Category Archives: Featured

Lunches and Lessons in Mithon, Haiti Needs You

Can you spare just $99 to help make the Lunches and Lessons program in Mithon, Haiti, continue? Your Global Missions Commission is seeking 303 gifts of $99 each to help make this critical program possible for Mithon, Haiti’s children during the year to come. 

Lunches and Lessons now serves 300+ children and employs eight full-time teachers and staff, with an annual budget of $32,000 to provide simple lunches and a time of instruction and supervision for these children.

The diocesan Global Missions Commission needs just 303 volunteers here in the diocese to contribute $99 to meet the funding goals for the coming year.

  • You can contribute as an individual, a family, a parish, a group within your parish, or even extend this invitation to include others in your community, such as school and scout groups.
  • You can make one or more gifts of $99.
  • Hint: Sponsoring a child in someone’s name as a gift for a birthday holiday, or another special occasion is a wonderful idea and we can acknowledge your gift to the recipient/s.
  • Global Missions is matching gifts with a $7,500 contribution which makes everyone’s contribution go further.

Work has continued in Mithon on many other fronts.

  • Since last October’s Diocesan Convention, potable drinking water has been restored to the region by making repairs to the well in Mithon.
  • Our diocese has also provided funding for the repairs to the school that houses our Lunches and Lessons program.
  • Your Global Missions Commission just recommended a crop fund grant program to provide resources to 100 families (seeds, fertilizer, seedlings, etc.) to rebuild their crops in Mithon following the destruction of last year’s crops by Hurricane Matthew.

This has all been supported by the $120,000 of the remaining Haiti Fund, established in 2011 by our diocese.

Three members of the Global Missions Commission travelled to Mithon September 20-23 (Marilyn Day, Bradley Ayers and the Rev. Jeff Bower) to recommit to exploring our companionship with Haiti, build our relationships, and engage in conversations about past and future development and transformation in the region of Mithon. Watch for future reports!

A Letter from the New Canon to the Ordinary for Administration & Evangelism

Dear friends,

More than three months after Bishop Jennifer made the announcement I was coming on board, I am very excited to finally join diocesan staff as Canon to the Ordinary for Administration & Evangelism. However, I am a bit uncertain how best to introduce myself to you, since a great many of you know me already. In my life as a Christian, I am in almost every way a product of this diocese. I came to the Episcopal Church as a junior at IU, following a profound experience of God’s love, and I was baptized at Trinity, Bloomington during my senior year. For most of the time since my graduation, I have made my church home at All Saints in Indianapolis.

In my new role, I will assume most of the responsibilities of Canon Marsha Gebuhr as she retires at the end of this year. That is no small task. Over the next few months, I am committed to learning as much as I can from the incredible institutional knowledge she carries from nearly four decades of service to the Diocese of Indianapolis. Administration may not be the most glamorous form of ministry, but a well-functioning business operation enables the essential work all of us do in offering the love of Jesus in our place and time.

The other part of my role – evangelism – is what persuaded me to leave my long career as an investment consultant. I do not come equipped with a formula that will suddenly make us fluent proclaimers of the good news. Indeed, my own conversion had much more to do with God’s action than the church’s. But the church was there to welcome me in and mold my faith when I was ready to enter, and I hope that I can work with clergy and laypeople to observe how God is acting in their communities and respond faithfully with the good news.

Many of you have been to the listening sessions Bishop Jennifer has hosted around the diocese the last few months. You will remember that the central question that facilitator Susan Czolgosz asked us to consider is not what we do as a church, nor how we do it, but why. It’s a surprisingly hard question.

Last Monday was my first day on the job, and I started as excited as a kid on the first day of school. Simultaneously, the scale of the massacre in Las Vegas was becoming clear. Since then, I have been thinking about the task of evangelism against the backdrop of a world in pain. Why does the church matter now? Here are a few thoughts:

  • When seductive violence says that life is cheap, when our toxic politics says that scoring points is more important than the common good, when our families, friends, and neighbors surrender their lives to addiction: our insistence that all people bear the imprint of God’s image and carry inherent worth is good news.
  • The scriptures and creeds testify to a God who has entered into history, both in the triumph of the Exodus and the despair of Good Friday. We trust that God is no less present in our own day.
  • Our routines of worship and common prayer etch the word of God into our hearts, so that when we are at a loss for words to speak, the wisdom of the centuries and the psalms Jesus himself prayed say the words we cannot.
  • A life in Christian community offers not pious platitudes but faithful companionship. Life in the church is a living embodiment of Christ’s promise that he is with us always. Here we find forgiveness for our shortcomings and learn the disciplines of forgiving, service, prayer, and self-offering. Our world teaches us that these are the disciplines of the weak, but the Cross teaches us that here God gives us strength.

