With your support and continued partnership, the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) worked successfully to equip and inspire lay and clergy leaders as they transformed Episcopal faith communities this year. Here are highlights from 2023 where we created new programs, piloted emerging ideas and enhanced partnerships and existing ministry.
Endowment Management: In 2023, ECF’s Endowment Management (EM) program achieved notable growth. As of November 30, the team secured 26 new clients this year, including the Diocese of South Carolina, the Diocese of Atlanta, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, NY, as well as churches across the country, with new assets exceeding $89.6 million. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, EM amplified its marketing and business development impact by garnering the lead sponsorship of the EPN Endowment Preconference, hosting popular educational webinars, expanding its content marketing, and boosting its social media presence. High client retention rates and positive feedback from a client impact survey reflect the team’s commitment to client satisfaction. These achievements, alongside enhancements to client service and account oversight, as well as continued strong investment performance, underscore EM’s dedication to excellence and continuous improvement.
Adaptive Ministries: ECF launched a new program area this year called Adaptive Ministries. Previously known as Leadership Resources, Adaptive Ministries recognizes that congregational vitality and sustainability are contextual and require varying approaches specific to each local community. Adaptive Ministries helps equip, resource, and inspire congregations to discover what God is calling them to be in a changing church and world. Read more about the program here.
ECF Vital Practices: ECF’s Vital Practices team works to provide the wider church with innovative and relevant resources to support and inform ministry. 2023 was a transformative year where we paused our successful online magazine Vestry Papers to launch a number of new missional experiments, such as toolkits on Vestry, Communications, Congregational Vitality and Stewardship. Some of the most popular Vestry Papers issues this year were: Re-imagining Assets, LGBTQ+ Pride, Disaster Preparedness, and What do you hope the Episcopal Church will look like in 2050?
Fellowship Partners Program: ECF named two new Fellows in 2023, Jennifer Holt Enriquez and Elizabeth Riley. These innovative and emerging leaders pair their expertise with their passion to make a positive impact on The Episcopal Church and beyond. Jennifer Holt Enriquez is an attorney by formal education and her career transition began when she started working with children and youth at St. Christopher’s in Oak Park, teaching skills for finding peace in themselves and their world. Elizabeth Riley is using her Fellowship to develop trainings and tools around digital evangelism to share with the church. Read more about the 2023 Fellows and their projects here.
Pivot: Online Learning: Just begun in 2022, this program creates a comprehensive cohort-based learning experience that is flexible, adaptable, contextual, and useful to a broad diversity of underserved communities. ECF’s second cohort for Pivot officially launched in 2023 with six participating communities of faith. The cohort does most of the work asynchronously, collaborates through the online community, and meets synchronously after each lesson. Their Pivot experience will end in March 2024. Learn more about if Pivot is right for your community by clicking here.
Episcopal Pulse Survey: ECF newly partnered this year with The FaithX Project to continue the Episcopal Pulse. Originally a research project by The FaithX Project and TryTank Experimental Laboratory, the Episcopal Pulse is a micro-survey intended to take the pulse of the Episcopal Church on the most pressing topics facing our church today. Learnings from the surveys will enrich ECF’s resources for congregational leaders and enhance our programs to better serve local Episcopal communities. Click here to learn more and join the Episcopal Pulse.
Gathering of Leaders (GOL): Our partner organization, Gathering of Leaders, has successfully continued to expand the network in 2023 to include varying types of Episcopal leaders: bi-vocational clergy and lay leaders. Gathering of Leaders has also moved to an open inquiry process through which creative, faithful, and hope-filled Episcopal leaders can request to join the network. Inquire to join the Gathering of Leaders network by clicking here.
The Diocesan Vitality Initiative (DVI): Four trail-blazing dioceses, Missouri, Western Oregon, Rio Grande and West Tennessee, completed their first year in ECF’s Diocesan Vitality Initiative (DVI) Pilot. Building on seven years of learnings from our Congregational and Diocesan Leadership Initiatives, DVI brings 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. Read about the changes happening in the Dioceses of Missouri and Rio Grande. Four additional dioceses, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah and Southwest Florida have agreed to participate in our 2024 DVI cohort. You can learn more about DVI by clicking here.
ECF Welcomed Two New Directors: ECF's Board of Directors elected two new board members in 2023: Julie Gehm from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Judy Godfrey from Abilene, Texas. Click here to read more.
As we come to the end of 2023, 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 2024, ECF will celebrate its 75th Anniversary and we hope you will be there to celebrate and partner with us, as we continue to walk with clergy and lay leaders to discern innovative, impactful and sustainable ministries for all Episcopal faith communities. For more information about ECF and ways to support and partner with us, please see our website, www.ecf.org.