At the 107th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia, attendees were invited by Bishop Rickel to reflect on the question:
As we turn 10 together, what is the one most important thing we can do together as a diocese?
We’ve collected their responses below.
Hold quarterly fundraising dinners within a certain mileage circle or block area. This would allow us to get to know each other better and socialize among our diocese.
Taking care of our congregation in order to reach out to others. “A happy congregation is reaching out to others.”
- Hispanic needs not being met
- Younger families’ needs not being met
- We worry too much about meeting budget
I am continuing to be concerned that we do not have a mission that will engage the younger people. Energy – offering something that resonates with them.
As a church contextualized in the United States – a country [with] increasing divisiveness [and] hatred. The church must claim its mediative voice to promote Kingdom of God values and an overriding posture of “other-centeredness!”
Identify and create a worthy and relevant path for 18-28-year-olds to carry the “message” regardless of counter culture and worldly convention.
Good example of being the work of the maritime group [Mission to Seafarers] and a 23-year-old from University of Puget Sound (UPS).
- Love each other more
- Listen to each other more (generally)
- More youth in our church
- Be willing to change – we are sometimes afraid of young people, and listen to them
- Be open to change
- Grateful and thankful for all we have
- Be innovative
- Emulate the good Samaritan
Under 35 – attract younger people. How can we show we’re accepting young people as they are?
Connecting with other churches from our region – offering more opportunities.
St. Benedict, Lacey
Recognize how we can bring something substantial from inside our church, outside.
Find how we can bring our traditional Episcopal inclusive identity into the world. Cal Andersson Park?
Healing community hurts…
Break bread together in our geographic community. Come together in times…
Actively engage one another on divisive issues in civil discourse.
Employ regional ministries
Move to progressive liturgy, not regress.
Apologize [for] own our colonial past and move forward multiculturally.
More 35 [and] under in leadership positions.
The most important thing is to be present and ask what our communities need.
“Where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
- Evangelization – soft or loud, short or long
- Living the church outside the building
- Love your neighbor
St. Margaret, Bellevue
Inspire congregations to collaborate regionally for the purpose of equipping and strengthening each other for ministry. For example: youth ministry, ministry to homeless, faith formation for all ages.
Align in a clear, unequivocal way with the most vulnerable in our society.
Christ Church, Seattle
Being Christ in the World – figure out to be Christ-like in the world.
To discover in each congregation, how to be Christ in the world; e.g. Chaplains on the Harbor.
Diocese can help us individuals, congregations, to be Christ-like in the world.
Create safe space to be yourself.
Share power with the people – “to be broken together.”
- Reach out more to underserved populations
- Share power
- Who has been in and who has been out
Be the body of Christ in the world.
As a “sanctuary,” a source of respite, inspiration and solace to people feeling overwhelmed by our world.
That they would feel refreshed to go out into the world.
Church doesn’t stop at the door. How do we take it to the community?
Increase presence of people under 35.
Reach out to our communities.
Get us out there more. See on TV Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic- where are we?
- Extend welcome to others – engage people
- Share resources with other congregations regionally, ecumenically
- Welcome young families – grounding families
- Theological conversation – broad and for all
- Eliminate bad taste associated with “Christian”
- Overcome racial differences
- A place for hope and encouragement in divisive and desperate times
Resurrection, Bellevue | St. Timothy, Chehalis | St. Anne, Washougal
To become more authentic church that would speak to diverse people: age, income, ethnicity/race, sexual orientation, gender-diversity in all areas.
- Maintain adaptability
- Focus on youth
- Decipher scripture into understandable positive messages
- Facilitate spiritual connectivity
Reaffirm God’s love for ALL people.
Be inviting through creative, imaginative, and holy listening.
Designate clergy gatherings to build and encourage sharing and networking.
- Ask our communities how we can serve them and then do it
- Get outside the church building
- Without expectation of folks becoming members; e.g. Affordable housing
- Develop ways (forums) to bring culturally conflicted groups together to talk, build relationships
St. Barnabas, Bainbridge Island
- Break the pattern of blame; focus on positive
- Share [and] understand that we all in this together
- Improve communication
- Build Trust
- Intentional about not growing just population, but our spiritual depth
- Boat trip
Strengthen our regional ministries
- Appreciate inquiry in each with guidance from diocese
- Strengthen regional connection to local colleges/universities
- Aim for a super-region concept – 3 super regions with opportunities for supportive ministries
Be visible and tangible to the outside world [and] become more relevant and connected to those who are hurting.
More active outreach to the twenty and thirtysomethings in the diocese.
- Better communication with each other
- Stronger relationships with other like-size congregations
- Better serve [the] community through collaboration with other denominations
- Become involved [with] agencies in the fight against opioid addiction
- Being relevant to the younger folks
- Being relevant to those outside the church
- Being active in social justice
Through this work changing the world
We can carry the lessons of Jesus we learn at Grace out into the world – how to be better in the world.
We need to support each other as we step out to do this – to give back and help improve our environment and the lives of others.
Leverage our gifts of property to the work of the Gospel – in particular, property that is used only a little. How can it always be in use?
Adopt a model of being that privileges our identity instead of outcome; e.g. We do what we are called to, allow God to control outcomes.
- Be together – keep diocesan community
- Tell our story
- Community Info (evangelism)
- Communication between ‘them’ and ‘us’
Listen to each other; hear each other’s story; deeply listen.