In an email welcoming me to the team last week, Bishop Jennifer wrote that “Even today, a day marked by a tragedy of epic proportions, we give thanks that God is active in the world.  I actually believe that it is not only access to automatic firearms that kills people, but loneliness and isolation, lack of community and reasons for hope that aid and abet violence.  God in Christ Jesus is still present and active and calling us to find our ways back to each other.” We each have a role to play in attending to this calling, and I look forward to our work together.

What opportunities or challenges are ahead of you? How can I help you think through creative possibilities? You can email me at brendan@indydio.org, or call or text me at 317-775-7690.

Faithfully,

Brendan

See Brendan’s Bio Here

Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale, Canon to the Ordinary for Administration & Evangelism

As Canon to the Ordinary for Administration and Evangelism, Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale oversees the business and finance operations of the diocese, ensuring that the diocese has the controls and reporting necessary to ensure financial strength and operational efficiency. He also supports clergy and lay leaders in developing creative strategies to observe how God is acting in the communities where they serve and respond faithfully with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Brendan is a member of the leadership team of the Acts 8 Movement, a lay and clergy network dedicated to “proclaiming resurrection in the Episcopal Church,” and is co-host of The Collect Call, a podcast about the Book of Common Prayer. Before joining the Diocese of Indianapolis, Brendan was a partner at Oxford Financial Group, an Indianapolis investment consulting firm. Brendan received his BA in Linguistics and East Asian Languages and MBA in Finance from Indiana University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

See Also: A Letter from the New Canon to the Ordinary for Administration & Evangelism

 

 

A Word to the Church from The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops Gathered in Fairbanks, Alaska, September 21-26, 2017

September 27, 2017

The Episcopal Church House of Bishops, meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska (Diocese of Alaska) approved and presented the following Word to the Church.

A Word to the Church from The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops Gathered in Fairbanks, Alaska, September 21-26, 2017

The bishops of The Episcopal Church came to Alaska to listen to the earth and its peoples as an act of prayer, solidarity and witness. We came because:

  • “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers” (Psalm 24:1-2). God is the Lord of all the earth and of all people; we are one family, the family of God.
  • “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are … members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). The residents of interior Alaska whom we met are not strangers; they are members of the same household of faith.
  • People have “become hard of hearing, and shut their eyes so that they won’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears or understand with their minds, and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them” (Matthew 13:14-15). We are blind and deaf to the groaning of the earth and its peoples; we are learning the art of prayerful listening.

What does listening to the earth and its people mean? For us bishops, it meant:

  • Getting out and walking the land, standing beside the rivers, sitting beside people whose livelihood depends on that land. We had to slow down and live at the pace of the stories we heard. We had to trust that listening is prayer.
  • Recognizing that struggles for justice are connected. Racism, the economy, violence of every kind, and the environment are interrelated. We have seen this reality not only in the Arctic, but also at Standing Rock in the Dakotas, in the recent hurricanes, in Flint, Michigan, Charlottesville, Virginia, and in the violence perpetuated against people of color and vulnerable populations anywhere.
  • Understanding that listening is deeply connected to healing. In many healing stories in the gospels, Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” That is, he listened first and then acted.

What did we hear?

  • “The weather is really different today,” one leader told us. “Now spring comes earlier, and fall lasts longer. This is threatening our lives because the permafrost is melting and destabilizing the rivers. We depend on the rivers.”
  • The land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where the caribou birth their calves is called the “sacred place where life begins,” so sacred the Gwich’in People do not set foot there. “Drilling here,” people said, “is like digging beneath the National Cathedral.”
  • After shopping together, a native Episcopalian told one of us how hard it is to even secure food. “We can’t get good food here. We have to drive to Fairbanks. It is a two-hour trip each way.”

