Two weeks ago we opened registration for the School for Formation's fall courses, with two big changes in response to the pandemic:
  • All our courses will be entirely digital. Instead of having in-person days, we’ll have more frequent videoconferences for students to interact with instructors and teachers. A big upside here? These courses just got much more accessible to folks in Greater Minnesota who have found our usual locations (Collegeville and Faribault) to be too far to drive. It’s possible that we might discover how to serve all ECMN’s faith communities better in this experiment.
  • All our courses are offered without required tuition this fall. We know the pandemic has created the unwanted spaciousness of unemployment and income loss for so many households in Minnesota, and we want to bring our resources within reach. You can choose whether and how much of a donation you may want to make — it’s not required.

The paradox here makes me think of Jesus’ words: “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39 & 16:25, Luke 9:24, Mark 8:35, John 12:25) In the midst of loss, devastation, grief, and change, we are promised renewal, resurrection, rediscovery. Jesus does not elaborate on exactly how that happens. But Christian tradition holds that the story we tell about his life, death, and resurrection is a promise for all of us — not just for life after death, but for life in the midst of change, loss, and grief.

This forced liminal space of the pandemic, whether it feels to you today like a tomb or a threshold, has forced our faith communities to discover inner strength and callings we didn’t know we had. The courage to take worship online and discover new ways of being together. Remembering how to make liturgy intimate and personal. Spaciousness, too, to attend to the ways the Holy Spirit has been moving in our city and around the world in response to the murder of George Floyd. I hope we’re also finding in this liminal space the courage to abandon the distractions that would keep us from continuing to listen, learn, and act for racial justice. There, friends — there is both loss and promise. Letting go, submitting to loss of control, and finding God’s vision of Beloved Community calling us back up into a new kind of life.

If that spaciousness for new life resonates with you, we hope you’ll take advantage of the School for Formation’s resources this fall.

I'm happy to tell you that we've had registrations coming in every day since then. Some of the courses for this fall are nearly full already!

In the midst of that, the pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. In my household, living the paradox of ambiguous grief and new life at the same time continues to be a daily practice. We're sitting on the edge of our proverbial seats waiting to find out if our son will be going to kindergarten in person or learning from home -- and what that will mean for how we manage everything else about our lives. So much that we had all taken for granted is now unknown. Imagining the future now feels like an act of courage and defiance.

So here's one steady thing I can promise you: Until spots fill up, there's still room for you in SFF courses. Save your spot by registering today. And: if life/pandemic/a new opportunity surprises you and you have to change your plan, fear not -- we are well-equipped to manage that too. We want these resources to reach as many folks as possible -- so save your spot, friends.


The Rev. Susan Daughtry
Missioner for Formation

Donation Based Registration for Fall 2020
For Fall 2020, ECMN and the School for Formation will offer our courses to all in ECMN without requiring tuition. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for our members and faith communities, and we hope to bring our learning resources into reach during this challenging time! If you are in a position to make a financial donation, your gift will help us continue to offer robust learning opportunities at accessible rates for ECMN leaders in the future. Thank you for learning with us!
Register today for courses beginning August 10
Missional Leadership I: Participating in God’s Life and Love for the World
August 10 – September 28
This course will explore biblical and theological understandings of mission as we seek to understand the church’s identity and purpose in a post-establishment, post-colonial era.

Intro to Preaching: Craft an Effective Sermon by Friday
August 4 - September 28
This course will focus on Lectio Divina as a personal prayer practice, and as a prayerful means to build an authentic sermon. You will learn to read the text as if you’ve never seen it before, to notice what piques your curiosity and makes you want to dig deeper to learn more, and then to tell a story about it. This is a way to craft a message that you believe and that others will believe, too.

Pastoral Care: Advanced Skills
August 10 – September 28
Through readings, discussion, and self-reflective activities, you will:
  • Focus on human awareness from the perspective of your own self-awareness.
  • Enhance your understanding of a relational view of human existence.

Safe Church Trainings
Safe Church for God’s Children  
Sunday Aug 30, 2020 from 2-5pm
Thursday Sept 3 from 9-12pm
Tier 2, required for anyone who has access to facilities and/or is in ministry with children, youth, or vulnerable adults.

