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.

Information on Bishop Loya and how to connect with him can be found here.

Fall Online Deacon’s Retreat: November 20 & 21, 2020 via Zoom
Seed and Story: Nourishing Our Inner Lives for the Great Work of Our Times
Facilitator: Chris Johnson, PhD of Milkweed Group, LLC

Systemic racism, pandemic, climate crisis, and more – these deeply troubled times call us to live, work, and lead “from within" as instruments of God's work in the world. Especially now, it’s crucial that we renew our spirits and nourish our capacities for connection and courage, wonder and resilience – so that we can in turn support the communities we serve to do the same. Led by experienced Circle of Trust® facilitator Dr. Chris Johnson, this on-line retreat will include a life-giving mix of solitude and silence, conversation, and reflection, and will be a rare opportunity to:
  • Explore the “seeds and stories” that ground our sense of self, calling, and purpose;
  • Name and hold our emotional responses to the significant challenges of our time;
  • Practice crucial “habits of the heart” that help us live into these challenges;
  • Be held by a remarkable community of support, inspiration, and positive relationship.

We’ll come together via Zoom Friday evening, Nov. 20, beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a “town hall” with Bishop Loya, who will send us into the conference’s opening circle at 7:45. The evening will conclude by 9 p.m. Our day on Saturday, Nov 21, will begin at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and conversation, followed by large and small group discussion. There will be mid-morning, lunch, and mid-afternoon breaks, with closing circle and wrap up at 4:00.
Cost is $20, scholarships available.

Election Day Prayer Vigil
On Tuesday, November 3, while the polls are open, each hour we will pray. We will end the day with a compline service. For more information, please click HERE.

The Deacon's Forum
Rev. Rick Todd, St. John in the Wilderness, White Bear Lake
My Journey

Greetings, fellow deacons and to all who are reading my story.  My name is Rick Todd and I have been a deacon for approximately 18 or so years. I am currently one of the deacons at The Episcopal Church of St. John in the Wilderness in White Bear Lake and I have been there for about 16-17 years. I am also on the Commission for the Diaconate and I was asked to write a summary of my work and vocational careers because I have worked with people who are severely mentally ill in unique environments in that 95% of my work time has been in locked programs. I am also a Licensed Psychologist with a Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.  

My work in locked setting began when I was in college in 1979 when I started working at Park Point Manner which is a large nursing home in Duluth on Park Point. At the time I was a pre-physical therapy major at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and I needed health care experience to qualify for the program at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. Being a young healthy male I was usually placed in the upper floors of nursing homes because often that is where there were the most challenging clients who were either quite senile and needed intense care as these patients suffered from physical and mental issues that were serious...(continue reading his story here)

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
There are several classes that could be helpful to all deacon, please check out the resources available at https://schoolforformation.org.

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
• Victims of the horrific forest fires in our western states
• Are there others, email deacon@episcopalmn.org?

Chaplains for the Diaconate
The Reverends Harlan Strong 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 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)