Advent 2022
  • Reflecting on Gratitude
  • Resources for Advent, Year A - Rooted in Abundance
  • Get to know our new board members!

The liminal space of Advent asks much of us. It is an existential tension between darkness and light, waiting and receiving, not having and having. We are asked to step into a memory we have never had as modern Christians – that time before the plan of salvation was incarnate in the Son of God; and we are asked to step into a miracle we can hardly fathom – the birth of a child, heralded by an angel and crowned as king, an outcast even before he was born. Advent is full of dichotomy.

As we travel through this short season we journey with the very sun. In the Northern Hemisphere we note the amount of light in the day lessens dramatically, the air around us cools, nature responds with starkness where once there was lush green. Change is so perceptible that it surprises us, no matter how many times we have experienced this season of waiting.

In such a time of change, we might look for what is constant, what is comfort. We seek the ideas, patterns, and moments that anchor us, that remind us that we have been here before and we will move through this again. We take stock of what roots us in our lives.

Many of us look to family at this time of year. Some of us focus on what is to come. In Church we learn of the story of our salvation, and the plans in place to bring everything into its completion. Through all of this we rely on the promise God made to God’s people, a promise of abundance so spectacular that it can only come from an extravagant, generous God. A God who will lend us a piece of Their divinity in the humanity of flesh like ours. We are rooted in abundance. We are people of Advent Hope.

What tensions do you experience in Advent and how do you reconcile them?
In what ways do you experience abundance even when the skies are heavy and the nights are long?

You may download this Advent Reflection in the 2023 Rooted in Abundance Annual Campaign to use in your church this Advent season.

All good gifts,
Cn. J. Davey Gerhard III
Executive Director

Introducing: 2023 Annual Theme
Rooted in Abundance

Our generosity is informed by the simple theological truth that God has blessed us infinitely with all of the gifts of Creation. Our lives, our labor, our love are devoted to the mission of the Church when we take stock and realize that our lives and our response to God’s generosity are Rooted in Abundance.

The 2023 Annual Campaign Materials are being prepared for your stewardship formation and education this year. Begin Advent teaching and preaching about how we are Rooted in Abundance and how our gratitude impacts our generosity. You may download these reflections today. (please note, the rest of our resources will be updated later in the church year)
Presentamos Nuestro tema anual de 2023
Radicalizado en abundancia

Nuestra generosidad está informada por la simple verdad teológica de que Dios nos ha bendecido infinitamente con todos los dones de la Creación. Nuestras vidas, nuestro trabajo, nuestro amor están dedicados a la misión de la Iglesia cuando hacemos un balance y nos damos cuenta de que nuestras vidas y nuestra respuesta a la generosidad de Dios están Arraigadas en la Abundancia.

Los Materiales de la Campaña Anual 2023 se están preparando para su formación y educación en mayordomía este año. Comience la enseñanza y la predicación de Adviento sobre cómo estamos Arraigados en la Abundancia y cómo nuestra gratitud impacta nuestra generosidad. Es posible descargar estas reflexiones hoy. (tenga en cuenta que el resto de nuestros recursos se actualizarán más adelante en el año de la iglesia)
The Power of a Phone Call

It’s funny how a single phone call with a stranger can change one’s perspective on God’s generosity. It was the week before Christmas when our church’s parish administrator called to ask if I could pick up and bring to our Christmas service a lady who had called the church seeking a ride. Of course I said yes, not knowing that meeting this woman would be an encounter that changed me.

Her name was Juliann, a middle-aged widow who was suffering from an immune disorder that had impacted her health so severely that she was wheelchair bound. Living alone in a second floor apartment made life very difficult for her but you would never know the troubles she had seen. Her joyful spirit and gratitude for the ride made the grocery list of things I needed to do that Christmas Eve wash away. As we drove to church I inquired about her life. She was a life-long Episcopalian but due to her health had not been able to attend a church. With COVID still lingering around, she was afraid to venture out and risk making her condition worse. But it was Christmas and she anxiously wanted to be a part of a worship service to express her thanks to God for her life. I promised to arrange future rides to church for her and looked forward to having her return for another visit.

Then she disappeared. I called numerous times with no response and finally gave up trying to reach her. Six months later she texted me. She was living in a long-term cheap hotel because her moldy apartment had been condemned and she ended up in a hospital for two months. With no family or friends nearby she reached out seeking help to get to a doctor’s appointment. I was happy to comply. Despite her harrowing, lonely existence Juliann was so grateful, praising God for all that she had and seeing each new day as a time to celebrate life.

Sometimes I take for granted the abundance in my life. Not only family, friends, meaningful work and a home I love, but my health and the resources to be comfortable. All gifts from God. I am grateful to Juliann, a woman with so many reasons to be unhappy, but with a deep and abiding joy that glows to remind others of God’s love. She speaks of her faith as life saving and she strives to be an example of gratitude. Her joy compels me to examine every complaint I make.

Take a moment and reflect on God’s abundance in your life, however you measure it. I bet you will see that it is more than enough.

Cn. Mary MacGregor will finish her term on the board of TENS this December, and has offered this final reflection for us. Mary is a saint living among us and working with her has been an inspiring joy.

