From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: Domestic Missionary Partnership explores mission in small places

Date Fri, 14 Feb 2003 14:06:53 -0500

February 14, 2003


Episcopalians: Domestic Missionary Partnership explores mission 
in small places

by Dick Snyder

(ENS) Methods for promoting the Episcopal Church's mission in 
small dioceses and small congregations were explored at the 
annual meeting of the Domestic Missionary Partnership (DMP) in 
early February in Burlingame, California. The meeting's theme 
was "Mission in a Micro-Chip Culture: Being Small Doesn't Mean 
You Can't Make a Difference."

The meeting discussed a recommendation of the 20/20 Strategy 
Group to General Convention this summer, encouraging church 
members to embrace "fully the stated mission of the church," and 
to adopt strategies that will double participation in the life 
of the church by the year 2020.

"It is really about mission," explained Bishop Katharine 
Jefferts Schori of Nevada, a member of the Strategy Group who 
led the discussion. She said that 20/20 "is a movement" with the 
goal of encouraging church growth, recognizing and fostering 
vitality within congregations. Its principles include enhancing 
diversity within congregations while also stressing prayer, 
biblical literacy, reflection and witness.

"Vital congregations may be any size," said the bishop.

Hallmark of leadership

The Rev. John Harmon, rector of Trinity Church in Washington, 
D.C., said that the "hallmark of leadership is vision," the 
ability to see "what is possible in this place."  Small 
congregations, as well as larger ones, can "make an impact in 
transforming communities," he said.

DMP delegates heard about marketing techniques from the Rev. 
Frank Hull of Arizona, who said that "you've got to use the 
words that people will understand to get them in the door." He 
added that "brand loyalty," individuals who would always attend 
an Episcopal church no matter where they moved, is disappearing.

The delegates heard about reaching new church members through 
the use of electronic evangelism--the use of interactive web 
sites--from C.T. Fitzpatrick of A tour to the 
technology museum in San Jose was also part of the agenda.

Funding approved

DMP delegates approved distribution funding for the Episcopal 
Church's aided dioceses.  Eastern Oregon was awarded $103,000; 
Western Kansas received $55,000; Eau Claire received $41,000 in 
budgetary support. In addition, a one-time grant of $12,800 was 
approved to assist Western Kansas in hiring a part-time 
assistant for the bishop to help with local congregations, and 
Eau Claire received $8,000 for a campus ministry program.

Delegates decided to review their financial guidelines at next 
year's meeting--including a requirement that churches in 
dioceses that receive aid must pay 25 percent of their net 
disposable income.  Bishop William Gregg of Eastern Oregon said 
that the financial review process "does not energize and 
nurture" those dioceses. Bishop James Adams of Western Kansas 
agreed, saying "We need some flexibility."

Bishop Keith Whitmore of Eau Claire was elected to a three-year 
term as president of the group, replacing Miller.

DMP is comprised of 10 dioceses, all relatively small.	Most of 
them formerly belonged to Coalition 14, a group of small and 
rural dioceses formed for ministry and mission development. 
Member dioceses of DMP are El Camino Real, Navajoland, Spokane, 
Western Kansas, Eastern Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska, North 
Dakota and Eau Claire.


--Dick Snyder is a free-lance church journalist from Nevada and 
a seminarian at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

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