Safe Church for God’s People  
Thursday, September 17, 9am-12pm
Tier 3, required for staff, clergy, leaders who are involved in managing ministries for youth and adults alike.

Soul Food for Faithful Leadership
"An anthology that asks, “What does it mean to be church where if Black lives matter?”
Prophetic imagination would have us see a future in which all Christians would be free of the soul-warping belief and practice of racism. This collection of reflections is an incisive look into that future today. It explains why preaching about race is important in the elimination of racism in the church and society, and how preaching has the ability to transform hearts."

 Church Publishing
"I was introduced to a Young Adult writer ( via Fresh Air on NPR) named Jason Reynolds ( African American). I ordered and have read a few of his books now. I was looking for something story oriented and less “heady” for Dismantling Racism work. I would highly recommend you read All American Boys . He wrote it together with a white male friend of his in 2015. It could have been written yesterday ( re: George Floyd). It’s excellent."

The Rev. Faith Perrizo
Similar to Peter Block's Community: The Structure of Belonging , this is a secular how-to on community building. "Communities feel magical, but they don't come together by magic....Build your community with people, not for them."
Watch the video teaser here - this is a great way to revisit how you experience and build Beloved Community.

The Rev.
Susan Daughtry
"Given Christianity's role in enabling white supremacy in this country, what steps can the church take going forward to ameliorate those sins?"

"American Christianity needs a revival. I mean, it's mostly a whitewashed tomb with the ghost of Christianity haunting our churches. It's a group of people who get together and like to think about how they used to take down empires with the power of God and make sure the marginalized are centered and offered salvation, mercy and grace."

Read the rest of the Codeswitch interview with the Rev. Lenny Duncan, author of Dear Church: A Love Letter From a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US

Leading Beyond the Blizzard
Weekly videoconferences, Tuesday at 2pm (please note: the July 28th gathering has been cancelled so folks can attend the Becoming Beloved Community NOW gathering hosted by the Episcopal Church. We'll be back August 4th!), to gather ECMN folks around key conversations in response to the pandemic, racial justice, and the ways Episcopalians can respond to God's mission now. Join us .
Becoming Beloved Community NOW
Webinars July 28 - 30, 3 - 5pm Central
Racial justice and healing leaders and practitioners across The Episcopal Church will gather to build community, craft strategy, and equip each other for action during a series of Becoming Beloved Community NOW online gatherings at 4-6 p.m. EDT on July 28-30.  Register here.
Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency course
Aug. 10 – 14, 2020 | Online, in English
Gain cultural competency for Latino/Hispanic ministry. Register here.
Hymn of the Day
A ministry of St George's Church in St Louis Park
Join us Sunday mornings at 9! We explore the music and words — their history and meaning — of some of our favorite hymns and then sing along from home. Everyone's welcome to join us via Zoom. You can contact John Hoffacker, Music Director with questions at: 612.850-9208.

Keep Learning
Responding to Conflict
Civil Discourse Curriculum
This five-part online curriculum covers the following topics: civil discourse in context, tenets for civil discourse, values-based conversations, the complexities of policy, and sacred space for debate. Click here for the curriculum.
Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
Check out mediation skills trainings, family systems workshops, and other events from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center. Click here for resources.

Reflection Guide: Democracy, Values, and the 2020 Election
The nonpartisan guide offers timely sections that address urgent moral issues at stake in this election and beyond. Topics include justice for immigrants, economic dignity, care for creation and climate change, racism and criminal justice reform, democracy and voting rights, health care and the coronavirus pandemic, and global peacebuilding. Find it here.
Preaching to Remove White-Colored Glasses
Backstory Preaching / The Rev. Dr. Lisa Cressman

"As preachers, we are fortunate to be in a position where people have already consented to receive our insights. In general, they’ve accepted a common text from which we can learn: the Bible. As a result, we can rely on Scripture texts to do some of the heavy lifting for us. The Bible hasn’t always been preached that way, particularly in white contexts, but Scripture and Jesus are devoted to naming, protecting, lifting up, and creating justice for marginalized groups." Keep reading.

The Rev. Susan Daughtry | Missioner for Formation
Episcopal Church in Minnesota | | Sign up to get this email