A place to share resources, events, stories of our lives together in mission.

The Bishop's Commission on Mission Strategy report begins: "We, the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, are a communion of Christian congregations....". This statement wisely and accurately acknowledges that our primary relationship to the Church rests in our congregation. It is this community whose people, worship and ministries most profoundly shapes who we are becoming as disciples of Jesus Christ. Yet, Goal #2 also calls us to look beyond what we experience within that community to connect or re-connect with the "particular mission field" around our home church. Please add your comments about your congregation to this Goal #2 discussion

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Replies to This Discussion

We are reaching out to our neighborhood by offering opportunities to engage with St John's through music, services, family fun nights (like our Pancake and Jambalya dinner for Fat Tuesday) and speakers. When appropriate, we put flyers and posters in our neighborhood, stories in our local paper and information on Facebook. We know the web is used extensively by people in our area, so we've worked hard to upgrade our website to make it accessible, relevant and helpful. We also have enhanced our new member ministry to include more immediate and consistent welcoming opportunities. Our hope is that by engaging neighbors in our church in some way, they will want to return and learn more and more - about us and about how they can join us to be God's hands and feet in the world.
Church of the Advent in Farmington is also trying to connect with the community. We are in the process of fundraising to build a labrynth at the church this summer. With our close proximity to city hall, downtown, senior living apartments and the Senior Community Center we hope to encourage the people of Farmington to take part in the meditative and reflective aspects of the labrynth, especially during these trying economic times.

We currently support and participate in a variety of programs within the community, i.e. the food shelf, mittens and hats for the elementary school children and Warriors to Citizens - a community group that supports military personnel and their families.

We are actively looking for guest speakers and celebrants that would both engage the congregation and the community with their areas of expertise. We publish upcoming events on our website for those that use the internet, use 'snail mail' for those who don't, and notify the local newspaper when appropriate. I liked the suggetion of posting flyers for upcoming events in our neighborhoods and will be suggesting it to the church members on Sunday.
Kim Fortney said:
Church of the Advent in Farmington is also trying to connect with the community. We are in the process of fundraising to build a labrynth at the church this summer. With our close proximity to city hall, downtown, senior living apartments and the Senior Community Center we hope to encourage the people of Farmington to take part in the meditative and reflective aspects of the labrynth, especially during these trying economic times.

We currently support and participate in a variety of programs within the community, i.e. the food shelf, mittens and hats for the elementary school children and Warriors to Citizens - a community group that supports military personnel and their families.

We are actively looking for guest speakers and celebrants that would both engage the congregation and the community with their areas of expertise. We publish upcoming events on our website for those that use the internet, use
snail mail' for those who don't, and notify the local newspaper when appropriate. I liked the suggetion of posting flyers for upcoming events in our neighborhoods and will be suggesting it to the church members on Sunday.
Kim Fortney said:
Kim Fortney said:
Church of the Advent in Farmington is also trying to connect with the community. We are in the process of fundraising to build a labrynth at the church this summer. With our close proximity to city hall, downtown, senior living apartments and the Senior Community Center we hope to encourage the people of Farmington to take part in the meditative and reflective aspects of the labrynth, especially during these trying economic times.

We currently support and participate in a variety of programs within the community, i.e. the food shelf, mittens and hats for the elementary school children and Warriors to Citizens - a community group that supports military personnel and their families.

