Congregational Renewal Resources

Congregational Renewal Resources

Tuesdays at 2 (EST) conversations are offered to support lay and ordained leaders as they reengage their communities and connect with resources to help get them moving. Through conversation with other leaders, they can hear the voice of the Spirit, gain courage and resources to try new things and learn values and practices that propel them forward. The Tuesdays at 2 (EST) conversations will help them discern next steps – one of which might eventually be joining a Coached Small Group or the church-wide Practicing Community.

Organized by The Rev. Thomas Brackett, Manager for Church Planting and Mission Development,
Presiding Bishop’s Staff, The Episcopal Church

From a recent conversation: Microstrategy


50 Ways to Welcome Newcomers

Hospitality is a key ministry within a congregation. All too often newcomers are greeted at the “Passing of the Peace” but ignored at the end of the service. Should they happen to wander into coffee hour, the chances are likely that they will find themselves standing alone, chatting with each other while church members are visiting with their friends. Here are 50 ways you can strengthen your hospitality ministry.

DOWNLOAD 50_Ways_to_Build_Strength_in_Welcoming_New_People

Forward Movement

Best known for Forward Day by Day, a daily devotion providing meditations on scripture readings, Forward Movement continues to build on its history of encouraging discipleship and evangelism.  In the past it was mostly known for its brochures along with the Forward Day by Day meditation booklet. Today they offer books and ebooks for small groups, individual study, and prayer, Christian formation courses, leadership events, Spanish and bilingual resources, pamphlets, downloadable resources, a daily podcast, apps for your smartphones or tablets, and online engagement opportunities.

Church Publishing

Church Publishing is the foundational imprint owned by the Church Pension Group (which provides pensions for clergy and lay employees of our churches). Launched as the Church Hymnal Corporation, the original church publishing house was dedicated to publishing a single work, The Hymnal 1918, which remains in print to this day.

In the nearly 100 years since its first publication, Church Publishing has emerged as an important provider of liturgical and musical resources for The Episcopal Church, along with works on church leadership, pastoral care and Christian formation. With its growing portfolio of professional books and resources, Church Publishing is recognized as the official publisher for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States and publishes documents authorized by the General Convention. Through the years, Church Publishing has consciously broadened its program, reach, and service to the church by publishing books for and about the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Morehouse Publishing was independently founded in 1884 and specializes in works for laity, “the people in the pews.” Like Church Publishing, Morehouse serves The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, but the Morehouse program also reaches out to the broader Christian community with works designed to provide spiritual enrichment and practical guidance to people from all walks of faith. Morehouse seeks to expand and deepen the Church’s ministry by publishing leading-edge titles in genres including faith and spirituality, women’s issues, youth, and family.

Seabury Books is our “trade” imprint, targeting the retail book market at large. Seabury titles reflect the rich and diverse world of religious belief, thought, theory and application. Seabury Books publishes fresh, new works and classic titles for general readers, professionals, students, and scholars, from the viewpoints of many faith traditions. The Seabury Books imprint has become a progressive, ecumenical trade imprint, publishing a rich and diverse list of thought-provoking books in areas including theology, ethics, culture and society, Scripture, and homiletics.

Morehouse Church Supplies (MCS) provides a single-source solution for securing high quality church-related products in many categories. While the Episcopal Church is its largest customer group, MCS also caters to parishes, congregations, church schools, and professionals from many denominations.

Product lines include Episcopal gifts, jewelry, certificates, stationery, and others. Parish registers and forms are also in the product mix as well as items for individual and corporate worship and prayer, including lectionary bulletins, and annual planning calendars.

Morehouse Education Resources (MER) is the CPI division publishing exciting Christian formation and curriculum programs such as Living the Good NewsGodly Play®, and Weaving God’s Promises. Some MER programs are specific to The Episcopal Church (Weaving God’s Promises) while others, like Godly Play®, are ecumenically focused.

Church Publishing Incorporated is also a provider of useful and relevant online and downloadable e-Products for use in worship planning and other ministries. Examples of these important resources include The Rite Stuffritebrainritesongriteworship, and Preparing for Sunday. The diocese pays for a license for the ritesong for all of our churches so they are able to use music, print lyrics in their bulletins, etc.



RenewalWorks is a catalyst for refocusing parishes (and the individuals in them) on spiritual vitality. It has been tailored to the Episcopal tradition, adapting 10 years of research that has uncovered key characteristics of flourishing congregations. It will inspire your congregation and leadership to rediscover who Jesus is, and what it means to follow him. Through a guided methodology of self-reflection, sharing and workshop discussion, RenewalWorks challenges parishes to refocus on spiritual growth and to identify ways that God is calling them to grow. Several of our diocesan congregations have used this survey and the follow-up materials to help them deepen the spiritual lives of their members. You can learn more about the program that their website: RenewalWorks.

