On Tuesday, January 22, we had our monthly Money and Meaning lunch at the HUB in San Francisco. We had two very compelling presenters with us from the Story of Stuff Project. They showed us their pithy, funny newest video, “The Story of Change” (video below). Change, as the video encapsulates it, comes about when you add
Big Idea + People + Action
That equation is exactly the dynamic we in the Diocese of California have been experimenting with for the past six years. The Big Idea is this: the Diocese of California can buck the Mainline denominations’ slide into oblivion and become vibrant and vital.
Our approach for revitalizing is different from all Emerging Church efforts everywhere in that it is about all of us, not a single congregation or even a particular cluster of congregations. The whole diocese is the Body of Christ within The Episcopal Church in the Bay Area. Each of those interconnected congregations can be part of a vibrant network in their neighborhood. And, our congregations can become diverse the way their encompassing neighborhoods are diverse.
Because we have resolutely held to the idea that revitalization includes us all, the people part of the equation for change has been rich, varied, and as particular as the many people who have felt called to help live out this change we want to see. At the grassroots level all over DioCal people have been connecting their efforts, congregation to congregation; engaging their communities in new way; and building more diverse worshipping and serving communities.
All of those willing, creative people all over the diocese working with our Big Idea have added the final piece, too: action. A shared youth group between five congregations in Marin; an urban garden, tended by Episcopalians and day laborers in Berkeley; a broad-based faith community effort to push for access to public transportation for the poor in Oakland; a four-congregation Area Ministry being served by two priests as the nucleus of a full Area Ministry Team; the planning, by three parishes, for the planting of a new congregation in Daugherty Valley are but a few examples of the myriad actions the people of this diocese have undertaken to revitalize the whole.
The result: Change is happening. This is a transformational, transforming diocese. I’m privileged to serve the Diocese of California as its bishop.