We are actively looking for guest speakers and celebrants that would both engage the congregation and the community with their areas of expertise. We publish upcoming events on our website for those that use the internet, use
snail mail' for those who don't, and notify the local newspaper when appropriate. I liked the suggetion of posting flyers for upcoming events in our neighborhoods and will be suggesting it to the church members on Sunday.
Dear Kim, Advent's story is a wonderful reminder of how a small congregation can find creative ways to minister tin their unique location. That labrynth idea is a great way to utilize your site because, while it's close to downtown, it is also off the busy streets and thus offers some quiet space. thanks for joining the Contact Person Network! Anne
Barb Nicol said:
We are reaching out to our neighborhood by offering opportunities to engage with St John's through music, services, family fun nights (like our Pancake and Jambalya dinner for Fat Tuesday) and speakers. When appropriate, we put flyers and posters in our neighborhood, stories in our local paper and information on Facebook. We know the web is used extensively by people in our area, so we've worked hard to upgrade our website to make it accessible, relevant and helpful. We also have enhanced our new member ministry to include more immediate and consistent welcoming opportunities. Our hope is that by engaging neighbors in our church in some way, they will want to return and learn more and more - about us and about how they can join us to be God's hands and feet in the world.
Barb, thanks for telling St. John's story. I like your linking new member ministry with Goal #2 as that connection isn't always made. But after all, when guests come to our congregations, they not only renew us but are a visible sign of some connection already present in our context which could be strengthened and expanded. Also, because my son and his family are one of many other young families with children at St. John's, I wonder what ways you have found successful in reaching out to that age group in south Minneapolis. Agan, thanks and welcome to the Contact Person Network. Anne
1. Holy Trinity St. Anskar is in the process of planning a series of movie/discussion nights to bring in community and diocese memebers. We hope to serve a meal and watch a movie such as God on Trial and discuss how it affects and challenges our faith
2. When our priest, Father Bill Teska, returns Palm Sunday, we will begin a podcast series of his sermons. We hope that this will allow those who don't come to church (for one reason or another) to still be able to enjoy Bill's wisdom and teaching.
3. We have a Facebook page which we've been using to organize our community.
4. We will be hosting a guest speaker, Chris Wogaman, during our service on Sun. March 22.
We at St. David's have a long history of serving the community in our midst, and as a matter of fact our outreach was identified in our Discovery Team Report as a defining characteristic for the parish.
· For the last forty years we have used our building during the week to support various twelve step programs, grief groups, and a Boy Scout Troop.
· In the last two years, through a generous donation of a parishioner, we were able to add another building to our campus to house ICA in its new location. ICA is a neighborhood food shelf serving the surrounding communities. St. David’s was one of the originating congregations of this collaborative effort of over twenty congregations spanning many denominations more than thirty five years ago, so it only made sense to extend our support in this way.
· Several weeks a year we host Families Moving Forward, a temporary housing program. During these weeks we serve meals and create living and sleeping space for displaced families.
· For decades we have participated in Loves and Fishes at Holy Rosary in Minneapolis.
· For the last few years we have supported a parish in Eldoret Kenya through a grass roots effort. We have sent parishioners over on mission trips, sent money for student tuition and seeds for families, and sent over books and pencils for students.
· More recently we have begun conversations with Habitat for Humanity in the Western Suburbs in collaboration with several other nearby Episcopal churches.
The issue at St. David’s doesn’t seem to be in responding to our local, regional and global sisters and brothers in need, but rather how can we evaluate and organize ourselves to serve these needs in the most efficient and spiritually fulfilling manner—for both our parishioners as well as those we serve. We also need to do a better job of connecting this work to our spiritual lives as Disciples of Christ. It is our hope that through the implementation of MSN and the hiring of a new rector that we can engage in some new spiritual practices, like Gospel Based Discipleship, and that we may begin to connect our “doing” with our “being”, and only then we can become truly transformed.
Rena Turnham
St. David's
Rena Turnham said:
We at St. David's have a long history of serving the community in our midst, and as a matter of fact our outreach was identified in our Discovery Team Report as a defining characteristic for the parish.
· For the last forty years we have used our building during the week to support various twelve step programs, grief groups, and a Boy Scout Troop.
· In the last two years, through a generous donation of a parishioner, we were able to add another building to our campus to house ICA in its new location. ICA is a neighborhood food shelf serving the surrounding communities. St. David’s was one of the originating congregations of this collaborative effort of over twenty congregations spanning many denominations more than thirty five years ago, so it only made sense to extend our support in this way.
· Several weeks a year we host Families Moving Forward, a temporary housing program. During these weeks we serve meals and create living and sleeping space for displaced families.
· For decades we have participated in Loves and Fishes at Holy Rosary in Minneapolis.
· For the last few years we have supported a parish in Eldoret Kenya through a grass roots effort. We have sent parishioners over on mission trips, sent money for student tuition and seeds for families, and sent over books and pencils for students.
· More recently we have begun conversations with Habitat for Humanity in the Western Suburbs in collaboration with several other nearby Episcopal churches.