What we bishops saw and heard in Alaska is dramatic, but it is not unique. Stories like these can be heard in each of the nations where The Episcopal Church is present. They can be heard in our own communities. We invite you to join us, your bishops, and those people already engaged in this work, in taking time to listen to people in your dioceses and neighborhoods. Look for the connections among race, violence of every kind, economic disparity, and the environment. Then, after reflecting in prayer and engaging with scripture, partner with people in common commitment to the healing of God’s world.

God calls us to listen to each other with increased attention. It is only with unstopped ears and open eyes that our hearts and lives will be changed. It is through the reconciling love of God in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that we and the earth itself will be healed.

A Prayer for Our Time and for the Earth

Dear God, Creator of the earth, this sacred home we share;

Give us new eyes to see the beauty all around and to protect the wonders of creation.

Give us new arms to embrace the strangers among us and to know them as family.

Give us new ears to hear and understand those who live off the land
and to hear and understand those who extract its resources.

Give us new hearts to recognize the brokenness in our communities and to heal the wounds we have inflicted.

Give us new hands to serve the earth and its people and to shape beloved community.

For you are the One who seeks the lost, binds our wounds and sets us free, and it is in the name of Jesus the Christ we pray.

Amen.

Resources are here

Executive Council Meets and Approves Budget for Consideration by 180th Diocesan Convention

In its final meeting prior to the 180th Diocesan Convention, diocesan Executive Council met at Waycross and approved a 2018 budget for consideration by the convention October 26-28. The council-approved budget will begin undergoing additional review at deanery meetings starting this week.  The approved budget is based on a 14% apportionment, up from 13.75% in 2017, and an effective draw on the endowment of 5.25%. Clergy Compensation Guidelines for 2018  were also approved. 

Bishop Baskerville-Burrows reported significant progress on a series of Listening Sessions around the diocese, with three remaining on the schedule (deacons, staff and SE region). “There has been an incredible consistency of message, hopes, and dreams,” she said. Table conversations are planned for diocesan convention to discuss the summary report being prepared by consultant Susan Czolgosz and there may be continued conversations in the spring. Executive Council will also further delve into the results at its overnight planning meeting November 10-11.

Executive Council also continued the discussion began at the June meeting about its role, function, and representation, including the desire to fill a youth position on Council that has been vacant for many years.                     

Canon Bruce Gray reported on the upcoming retirement of Waycross Executive Director Van Beers and progress that has been made to seek an interim and initiate a process for selecting a permanent director.  Naming a permanent director is expected to take about a year.  Canon Gray also updated the council on Pathways to Vitality and the work of the Rev. Erin Houghland with the three pathways congregations—All Saints, Indianapolis; Good Samaritan, Brownsburg; and St. Timothy’s, Indianapolis.  Pathways workshops related to church vitality will be offered during diocesan convention.             

The council also affirmed the decision of the Global Missions Commission to distribute remaining Haiti emergency funds to a project designed to help 100 families impacted by Hurricane Matthew work with an agronomist and re-establish their crops.  Any remaining funds in the Haiti or Global Missions Commission budget this year will go to support the Lunches and Lessons initiative at St. Andre’s School in Mithon. The current goal is to support 303 children in the Lunches and Lessons project at $99 per child and funds are still being raised throughout the diocese.  

In other mission-related news, the council discussed the recent hurricane disasters and the fulfillment this week of a $10,000 Episcopal Relief and Development gifts match initiative by St. Paul’s, Indianapolis.  Relief, recovery, and rebuilding in many of the impacted areas is expected to take years and more initiatives may be considered by the council as the crisis continues to unfold.  In the meantime, gifts to Episcopal Relief and Development for hurricane relief can be made online at support.episcopalrelief.org/hurricane-relief or checks can be sent to the diocesan office, marked for hurricane relief. 

The council voted to fund Episcopal Fund for Human Needs (EFHN) ministries at the same rate in 2018 as they received in 2017.  The ministries will be reminded in a communication that the diocese is undergoing a period of transition with some anticipated changes in financial structure but that the diocese is committed to supporting outreach programs.  

