TENS -The Episcopal Network for Stewardship

When Jesus tells the parable of the unproductive fig tree, it is told as a conversation between a man, perhaps the landowner, and the gardener, the one who tends the land. The man observes that the fig tree has not born fruit for the last three years, and, worrying about the nutrients, land, and time the tree is consuming, he orders it to be cut down and destroyed.

The gardener, however, has a different relationship with the tree, even though it is slow to fruit, he sees potential, or at least hopes that next year it will bear fruit. He makes his best case, asking for one more year to nurture it, he buys some time for the tree to make sweet figs.

Sometimes we are like this tree, we need a little time, a little intention, a little intervention to produce at our highest level. Other times, we are like the tree planted by a stream in Jeremiah’s prophecy, that will not wither even in years of drought. We show our tenacity, resilience by staying where we are rooted year after year, no matter the conditions.

Being rooted in abundance is about being certain, steadfast in our knowledge that we have enough to share with a world in need. It is about doing the hard work of knowing ourselves so that we can know how to help others. It is about putting all of our resources together to support the mission of the church – our wealth, works, and our wisdom. However, you encounter the needs of the world this year, know that you are supported by your community, resilient in your creative problem-solving, and rooted in abundance.

All Good Gifts,

Cn. J. Davey Gerhard III

Executive Director

The theme for our 2023 Stewardship Campaign Resources is Rooted in Abundance. Your new password to access the resources for 2023 is Jeremiah17:8

Click here to access the Episcopal Stewardship Campaign Resources

Please note, the password is case sensitive and there are no spaces.

TENS relies on you, our diocesan contacts, to distribute the password and links to our resources to all of your congregations so that they may take the best advantage of all we have.

You may download all the seasonal reflections and the campaign timeline in English and in Spanish on our website.

 

 

 

Mustard Seed and Vinyard Grants

The following projects have all been aided by grants from the Congregational Development Commission.

Food Pantry Outreach Project at St. Peter’s & St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Contact: The Rev. Maryalice Sullivan, Vicar (revmas90@gmail.com)
CDC Grant award: $8,300

Goal: To make more use of church basement as the church expands its outreach offerings

As St. Peter’s & St. Andrew’s seeks to use their parish house as a Center of Hope, they continue to look forward to future community needs. Currently, they have the Food Pantry which serves about 60 families/week. They also served as a COVID testing and vaccination site and have a pop-up thrift store. Other outreach needs being addressed include:

  • a job fair for the community
  • working with Brown University through the Free program to provide much needed feminine products for women and school aged girls
  • ESL and citizenship classes – the two largest requests from the community

The mold has been remediated from our basement and it does smell oh so much better. The grant we received from the Diocese covered all but four hundred dollars of the total cost. The next step is to get the gutters fixed to redirect the water away from the building.  We will also have to have the parts of the basement wall repair where the water has been leaking in, probably for years, and we need a sump pump to make sure this does not happen in the future.  When this work is done we can begin to think about what we want our basement to look like and how do we accomplish that. They were able to save the sub floor which should save some money as we move forward. 

Festival of the Resurrection: Hope, Healing & Hallelujah. St. Paul’s Pawtucket.

Contact: Rev. Jo-ann Drake or Ted Platt, office@stpaulspawtucket.org, 401-728-4300

Goals: “The season of Easter, which lasts 50 days, is the time the Church gives continuous thanks for God’s unfailing love and mercy,” said The Rev. Greta Getlein, Vicar of St. Paul’s. “As part of our celebrations:

  • we must consider how we share the gifts given us;
  • how we engage with our communities;
  • and how we participate in the important conversations of our day.

This festival is an opportunity for St. Paul’s to do all of the above in partnership with this city.”

The 2018 Festival of the Resurrection took place from Sunday, April 22, through Sunday, April 29, as an opportunity for Rhode Islanders to continue joyously celebrating Easter long after the traditional festive worship services on Easter Day. Each day of the festival featured a special event, starting with “Bach, Buxtehude and Beyond,” an organ recital at 3 p.m. on April 22. Events include and evening of dance and music with “Dynamite Rhythm”, a presentation by Creative Outreach About Addiction Support Together, a conversation “Art of Befriending Seniors”, a Tai Chi workshop on spiritual fitness followed by a Mass for Healing, and a solo dramatic performance of the Gospel of Mark. The festival concluded with “For God Has Done Marvelous Things,” an artistic tapestry of poetry, dance, readings, prayer, choir and organ around the great hymns of Easter.

