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The Episcopal Diocese of

North Dakota

Click here to view this Newsletter as Webpage.

The Prairie

December 14, 2023

Welcome to our email Newsletter!

A few highlights from this issue:

  • Zoom Meet and Greet with Bp. Brian Thom!
  • Save the Date - Special Convention
  • Ministry Opportunities
  • Episcopal Relief and Development
  • NDEF Grant Approvals

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

A ZOOM Meet & Greet 

with our Bishop Provisional Nominee

The Rt. Rev. Brian Thom


Sunday, December 17th, 4:00-5:00pm


Tuesday, December 19th, 6:00-7:00pm

Bishop Brian Thom has been nominated by the Standing Committee to be our next Bishop Provisional. The election will take place on Sunday January 7, 2024 at 4:00 PM Central Time.


There are two Zoom opportunities to meet and speak with Bishop Thom in advance of January 7:

  1. Sunday December 17, 2023 at 4:00 PM Central Time
  2. Tuesday December 19, 2023 at 6:00 PM Central Time


Zoom Information:

Sunday's meeting:


Tuesday's meeting:


Meeting ID: 738 714 2226

Passcode: 763258


Click here to see Bp. Brian's resume!

Save the Date – Sunday, January 7, 2024,

at 4:00 PM (Central Time)

For a Special Diocesan Convention (Zoom)

to elect a Bishop Provisional


Bishop Ely, in consultation with Diocesan Council, has called for all 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. The Standing Committee has nominated Bishop Brian Thom to be the next Bishop Provisional. All eligible clergy and delegates should plan to participate at that time. Details about the agenda, voting procedures, and Zoom connection information will be sent to delegates and clergy soon.



The Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely, Bishop Provisional

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:

Episcopal Relief and Development -

your impact in the world

Many of us feel deeply the problems we are aware of in the world, at home, and across the globe. Poverty, lack of education and opportunity, hunger, loss of hope. And conflict. Many of us wish to find an effective way to touch these problems, with gifts small or large.

Episcopal Relief and Development has been active on the world stage for over 80 years, lifting people and finding ways to support opportunities and responding to disasters and conflict. Your support of Episcopal Relief and Development is how they do this!

At St. George’s, funds were raised through Episcopal Relief and Development Coffee Houses- monthly gatherings focusing on particular missions of the organization collecting free-will donations.

What can you do in your church to support the goals and mission of Episcopal Relief and Development?

Materials are available at no cost from Episcopal Relief and Development to get the word out- please contact Andrea Stomberg, if you are interested in obtaining any of these materials to support this work at home and around the world.

NDEF Grant Approvals Herald Positive Change


The North Dakota Episcopal Foundation has once again made a positive impact in churches across the diocese with its most recent round of grants. These approvals reflect the foundation's unwavering commitment to support congregations in their various missions.


St. Thomas Episcopal Church received a grant to provide positive activities for youth within the congregation in their community. through coordination and the purchase of learning and activity materials. 

St. Gabriel’s Camp received a grant to replace 60 mattresses at the camp. The new mattresses will provide comfortable and sanitary accommodations as the camp continues to build relationships among youth.


St. Luke’s Episcopal Church received a grant to remodel a bathroom to make an ADA compliant family restroom for the congregation, as well as those attending funerals and other activities.

In a nod to environmental stewardship, St Stephen’s received a grant for initiatives promoting environmental awareness. St. Stephen’s Green Team plans to complete an energy audit of their facility. They are also developing a pollinator-friendly “pocket prairie” of native plants.


The NDEF is proud to allocate a total of $32,100 in this round of grants. The strategic allocation of funds towards various projects underscores the foundation's multifaceted commitment to congregational development, education, and sustainability. This investment promises to create a transformative impact, leaving a lasting legacy for local congregations, within the Diocese and in the broader community it serves.


All congregations are invited to apply for funding through the NDEF. Instructions, guidelines, and applications can be found at



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

  • December 14: Full-Time Priests/Pastor Gathering (Jamestown); 12pm
  • December 17: Bishop's Visitation - St. Paul's, Grand Forks
  • December 17: Meet & Greet with Bp. Brian (Zoom); 4pm
  • December 19: Meet & Greet with Bp. Brian (Zoom); 6pm
  • December 25: Diocesan Office Closed - Christmas Day
  • January 1: Diocesan Office Closed - New Year's Day
  • January 2: Clergy & Congregational Leader Meeting (Zoom); 6:30pm
  • January 2: Province VI Small Church Gathering (Zoom); 7:30pm
  • January 4: Diocesan Ministry Support Team Meeting (Zoom); 10am


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Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota


[email protected]