment Tool (CVA) and CVATool.org website available in Spanish. Viewers are able to toggle between the English and Spanish versions based on their individual preference. Click here to access the tool.
The Diocesan Vitality Initiative (DVI): Four trail-blazing dioceses, Missouri, Oregon, Rio Grande and West Tennessee, have excitedly signed on to pilot ECF’s new Diocesan Vitality Initiative (DVI). Building on seven years of learnings from our Congregational and Diocesan Leadership Initiatives, DVI will bring a coach approach to come alongside dioceses poised to make significant changes to identify adaptive challenges and to create processes for renewal, redevelopment and revitalization. You can learn more here.
Pivot to Online Learning: ECF successfully piloted our first online cohort of congregations learning together through our Pivot program. Five vibrant communities of faith from around the U.S. came together to learn and share about congregational vitality in a changing world. Our second cohort will begin in April 2023, and you can hear directly from participant Pam Arey in her interview with ECF’s Yvonne Lembo.
Gathering of Leaders (GOL): Our partner organization Gathering of Leaders successfully piloted two Gatherings for new networks of hope-filled, innovative, and creative Episcopal leaders. The Gathering for Bivocational Clergy took place in September, and the Gathering for Lay Leaders took place in October. GOL is currently seeking interested participants for additional Gatherings to be held in 2023. Inquire with Haley Bankey at [email protected].
Faith and Vitality Survey: ECF conducted an annual survey in order to understand our audience better. Our goal is to discern how to support ministry and faith life more effectively, particularly amid an ever-evolving church, society, and world. Over 700 lay and clergy leaders from across the country responded .
Three New Board Members: ECF’s Board of Directors elected three new members: Jo Ann Roberts of Chicago, IL; Charlie Schilling of New York, NY; and Mason Lecky of Richmond, VA. Click here to read more.
As 2022 comes to a close, ECF is grateful to our faithful community for your loyal support and encouragement as we continue to manifest new ways of being and doing Church. In 2023 we will be steadfast in our commitment to walk with clergy and lay leaders and to discern innovative and adaptive strategies for all our communities of faith. For more information about ECF and ways to support and partner with us, please see our website, www.ecf.org.