Monthly Archives: July 2021

Discipleship Matters: News from RenewalWorks

A new chapter at RenewalWorks

As of July 1, RenewalWorks enters a new chapter, after eight years of ministry helping congregations focus on spiritual growth. We began this work in the hopes that it could be a helpful tool for the Episcopal Church. It was an experiment, a pilot project. As such, it involved a bit of stepping out in faith. Generous donors joined in taking that leap, for which I will always be grateful. Our ultimate goal was to find a home for this work. Good news! After working with about 300 congregations, and learning a lot in the process, our staff will now be supported by the Forward Movement operating budget, an indication that the work is sustainable, that it will continue and grow. The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn has described RenewalWorks as the Research and Development arm of Forward Movement. We’re excited that we can continue in that role.

This will involve some change in our staffing. I’m pleased to announce that Ms. Loren Dixon will take on the role of Director of RenewalWorks. Ms. Samantha Franklin will take on the role of Associate Director.Both Samantha and Loren have been at this work for years, and have proven to be effective and imaginative coordinators and collaborators with congregations. I will continue to be involved as a Senior Consultant, and will do what I can to promote this work. Under the leadership of Loren and Samantha, I know this ministry will grow in new and interesting ways.

We give thanks to God for how this effort has unfolded.
  • Our core ministry is the RenewalWorks process, with online inventory and subsequent workshops, providing helpful discernment for congregations as they seek to move forward. (We believe that this process can be especially helpful right now as we move out of COVID and seek understanding of where people are in their spiritual journeys.)
  • The process which we call Revive continues, with a focus on the heart of the leader, helping clergy and vestry and other lay leaders explore what it means to be spiritual leaders.
  • RenewalWorks-for-me (an individual inventory followed by a series of emails offering a personal spiritual plan) has been adopted by the Presiding Bishop’s office, in a new ministry called My Way of Love.
  • We’ll continue to offer monthly zoom gatherings (called RenewalWorks: Connect) with conversation about what discipleship looks like in the Episcopal Church.
  • And once we fully emerge from COVID, we plan to return to offering conferences to gather Episcopalians focused on discipleship.

As we move into a new and exciting chapter for RenewalWorks, we value your prayers along with any thoughts you might have about how this ministry can grow. We welcome you to spread the news about RenewalWorks to other congregations. As we mentioned, we believe it’s an especially valuable tool coming out of COVID. And Forward Movement will certainly welcome any financial support you can offer in days ahead. This is important work, transforming work for the Episcopal church. It is worthy of your support.

As Dag Hammarskjold wrote: For all that has been, thanks. For all that shall be, yes. Stay tuned for the next chapter of RenewalWorks! By God’s grace, it’s going to be great!