For now, our main involvement in a network is through the Mission Strategy Network and the yearly Diocesan Convention. We are looking to become more involved in the Theology and a Pint group.
Good Sam is with Little Falls an Paynesville . we had a gift discernment last Sunday with Paynesville . Gunther
We at St. David's have been working in collaboration with other folks around the diocese for some time, mainly out of necessity. When you can't find what you need, you start looking for like-minded people that might have information or can share resources. Here are some examples: our wardens' participate in the Lay Leaders Network, both sharing and receiving information from other lay leaders on a variety of church business topics such as building use policies, employment compensation policies, etc. We have also worked together to lobby for change on specific issues such as ACG reform. On a staff level, our Minister of Children, Youth and Families has been in regular contact with other Episcopal Youth ministers a variety of topics, and we have joined forces for mission trips and activities for youth, as well as VBS. We also participate in a variety of outreach programs in collaboration with other parishes: Families Moving Forward, and Habitat for Humanity, just to name two of these.
At St. David's as we end our interim ministry and we are about to hire a new rector, we continue to ask ourselves just how organized do we want to be? We are moving in parallel to the diocesan change on the horizon. But our outreach has flourished as a result of our decentralized leadership style and structure, and the "organic nature" of how our ideas percolate in our parish culture. However, we have found that this can lead to burn out, lack of communication, and a not very welcoming atmosphere for newcomers, as the same people tend to be involved and call the same parishioners for help at the last minute. We call ourselves a Missional church, yet we have no centralized structure to sopport this and no named persons in charge of mission.
Personally, as a result of having participated in this networking and collaboration with fellow Episcopalians outside of our parish, my own sense of "Epicopalness" and awareness of our common faith has deepened my own spirituality.
St. Luke's in Rochester is participating in several area and diocesan networks. On March 27 and March 28, St. Luke's will host the vernal equinox meeting of the Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC). We are also involved in the Region V Montgomery Migrant Ministry - now known as San Jose Obrero (St. Joseph the Worker). A number of parishes in Regions V and IV offer weekly Eucharist in Spanish, as well as a meal, to the migrant workers at the Seneca plant in Montgomery on Sunday afternoons during August and September. St. Luke's also has shared ministry with St. Peter's in Kasson, and will be hosting a joint Ash Wednesday evening service with Calvary and St. Peter's. Our Rector, Father Doug Sparks, is subdean of Region V, and our parishioner Richard Clugston is a member of the Trustees of the Diocese.
Emily, I think your words really cut to the center of both the hesitation and the excitement about our diocesean vision to be more together as a network. It really is a different way of acting, thinking, organizing and being faithful - scarey too. We all know well how to "live and more and have our being" (as the apostle Paul wrote) in a hierarchy. But he wrote that while creating a network of small churches who felt very isolated and distant from one another. He imagined those churches and their members as a body. I think of that when I read your comments. thanks.Hi from Holy Trinity in Luverne- we have had difficulty becoming (and feeling) part of a network because we are in the southwest corner of the bottom of the state and we have no priest. However, we are actually at an adventageous spot because the town to the north of us as well as to the east of us each had churches that closed in the last several years. Yet we cannot find the Episcopalians whom we know are "hiding in the woods!" We have discussed appealing to the church in Marshall as it is the closest-as usual, it is very hard for us to admit that we need help but we have to get over that NOW. We are thus happy to be part of Region 4 and we realize that often one has to invent some marketing to become part of a network. The Annual Convention is a huge help to us. Today we were told that the largest church in town, Grace Lutheran, prayed for Holy Trinity this morning-here is another type of networking that we are grateful for. Being so far from other churches, we would like to be in a hub but don't know how that would work in terms of distance. We are not giving up!
Blessings to everyone, Emily Lodine Overgaard, Senior Warden
David, each time you have posted news about St. John's-in-the-Wilderness, I'm amazed at all the wonderful ministries going on there and also not amazed because that's who you all are there! However, what I particularly appreciate from this entry are your last words pointing to what would be a very fruitful conversation to have as a diocese. What would a "network" look like if it were more organic, able to give and take with an ease and generosity that emerges from its way of being? My initial guess at this time in our exploration of networks is that if we dare to push beyond what we think of networks now and how current networks operate, we might discover as the apostle Paul wrote, "a still more excellent way " of loving and serving as disciples of Jesus Christ. Blessings and thanks.St. Johns of course belongs to the usual diocesan and national church organizational structures. We also participate with varying degrees of intensity in programs of other organizations that might be termed "networking", both Anglican / Episcopal-associated:
- African Friends in Need Network (http://www.afinnet.net)
- Teens Encounter Christ
- Episcopal Marriage Encounter
- Episcopal Youth Music Camp
and outside the Episcopal Church, such as:
- Habitat for Humanity (we work as part of a consortium of 5 churches in our annual October build)
- the St. Paul Area Council of Churches
- White Bear Lake Food Shelf
We also connect informally with other churches in the White Bear Lake -- in particular on social justice issues. Via the internet, our Adult Education website (http://www.StJohnAdultEd.org) posts adult formation resources we have developed and averages 850 visitors a day. The daily activities of our Youth mission trips have been shared with the rest of the congregation in a daily group on-line diary (for example the youth mission trip to Chicago this past summer: http://nerp.net/~rich/chicagomt08/). Our rector sends out a weekly "E-Bulletin" to the St. Johns church community via email.
To me, use of the word "network" conjures organic, "built-in" give and take, an ease of flowing out and reflecting back, a "Web 2.0" paradigm of communication and sharing. I have cited traditional organizational structures and "Web 1.0" paradigms of communication, but I wonder if they really rise to the use of the word "network" as envisaged in Goal #3.
St. John in the Wilderness, White Bear Lake