21st Century Congregations
Learning About Holy Currencies
June 2017 -- Canon Pam Mott
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Circling through earth so all may grow
Vanquishing fear so all may give
Widening grace so all may live.
-Kaleidoscope Institute version of the doxology sung at a recent workshop-  

from Matthew 14:13-21

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15  As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16  Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17  “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Oh, Okay”, said Jesus. “Never mind, not enough, everybody go home.”  

Well, of course, that’s not how it ends.  The story does not stop with “settling” for the resources that seem to be at hand.  

From Acts 2:1-30

2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. ..8  Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? ... —we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12  Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 And the disciples responded: “It means that God is giving the Holy Spirit so that each person can be comforted and treasure up this warm feeling in their hearts.” And everyone went back to their own homes feeling good about their personal relationship with God.  

Well, again, of course, that’s not how the story ends.  The giving and receiving of the Holy Spirit is the inspiration that moved the early followers of Jesus to share the good news out into the world.  

The feeding of the 5000 and the events on the day of Pentecost were stories that did not end with scarcity, hoarding, or personal spirituality.  They ended with people moved by the presence of Jesus and inspired by the Holy Spirit.  When resources flow through Jesus’ hands, they are multiplied, offered, shared.  Those who experienced the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and were able to hear the mighty acts of God in their own tongues were inspired to allow their new sense of being filled with God to flow through them to share the good news, even if they did not quite know how to do that.


Currency: a system of money in general use; something that is in circulation as a medium of exchange. Current: a body of water or air moving in a definite direction Current: the time rate of flow of electric charge.   The word “currency” comes from the Medieval Latin word currentia , which literally means “to run or flow”.  Eric Law of the Kaleidoscope Institute [1] defines Holy Currencies in this way: a missional and sustainable ministry requiring the “flowing” of the following six essential currencies :
  • Time and Place
  • Gracious Leadership
  • Relationship
  • Truth
  • Wellness
  • Money
It is , Law explains, the flowing of these currencies that give them value.  It is the dynamic exchanges of these currencies that circulates and regenerates resources, making ministry sustainable and missional .  It is how the use of our time, buildings, personal and formal leadership, relationships, truth, wellness and money flows through us that is what makes us learn and grow and thrive as individuals and as church communities.  
Three of us from the Episcopal Church in
Western and Central Massachusetts experienced the power of Holy Currencies during the better part of a week at the beginning of May.  We were asked to identify currents in our own lives – of how we received a blessing and then let it flow through us.  As part of my new work as “deepening Communities of Practice”, I will be offering and looking for opportunities to learn and share more about this way of deepening our congregations. It is also, by the way, an organic way of growing stewardship of every kind.  Already there is an introduction being planned in the Berkshires by Cricket Cooper, of St. Stephen’s Pittsfield, and Trudy Miller from Christ Trinity, Sheffield.  Watch for more opportunities to learn, and I commend to you Eric Law’s book, Holy Currencies.  

In the meantime, consider some reflections around the currency of your relationships. When have you received a blessing or kindness from another?  How did you allow that to flow through you? Consider the reasons you go to church…is it to get comfort? Challenge? Be renewed in the knowledge of the love of God? Be reminded of the presence of Jesus in your life?  The inspiration of the Holy Spirit? The joy of the community of friends gathered together in worship?  When was the last time you expressed and invited someone else to know the good news? To know Jesus?  When have you allowed this love and your experience of church to flow through you to another, to your community?  

If you have any interest in exploring this work, please let me know.  I will be looking for clusters of 2 or more parishes to learn together!  May this season of Pentecost be a season of opening the way for the spirit to flow through us.

[1] In this column, I am seeking to express learnings from a Holy Currency workshop presented by Eric Law, from the Kaleidoscope Institute.  I am drawing thoughts and materials from Holy Currencies, by Eric Law.  I commend this book and any of his other books.

The Rev. Pamela J. Mott
Canon to the Ordinary
The Episcopal DIocese of Western Massachusetts
37 Chestnut Street
Springfield, MA 01103
(413) 737 - 4786