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The Episcopal Diocese of

North Dakota

Click here to view this Newsletter as Webpage.

The Prairie

January 11, 2023

Welcome to our email Newsletter!

A few highlights from this issue:

  • Epiphany Message from Bishop Tom
  • Sheaf deadline - January 18, 2023
  • Standing Rock Year End Newsletter
  • Listening in Small Churches ~ Zoom Sessions
  • School for Ministry Zoom Sessions

Read on for other announcements and the calendar!

Epiphany Message

Submitted by: Bishop Tom Ely

This is a favorite parable of mine: A rabbi asked his students, “When it is at dawn that one can tell the light from the darkness?” One student replied, “When I can tell a goat from a donkey.” “No,” answered the rabbi. Another said, “When I can tell a palm tree from a fig.” “No,” answered the rabbi again. “Well, then, what is the answer?” his students pressed him. Only when you look into the face of every man and every woman and see your brother and your sister,” said the rabbi. “Only then have you seen the light. All else is still darkness." 

The church and all its members are called to be the bearers of Epiphany’s light – the light that shines in the darkness with such hope, veracity, and conviction that the darkness ultimately has no power over it. Of course, it is not always an easy thing to be that light and yet we are called to be light even as we hope to receive that light. And so, we rely on the One who is the source of that light to sustain us; we rely on one another as companions on the journey; and we make our response again and again, in the Renewal of our Baptismal Covenant, “I will, with God’s help.”

Diocesan Publications

In the Diocese of North Dakota, we have two publications that go out regularly. There is the Prairie, which is our bi-weekly e-newsletter, mailed on Wednesdays. Then there is the Sheaf, which goes out seasonally.

Here are some quick facts to help tell the difference between the Prairie and the Sheaf.

The Prairie

  • Goes out every other week on Wednesday mornings.
  • More focused on timely events.
  • PICTURES! Send in your pictures with a short synopsis.
  • Great way to alert the diocese as to what is going on in your faith community.
  • Only available via our distribution list, and as posts on Facebook and the website.

The Sheaf

  • Goes out seasonally, about six times a year.
  • More in-depth articles, and things you would find in regular newsletters.
  • Focuses on a theme in each edition.
  • Paper copies are mailed to churches and individuals. Electronic copies are available on our website.

We are gearing up to create our first edition of the Sheaf for 2023! The deadline for article submission is January 18th! The theme for this edition is Epiphany. We are looking for articles that highlight the following:

  • Light
  • Ministry
  • Share the light of Christ in your community
  • Baptism

If you are interested in sharing your story, either personally or of your faith community, please email articles to Jess in the diocesan office. Questions, please send Jess an email! Thanks!

Click to Email Jess

Dear friends,


The Rev. Larry Thiele has served as pastor at St. Thomas in Fort Totten since 2015, while continuing to serve as pastor of Dacotah Oyate Lutheran Church in Tokio. Larry has also served the Diocese of North Dakota as a member of Diocesan Council and co-chair of the Reconciliation Committee, while continuing to serve in leadership in the Eastern North Dakota Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). After a period of discernment about these many commitments, Larry will be focusing on community and mentoring ministries at Dacotah Oyate and for the Spirit Lake Nation and ELCA, so he will no longer be serving as pastor for St. Thomas and has resigned from Diocesan Council and the Reconciliation Committee. We are very grateful for Larry’s generous service to St. Thomas and the diocese and look forward to working with him as a colleague going forward. Please pray for Larry and his family and for St. Thomas as they discern leadership for the congregation.


Thomas Ely, Bishop Provisional

Steve Godfrey, Diocesan Minister

Standing Rock Year End Newsletter

Click Here to Keep Reading

New Preaching Program to

Support Parish Clergy

From the Episcopal Preaching Foundation

There is a new program available through the Episcopal Preaching Foundation.

The Preaching Foundation has been awarded a five-year grant of almost $1 million by The Lilly Endowment to develop and pilot test a new preaching feedback model at the parish level for preachers and congregants working together to support excellent preaching.

The purpose of The Preaching Congregation program will be to bring together the clergy and congregation of any parish in a structured process of mutual exchange that brings the congregation into a deeper appreciation of sermon preparation and development and provides the preacher with informed feedback during sermon creation as well as after its deliver.

If this program is of interest, please register for a one-hour informational webinar on Tuesday, January 31 or Tuesday, February 7th at 2:00pm Eastern, to which all interested diocesan and parish participants are invited to attend. Click here to register.

Peter Wild

Executive Director

Episcopal Preaching Foundation


Episcopal Preaching Foundation website

2023 Episcopal Youth Event

July 4-8, 2023

University of Maryland in College Park

We missed the 2020 EYE because of Covid. Now we are ready to gather young people from across The Episcopal Church in Maryland in 2023! Are you interested?

