“Episcopal Futures: An Initiative for Collaborative Transformation ” is pleased to announce that applications are open for congregations in the Diocese of New York to apply to participate in its Learning Communities program. The Episcopal Futures initiative is funded in part by a generous $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment through their Thriving Congregations Initiative, as well as funding from Trinity Church Wall Street and from the Diocese of New York. “Everyone has a dream for their church. This initiative gives us a valuable opportunity to be active and intentional about moving from dreams to plans to realities,” said Abby R. Nathanson, managing director of the Episcopal Futures initiative.
The initiative seeks to “catalyze collaborative, imaginative, and Spirit-led communities to faithfully transform our Episcopal Futures.” Developed in partnership with General Theological Seminary, and under the oversight of Bishop Allen K. Shin, this initiative follows in the footsteps of earlier efforts in the diocese through its Indaba conversations in 2015 and strategic plan, “Open Doors, New Futures,” which was adopted in 2017. Episcopal Futures offers several ways for everyone in the diocese to participate. Their largest project is the Learning Communities program, which will offer a facilitated, 18-month process for groups of congregations to work together to study, discern, and experiment towards new missional futures. After successfully completing the Learning Communities program, congregations will be eligible to receive seed funding. Florinda Cano, an associate for the Episcopal Futures initiative, added, “We truly believe that by empowering individual lay leaders they can orchestrate the change needed in their communities. We aim to support and uplift the already existing work that lay leaders are doing in their congregations.”
“We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome,” said Canon Victor Conrado, the canon for congregational vitality and formation in the diocese and diocesan liaison to the initiative. “We are excited to get out of our silos and start to work together to transform our common life for all Episcopalians and their neighbors in the Diocese of New York.”
Please visit www.episcopalfutures.org to learn more about the initiative. Congregations in the Diocese of New York may apply online to join a Learning Community. Letters of Intent are due on August 31, 2021.