Hello ECMN Deacons,
 
Please email the Commission at deacon@episcopalmn.org to add prayer requests, reach-out, and if you have any questions around the following resources. 
 
The Deacon's Forum by Eileen Harvala, Trinity Episcopal Church, Anoka, MN
I am Deacon Eileen Harvala. I was ordained in 2013 with a group of dear friends and colleagues—the first group of deacons ordained after a multi-year hiatus in our diocese. What an experience as we knelt before Bishop Brian Prior in the sweltering Breck fieldhouse with others being ordained that day. I still feel his Spirit-filled hands on my head.

I was raised up by St. George’s Episcopal Church and spent a few years there, including when it was going through a priest transition. But, as happens with many of us, the Spirit called, “Time to leave. You’re needed elsewhere.” So, I went to Trinity Episcopal Church in Anoka, where I am starting my fourth year of serving. I remember this because one of my first sermons at Trinity was after the election in 2016. Kind of left it on the floor that day. What a way to get to know your deacon?

My passions are servant ministry, liturgy leadership, and pastoral and healing ministry. Trinity has long been engaged with the community on discerning God’s call to service and responding. Until COVID, it was one of the churches in the Anoka area that held a monthly community meal. After “Family Table” was suspended in March due to COVID, Trinity distributed food to its members in need. Last year, it also began supporting Family Promise and continues to do so, although we can’t spend a week with the families in person right now. Since COVID, it has been financially supporting Family Promise and the local food shelf. Organically, these and other ministries are led by the strong lay leadership in the parish. People are always thinking of inventive and effective ways to engage people in contributing to the food shelf. We work on some initiatives with the active multi-denominational ministerium.

Trinity is a praying and healing ministry parish. People are drawn to prayer organically, genuinely, and meaningfully. Before COVID, there was always a prayer group at the altar on Sundays, we conducted quarterly healing services, and at least one team of lay eucharistic visitors went out every Sunday. What a pleasure to work with people so receptive and so engaged. It is with only the greatest of humbleness that I have come to believe that my charisms include pastoral and healing prayer.

I am fortunate to be working in partnership with the Rev. Phillip Boelter. We seem to naturally work in tandem with each other, exploring liturgy, mission opportunities and discernment about what Christ is already up to in our community, and meeting the pastoral needs of our community. There have been many over the past year. Sometimes, we have rolled from one death to another. It has been extremely hard and has, sometimes, made us weary. While our own hearts have been filled with grief, we have done our best to guide people through. As you know, it is not easy in a time of COVID when it seems like everything is so much harder, particularly pastoral care. I’m not sure that some of it would have been possible without our trust in each other and our friendship.

In addition to my work with Trinity, I serve on the Commission on Ministry and am a mentor for the deacon cohort in the School for Formation.

I will be retiring from my job as communications coordinator for the Chemistry Department at the University of Minnesota in January 2021. I am looking forward to spending a little more time as a deacon at Trinity before my husband retires in a year or so and we move to our beloved Oregon.
 
We would love stories and ministry ideas to share in our monthly newsletter. Please send any articles you would like to submit to this email address (deacon@episcopalmn.org).
 
Retired Deacon Stories
The Commission is working to collect ministry/life stories from retired Deacons in Minnesota. We hope to produce a compendium of Deacon stories that reflect the life of Deacons in Minnesota that will monument our history. In addition to interviews, stories of Deacons who have passed on are welcome, and will be added to the collection. For further information, contact The Rev. Harlan Strong at harlanstrong@comcast.net.
 
School for Formation (SFF) Opportunities:
Do you get the School for Formation newsletter? Do you want to stay up-to-date on the SFF's offerings? Sign up for the newsletter here and join in on the donation based Spring courses.

Upcoming courses include:
  • Safe Church Training
  • Security and Emergency Management
  • Building Bridges Across Race and Culture
  • Christian Spirituality
 
NEW On-Demand Course:
Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse For Groups. A new offering from the School for Formation's partnership with ChurchNext. This free 5-week online curriculum was built in conjunction with The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations and its Department of Faith Formation. "Civil discourse is engagement in conversation intended to enhance understanding. The goal of these conversations is to be in deeper relationship and to more truly know each other’s’ dignity and worth." Log in to find it here: https://ecmn.pathwright.com/
 
There are several other on-line learning opportunities through the ECMN School for Formation that can be found HERE.
 
Twin Cities Stand Together (TCST)
ECMN is partnering with TCST to operate a community center out of the Gethsemane building that will house programs for downtown residents of all ages, serving the needs of our most marginalized citizens, and will act as a hub for groups who are working to address systemic racism in our city. For more information click HERE.
 
Hunger in the Time of Corona Virus
The Rev. Georgianna Smith offers the following website for a summary of food insecurity in key U.S. locations, link HERE.
 
In our Prayers
• The Rev. Loxley Jean Koshnick, Detroit Lakes.
• Vaccine for COVID-19
• People of have contracted and/or died from COVID-19
• Are there others, email deacon@episcopalmn.org?
 
Chaplains for the Diaconate
The Reverends Harlan Strong, Brenda Hoffman, and Rick Todd are the members of our Commission who serve as Deacons for all the Deacons in Minnesota. They are here to offer connection, prayer and support for us and they welcome your emails. They are happy to talk with you one-on-one regarding and needs. Harlan can be contacted at harlanstrong@comcast.net, Brenda at bgrhoffman@hotmail.com and Rick can be contact at rick.todd1626@gmail.com.
 
Your work matters to the Commission, and to ECMN, and you deserve to be heard and recognized. We want to hear your concerns and suggestions for improving our ministry and for being in solidarity with each other as we build up the body of Christ. Email the Commission at deacon@episcopalmn.org.

Peace and Blessings,
Brenda and Terry
Commission for the Diaconate Communicators

The purpose of the Commission for the Diaconate is to serve as a resource for the community of deacons within ECMN and they hope to do this through networking, coordinating events, and pastoral support.

As a way of increasing communications for and among all deacons in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, the Commission for the Diaconate has launched an online newsletter. It is intended to be a monthly communication, and will follow monthly commission meetings. The format will include updates, announcements, and events. The Commission will be working on creating an accessible on-line forum space where deacons can share ideas, post articles, and network with each other. Stay tuned for that information! For now, please consider joining the ECMN Deacon Facebook group.

To communicate with The Commission, you can always email deacon@episcopalmn.org. The current Commission members are:
The Rev. Dawnlynn Greeney Convener/Chair (St. James, Marshall)
The Rev. Georgianna Smith (St. Clement's, St. Paul)
The Rev. Harlan Strong (Epiphany, Plymouth)
The Rev. Rick Todd (St. John's, White Bear Lake)
The Rev. Janet MacNally (St. Christopher's, Roseville)
The Rev. Brenda Hoffman (Ascension, Stillwater)
The Rev. Terry Erickson (St. Mark's Cathedral, Minneapolis)
The Rev. Lynne Sprick (St. Mark's, Lake City)
The Rev. George Ham (St. John's, St. Cloud)