Category Archives: Gathered Community

Pathways to Vitality: Compound Interest – the 8th Wonder of the World

pathways to vitalityA new blog post has been published.

Compound Interest – the 8th Wonder of the World


Past Posts

Episcopal Bishops Issue A Word to the Church for the World

house-of-bishops-a-word-for-the-world-09202016[September 20, 2016] The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has issued the following A Word to the Church for the World. The video is available in English and Spanish here.

A Word to the Church for the World

Greetings from Detroit, a city determined to be revived. Greetings also from the city of Flint, where we are reminded that the gift of water has for many of our brothers and sisters become contaminated.

Here we have been exhorted to set our sights beyond ourselves and to minister to the several nations where we serve and the wider world.

We lament the stark joylessness that marks our present time. We decry angry political rhetoric which rages while fissures widen within society along racial, economic, educational, religious, cultural and generational lines. We refuse to look away as poverty, cruelty and war force families to become migrants enduring statelessness and demonization. We renounce the gun violence and drug addiction that steal lives and crush souls while others succumb to fear and cynicism, abandoning any sense of neighborliness.

Yet, in all this, “we do not despair” (2 Cor. 4:8.). We remember that God in Christ entered our earthly neighborhood during a time of political volatility and economic inequality. To this current crisis, we bring our faith in Jesus. By God’s grace, we choose to see in this moment an urgent opportunity to follow Jesus into our fractured neighborhoods, the nation, and the world.

Every member of the church has been “called for a time such as this.” (Esther 4:14) Let prophets tell the truth in love. Let reconcilers move boldly into places of division and disagreement. Let evangelists inspire us to tell the story of Jesus in new and compelling ways. Let leaders lead with courage and joy.

In the hope of the Resurrection let us all pray for God to work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish God’s purposes on earth.

Nancy Rayfield to be Honored

nancy rayfieldOn Sunday August 28, Trinity, Bloomington, will honor Nancy Rayfield for her years of service to the Episcopal Church on the local, diocesan, provincial and national level. This day also happens to be Nancy’s 90th birthday.

You are cordially invited to join us at the coffee hour, or send cards or letters to Nancy c/o Trinity Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 336, Bloomington, IN, 47402-0336 . The celebration will occur after the 9 a.m. service at Trinity.

Nancy served as Director of Christian Education for the Diocese of Indianapolis for untold years. She was also the Director of Christian Education for Trinity, Bloomington for years. She trained Sunday School teachers, Christian Education Directors, and offered education workshops. Her faithful, enthusiastic, steadfast commitment to this ministry has been remarkable.

Around the Fireplace: Get Ready for Church Social Media Sunday #SMS16

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Kathy Copas
Coordinator of Communication and Evangelism

Sunday, September 25

One of the clergy in our diocese asked me a  few months ago if we would ever again have a churchwide Social Media Sunday.  I half-jokingly said, “Well, isn’t EVERY Sunday a church Social Media Sunday?!”  But, we do, indeed, have a designated Sundayrapidly approaching in which we are called as Episcopalians, churchwide, to give some special attention to how we engage the world via social media.  So, yet another clergyperson invited me in to brainstorm with him last week about some things he and his parish might do to more intentionally embrace social media, particularly Facebook.

Facebook has been around for a good long while now but continues to evolve. Paralleling the development of mobile technology, Facebook has emerged as a primary tool for church shoppers.  Research has shown that Facebook has become just as important, or even more important, than church websites when people are seeking basic information about a church these days.  Why?  One of the reasons is that people initially just want to get a quick and easy basic sweeping sense of what a church is doing in real time.  What are its members talking about and working on these days?  What do the photos and/or videos and conversation tell us about this church and how it may or may not be a good fit for us?  What have other guests experienced?  What events are coming up we may want to connect to?  Websites, even greatly mobile-optimized ones, are increasingly becoming more second-line resources, while Facebook pages and open groups have become more frontline first impression tools.

So, what are some things we can all consider about better using Facebook as—for starters—Social Media Sunday 2016 approaches?  Here are a few that have emerged over the past few weeks in discussions at various parishes.