The RenewalWorks process begins with an anonymous, confidential, online inventory (Episcopal Spiritual Life Inventory) taken by congregants, exploring that individual’s spiritual life. When the responses are viewed as a group, the inventory provides a snapshot of the spiritual vitality of the congregation. The data is supported by additional research information from more than 1,800 churches (of all denominations) and almost 500,000 congregants.

Workshop1A parish team is gathered to delve into the specifics of the inventory data over four guided workshops. This group contemplates the following questions, one at each workshop:

  1. Where have we been?
  2. Where are we now?
  3. Where do we feel called to go?
  4. How will we get there?


You can learn more by watching a video interview with the Presiding Bishop and the  Reverend Jay Sidebotham (RenewalWorks Director) from The Episcopal Diocese of NC on Vimeo.


Curious about how the RenewalWorks process works?  Here’s a quick look at it from beginning to end (which is also a beginning).  

Step 1 The vestry and rector decide to work toward making spiritual growth a priority in your church’s life and ministry. (The Resources page contains materials to download and share with your leadership and congregation.)

Step 2 Your church signs up through Forward Movement, using this link. The cost is $500*, which buys you:

  • The Spiritual Life Inventory and a personalized report, based on your congregation’s data and benchmarked against more than 1,800 churches of all denominations that have also taken the survey over the past decade.
  • A timeline for the process, along with webinars and other materials to assist your planning and communication efforts
  • Three copies of Footsteps by Jay Sidebotham, which explains the importance of spiritual growth and the methodology behind RenewalWorks. Discounted copies are also available for your workshop team and congregation.
  • Support for your workshop team that includes
    – webinars and weekly phone check-ins with your facilitator
    – a step-by-step Facilitator Guide
    – a Participant’s Workbook for each team member
    – templates created by Jay Sidebotham to print and post as visual aids

Often parishes within a diocese participate in the process together. In those instances, the churches complete the Spiritual Life Inventory at the same time and share best practices, preparation, and training, etc. Please contact us directly if you are interested in sharing this idea with your diocese. We’re glad to help.

Step 3 Complete the church profile to give us more information about your congregation, and select a date for launching the Spiritual Life Inventory. The Inventory and workshop dates go on your church’s calendar and you begin telling the congregation about the program and how their participation and prayers can help. Prepare a promotional plan 4-6 weeks prior to the SLI launch to ensure enough time to get the word out.

Step 4 Select a workshop facilitator and a team consisting of nine to twenty-four parishioners, depending on the size of your church. The team includes your clergy leader and should represent a cross section of your community. Team members should be willing to commit to the four workshop sessions and the homework assigned to help them prepare.

Step 5 Spiritual Life Inventory Launch:  The congregation completes an anonymous, online Spiritual Life Inventory, which is available for three weeks. The survey is designed to learn where people are in their spiritual journeys and how their churches help in that journey and where they might do better.

Step 6 Workshops begin two to three weeks after the Inventory closes. Each session begins and ends with prayer and reflection and builds on the work of the previous sessions. Facilitator and Participant guides will walk the team through each workshop.  Here’s a quick look at the four workshops:

  • Workshop 1: Where have we been? 
    The main topic for discussion is spiritual growth. Workshop exercises help team members reflect on the dynamic nature of their own faith and the role played by their church and clergy in supporting and encouraging spiritual growth.
  • Workshop 2: Where are we now?
    The team looks at the Inventory data from their congregation, along with basic information on demographics and growth for their church and area. This session builds a picture of where the church is now that can be used in the last two sessions as they consider new ways to help their church grow in love of God and neighbor.
  • Workshop 3: Where do we feel called to go?
    Using RenewalWorks research and your congregation’s data, this session focuses on how your church can encourage and support spiritual growth. The team explores five best practice principles found spiritually vital churches and considers how those principles can be applied in the congregation.
  • Workshop 4: How will we get there?
    After reviewing what they’ve learned, the team develops a few concrete next steps for refocusing on spiritual growth to present to the vestry and congregation. Team members consider their individual commitments to spiritual growth, and close the series with thanksgiving to God for this time and work together and with hope for its impact on the future.

Step 7 The Workshop Team shares what it has learned with the vestry and congregation.

Step 8 Spiritual growth emerges as the priority in your congregation, bringing new energy to every aspect of your life together and your mission in the world.


* The Congregational Development Commission has funded or assisted congregations with the cost of RenewalWorks. To apply for a grant go to Apply for Money in the Rescource Library.

Episcopal Evangelism Initiatives

The Episcopal Church has established evangelism initiatives for the whole church. Your congregation can participate in this by downloading and using some of the resources below or by going to the Episcopal Church website:

Diocesan Library

The Diocese has a variety of books, curricula and other resources that are available to congregations. These resources are stored in bookcases in the upper conference room and the in the lower level hallway. There is no requirement to “sign out” a resource or even to return it. Feel free to take what you need — return it if it seems good to you. Or contribute a resource you’d like to share.

We’d love to have someone sort and organize these resources, label the shelves and prepare a page that tells people where different topics are stored. If you’re inspired to offer this service, contact or call Mary Ann Mello at 401-274-4500.