A diocesan wide local mission project that deals with a significant need in the community, such as immigration advocacy, addiction, domestic violence, homelessness.
First listen to needs of community and deeply listen. Out of those stories comes the mission. Thus, it’s not something we do to others but with.
How do we foster/encourage active listening, being respectful responsive without predetermined or knee jerk judgements (our society is so divisive).
Potentially work with:
- Christian/Episcopal formation/education
- work with single parents/marginalized
- seniors needs
Redistribute funds so they are more equally spent relative to the demographics of the diocese. 5% of the people get 80% of the money.
More youth and young adults, I do not know how, but seems most necessary.
We are called to be the presence of Christ by being present to those in need where we are. Seeing/hearing/listening and responding [with] the love of Christ requires ears/hearts/eyes to hear/respond/see those around us… to be open to being the light of Christ.
St. David Emmanuel, Shoreline
Be willing to change and encourage communities and people who are different than we are in meaningful ways… share stories of Jesus and our faith lives.
Don’t keep the faith, spread it!
- Eat together more often
- Spread the Good News; tell the story of Jesus in world
- Church be willing to change constantly
- Fill each other up – makes us attractive
- We are non-judgmental in a very judge-y world
- We’re too white and too old
- It is more diverse in different places
- Transition well
- Church as safe place for divergent ideas to coexist
- Work for peace
- Share love
- Love One Another
- Pray for peace in the world
- Listen to our society
- Be inclusive
St. James, Cathlamet
- I don’t know
- Youth Ministry
WE should be more gracious to invest our resources into humanity instead of “funds and bonds.”
- Encourage more young people and their ideas
- Create/offer childcare (fill-time, licensed)
- Prayer and spiritual development
- Communication with those no longer attending
- Become more cashless -install ATM machines or use a cube device
Make [the] diocese more inter-relational and connected.
Teach congregations how to reach out to young families.
- Act in the world
- Work toward social justice
- Faith formation
Help the congregation to take on all aspects of leadership and work in the church rather than expecting to blindly follow the rector and making him/her responsible for all God’s work in our parish.
- Follow Jesus
- Go and do!
Develop a clearer understanding of what we mean by ‘being the Jesus’ movement.
How do we understand evangelism within our context?
- Join together to value each human equally
- Feed (bodies & souls) – Christ’s sheep
- Capitalize on our real estate holdings to build on our churches
- Embrace the Jesus movement! (The winner)
- be inclusive – meaning accepting
- be aware of the impact of power dynamics – the dynamics of privilege
- address the power issue
- How do we attract younger, darker – mission worthy of their energy
Stop the bleeding [and] be present to the suffering.
How are we called to get outside?
Inside going out… going outside to invite others in.
CCD can help at the diocesan level as we learn a common language to live into mission contextually.
Get outside of our comfortable places – living on the edge and being vulnerable.
HOW DOES THE DIOCESE EXPRESS VULNERABILITY? How does each church? Each individual?
Help us to speak our Christian truth in ‘opposition’ to the toxic ‘Christian’ voice of right-wing extremism.
Confront our fears of conflict, scarcity, politicalizing from the pulpit, fears people will leave, etc.
- Be an active voice
- Overcome our fears [and] speak our faith
- Diocese intentionality offering educational forums to find our words
- Practice in a safe place
- Look to Diocese for resources
- Build Confidence
- Help define goals as well as tools
- Develop training
- Urgency! Sense of depth that is grounded with power behind us. Sense of the whole is helpful
Make the church more visible in the world.
Be a beacon of hope, possibility, community, connection, to the world.
Living in the tension of an increasingly crazy world.
Make a bigger effort to diversity and embrace differences and being seen doing so in order to make people (including babies and under 30’s) feel truly welcome.
Keep enabling and empowering congregations understanding that they can know the needs of their communities.
Be a sign of hope.
Quality use of church property (buildings) on a daily basis “welcoming all.” One example: creating community gardens for fresh produce going to local foodbanks.
Mission outreach to under 35… reframe/progressive witness/justice/inclusion/love/environmental/speak language
- Fiscal responsibility – growth
- Safe place – people to talk together and listen
- Speak truth to power – take on our prophetic voice as Church of Jesus – he stood up!
Discovering that we don’t know what to do until we know who we are, by forming ourselves as Christians by living into our baptismal covenant.
- People come in as strangers, when they walk outside they are no longer strangers
- Take joy and pride in committing to what we do really well
- We are not always convinced of how to welcome them where they are at
- We avoid hard questions with minimization
- All are welcome
- Anti-racism: standing up against racism
- A different example of Christianity
- Being relevant, accessible, addressing income gap, homelessness – do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)
- Standing up [to] injustice
- Help our church know how to know how to stand up against injustice and exclusion racism
To equip congregations/members to witness the Good News with integrity in words [and] actions to the unchurched.
Have to be authentic (and reclaim authenticity) of our gifts and stop apologizing for those gifts. Not holding those traditions over others’ heads. We need to reclaim the mystery. Be real in the face of ‘isms.
Bring Christ’s voice to a needed conversation – working together for COMMON good instead of opposition.
- Healing services – addressing pain
- Good listening skills – becoming lay ministers of healing
- Learn how to pray for people in need on streets
- Look beyond to creating actual solutions to painful situations