EYE is the Episcopal Youth Event that happens every three years, bringing together high school youth from every region of The Episcopal Church. I have been to seven of these events over the years and they are wonderful opportunities for young people of faith to connect with other young people of faith and experience an event unlike any other. It is an incredibly powerful, fun, and life changing event.

In the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota, we are looking for high school young people and adult chaperones who are interested in being part of the official Diocese of North Dakota delegation to the 2023 EYE. We have funds to support youth and adults who want to be part of this great event. Here is a link to more information about the 2023 EYE.

More importantly, if you are a young person or adult interested in being part of the official North Dakota team attending EYE 2023, please let us know. I plan to be there and would like to see a full, lively, and engaged contingent from North Dakota.

Please, don’t delay. If you are an adult willing to be a chaperon for our delegation and if you are a high school youth interested in being part of EYE 2023, please let me know right away by sending me an email.

I hope we can send a great delegation to this event. Trust me, it is an event you will not soon forget.

All the best,

The Right Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Bishop Provisional

Diocesan Stewardship Share Policy

The Diocesan Stewardship Share (previously known as Our Fair Share) is a commitment by a congregation to give time, talents, and money as an expression of faith and a response to God’s generosity. The name change from Our Fair Share to Diocesan Stewardship Share will take place on January 1, 2023. The Our Fair Share Task Force has worked over the past several months to update the policy, making it clearer and easier to follow. Click here to find the new policy, which was adopted by Diocesan Council at its November meeting. There will be an updated Diocesan Stewardship Share form on the diocesan website in January 2023. For November and December of 2022, please use the current form for Our Fair Share, as you have throughout the past couple years.


As has been the custom, payments from congregations will be due each month by the tenth of the month, for the previous month. Payments shall be accompanied by one completed copy of the Diocesan Stewardship Share Worksheet and one copy of the Treasurer’s Monthly Report. There will be informational sessions coming soon, watch your email and The Prairie.

Click here to register for the Zoom link

School for Ministry

Lay and ordained ministry leaders and potential leaders (we are all leaders!) of all experience levels are encouraged to participate in the School for Ministry, a diocesan learning community for shared leadership. Leaders representing 11 congregations gathered in Bismarck in September to learn about theology, scripture, history, and ministry. These topics will be further developed in 10 Zoom meetings December through April, as detailed below. All are welcome to join these Zoom sessions. Contact Steve Godfrey for the Zoom link. Each session is intended to last about an hour, perhaps a bit longer for questions and conversation. It is not expected that everyone will attend every session. Feel free to pick and choose, though you may want to commit to all of the sessions of any one of the topics. For more information, contact the Rev. Harvey Henderson or the Rev. Steve Godfrey. The next gathering will be April 28-30, 2023, at Maryvale, near Valley City.


Tuesdays, 7:00 pm Central Time:

Feb. 14: Ministry (The Rev. Steve Godfrey & The Rev. Kim Becker)

April 11: Ministry (The Rev. Steve Godfrey & The Rev. Kim Becker)


Thursdays, 7:00 pm Central Time:

Jan. 19: History (The Rev. Dn. John Anderson)

Feb. 16: Scripture (The Rev. Harvey Henderson)

March 16: History (The Rev. Dn. John Anderson)

April 20: Scripture (The Rev. Harvey Henderson)

Cycle of Prayer

The Anglican and Diocesan Cycle of Prayer for October through December, is available on the diocesan website, in both PDF and Word versions, so you can include these prayers in your weekly worship. 2023 Quarter 1 is also available on the diocesan website.

If there is an edit needed to the Cycle of Prayer, please email the Diocesan office.

Anglican Cycle of Prayer.jpg


All times are Central Time

Bishop Tom in North Dakota - January 13-20, 2023

  • January 12: dMST & Finance Check-In; Zoom @ 8:30am
  • January 15: Bishop's Visitation - St. Stephen's in Fargo
  • January 15: Finance Committee Meeting; Zoom @ 3:00pm
  • January 16: Diocesan Office Closed [Martin Luther King Jr. Day]
  • January 17: Diocesan Council Meeting; Zoom @ 7pm
  • January 18: Sheaf deadline
  • January 18: dMST meeting; Jamestown @ 10am
  • January 19: Full-time priest meeting; Jamestown @ 12pm
  • January 19: School for Ministry history track; Zoom @ 7pm
  • January 20-23: Winter Talk
  • January 24-29: Diocesan Minister on Spiritual Retreat
  • January 26: dMST & Finance Check-In; Zoom @ 8:30am


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Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota