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The Episcopal Diocese of

North Dakota

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The Prairie

November 30, 2023

Welcome to our email Newsletter!

A few highlights from this issue:

  • Welcome The Rt. Rev. Brian Thom
  • Save the Date - Special Convention
  • Missioner for Reconciliation, Creation Care & Congregational Ministry Development
  • Ministry Opportunities
  • Bishop Tom's CaringBridge Site
  • Safe Church Reminder

Read on for other announcements and the calendar!

Did you miss a copy of the Prairie? The past four editions of the bi-monthly Prairie are now online! Click the button below to be taken to the webpage!

Online Prairie

It is with great pleasure that I announce the consent of the Standing Committee to appoint Bishop Brian Thom as Assisting Bishop in North Dakota. Bishop Thom was with us in November and will be with us doing Bishop's Visitations in December and January. Please welcome Bishop Brian Thom as you are able. Bishop's Thom email address is [email protected].

The Right Reverend Tom Ely

Bishop Provisional


It is an honor and a great pleasure to be invited by Bishop Ely to work with you in this time of transition in the Diocese of North Dakota. I have deep admiration for Bishop Ely's compassionate heart and considerable leadership skills. I am also inspired by the tremendous discernment you've accomplished through the New Seasons of Ministry Task Force. I am eager to walk beside you as you bring life to these goals and vision.

The Right Reverend Brian Thom

Assisting Bishop

Save the Date – Sunday, January 7, 2024,

at 4:00 PM (Central Time)

For a Special Diocesan Convention (Zoom)

to elect a Bishop Provisional


CANON 2: The Diocesan Convention

Section 1.

(d) A Special Convention may be called by the Ecclesiastical Authority, in consultation with the Diocesan Council, provided that notice of a Special Convention is given to the delegates at least thirty days prior to the time set for the meeting, and no other business may be transacted.


In accordance with the provisions of Canon 2.1.d of the Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota, I hereby call for the eligible canonically resident clergy and lay delegates of our diocese to gather via Zoom for a Special Diocesan Convention for the sole purpose of electing the next Bishop Provisional for the Diocese of North Dakota. This call is made after consultation with the Diocesan Council. More details will follow.



The Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely, Bishop Provisional

The Rev. Kim Fox to be 


for Reconciliation, Creation Care 

& Congregational Ministry Development

Bishop Ely has appointed the Rev. Kim Fox to be Missioner for Reconciliation, Creation Care & Congregational Ministry Development, effective January 1, 2024. In this role she will serve as Priest in Charge of St. Paul’s, White Shield, St. Sylvan’s Dunseith, and St. Michael & All Angels, Cartwright. She is also charged with supporting diocesan reconciliation and creation care goals – providing resources and encouragement for our committees and leaders in those areas to continue building on current efforts, communicate more widely, expand education, encourage connections between congregations, and connect local efforts with diocesan and wider church activities. These responsibilities address the goals of developing Native American, congregational, and reconciliation and creation care ministries, recommended by the New Season of Ministry Task Force and adopted by the recent 53rd Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota.

Bishop Ely says, “I am happy Kim has agreed to accept this appointment and that the Convention approved the New Season of Ministry’s recommendation to invest in this position to help ensure success with these critical goals.”

Kim has served since 2021 as Regional Coordinator for Episcopal Ministry in Northwestern North Dakota, a position funded through 2023 with a combination of congregational and diocesan funds and the support of two Roanridge Trust grants. In that position she has provided sacramental, pastoral, administrative and ministry development ministries with five congregations in northwestern North Dakota.


The Rev. Duane Fox, current Priest in Charge for St. Paul’s in White Shield, has decided to retire from active ministry at the end of this year and has agreed to serve as a mentor for Kim, having experience in ministry with all three congregations. The Rev. Paul Zaharia is also completing his service at the end of 2023 as Priest in Charge for St. Sylvan’s in Dunseith. We are grateful for the ministry of both of these priests.

Ministry Opportunities: Please Share!


The Diocese is now seeking candidates for full-time Missioner for Youth, Young Adults, and Congregational Ministry Development to be Priest in Charge of St. Thomas, Fort Totten; develop diocesan youth & young adult ministry; and provide sacramental and congregational development ministry in small congregations. This position addresses the New Season of Ministry goals of developing youth/young adult, Native American, and congregational ministries. 

St. George’s in Bismarck is seeking candidates for their next full-time rector. They are looking for an organized and passionate leader who is open to effectively managing a congregation in collaboration with part-time professional staff and many volunteer leaders and maintaining and improving worship through sermons that meet them where they are and challenge them to action, with a deep understanding of the importance of music in worship. St. George’s values outreach in the community and education in the congregation. 

Find details, including application instructions and deadlines for both positions at:

Bishop Tom's CaringBridge Site

Dear family and friends:


Ann and I have set up this CaringBridge Page to share news about my cancer diagnosis and treatment.

We hope you will find it useful. Feel free to share the link with others. Here is the link to the site, where I have posted journal entries:


All the best,



Safe Church public records

check requirement

Our updated safe church policies require those involved in certain ministries to have public records (background) checks PRIOR to engaging in those ministries (see p. 9 in both policies). To identify those in your congregation who need to have a public records check see Appendix A-1 in each policy.  

Here’s how to proceed (policies are posted at: ):

  1. Wardens/clergy in charge of a congregation identify those who need public records checks and send a list of names and email addresses to the Diocesan Office (to date only a few have submitted names/email addresses!!!). If possible, avoid handwritten lists to avoid mistakes in spelling of names and email addresses – accuracy is key in this process.
  2. The Diocesan Administrator will send that information to Sterling Volunteers (the vendor who conducts the background checks for lay volunteers in our diocese). 
  3. Shortly after the list is submitted from the Diocesan Office, each individual on your congregation’s list will receive an email from Sterling Volunteers. The subject line of the email will be: “Invitation from The Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota.” Please alert those on your congregation’s list to check their spam/junk folder if they don’t find this email in their inbox. 
  4. The email from Sterling Volunteers will include a link labeled Order My Background Check and some brief information about the process. Individuals should open the link and complete the following steps within a week to avoid having the link expire.

To complete the order for the background check individuals will need:

  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s License Number (NOTE: Do NOT include hyphens in the driver’s license number)
  • Current mailing address, length of time at that address, birth date, etc., for the request. CAUTION: be sure to enter all information correctly/accurately.

The cost of those background checks will be paid by the Diocese until the end of December 2023.  In 2024 and beyond the cost of the public records checks will likely become the responsibility of congregations.

Cycle of Prayer

The Anglican and Diocesan Cycle of Prayer for Quarter 4 (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.

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

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All times are Central Time

December 12-18: Bishop Thom in North Dakota

December 17: Bishop's Visitation at St. Paul's, Grand Forks

  • November 30: Diocesan Ministry Support Team Meeting (Zoom); 10am
  • December 5: Clergy & Congregational Leader Meeting (Zoom); 6:30pm
  • December 5: Province VI Small Church Gathering (Zoom); 7:30pm
  • December 14: Full-Time Priests/Pastor Gathering (Jamestown); 12pm
  • December 17: Bishop's Visitation - St. Paul's, Grand Forks
  • December 25: Diocesan Office Closed - Christmas Day
  • January 1: Diocesan Office Closed - New Year's Day


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Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota


[email protected]