Tuesday, September 24, 2013

House of Bishops Day 5 (Fall 2013)

From Bishop Martins-

 After Morning Prayer at our tables (an amalgam of BCP and Enriching Our Worship--sung guitar-accompanied Venite, said Psalm, Office Hymn sung unaccompanied), our morning panelists were introduced: Mary Frances, church planting director for the ELCA; Becca Stevens, a priest of the Diocese of Tennessee who runs a nationally-acclaimed ministry with women recovering from violence; and Tom Brackett, church planting staff member with 815. Their presentations were each quite compelling. From my standpoint as a small-diocese bishop always on the prowl for usable ideas, I thought Pastor Frances had the most red meat to offer. The ELCA process is quite methodical and structured, and I mean "structured" as in "helpful." As I shared with my table group, from-scratch church planting doesn't figure prominently for us in the Diocese of Springfield at present. We are straining toward a more organic approach in which existing Eucharistic Communities take responsibility for mission in their own geographic parishes, and plant satellite communities that are eventually hived off. But we don't have much to show for it yet, because we're in the process of marshaling our resources and laying foundations. By the time any of our work is visible above ground, we'll already have a strong root system.

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