Diocesan Vitality Initiative

The Diocesan Vitality Initiative (DVI) is a pilot program to partner with dioceses in identifying adaptive challenges and creating processes for renewal, redevelopment, and revitalization. DVI aims to give rise to a more expansive, inclusive vital future for The Episcopal Church.

What is ECF’s Diocesan Vitality Initiative (DVI)?

DVI is a pilot program by ECF to partner with dioceses in identifying adaptive challenges and creating processes for renewal, redevelopment, and revitalization. The goal of DVI is to create an adaptive, generative diocesan culture for resourcing local faith communities in effectively engaging God’s mission.

What is the DVI Process?

The DVI experience is centered around a process of Define, Disrupt, and Develop, or the “3 D’s”. Through this process diocesan teams will:

  • Define and understand their current context
  • Disrupt systems that are no longer serving mission
  • Develop practices and structures that reimagine deploying

What Will DVI Teams Experience?

Each year four diocesan teams are selected to participate in DVI. The structure of DVI provides for monthly team meetings with a credentialed coach, quarterly cohort Zoom meetings, and personal support from ECF all using the “4 C’s” approach:

  • Coaching – to fuel awareness and accountability for each diocesan team
  • Context – to leverage the unique challenges and assets of each diocese
  • Collaboration – to harness the genius of diversity for the common good
  • Cohort – to pool wisdom and tap others’ experiential learning

Which Dioceses Should Participate in DVI?

Dioceses interested in DVI must be willing to ask tough questions and find tougher answers. Participating dioceses should embrace the following:

  • Faith that compels them to focus on the new thing God is doing
  • Willingness to define a path beyond tweaks and technical fixes to a culture of adaptability
  • Courage to disrupt systems that are no longer serving mission
  • Tenacity to develop practices and structures that reimagine deploying human, financial, and physical assets to do the work of becoming Beloved Community

What are the Expected Outcomes of DVI?

Success for each diocese will look different based on its unique location, population, culture, and history. The changes and innovations identified through DVI will include:

  • Imaginative re-framing of human, financial, relational, structural, and real assets.
  • Revitalization shaped by each diocese’s diocesan structures staffed by engaged lay and clergy leaders
  • Life-giving engagement with surrounding neighborhoods and communities
  • Faith communities that understand themselves as the living Body of Christ

How Can I Learn More About DVI?

The pilot dioceses (Rio Grande, Missouri, Western Oregon, and West Tennessee) have completed their first year in DVI, and the second cohort (Louisiana, Southwest Florida, Utah, and Ohio) has begun. If you would like to learn more or inquire about future participation, please contact Haley Bankey at [email protected].

This work is made possible by generous donors and ministry partners who are excited about the future of the Episcopal Church and our impact in the world. We invite you to partner with us by visiting our donation page for DVI.

Stories from the DVI 2023 Pilot Dioceses

Rev. Canon Whitney Rice – Diocese of Missouri - “I feel very hopeful. I feel that God has great things in store for our diocese, and it's exciting to be a part of that, a part of that conversation, a part of that discovery. It makes the future of the church seem like an adventure that we want to and can invite other people into.”

Rt. Rev. Michael Hunn – Diocese of Rio Grande - “DVI has been an opportunity not to just keep ticking over the stuff that our existing structures are demanding of us, but has actually given us an opportunity to step back and go, "Why is the diocese here in the first place? How can we empower the congregations to change people's hearts and lives? How can we help people fall in love with Jesus?”

Mr. Zach Ferguson – Diocese of West Tennessee - “It has helped us think that anything is possible. That we have the ability to really build upon some small wins that will create larger wins, and not having to have the solution right away, we'll take a small victory and then build upon that.”

Rev. Brendan Barnacle – Diocese of Western Oregon - “The process has helped us to unearth some things that we needed to discover, and to look at some ways that we could really get at the essence of what would be revitalizing for our diocese and for our congregations.”