July 2023 Vestry Papers: Reimagining Assets
Dear Friends in Faith,
Before reading on, I encourage you to have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself: What can the Holy Spirit not do? Is there anything that she would be unable to accomplish in this world? In your life?
As people of faith we often recite Ephesians 3:20, “Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Yet we don’t often apply this to our congregations and church life. Instead we say, “But we’ve always done it this way.”
Maureen Lucas, who serves as the Youth Minister at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Milford, Connecticut, recently asked me, “What if we as a church stopped saying ‘what is’ and started saying ‘what if?’”
In this edition of Vestry Papers, you will find five stories from around the church about reimagining assets, be they physical structures or human resources, the land we steward or the culture in which we belong. As you read, imagine how you might walk alongside the Holy Spirit to embrace bold reimagination in your own community.
In their video conversation Positioning Local Faith Communities in a Post-Pandemic World, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry and the Rev. Anthony Estes explore how the Diocese of Michigan is reimagining a clergyperson’s role in today’s urban church, as they discuss how, through the Detroit Church Partnership, Anthony supports three different faith communities in combating the paralyzing “anesthesia of nostalgia.”
While Western culture often equates assets with things one can own and that have monetary value, in Reimagining Assets GJ Gordy shares a Navajo perspective, reminding us that culture, relationships and intergenerational wisdom are also essential community assets. This article is available in English and Spanish.
When obligation and exhaustion replace hope-filled and spirit-led ministry, communities can struggle to see all that God has given them. In From Dwindling Congregation to Dynamic Resource, Wyndeth Davis from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan shares how the willingness to try radical change is turning one small congregation into a dynamic community resource that fulfils its Gospel mission.
In From One Small Seed: The Story of Plainsong Farm, the Rev. Nurya Love Parish writes about turning her small family farm into a thriving, self-sustaining, Episcopal ministry dedicated to creation care and agri-ministry.
Once there was a time when church buildings were considered indispensable fixtures for their surrounding community. Now, many of our buildings are empty most days of the week and people on the street pass by without a second glance. Ken Howard, in Leveraging Your Congregation’s Physical Assets, inspires us to reclaim the physical assets of our faith communities as essential hubs for a vibrant, local life.
I also invite you to consider partnering with ECF to reimagine the financial assets of your faith community. ECF’s Endowment Management program offers a comprehensive solution for Episcopal communities of all sizes to effectively steward endowment and other long-term investment assets. In this time of great change, endowment funds can be a source of both stability and innovation. Our team can explore and explain how your endowment and investment funds might help you respond to the changing needs of your organization. Contact us today for more information.
Director of Partnerships & Program Innovation, ECF