Impact: From Rev Greta Getlein (July 2021): “I would say it was a short-term success in that it got lots of members of the parish involved welcoming strangers in.”

Icons and Song – Windows into Russian Culture and Prayer. All Saints’ Memorial Church, Providence

Contact: Rev. Julie Hanavan revjulhan@gmail.com

Amount funded by CDC: $1,300
Amount funded by All Saints’: $1,775

Goals: Expand upon an annual concert hosted by All Saints (sacred Russian Orthodox music) to include an exhibition of Russian Icons from the Museum of Russian Icons traveling collections.
Invite the public to spend an afternoon at All Saints’ to experience beautiful sacred music from Russia, meet a Russian a capella group, view Russian Orthodox and Ethiopian Christian icons dating to 1580, and learn about the creation, meaning, and roles of icons in personal/family prayer and liturgy.
Further the vision statement of All Saints’ as “a visible and known beacon that engages people in their spiritual journeys and nurtures their mind and souls.”

Description: More than 100 persons attended the event on September 14, 2019, many of whom had never been inside All Saints’. Ms. Garrity-Arquitt, from the Museum, was present throughout the exhibition period to answer individual questions; she also answered many thoughtful questions from the audience at the conclusion of her presentation. Her presentation was complemented by sacred Russian Orthodox music presented by LYRA, with accompanying commentary by its leader, Mr. Sergey Tupitsyn. The group, composed of four professional musicians from St. Petersburg, also sang entertaining Russian folk songs. Attendees enjoyed a delicious reception of savories and desserts prepared by the All Saints’ Arts Ministry.

The Icons and Song program was a unique combination of sacred art and music, and culture that appealed to a wide range of visitors. Many attendees had never been to All Saints’ before and commented on the beauty of the sacred space as well as the music and icons. The program did indeed engage spiritual journeys, and nurtured mind and soul.

Open Hands, Open Hearts. Trinity Church, Scituate

Contact: Jill Shurtleff, jshurtl@gmail.com
(currently not occurring due to COVID, but will resume when it is safe to do so.)

Goal(s): To develop an inviting, inclusive worship service for families with special abilities children, to share this ministry with other churches interested in starting a similar service, and assist those congregations in setting up similar services.

Open Hands, Open Hearts is a worship service for families with special needs in a judgment-free gathering place. The service includes music and movement, prayers, a lesson, and an opportunity for Eucharist and/or a blessing. Our Open Hands, Open Hearts worship space contains a quiet area for those who need a safe zone or a break.  It also features comfortable alternative seating, including “wiggle seats,” bean bag chairs, and floor mats.

Pilgrim Course Bible Study Project. Church of the Epiphany, Rumford, RI

Contact: The Rev. Jennifer Zogg, Rector (revjen@epiphanyep.org)

CDC Grant award: $2,000

Goal of Project: To deepen our spiritual formation as a congregation by engaging in an all-parish study on basic Christianity and discipleship called the Pilgrim course from Church Publishing, and to strengthen our spiritual foundation in order to engage better in outreach, stewardship, etc., and build new leaders in the parish for future ministries.

The congregation was gathered in one united study (Sunday mornings at 9:15am in small and large group formats) for inter-generational learning (youth ages 9-13+ were included) Next, we would like to provide a course for new members, those desiring adult baptism/confirmation/reception, and those who have been long-time members to deepen and renew their faith

The Blackstone Valley Deanery- Quiet Day. Christ Church, Lincoln R.I.

Contact: The Reverend Beth Sherman, vicarbethstaugustines@gmail.com

Amount funded by CDC: $1000

The Quiet day in Advent provided 15 or so people (both lay and clergy) with a reflective and meditative experience during one of the most chaotic and busiest seasons of the church year, Advent. Participants found the quiet day healing and energizing, allowing them to slow down and “be present.” The day began at 8:30 am and end at about 2 pm. During the “Quiet day,” there was a good deal of scheduled and unscheduled time. The scheduled time began with three (3) periods of reflection led by the Reverend Beth Sherman. After the planned “reflection time, participants were allowed to journal during an unscheduled time. A good indication of success is the desire and hope held by participants that future “quiet days” would be supported by the diocese as a whole.

Susan Beaumont Webinar

How do we lead when we don’t know where we’re going?