The council discussed the upcoming Diocesan Convention and a number of new opportunities—including several unique learning and fun experiences—being planned for convention.  For more information on the 180th Diocesan Convention at Jeffersonville and New Albany October 26-28, go to indydio.org/#horizon.       

Application process now open for Episcopal Church Constable Fund Grants

The application process is now open for the Constable Fund Grants for the 2017-2018 cycle.
 

The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church, as approved by General Convention 2015.

The Rev. Canon Tanya Wallace, Executive Council member from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and chair of the Constable Fund Grant Review Committee, noted recent Constable Grants have ranged from $5,000 to $200,000

Applications can be submitted by (1) a program office of the Episcopal Church; (2) one of the interim bodies of General Convention; or (3) one of the Provinces of the Episcopal Church.

Specific guidelines, suggestions, application form and timetable are available here.

Deadline for applications is November 1.

Grants will be reviewed by the Executive Council Constable Fund Grant Review Committee and recommendations will be presented to the Executive Council for action at its January 2018 meeting. Recipients will be notified at the close of that meeting.

For more information contact Wallace at revtrwallace.gc@gmail.com, or the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer and Secretary of General Convention, at gcsecretary@episcopalchurch.org.

Click here for more information or to read the entire article.

Constable Grant on the General Convention Web Site

Source:  September 13, 2017 – Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs

United Thank Offering 2018 Young Adult Grants

Do you have a new project or ministry you would like to implement in your parish or community? Encourage a young adult in your congregation to apply for one of the 2018 Young Adult Grants from the United Thank Offering (UTO)!

UTO has just announced that they will grant up to ten Young Adult Grants for 2018. UTO will fund up to $2,500 in start-up costs per grant for new ministries. The focus of this year’s grant process is The Jesus Movement: Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care.

In order to be considered by UTO, the grant must:

  • Be submitted by a young adult between the ages of 19 and 30.
  • Request funding for a brand new start-up ministry in the church. UTO will not grant funds to programs that are already established.
  • Be submitted first to the applicant’s diocese and endorsed by the Bishop. Each diocese may only submit one young adult grant application to UTO for consideration.
  • Fit the criteria and focus of the grant process. The criteria and focus of the 2018 Young Adult Grants may be found here.

Young adults in the Diocese of Indianapolis who are interested in applying for grant funding must submit their applications to the Diocesan Office by Tuesday, October 17th. Applications will be reviewed and one will be selected to move on for consideration by UTO.

If an application is selected to move on to UTO, it will be submitted to the diocesan office by UTO’s November 3rd deadline. Applicants selected to receive the grants will be notified of their awards in late January 2018.

Want to know more about what UTO has funded in the past? Click here for a list of the 2017 grant award recipients.

Questions about the grants or the grant process? Learn more by clicking here.

Presiding Bishop, President of House of Deputies on DACA: We stand with the Dreamers and will do all that we can to support them

September 5, 2017

Today our hearts are with those known as the Dreamers—those young women and men who were brought to this country as children, who were raised here and whose primary cultural and country identity is American. We believe that these young people are children of God and deserve a chance to live full lives, free from fear of deportation to countries that they may have never known and whose languages they may not speak. As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children. In this moment, we are called by God to protect Dreamers from being punished for something they had no agency in doing.

Since 2012, individuals who are undocumented and who were brought to the U.S. as children have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through this program, those eligible have the opportunity to obtain a work permit and can secure protection from deportation. The nearly 800,000 recipients of DACA have proven that when given the opportunity, they succeed and contribute positively to our country. Without the protection afforded by DACA or a legislative solution, these young people will live in fear of arrest, detention, and deportation to countries they may not remember. In six months those fears may become reality, so we must use that time wisely to advocate for their protection.

The Episcopal Church supports these undocumented youth as part of our decades-long commitment to walking with immigrants and refugees. Out of that commitment, we call on our nation to live up to its highest ideals and most deeply held values, and we call on Congress to take action to protect these young people and to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy that is moral and consistent and that allows immigrants who want to contribute to this country the chance to do so while keeping our borders secure from those whose business is in drugs, human trafficking or terror. We are committed to working actively toward both the passage of a bipartisan Dream Act by Congress and comprehensive immigration reform, and we will provide resources for Episcopalians who want to participate in this work.