The issue at St. David’s doesn’t seem to be in responding to our local, regional and global sisters and brothers in need, but rather how can we evaluate and organize ourselves to serve these needs in the most efficient and spiritually fulfilling manner—for both our parishioners as well as those we serve. We also need to do a better job of connecting this work to our spiritual lives as Disciples of Christ. It is our hope that through the implementation of MSN and the hiring of a new rector that we can engage in some new spiritual practices, like Gospel Based Discipleship, and that we may begin to connect our “doing” with our “being”, and only then we can become truly transformed.
Rena Turnham
St. David's
Rena, As you noted, St. David's does have a long and impressive history of responding to the needs of those in its context -both nearby and far away. And given the latest effort to join with other Episcopal churches on a Habitat for Humanity project, it is clear that there is an on-going openness to new opportunities emerging from changes in the surrounding community. However, what I particularly appreciated about your comments was your insight that attention to spirituality is a vital component to our attention to serving others. Without our actions being grounded and sustained by personal and corporate spiritual practices, we can miss the power and promise of the transforming faith in God through Jesus Christ for those we serve and for ourselves - and sometimes become burned-out and discouraged.
Jill Schrader said:
1. Holy Trinity St. Anskar is in the process of planning a series of movie/discussion nights to bring in community and diocese memebers. We hope to serve a meal and watch a movie such as God on Trial and discuss how it affects and challenges our faith
2. When our priest, Father Bill Teska, returns Palm Sunday, we will begin a podcast series of his sermons. We hope that this will allow those who don't come to church (for one reason or another) to still be able to enjoy Bill's wisdom and teaching.
3. We have a Facebook page which we've been using to organize our community.
4. We will be hosting a guest speaker, Chris Wogaman, during our service on Sun. March 22.
Jill, thanks for your input to this discussion on Goal #2 and I'm wondering if I'm remembering right that your congregation has a ministry with some local agencies and groups - providing childcare is my memory. Can you tell me more?
HI from Holy Trinity, Luverne! We are excited at the way our small congregation has come together to be a strong member of the community even as we are no longer with a priest-we are aiming to be disciples of Christ as we believe that we can all be leaders. We are now working with a Total Ministry mentor and gratefully accepting the offers of monthly visits from three wonderful priests from St. James, Marshall.We continue to support many groups in Luverne from the Food Pantry to the MN Vets Home to the Hospice Home and we continue to have Wednesday night Bible study and share our large office space with others. Our most frustrating problem is the lack of new members and I know many of you are in the same predicament. We are directly between two towns whose Episcopal churches have closed, yet we cannot find new members. We continue to pray and discuss this problem and we are not giving up! Any suggestions would be so welcome-
With thanks, Emily Lodine, Senior Warden
Emily Lodine Overgaard said:
HI from Holy Trinity, Luverne! We are excited at the way our small congregation has come together to be a strong member of the community even as we are no longer with a priest-we are aiming to be disciples of Christ as we believe that we can all be leaders. We are now working with a Total Ministry mentor and gratefully accepting the offers of monthly visits from three wonderful priests from St. James, Marshall.We continue to support many groups in Luverne from the Food Pantry to the MN Vets Home to the Hospice Home and we continue to have Wednesday night Bible study and share our large office space with others. Our most frustrating problem is the lack of new members and I know many of you are in the same predicament. We are directly between two towns whose Episcopal churches have closed, yet we cannot find new members. We continue to pray and discuss this problem and we are not giving up! Any suggestions would be so welcome-
With thanks, Emily Lodine, Senior Warden
Dear Emily, you always mention the small size of Holy Trinity, but when I read what you are doing and feel touched by your spirit, I think of you as large in deed! Obviously, you reach out to the needs of many in your wider community while also attending to your congregational spiritual life which is critical to ground and feed those ministries. I can understand your frustration at the absence of new members, but your open attitude and hopefulness will keep you ready to receive when others are ready to come. Just wonder what might connect these two energy streams of outreach and evangelism...
Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter Sunday, Anne M-P
I think today's reflection in "Forward Movement" is particularly relevant to Goal #2: http://www.forwardmovement.org/todaysreading.cfm
Psalm 137:1-6(7-9). How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land? (RSV)

During China's Cultural Revolution, Christianity was banned. Worship was forbidden. Believers became exiles in their own land.

We are exiles, too. But, says a Chinese friend, our exile is more subtle and seductive. Sunday is just another day. Many self-identify as spiritual but not religious. Appealing voices-like Oprah-abound. In this now foreign land, following Christ requires intentionality-for our culture reinforces religion no more. We need grace even more-which is good!

Advocating a creative return to core practices, Diana Butler Bass wonderfully reminds us that we are not on the Titanic. Rather, we are on the Mayflower, heading to a new land-not to conquer, but to adapt and, thereby, to thrive.
Certainly, Christians have endured far worse. Our challenge is to keep the faith in a land of plenty where anything goes.

Many are longing for something more real. I think what they subconsciously want and need is to hear the Lord's song voiced in fresh, compelling ways. For their sake and ours, let us sing anew.

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