Teams from seven Episcopal churches met at Camp Allen in September to kick off EHF’s Fall 2017 Holy Currencies Sustainable Ministry Incubation Program. The program is a partnership with the Kaleidoscope Institute and uses Eric Law’s Holy Currencies framework to build innovative and sustainable new initiatives. Each congregation applied to be part of the program with ideas for a new ministry they wanted to develop or grow. They each brought a team of congregation leaders to the orientation training weekend.
Each team has identified an “unacceptable reality” in their community they wish to address. Over the next six to nine months, teams will systematically examine and build plans to address the “currencies” of time and place, gracious leadership, relationship, truth, wellness and money to ensure their initiatives are sustainable. Through a series of webinars, regular meetings, and coaching sessions with EHF and Kaleidoscope Institute staff, congregations will apply tools needed to develop the structure necessary to build a sustainable initiative benefiting the community.
The kick-off training allowed congregations from across the diocese to connect and gain inspiration from one another. Participants said it was very empowering to see the energy and determination in all of the groups.
Here are the participating congregations and their proposed initiatives:
Christ Episcopal Church, Tyler: Christ Church hopes to launch a multi-prong ministry model to serve young adults who struggle to become contributing members of society due to lack of a high school diploma, cycles of generational poverty, and/or history of incarceration and criminal activity. The ministry will provide education programs, workforce development, micro-business setup assistance, and legal service to curb poverty, unemployment, violence, and crime in the Tyler community.
Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Angleton: The Peach Street Farmer’s Market has a mission to bring the greater Angleton community together with local farmers and businesses in an environment that encourages community, entrepreneurship, economic development, and health and wellness. The project also aims to create a bridge to healthy relations and the congregation’s ministry has already united the City of Angleton and Chamber of Commerce.
Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, Waco: The parish has been devoted to local outreach in the community and plans to offer health and wellness opportunities to the students, teachers and families of the neighborhood Mountainview Elementary School. Holy Spirit seeks to create life-giving relationships, share community resources, and generate better health outcomes for the community.
St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, Lufkin: An equal partnership between St. Cyprian’s and Abundant Life Methodist Church, The Community Garden of Love focuses on community engagement to aid in providing healthy meals to underprivileged families in the Lufkin area. The produce is grown in the garden, harvested and delivered to area families. This joint community effort intends to build bridges to heal a broken community and bring about reconciliation.
St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Houston: Over the past year, St. Dunstan’s created and supported a community for the homeless population of North Houston through a nonprofit called The 1960 Community Hope Center. Realizing the need for low-cost housing for this population, St. Dunstan’s proposes to create The Hope Village, a community of tiny houses to be rented to homeless people at a low cost. The community will provide support and accountability for residents along with opportunities to attend life skills classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, group therapy, service opportunities and more.
St. James’ Episcopal Church, Austin: The parish is committed to work with neighbors to improve health and wellness through the Welcome Table, a multi-faceted outreach organization. The Welcome Table includes many initiatives focusing on physical health, mental health, nutrition, and community building. The Holy Currencies process will be used to strengthen and focus the ministries current work in the community.
St. James’ Episcopal Church, Houston: For more than a year, St. James’ has worked with The Metropolitan Organization and various community organizations to better understand the issues of the surrounding community. Through this process, the congregation has identified community concerns such as a need for greater support for the public schools, senior services and support for primary caregivers, and transportation issues. The Holy Currencies process will assist St. James’ with developing a focus for their ministry that allows them to effectively respond to some of these needs.