For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, our Christian values are at stake. Humane and loving care for the stranger, the alien, and the foreigner is considered a sacred duty and moral value for those who would follow the way of God. In his parable of the last judgment, Jesus commended those who welcomed the stranger and condemned those who did not (Matthew 25:35 & 25:43). This teaching of Jesus was based on the law of Moses that tells the people of God: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-35).

We stand with the Dreamers and will do all that we can to support them while we also work for the kind of immigration reform that truly reflects the best of our spiritual and moral values as people of faith and as citizens of the United States.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry                The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
Presiding Bishop and Primate                   President, House of Deputies

On the Episcopal Church Website

Interested in more information on DACA?  Contact the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations at eppn@episcopalchurch.org; 202.547.7300. Info here

An Update on Natasha Porter and Her Family

Could we all use a little lift to start our week? Well, here it is. Ten years ago, indydio came together to go out on faith and raise around 100 K in cash and in-kind donations and labor to completely build and furnish a home for Hurricane Katrina survivor Natasha Porter and her three daughters in Pass Christian. Mississippi. They had lost absolutely everything and were living in a FEMA trailer on borrowed time, being pressured by FEMA to vacate with nowhere to go.

Many of you got to know this family while you worked on the home’s construction. Today, Natasha still lives in the beautiful home we built and is still working at the local hospital (and at another part-time laboratory job) while preparing to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree in business this spring. Her girls have grown up.

The eldest, Nydia, completed her degree in Early Childhood Education and is a teacher for Headstart. She has a beautiful son (Natasha’s first grandson!), Aidyn.

The middle daughter, Nykia, completed her Bachelor of Biological Science degree and is now in her second year of medical school, studying to be a Neurologist.

Her youngest, N’Jae, is a senior in high school this year with an interest in pursuing a degree in business management.

Natasha is convinced that her experience with indydio was a “God thing” and wants us all to know that she and her family continue to be thankful to this day. We prayerfully and positively changed their lives and now all of them are working to positively change the lives of others.

Thanks be to God!

EYE 2017 

Victoria Hoppes, Diocesan Coordinator of Ministries With and For Youth


The Diocese of Indianapolis had great representation at the 2017 Episcopal Youth Event, July 10-14 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, OK. Seven youth, two adult chaperones and Bishop Jennifer attended this triennial gathering of Episcopal youth in grades 9-12.

The theme of the event was “Path to Peace.” Participants participated in a variety of activities. Plenary sessions featured youth and adult speakers. We heard stories from survivors and first responders during the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing. We also heard the stories of youth involved with Kids4Peace, an interfaith organization dedicated to promoting peace in
Israel and Palestine. We also heard sermons from the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry and the Rev. Winnie Varghese during the opening and closing Eucharist services.

The delegation attended workshops on a variety of topics, including:

  • learning new games,
  • how to engage in peaceful conversations,
  • peer ministry,
  • United Thank Offering,
  • Confirmation ideas and practices,

and much more. Bishop Jennifer led a workshop on how to engage in
difficult and important conversations with others.

Finally, we spent a day exploring Oklahoma City. Our tour included visiting the National Cowboy Museum, the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, the Oklahoma City Bombing National Memorial and Museum, the Oklahoma History Museum, and the Red Earth Art Gallery. We ended our day with
dinner and a carnival hosted by the Diocese of Oklahoma at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown OKC, and a candlelight vigil and Compline at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.

The event was a formative experience for the youth who attended. Here are their experiences in some of their words:

“…the things that I will remember the most are the little moments when I was able to talk to people from across the country

… the moments when I was able to spend time with our Bishop and feel like my voice was being heard even though I am a youth

… the little moments made the trip so special.”

–Olivia Hurley, Trinity, Bloomington

“EYE was an amazing experience!!! I loved being with other Episcopalians who have similar hopes, dreams, and values I do

… I hope I can go again to #EYE20!!!”

–Emma Blackburn, St. Christopher’s, Carmel

“EYE was an incredible event where I got to experience worshipping and growing with a diverse group of people who all share my faith

… my favorite part of the entire event was meeting people
from all over the United States and the world.”

–Sarah Jacobs, St. Christopher’s, Carmel

You can find more photos from EYE the Indy Dio Youth Facebook Page:
www.facebook.com/indydioyouth.