Further Resources from the ECMN Weekly News

The weekly news is ECMN's broadcast email, filled with updates, resources and opportunities, meant for every Episcopalian, both inside and outside of ECMN.  If you aren't receiving these emails, click here to sign up today.

Because there's so much happening week to week, this page is updated weekly with resources that you may have missed last week!


ECMN Youth Respond to COVID
Doing ministry differently is something our ECMN youth have already been practicing, year after year, pandemic or not. So this spring is really no different as these kids think of new ways to band together and keep sharing God's unconditional agape love with one another. Read the rest of this incredible story here.Our Grade 12 leaders are the same ones who, about six years ago, advocated for themselves and their peers when they asked for programs that didn't yet exist. First they asked for another week of camp. Then they asked for middle school retreats. And then they asked for a combined statewide MN TEC program. So the fact that this group is actively saying "we aren't going to recreate TEC online" is par for the course.

Recreating a spring retreat virtually, in their minds, would have been far too much busy work and would actually have detracted from the real, immediate needs of their peers—for kindness, connection, and spiritual conversation. So two weeks ago a small group of 12 of these seniors, from 12 different faith communities in 6 of our 7 mission areas, got together on zoom. Together they dreamed up what they want and feel called to do for one another in this season.

Their first idea, which they've already done, is to reach out 1:1 to all high school youth who have been to TEC or camp. This means they each connected with 8-12 other youth. They asked how their peers were doing, asked for prayer requests, and invited them to a large group zoom on April 25.

This "ECMN Youth Zoom Gathering" is their second idea. To get ready for it, these seniors are currently making short, 2-3 minute videos where they share their own hearts, how they are noticing God in our midst right now, and what gives them hope. They will use these videos to host the zoom call, which will include breakouts into smaller groups for deeper conversation and prayer. Anyone who can't participate in the zoom call can watch these videos later and, if desired, can make their own to share with the group. 

I was already incredibly proud of this group of leaders, and I continue to be more amazed. We are experiencing change in our lives on nearly every level, and it is so tempting to try to hold on tightly to what we had been looking forward to. We will even bend ourselves (and others!) into pretzels to make it happen and feel "normal." But that's not the goal. Our goal, as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement, is always to share the unconditional love of Jesus as best and as widely we can.

These seniors know this. They've already been living it, and their leadership right now is a model for all of us. They are choosing to focus on loving one another well, in whatever the circumstances they find themselves and with whatever resources are available. And, honestly, they are delighted that, in the end, they may be able to do something that might allow even more ECMN youth to connect with one another than a normal spring retreat would. And then, whenever they do get to do an in-person retreat again, they want to see how they will be able to add in these relatively simple lessons learned during this time. They want to keep texting and reaching out to one another between programs, and they want to keep sharing and chatting about their faith stories online. 


Church Camps are Surging, but Changing

In the early 2000s, the beloved tradition of attending an Episcopal summer camp in Minnesota appeared to be ending after three sun-soaked decades. Upkeep costs had climbed, the diocesan facility was sold, and for more than a decade the church camp experience was reduced to a memory. But Episcopal amps have roared back in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Read more here and make plans to attend camp here.


Hands-On Sunday

Words too much, do you must

Although the above sounds like Yoda-speak, it was the essence of a phrase that came to our rector, Rev. Lisa White-Smith, while driving on her long winter commute to Epiphany Episcopal Church in Plymouth. She couldn’t shake these thoughts, and shared them with us that day at our weekly staff meeting. I remember it well, because it was experienced by all of us around that table as a Holy moment, birthing a unified “yes!!” as the Spirit seemed to quicken our hearts individually and collectively. Read more about the formation of Hands-On Sundays at Church of the Epiphany in Plymouth. If you'd like to start a Hands-On Sunday of your own, please contact Mary Beth Farrell.

Episcopal Churches Join Together to Offer Lenten Series

This Lent, six East Metro faith communities—Holy Trinity, Holy Apostles, St. Christopher's, St. John in the Wilderness, St. Clement's, and St. Mary'swill be coming together to offer a joint Lenten series

Together, these congregations will explore what God might be calling us to do together to care for God’s creation more intentionally as we live into Jesus’ Way of Love. Lent begins on February 26 with Ash Wednesday services at St. Matthew’s at noon and 5:30 pm. Learn more and join in by clicking here.

Are you looking to get more connected in your Mission Area? Click here!

Grants and Resources

Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent & Easter

This Lent, faith communities will be invited to walk with Jesus in his Way of Love and into the experience of transformed life. Updated and expanded Way of Love resources for Lent and Easterare available hereand include: a series of Adult Forums, a Quiet Day curriculum, a customizable publicity poster, and a daily calendar. Additional resources can be found here.


United Thank Offering (UTO) Annual Grants

The focus of the 2020 UTO grants will be Bless: share faith, practice generosity and compassion, and proclaim the Good News of God in Christ with hope and humility. Application information and forms are available here. The deadline for submitting a grant application is March 6, 2020. Please contact Kay Stickney, ECMN UTO Coordinator, with questions at kaystickney@comcast.net | 612-600-5167.

Missional Innovative Partnership Grants

These grants to ECMN faith communities support partnerships with local groups to engage in mission work. These one-time grants are for up to $5,000. The 2020 MIP Grant due dates are March 15 at 5pm and June 15 at 5pmLearn more about the process and download an application here. Please contact your Missioner for Community Engagement, Rachel Babbitt, with any questions: rachel.b@episcopalmn.org.


Events and Opportunities

Nuevo Amanecer 2020

Mayo 12-15, 2020, Centro de Conferencias Kanuga, Hendersonville, NC 

Nuevo Amanecer, a biennial event that unifies and celebrates the Latino ministries from across The Episcopal Church, will have the honor of hosting Presiding Bishop Michael Curry the gathering. Lay leaders, clergy, diocesan missioners, parish staff, church planters, and anyone else interested in expanding their knowledge by sharing best practices and exploring new methods of church growth, discipleship and evangelism, are invited to attend. Learn more here.

Going Underground with Women of the Bible

June 2 - 4, 2020
Lake Vermillion Cultural Center, Tower, MN

Take a deep dive into the remarkable stories of Bible women through discussion, story-telling and fun activities. Lindsay’s book, Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter, earned top national awards. The Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman welcomes your insights as she writes her next book profiling women who most influenced Jesus. Read more here.