Introducing the Newest Class of TENS Board Members

We are excited to welcome four new members to the board of TENS, replacing four outgoing friends. We wish all goodness and love to our departing board members:
  • Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows
  • Rev. Cn. Timothy Dombek
  • Rev. Ed Gomez
  • Cn. Mary MacGregor

Taking their places, but hardly following in their footsteps, we welcome:
  • Rev. Cn. Karen Davis-Lawson
  • Rev. Charles L. Fischer III
  • Rev. Glenna Huber
  • Rev. Arran Thorpe

We know that these gifted new friends will bring new connections and networks, Keen strategy and innovation, and an engaging spirit of joy and gratitude to our ministry. Welcome!
Rev. Cn. Karen Davis-Lawson

The Rev. Cn. Karen Davis-Lawson serves as a priest in the Diocese of Long Island. In November 2021 she was called as the third rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Cambria Heights, NY. Prior to that call, Karen served as a curate at St. George’s Episcopal Church and Church of the Redeemer (a bilingual congregation), Astoria, NY for two years. Following her curacy, she was called to serve as priest-in-charge and then the sixteenth rector of St. George’s. Karen creatively uses TENS material in the congregations in which she serves.

She attended Brooklyn College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and Master Degrees in Arts and Science and she earned a Master of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary in New York. Before ordination, Karen served as an administrator in higher education. In her spare time, she loves to sing and travel.
Rev. Charles L. Fischer III

The Rev. Charles L Fischer III is the Vice President for Seminary Advancement at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. 
Rev. Fischer received his undergraduate degree in finance from
Morehouse College.  After several years of working in New York City, he returned to his beloved alma mater, serving as the Associate Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Programs. He continued his studies at the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in Alexandria, VA, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree.  During his course of study he was deeply committed to the life of the community, holding many leadership positions including Student Body President. Also during this time, he was a Canterbury Scholar at the Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England.

Rev. Fischer is a fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also studied at Wesley Theological Seminary, Howard University Divinity School, Columbia Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Bexley Seabury, and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.  Annually, Rev. Fischer has returned to the Princeton Theological Seminary, serving as a Theologian in Residence with the Black Theology and Leadership Institute.

Rev. Fischer has served parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon), Diocese of Atlanta (St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta and St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, Marietta), the Diocese of Maryland (St. James Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square, Baltimore),and the Diocese of Washington (St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, DC).

Rev. Fischer was proudly inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. International College of Ministers and Laity at Morehouse College in April 2012.  He is also an inaugural member of The Martin Luther King Jr. International College of Pastoral Leadership. 

Rev. Fischer has served on the Boards of the St. Edmund’s Academy in Pittsburgh PA, Flourishing Communities.  He is a member of the 100 Black Men of Western PA, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASLAH) and a Life Member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.   

Rev. Fischer is blessed to share his ministry with his lovely wife, Mrs. Rhonda D. Fischer. They are the proud parents of two sons, Charles IV and Cameron.
Rev. Glenna Huber

The Rev. Glenna J. Huber is the 15th Rector of the Church of the Epiphany in downtown Washington, D.C. Before joining Epiphany, she served as Vicar at the Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Baltimore. She has also served as a consultant for urban congregations on the efficacy of community organizing in congregational development.

For the past 19 years, Rev. Huber has served in a number of ordained pastoral roles in Baltimore and Atlanta, including ecumenical and educational positions. Her positions have
provided her with the opportunity to offer pastoral care and counsel to teachers, seniors and parents, and students from preschool to high school. She has experience working in a variety of communities ranging from suburban affluent neighborhoods to underserved and economically depressed environments.

In relationship to her capacity within the church, Rev. Huber is a sought out lecturer and has addressed subjects ranging from leadership in the church and in the community to faith and justice and systemic injustice, including urban poverty, education, housing, redlining, and how the church can respond to issues affecting our community, to racism and reconciliation.

Rev. Huber received a Master of Divinity degree from The General Theological Seminary (New York) and her undergraduate degree in history from Spelman College (Georgia). She is married to Richard, and they have two children – Jonas and Adayah.
Rev. Arran Thorpe

The Rev. Arran Thorpe completed a B.A. in Political Science, International Development Studies and Economics, at Saint Mary's University, and an M.Div at the Atlantic School of Theology, where he wrote his thesis on the question "Why do people go to church and give money to the church?" 

He previously served as a curate in the Parish of Seaforth, Eastern Shore, N.S., and St. Nicholas, Upper Tantallon, N.S., All Saints, Bedford, N.S., Trinity, Ottawa, Ontario, Church of the Epiphany, Ottawa, Ontario and currently serves the parish of St. Peter's, Halifax, Birch Cove, Nova Scotia. 
Surprised by joy, Arran received Christ's good news for the first time as a young adult on Christmas Eve ... Yes, a Christmas Eve service! 
He is particularly interested in evangelism, the practice of stewardship, community outreach and the continued study of our faith and what it means to us, through Christian adult education. He can also be found enjoying a good running game as a member of the Halifax Recreation League Footy Sevens.

Please Consider a gift to support TENS this year
This year, the Annual Pledge Campaign materials, More Than Enough, have been downloaded more than twelve thousand times across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Thousands of congregations are using these resources to create stewardship programs that help their members make their best gifts.

In addition to providing the resources for download, we also have been able to expand our webinars and training for all members, free of charge. Over the year, more than one thousand participants have attended webinars and learned best practices and tips to unlock generosity.

It is your gift, your support, that makes this possible! We thank our many donors, who throughout the year, make gifts to support our ministry, and thank you now for making a gift to support TENS. Every gift matters, and allows more congregations to have more access to training, education, nurturing, and support - the TENS model of Stewardship.