A new program year has started for congregations across the Episcopal Church. This is a time when congregations undertake new learning programs and patterns and plan for the remainder of the program year itself. An integral and essential part of congregational life is the learning which occurs at all levels and for all ages.
The Rev. Dr. James B. Lemler, director of mission for the Episcopal Church, said that one of the primary purposes of the Episcopal Church Center is to develop new resources for learning and to work with others in the development of such resources.
"At the Episcopal Church Center, we are working diligently to prepare resources for congregational and individual use," he said. "We stand ready to be of assistance and look forward to opportunities for further service."
This year, there are three major sets of resources available from the church center geared towards strengthening formation and mission in local congregations.
A variety of videos highlighting dimensions of the mission of the Episcopal Church have been prepared during the past few months for distribution. They tell compelling and hopeful stories for a range of adult education gatherings. Requests can be made to the Info Desk at 800-334-7626 or e-mail: email@example.com
- "Meeting on New Ground - Cultural Diversity in the Ordination Process" will stimulate conversation about the importance of cultural and ethnic diversity in our ordained leadership.
- "A Map of Faith - Sharing the Journey with the Uprooted" is a resource for faith formation that explores the theme of spiritual journeying, and comes with a study guide and web links to resources for further inquiry.
- "Windows on Mission - stories of DFMS missionaries around the world" highlights 11 unique mission journeys with missionaries who share their joys and challenges of doing God’s work throughout the world. Order here
- "Voices of Young Adults - Listening to 20-somethings talk about the Church" -- In June 2005, the Episcopal Church invited young adults from across the USA to share opinions about the church. Some of the participants are active in congregational life and some are not, but all share a wellspring of affection for the Episcopal Church. Order here
- "Beijing Circles - Resource Guide" provides meditations, prayers, stories, facts and study materials on each of the 12 aspects of the Beijing Platform for Action. Order here
- "Beijing Circles - East Timor to Yonkers" is an 11-minute DVD that presents the basic aspects of starting your own Beijing Circle. Order here
- "Shall We Gather - Anglican Women Together" documents a gathering of the Anglican Communion's delegates to the 49th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women who put their faith into action.
- "Changing Lives: Behind the Walls at Angola" is a new feature-length video documentary following the effects of an Episcopal chaplain's ministry inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Louisiana. Angola was once considered the bloodiest prison in America. This DVD follows Deacon Charles DeGravelles as he ministers to the men inside Angola, most of who will never be released. Also featured in the documentary is the Rev. Jacqueline Means, prison ministries director for the church center. Order here
In addition, the Office of Ministry Development's theological education website -- http://www.TEforALL.org -- has been newly redesigned with expanded content and easier navigation to help visitors explore spirituality and the Christian faith.
A new Groundwork Lenten resource (the next step building on Groundwork I and II in 2005 and 2006) will be available to congregations throughout the church. Groundwork is a program that joins the Scriptural reflection for Lent (Year C) with learning about mission and evangelism. Study groups, Lenten programs, and individuals will find real benefit in this resource.
Groundwork III will be mailed to every congregation in the Episcopal Church. It will also be available online. Examples of the previous two years’ Groundwork resources are available at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/groundwork.
All of the mission units of the Episcopal Church Center have developed resources to enhance congregational mission. They are available through EBaR -- http://www.episcopalbookstore.org/ -- which has been redeveloped for better service to the church.