All week I’ve been listening to the stories of survivors of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Of course, I have also heard far too many stories of those who did not fare as well. The personal tragedy and devastation has been almost beyond imagination. Before I share this week’s resolution, I’d like to provide the contact information for donations to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund. Please consider joining in this relief effort.
As I’ve reflected on the horrible situation in the Bahamas, I became aware that we have a resolution from General Convention that might prove to be helpful should the people of our diocese experience difficult circumstances:
A058: Encourage Use of Asset Map
Resolved, That the 79th General Convention challenge all congregations to fully complete their profile on the Episcopal Asset Map, a joint project of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development.
I know that I’ve heard rumblings in our diocese about completing each congregation’s profile for the map but, I hate to admit it, I really never looked into it further. So I checked out the Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) website and found a link to the map’s homepage which contains a video about the map by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. I also found some basic information about the motivation for this project:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians, 12:4-7
The Episcopal Asset Map is a joint project of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development. We recognize that the individuals, churches, and institutions of The Episcopal Church represent an abundance of gifts and this platform looks to highlight and connect our stories into one searchable site. The value of the map depends on the ongoing participation and interest of individuals, congregations and diocesan coordinators around the country. Without local participation, the map would remain a set of empty pins, a tapestry with all warp and no weft.
We encourage you to take a look around. The map is a powerful tool that allows you to see not only what is happening around your diocese, but throughout the Church. The map can help you build networks with people interested and involved in similar ministries so you can share ideas and strategies, or it can be a jumping off point for entirely new directions. In times of disaster or emergency, the map will serve as a framework for assessment and response, showing a disaster’s impact and how local bodies are responding. At all times, the map can serve as a platform to connect and inspire.
The success of this map depends on you. As you explore the map, please take a moment to find your church or institution. You can update your place’s profile by clicking “Update This Place” link at the top of the profile page. Once the information is submitted, a Diocesan Map Administrator will review your submission and once approved changes will be made public, they will appear on the updated map. We thank you for your help in opening the work and gifts of The Episcopal Church to the world.
After reading their intention, I started playing with the map for our diocese. If you click on the link, the whole diocesan map comes up. First, you’ll find little tags for each congregation. When you click on the tag, the profile of that church family appears providing information about their times of worship and any ministries they might offer – if they have completed their profile. Going back to the diocesan map, beside the map on the right are the headings “type, language, ministries, organizations, and locations.” Clicking on one of those will provide subcategories that might fall under that heading. Going one step further, if you open any of the subcategories, a more specific map will appear with tags for the congregations that provide these services. For example, I looked under the heading “organizations” and went to the subcategory “Episcopal Church Women.” The only congregation in our diocese listed offering ECW is listed as St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Grosse Pointe Woods. I also looked under “Community Gardens” and found that only All Saints in East Lansing is listed. I know that there are many community gardens in our diocese which leads me to believe that we all have some work to do updating our asset map profiles.
Wanting to learn more, I reached out to the Rev. Deacon Glenn Morrison who is one of our diocesan asset map administrators. Glenn’s response demonstrated that we have some work to do. He wrote back:
I would say that maybe half of the congregations have updated their profiles but, as a diocese, there are very few that truly go on their profiles and keep them updated… As I have been instructing everyone, the more that each congregation puts on their profile, the better. This would include – but is not limited to – photos of special services and outreach programs done at the parishes and on the diocesan level, as well… This enables any parish around the country that is interested in starting similar programs a way of connecting with each other. Also, when looking at a disaster preparedness plan, the asset map would be a wonderful tool in creating that plan.
If you have other questions for Glenn, you can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling him at work (248) 674-5395.
As I’ve listened to the stories of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction, I’ve wondered about how we, as a diocese, would respond to a local disaster. Do we know where the resources are? Do we know who to contact? In response to this resolution, let’s all make the effort to update our congregation’s profiles that we might truly be of service to one another should the interest or need arise.
Let’s pray –
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served
but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give
themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom,
patience, and courage, they may minister in his Name to the
suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him
who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus
Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
~ The Rev. Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council