  1. Have something—anything—relatively current posted on your Facebook page or group,  By relatively current, we’re talking at least within the past month, preferably the past couple of months.  Not last Easter or Christmas and definitely not in over a year!
  2. Always post a visual with any bit of news. This can be a photo, meme, infographic, or video.  Posts with visuals get lots more attention and, with a simple Google search, you can find many resources out there that will help you import or create simple visuals right on your phone. The more visuals and multimedia people can access on your page, the more your Facebook presence will reflect a real sense of what your parish is about.  And, while beautiful and general church memes can be effective, what always works best and appears most authentic is images of real people in your church engaged in ministry and interaction with one another.
  3. Use Facebook to increase your pastoral care potential. The general rule about Facebook is to use 20 percent of your time with it to share your own news and 80 percent to interact with your followers or friends.  It is a rich and very personal tool for offering care for those going through a life transition, experiencing illness, or even celebrating a birthday or anniversary.
  4. Use Facebook for starting conversations, posing questions, and generally keeping the dialogue going between Sundays. Talk about the lectionary coming up the following Sunday, what your midweek Bible study group has been discussing, how a mission project is going and what is needed to better support it….  The ideas are endless and newcomers can easily be invited and encouraged into your conversation.
  5. Learn a bit about Facebook metrics and “pushing” posts about your page, your church, or an upcoming activity or project.  For a very small amount of money—often as little as $10-$20, you can push your post onto Facebook news feeds that you select by variables such as geographic area, extending your reach dramatically.

One of Facebook’s best new tools is “Go Live” and we will be using/demonstrating that here in our diocese on Tuesday, August 23, 7 p.m. for our special Media Monday.  If you have joined our Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis page, all you have to do is go on Facebook at that time, where you will see a message “The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis is live.”  Just click it on and you can participate via comments and posts.  If you happen to miss it, you will be able to access it later. This tool holds much potential for any parish.  Using a smartphone, you can live broadcast on Facebook a sermon, music, or even your entire worship time or church school program.  How cool is that?!

So, hope to see you on August 23 as we learn together, and brainstorm together, how we can make Episcopal Social MediaSunday on September 25 the best ever and add new tools and possibilities to our longer-term social media profile!.

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Names Diocesan Clergy as College of Pastoral Leader Cohorts

Gray LesesneThe Rev Sarah GinofiThe Rev. Dr. Gray Lesesne, Good Samaritan, Brownsburg, and the Rev. Sarah Ginolfi, St. Paul’s, Indianapolis, are a part of a small ecumenical peer group of Indiana church planters receiving a $10,000 grant from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s College of Pastoral Leaders. Over the coming two years, they will be continuing on a journey as College of Pastoral Leader Cohorts—church leaders committed to learning in community for their own flourishing in ministry for the sake of the Gospel.

According to their purpose statement, “We are six mainline clergy who have accepted God’s call to become harvesters of a new crop as we plant, redevelop, and form new Christian communities of creativity, justice, transformation, and hope in the Hoosier State. Our tiny seedlings are now bearing the first hints of green in the cornfields of Indiana. We seek to grow our own inner spirituality so that we might have deep roots to produce an abundant harvest. Our colleague group has been gathering since June 2015 to share our ministry successes and challenges, to explore what it means to create new communities that are both sustainable and innovative, and to support each other. In the midst of our conversations, we have discovered that what we most deeply need for this exciting, but all-consuming work is nourishment for our souls.”

St. Alban’s Peace Garden

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Have you driven past St. Alban’s at Emerson and 46th Avenue North in Indianapolis and wondered, “What’s growing there?”

Our Peace Garden is growing here!

Through an UTO grant, lots of volunteers, other financial donations, good rain & sunny days, and with the help of our gardener, Tate, the Peace Garden is growing fast and the harvest is abundant.

So far this growing season, St. Alban’s and the Peace Garden have donated over 1000 pounds of produce to area food banks. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the number of white crosses also planted in the garden, representing homicides in Indy, is also growing. The garden is an Easter symbol, where people can see that there is life after death, that there is hope in the world, even in the midst of violence and death.

Volunteers are always welcome to help weed, plant, harvest and deliver on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Here is a list of places where our fresh produce is being received:

  • Mt. Zion Apostolic Church, 4900 E. 38th St.
  • The Cupboard of Lawrence Township, 7101 Pendleton Pike
  • Marion County Public Library, 5420 E. 38th St.
  • Fervent Prayer Church, 10512 E. 38th St.
  • The Sharing Place, 6501 Sunnyside Drive

The week of July 4, 400 pounds of produce were donated; including our first tomatoes, beets, onions, 100 pounds of green cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and of course, lots of lettuce! As of July 7, we have donated 890 pounds of produce (11,344 servings) through the efforts of 36 different helpers working 279 volunteer hours.

Blessings,
Reverend Debbie Dehler
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
317-546-8037