Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Parish Health Ministry in the Small Congregation: A Free Training!

Health Ministry in the Small Church:
An Introduction

Free Teleseminar sponsored by National Episcopal Health Ministries, The Episcopal Church Center Office of Congregational Development and The eMinistry Network

November 9th from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern
November 14th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern


  • The Rev. Jean Denton, past Executive Director for National Episcopal Health
  • Maryfran Crist, Regional Representative for National Episcopal Health Ministries and a parish nurse in rural Illinois

What is a Teleseminar?

A teleseminar is a conference call, which provides a focused presentation of information along with plenty of time for questions and answers.

What is Health Ministry?

Health Ministry in a local congregation is an intentional ministry focusing on both healing and health, combining the ancient traditions of the Christian community and the knowledge and tools of modern health care.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone from a small congregation (average Sunday attendance of 70 or less) who is interested in learning about health ministries and how to incorporate health ministry as part of pastoral care and outreach in their congregation

What Will You Learn?

Understand the definition of health ministry
Learn the process for beginning a health ministry in your congregation
Understand how to implement and evaluate a health ministry
Identify resources available to you for beginning a health ministry

Registration Information:

Once you have registered through, you will receive a confirmation email with the phone call information you’ll need to call in to the class. The class will have a page on the eMinistry website with notes, resources and a pre-class outline. You can learn more information about Episcopal Health Ministries at or by calling #317-253-1277 X 34.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Stories of Vitality from the Domestic Missionary Partnership

On September 16, 2006 at the Annual Meeting of the Domestic Missionary Partnership the grant proposal from the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska for a convocation and reunion of the Denaa and Dine’ was fully funded. When asked what the Diocese hopes to accomplish with this convocation, The Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor of the Diocese of Alaska writes:

Anthropologists believe that the Danaa (Athabascan Indians), who comprise almost 50% of the Diocese of Alaska, came from Asia about 35,000 years ago across Beringia. They are of the Na-Dene’ language group and they migrated into Alaska and Northwest Canada. The Denaa, however consider the migration story to be a myth and that they have always been here. There is new evidence that migration across Beringia was in both directions. The Dine’ (Navajo) diverged from this group and arrived in the Southwest approximately 1350AD.

It is time for a reunion. At the General Convention, the Bishop of Alaska was appointed the assisting Bishop of Navajoland. It is no coincidence that Mark MacDonald served in Navajoland before becoming the Bishop of Alaska. God put Mark in both places to be the bridge to bring about this reunion. We seek partnership and understanding between the Denaa and Dine’. We want to find ways to support each other in discipleship and to share resources. A Convocation for the Denaa and Dine’ is being planned for the spring of 2007. This homecoming will coincide with the Interior Deanery meeting in Alaska and twenty Dine’ leaders will be selected to come to Alaska.

This convocation will be an intergenerational event. Everyone, no matter what age, is important in the “Circle.” It will be a time for visioning, “a time to break down the barriers that have separated and a time to build up,” a time to find ways that we “fit” together. It will also be important to offer training/teachings and discussions on such issues as: sovereignty, subsistence, treaty rights, self-determination and how these are spiritual issues as well as political issues; ministry with youth/young adults and racism and internalized oppression.

The Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor can be reached at Look for more stories of diocesan and congregational vitality from the Domestic Missionary Partnership in the coming weeks. For more information on this partnership that exists to share, challenge and encourage one another to deepen and expand the vitality of their mission activities, contact new president, The Rev. Karen Lewis at

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Vitality...what is it?

When discussing small churches, vitality and abundance are two common descriptors. Next week's post will celebrate abundance, this week is vitality.

While I know vitality when I experience it (in a worship service, in an organization, or in a person) it is difficult to articulate exactly what it means.

Microsoft's Encarta offers a helpful definition. Specifically, vitality is defined as:

1. liveliness: abundant physical and mental energy, usually combined with a wholehearted and joyous approach to situations and activities
2. durability: the ability of something to live and grow

This definition suggests a possible checklist for vitality in your congregation. Specifically:

  • Do the members of your congregation exhibit abundant energy, both physically and mentally?
  • Is there a whole hearted and joyous approach to worship, fellowship, and outreach?
  • Is your congregation durable, i.e. is it living and growing?

An alternative checklist for vitality has been developed by the Consultation on Congregational Revitalization from the Presbyterian Church, USA. This group defines the Six Signs of Faithfulness and Vitality in the Church as a congregation that:

  1. Demonstrates the centrality of worship in its life, and expresses integrity in worshiping God.
  2. Cares in a variety of ways for every person participating in its life.
  3. Cares both for the community to which it is called for mission, and for the whole of God's world.
  4. Participates in denominational and ecumenical expressions of ministry and mission.
  5. Provides leadership that enlarges the vision of people, helping them to grow in their understanding and expression of the Christian faith.
  6. Struggles to discern the meaning of the Christian faith for its total life by testing its life and activities against biblical and theological traditions.
These are two possible descriptions of vitality. How would you describe vitality in your congregation?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The Millennium Development Goals and the Episcopal Church

In two successive General Conventions, the Episcopal Church committed itself to eliminating extreme global poverty by working through the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). The Goals were developed by the leaders of the world's nations, in cooperation with the United Nations. We can start by devoting 0.7% of our personal, congregational, and diocesan incomes to meeting the MGDs. Fulfilling the MGDs would mean lifting more than 500 million people out of extreme poverty. More than 300 million would no longer suffer from hunger. Child health would improve, saving the lives of more than 30 million children under the age of five.

So what are the MGDs? They are:
  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental stability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

These eight goals are attainable with the resources we have at our disposal today. For more information visit Additionally, if you have a story about how your congregation has begun to work towards furthering any one of these goals, please consider posting it under the comments...