How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning—when the old way of doing things no longer works but a way forward is not yet clear? The Rev. Susan Beaumont calls such in-between times liminal seasons—threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos. In a liminal season it simply is not helpful to pretend we understand what needs to happen next. But leaders can still lead.

Join us for a workshop to explore the ways that leaders can navigate these difficult times. Tuesday, January 12 and Thursday, January 14, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, via Zoom. Register at Eventbrite.

You should prepare for this workshop by reading Susan’s book: “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going”. This can be ordered directly from the publisher. ORDER. Use promo code RLFANDF30 to get 30% off list price. Or, you may order on Amazon. The ebook may also be purchased from Google Play. (There is scholarship money available to help defray the cost of the book, for those in need. Please speak to your clergy for details.)

Even if you cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts, you are encouraged to register. The event will be recorded, and that recording made available to registrants only.

The Rev. Susan Beaumont is a consultant, coach, author and spiritual director. Before establishing her own practice, Susan worked for nine years as a Senior Consultant with the Alban Institute. Susan has also served on the faculty of two business schools, teaching graduate level courses in leadership, management and organizational behavior. She has corporate experience in human resource management and organizational development. She currently teaches at Wesley Theological Seminary. susanbeaumont.com

 

 

Special Convention 2020

SPECIAL CONVENTION IN LIEU OF THE
2020 ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE
DIOCESE OF RHODE ISLAND

Our Special Convention was convened on November 7, 2020, beginning at 9:00 AM via Zoom video conference. You may see a recording of the meeting and view documents on this page.

 

Agenda    Resolutions 2018 Gen. Convention  Memo for Amended Rules of Order   Amended Rules of Order     2021 Budget    Nominations for Standing Committee     Transcript of the Bishop’s Address

Thank you Video – I See You

Getting your service Online

Paraphrasing from a webinar: Online is not the backdoor to worship anymore. It is the front door for many newcomers, and a sidedoor for the faithful (those homebound, and those away from home). This pandemic forced us into online worship that many of us were not prepared for or enthusiastic about but, having made it over the initial hurdle we now find ourselves equipped with new tools for spreading the Word. Let’s make use of these tools to the best of our abilities.

If you have questions, or answers about online ministry, we have formed a user group. Email our Director of Communications, Kristin Knudson-Groh, to join. kristin@episcopalri.org

We had a great forum led by Jeremy Tackett, Digital Evangelist for the Episcopal Church. You may watch a recording of the evening here. His slide deck is here. He gave us a good deal of hands-on information about equipment and things to consider.

Below are some resources for instruction, for equipment, for software, for platforms. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and not necessarily meant to endorse any particular products or services. And please remember, whatever works best for your community is enough! Be true to yourself and your priorities; you do not have to do everything, or buy all the toys.

Suggestions for what equipment and software you might need for starting to record or livestream your services:

Recommendations from the field:  

  • “EpocCam that lets you use your phone as a webcam with either Mac or PC.  This is a huge benefit because for $8 I can use the 1080 on my phone rather than the 780 on my laptop”
  • “I am really pleased with eCamm.live.  It’s quite like OBS, but much more integrated and robust (also, not free, but you get what you pay for!).  One of the issues we had with OBS was a considerable visual delay between hitting “Go Live” and the screen saying we were live (though on FB we had been live during the delay…awkward!).  In any case, eCamm is so much smoother and works directly with Facebook, YouTube, and a bunch of others.

What other tools can I use for videos or livestreams?

  • The Diocese has been using Vimeo to host our videos and push them out to social media.
  • https://streamyard.com/ is another platform for livestreaming and pushing to social media.

Music Licensing
One License: If you would like use music in any of your streaming services, you must have a streaming license. One License is the most comprehensive source for titles found in the 1982 Hymnal, and they have an arrangement with Church Publishing Incorporated. If you would like assistance with your streaming license, please contact Mary Ann Mello. The Congregational Development Commission is making grants available to help defray the cost of this additional license. Apply here.

Public Domain: There are a number of hymns in the public domain that can be used during your live-stream with no license. Please check the list of public domain hymns here http://www.hymnsuntogod.org/Hymns-PD/ZZ-CompletePDHymnList.html before moving forward with individual songs.

Another information source – https://caffeinated-church.squarespace.com/streaming-content-licenses

Additional considerations:

Internet signal. Do you have the bandwith or signal strength that you need, or will need? We’ve all been figuring out that what’s worked fine in the office may be lousy in the chancel. Rambling buildings and stone walls are not helping the signal from your router. It may be time to investigate wifi extenders, or to contact your provider about an upgrade.

Who is doing this? You should expand the number of people involved in your online ministry. Who can run the camera? Who can be the Zoom usher? Who is editing the recordings, who is producing the feeds?

Welcome. How do you reach out to your digital audience to include them into your community?

We’re all trying to sort this out. Below are some resources that other dioceses have put together. Not all of the information may fit us here, but there are helpful elements.

https://ecww.org/live-streaming-resources-for-churches/ Diocese of Western Washington

https://episcopalcolorado.org/connected-in-common/ Diocese of Colorado

https://www.churchofengland.org/digital-labs/labs-learning-blog/labs-learning-blogs Church of England

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/digital-labs/labs-learning-blog/31-amazing-tools-and-resources-support-your 

https://www.churchofengland.org/How-to-set-up-to-film-a-video-on-your-phone

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.  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/888550363

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

 

Employee Assistance Program

The Church Pension Group provides an Employee Assistance Program to clergy and other church employees. Can it be of help to you? Click here to see a list of ways the EAP has helped others.

Responding to Coronavirus and other emergencies

Statements

Our Covid-19 Reopening plan, Journeying by Stages. Updated 3-19-21

May 26, 2020 – A joint statement from RI Faith Leaders on Reopening

April 9, Maundy Thursday – A message from Rhode Island’s Faith Leaders

March 16, 2020 – A message from our Bishop.

The Bishop has directed congregations to suspend in-person public worship. March 14, 2020

Messages from the Presiding Bishop: March 10, March 12, March 17

Guidance from the Church of England.

Worship, and Pray

Worship online  – our parishes, and resources

Prayers compiled

Help with the new age of online ministry from VTS

Spanish Language Resources

Hebert Palomino, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University, is releasing a series of videos in Spanish on caring for people in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you serve in a ministry context with Spanish-speaking persons, Dr. Palomino encourages you to make use of these videos and share them with others. Here are links for the first three videos; he plans to release one or more additional videos each week.
Definiendo la crisis
Que esperar en medio de una crisis
Cómo manejar las Cómo manejar las emociones descompensadoras

Ideas

New – We have detailed information regarding sewing face masks, and helping the homeless, here.

The stress of this pandemic has many effects. This page lists resources for dealing with mental health, addiction, and domestic violence.

Mail sermons or meditations to people who are not online. Send handwritten notes and cards. Is art part of your home-school program? Ask if you may send those masterpieces to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Use the back pages to write notes to family and friends.

Create a phone tree and call each other to check in.

Deliver meals or food as needed. If you have to go out, call elders you know, call your neighbors, and ask what they need. Help others to stay in.

Establish prayer partners and pray for each other over the phone. Commit to keep praying.

Check in with the local food pantry, ask how you can help.

Ask everyone you interact with how you can pray for them and how you can help them.

Ask yourself – how do I keep doing these things when the emergency is past?

Do you sew? Hospitals are looking for help making masks.

Many of our congregations host AA meetings, and many of us have friends and family dealing with addiction. Make sure they know that there are resources online.

Please continue to support your church by sending in your offering. Make the jump to online giving, or set up an automatic transfer schedule from your bank. There are bills that still need to be paid.

Clergy Resources

NewHymns made available by Church Publishing for Fall 2020. Food for thought, an article from The American Organist about streaming.

NewJourneying by Stages, guidance for re-opening.

New – A compilation of suggestions and resources to assist you in your continuing online presence.

The latest guidance from the state regarding re-opening considerations.

Covid-19 Reopening plan template.

Guidance for Funeral Homes from RI Department of Health.

Looking for music to stream? More information about copyright and use of music for streaming is here, and here.

HR issues, addressed by our consultant. Returning, or not, from unemployment.

Ministry in a Time of Pandemic

Caring for Church Buildings. Advice from the CofE. Not all of the information is applicable here, but there are some good suggestions.

End of life pastoral care guidelines, from the Bishop.

If you are looking for information regarding putting your congregation’s service online, start here. There are additional resources here, and here. Regarding the use of music online: OneLicense.

This is a link to a survey that you might adapt for finding out what are the most pressing needs of your parish community.

Having issues with using Zoom? There is a great tutorial here.

