From April through June, nearly 200 clergy and lay leaders attended EHF’s In Common gatherings across the diocese to gain skills to enhance the health of their communities.
In Common began in 2018 as a single diocesan-wide event focusing on ways to reach out to communities to improve the social determinants of health — the conditions in which people are born, grow, live work and age . The event was so well received, that EHF expanded it into three regional events for 2019. This regional approach nearly doubled the participation and made it more accessible for lay leaders to attend.
In Common featured workshops on the focus areas of EHF’s congregational engagement team: Holy Currencies, Racial Reconciliation, Community Organizing, Bridges Out of Poverty, and Mental Health. Each regional event featured different workshops based on the interests of the region.
Sharing stories and building relationships
In the Congregational Engagement and Organizing workshop, The Rev. Miles Brandon, Rector of St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church-Round Rock, shared his experience meeting with neighbors during a neighborhood walk with Austin Interfaith. During the walk, they learned that the community surrounding their congregation was very different than they believed. By meeting and hearing stories from their neighbors, they gained a much better understanding of their community and the challenges that people face – such as isolation and lack of available resources nearby.
EHFs’ Community Engagement team and Project Curate are working with Christ Episcopal Church-Tyler and a network of organizations to build relationships across race and class inspired by the In Common in Tyler. This working relationship could serve as a model going forward for Project Curate to help communities work through challenges presented by race, and come to productive solutions.
Rebecca Sparks of Christ Episcopal Church-Temple and Doree Collins, Director, Unincluded Club of Temple, attended In Common and learned about Holy Currencies and the work of Austin Interfaith. They are now working together with the Holy Currencies team to expand the innovative educational leadership work of the Unincluded Club with Christ Church Temple and to bring the work of Austin Interfaith to the community of churches in Temple.
Part of the story of EHF and Episcopal Congregations is the outpouring of interest in mental health. More than 1,200 people have participated in Mental Health First Aid workshops across the diocese. At the Houston In Common Mental Health Summit on June 22, clergy and lay leaders gathered to share the work they had begun to address Mental Health and share experiences to build an action plan to support those with mental Illness and advocate for more resources.
Across the diocese, congregations are using the skills and relationships gained at In Common to enhance their ministry and go where God is working in their local communities.
Bridges Out of Poverty
Saturday, August 24th, 2019 @ 8:30 – 5:00 PM
St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Houston, TX
Be sure to check out two additional Houston-area events following In Common:
One Human Race Saturday, November 9th @ 9:00 – 5:30 PM Grace Episcopal Church, Houston, TX Register Here!