Dear Friends,

This weekend, our ECMN Search Committee gathers with the nominees for the 10 th Bishop of Minnesota to pray, discern, and learn together. I hope they’ll be in your prayers!
As they do that work of discernment, the rest of us have some work to do as well: the work of thinking theologically about power.

What do you believe about power?

This question is at the heart of how we behave with each other in faith communities and, more widely, as a diocese. In the broader dominant culture around us, a crisis of trust has been unfolding for decades as the institutions formerly seen as benevolent reveal the ways power has been used to defraud, abuse, and mislead those they were called to protect. And yet, structurally, Episcopalians have some positional hierarchy baked in to our life together. So it’s worth considering: What do we believe about power?

If we believe people with positional power are inherently worthy of respect, that they can be trusted to provide a vision needed by the whole and to know the path toward that vision, then we may miss the chance to speak up and share the wisdom we bring to the table. We may overlook or even become complicit when those leaders misuse their power. Then, when that individual stumbles, it’s easy to lose faith in the entire system.

To the other extreme, if we believe power is inherently corrupting or even repugnant, then we will see anyone who steps up to a leadership role with suspicion. That person has to fight for our trust, much less our partnership. When they stumble, we’re ready to see that as evidence that corroborates our fears. This isn’t a setup for collaborative or healthy work together – rather, it’s a foundation for unproductive conflict in which leaders and those they serve can easily slide into demonizing each other.

Though these beliefs might seem to be opposed, both of those orientations start from a place of projecting power onto others – the one or ones anointed or appointed. That narrative of the heroic leader is a powerful one. But the ‘heroic leader’ story in which we laud or blame the leader misses the truth of the capacity and energy found in the whole group. When our primary orientation toward power is that it’s not ours to wield, we abdicate our own responsibility for the culture and content around us. And today, All Saints Day, is a good time to remember the power each one of us carries – whether positional power is involved or not. Read the rest here.

In partnership,

The Rev. Susan Daughtry |  Missioner for Formation 
Emilia Allen |  Missional Support 
Mission Opportunity 2019:
Creating Beloved Community
by Practicing the Way of Love
Explore Christ’s birth as recounted in the Gospel of Luke through the lens of the Way of Love and the seven practices of turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest. With daily devotions, the authors challenge you to incorporate these practices into your own life. During Advent and Christmas, walk with the shepherds and the angels, Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, and Anna and Simeon. All of their paths—as well as yours—lead to the same destination: the humble manger where Love was born. Contributors include ECMN's own Len Freeman and Lindsay Hardin Freeman!
For the season of Advent, Journeying the Way of Love offers four sessions to be explored as we await the coming of Christ by moving through the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke. Luke’s gospel provides a pattern for understanding how we can live the  Way of Love  as individuals, as families and friends, as a community, and out in the world. The sessions are specially designed for use during the Christian formation hour before or after worship. Facilitation instructions accommodate small or large groups, in English y en español.

Small group facilitation guide & curriculum

From the SFF Blog
Register now: Courses begin Nov. 5
There are still free seats open for each of these courses! Click here to take your first course free.
Episcopal Migration Ministries provides many kinds of education and advocacy resources for faith communities. This is just one!

"O ne component of using power effectively is your capacity to create conditions for others to speak up and approach you — particularly when bringing bad news or raising an unpopular opinion — without fear of retribution."

A colorful deck of cards with rituals, prayers and reflections. Flexible for busy schedules!
Find out more about clergy and lay pension plans, clergy housing allowance tax rules, social security, fraud, and tips for health and wellness.
Beyond the SFF
November 9, 2019 St. Matthew's, St. Paul
How can intergenerational relationships combat the pervasive loneliness in our culture right now? Join us at St. Matthew's for a special conversation about deepening intergenerational understanding with Rabbi Hayim Herring.
November 18-19, 2019
Eden Prairie, MN
As the pace of change in our world rapidly increases, the church needs to take stock of where to adapt and where to remain rooted through transition. Workshops with Brian McLaren, Rozella Haydée White, Tyler Sit, and more will inspire you and build your skills for adaptive leadership.
Leading Well Learning Retreat
Refine your capacity to work effectively with staff and volunteers. Explore your gifts, strengths, and values, and their implications for leadership. Practice what it means for you to live and lead well. Learn ways to interpret your ministry context. Take time for worship, prayer, rest, and fellowship. More here.
Rooted in Jesus
January 21 - 24, 2020
Atlanta, GA
It’s time for the Episcopal Church to come together as disciples of Jesus and take a bold new step into the next decade. Let’s spend four days together, talking about discipleship, leadership, evangelism, formation, preaching, and much more—so we can go out and be the Body of Christ. Together, we are stronger. Find out more .
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The Rev. Susan Daughtry | Missioner for Formation | Episcopal Church in Minnesota l | Sign up to get this email