This is a summary of a webinar sponsored by Episcopal Relief and Development, addressing the stress of isolation and quarantine. Lists some helpful resources and includes a link to a recording of the webinar.

Regarding congregational financial concerns.

We have put together some advice regarding planning for emergency situations. This page will be updated as situations warrant.

 Lifespan has released temporary, guidance regarding hospital visits during this time. https://www.lifespan.org/news/visitation-restricted-lifespan-hospitals

 

 

Emergency Management

Is your congregation prepared in the event of an emergency? If a devastating storm hits, or there is an outbreak of something like the coronavirus, what will you do?

Points to consider:

  • Get your contact lists up to date! You will need to use your congregation’s lists – mail/email/phone/etc, to keep in touch with people. Consider setting up a phone tree, so that those who are not online are not cut off. The Diocese would very much like to have your lists as well, so that we are in a position to be helpful in reaching out to those affected.
  • Check with your local Emergency Managers to see if they might need any assistance, and to get yourself in the informational loop. Your buildings might not qualify as emergency shelters, but there are other things that could be of service such as storing emergency food stores, serving as cell phone charging stations for area residents, being a water distribution point, etc. http://www.riema.ri.gov//resources/emergencymanager/response/local.php
  • Consider how to worship. Can any of the Daily Offices be led via Facebook Live, or a YouTube channel? This is a very helpful video explaining how to get your service on Facebook. (We have a list of additional online worship suggestions available here, if your congregation isn’t set up to provide them.)
  • Consider how to keep the business of your congregation running. Is telecommuting possible? Is online bill paying set up? Online pledging? Do your parishioners know they can arrange auto-payments from their bank?
  • How do you stay in touch? There are number of ways to continue holding meetings, checking in, even worshiping. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Live, YouTube
  • If you are taking infection control steps during services (‘hands-off” during the peace, communion in one kind, etc) you must communicate this. Place a note in the bulletin, make an announcement at the start of the service, post to your website, put a note in your weekly email.
  • Encourage your congregants to be prepared for an emergency. (Always a good idea.) Bottled water, non-perishable foods, and a sufficient supply of necessary medications should be on hand when emergency strikes.

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https://www.stalbans.anglican.org/coronavirus/

Coronavirus: what we haven’t heard from Government

5th March 2020

The Bishop’s Coronavirus Golden Rules

Not official advice: read and heed that here – but this is food-for-thought about our attitudes.

Golden Rule One: Each one of us can think about how we can protect and support our neighbours. So much of the public rhetoric is sowing fear about the danger of other people. So, taking all the  official precautions,  offer help and reassurance to others – and don’t demonise anyone or any group.

Golden Rule Two: Think about who may be suffering more than me. For those of us who are healthy there is much less to worry about but the elderly, the housebound and those with chronic health conditions may be very anxious. How about each church undertaking an audit of all the vulnerable people they know and sharing out the responsibility to phone them each day. There’s nothing like a friendly voice to offer solace when someone is worried. A smile can bring cheer, even on the phone. If you visit, follow all the official precautions or don’t go.

Golden Rule Three: Don’t give into panic and start hoarding food. There is plenty to go around, so practise the Christian discipline of sharing. Ask your neighbours what they need and do you best to help them get it. If you are self-isolating you will of course need some supplies.

Golden Rule Four: Live today to the full. None of us ever know what the future holds. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6. 25 – 34), Jesus challenged his followers to live each day fully and not be afraid. Every time we are tempted to give in to fear we need to make a conscious choice to respond in trust and openness.

And, along with just over half the adults in the UK, don’t forget to pray. Here’s a suggestion from the Revd Louise Collins, a Team Vicar in Borehamwood, Herts:

Dear God our Shield and our Defender, guide and protect my neighbour in this time of health emergency; deliver them from all harm and may your love and care ever grow in this place. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

+Alan St Albans

Do you have your suggestions of other Golden Rules to help us during this time? Please tweet them #coronagoldenrules

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Helpful links:

https://episcopalchurch.org/concerning-covid19

https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/personal/index.html CDC general advice for preventing the spread of infectious disease

https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/gathering/index.html Advice for public gatherings

https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/pdf/gr-pan-flu-com-faith-org-serv-vul-pop.pdf Specific advice for Churches

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2Fabout%2Findex.html Coronavirus faq page

https://health.ri.gov/emergency/about/specialneedsregistry/ Registry for anyone with oxygen or other medical equipment at home, or with other needs that first responders might need to know.