January 16, 2019
The Mission Council of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) voted at its December 8, 2018 quarterly meeting to support a new diocesan-wide initiative for parishes and Regions entitled, “Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age.” It has two components: to encourage spiritual practices that support spiritual transformation of individuals and communities, and to support raising new financial resources for more fully participating God’s mission. A limited number of parishes will be in this pilot project.
The spiritual formation aspect of the initiative is an extension of the “Living Local, Joining God” (LLJG) multi-parish diocesan-wide project here in ECCT for the past three years, in conjunction with missiologist Alan Roxburgh and The Missional Network (TMN). At the heart of this work are the spiritual practices of listening, discerning, trying on, reflecting and deciding. As LLJG comes to a close, TMN along with ECCT bishops and staff are re-imagining this process with the intention of offering it to additional parishes in the diocese.
Efforts to raise new financial resources in parishes and the six Regions in ECCT grows out of the “Region Needs Assessment” undertaken in 2018 by CCS, a fundraising team hired by ECCT, in response to resolutions passed at Annual Convention (Resolution 4, “Next Steps in God’s Mission” in 2016 and Resolution 9, “Assessing our Resources for Participating in God's Mission” in 2017.) This component is also an extension of the invitation from Bishop Ian T. Douglas in his Address to the 2018 Annual Convention of ECCT, during which he invited parishes to partner with diocesan staff to move forward in new ways in God’s mission.
The Mission Council in its December meeting decided to provide funding for consultants from both CCS and TMN to help initiate Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age as a pilot project, starting in January 2019, for a limited number of parishes. It can be expanded and extended later, if approved by Mission Council.
ECCT bishops and canons, particularly Canon for Mission Collaboration the Rev. Tim Hodapp, will work with the consultants to identify the parishes that might wish to engage in one, or both, aspects of the initiative. Members of CCS’s staff will work from The Commons and with parishes starting in early January. CCS staff will also work with the bishops to identify other individuals interested in supporting ECCT’s efforts.
Commenting on the pilot project, Bishop Diocesan Ian T. Douglas said, “I am so excited about the possibility of bringing together spiritual formation for a new missional age with the development of new financial resources for parishes and our ECCT Regions. I look forward to working with parishes, individuals and the consultants from CCS and The Missional Network as we seek to join Jesus in God’s mission in our neighborhoods in this new missional age.”
(Contact Tiffany Reed, of CCS, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org)