March For Our Lives - March 24th 2018

Included in this post is an invitation from Dean Brian Grantz to join us in a March For Our Lives on March 24th at one of two locations.  Please prayerfully consider how you would like to be part of this youth-inspired movement.
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Greetings, Dear Colleagues in Ministry.

There is a ground-swell of activity being initiated by young people in the wake of the horrific Ash Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On Saturday, March 24, rallies will be held in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and many other US cities to demand action in the face of an ongoing epidemic of gun violence. I suspect, along with many others, that this is a critical moment in our national dialogue, so with the blessing of Bishop Sparks, I began investigating the possibility of coordinating participation from our Diocese in these rallies, particularly - but not exclusively - among Senior High youth and young adults.

I feel compelled to say - at the risk of preaching - that while we tend to debate our epidemic of violence as a gun issue along well-trod partisan lines, I believe violence is a profoundly human problem that is exponentially exacerbated by guns. That's a thornier conversation, to be sure, but avoidance of it is killing our children, and countless more besides. There are no easy answers or simple solutions - regardless of how many memes pop up on Facebook suggesting otherwise - and the full spectrum of opinions on the nature of the problem and what should be done about it is likely present in every one of our congregations. But in this moment I simply ask who, if not the Church, is called to stand with those whose hearts are inclined to keep the law "Thou shalt do no murder" as a fundamental tenet of our society? Our presence, our witness as disciples of Jesus, is monumentally important.

The current details are as follows:

Washington, D.C. - Register here.

Dean Brian Grantz invites Northern Indiana Episcopalians to rally in Washington DC on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Interested high school students, young adults, and others are invited to stand with the youth of our nation against an epidemic of gun violence. We will depart from South Bend at 7 am on Friday, March 23, making stops along the toll road in Elkhart and Angola as necessary to gather our group. We will arrive in Washington in time for a prayer service on Friday evening at Washington National Cathedral, then go off to churches and hotels (as the group decides) for overnight accommodations. We will attend the rally in Washington, then follow a group-determined itinerary for our overnight stay, Palm Sunday worship, and return home on Sunday. Space is limited. Please register through Eventbrite so we may determine interest in traveling to Washington. Questions? Contact Dean Brian Grantz at

Indianapolis - Register here

Bishop Doug & Dana Sparks, Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows of Indianapolis, and Bishop Bill Gafkjen of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA invited all interested Episcopalians, Lutherans, and friends to the March for Our Lives rally in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Northern Indiana faith communities may organize groups or encourage individuals to stand with the youth of our nation against an epidemic of gun violence. We will gather at St. Andrew Church, Kokomo for pre-event prayers and ride sharing coordination at 7:30 am before departing for Indianapolis at 8:30 am. Overnight accommodation is available upon request at St. Andrew Church or at local hotels in Kokomo. Please register participants through Eventbrite so we may coordinate our presence at the rally. Questions? Contact Mrs. Tracy Rose-Love at

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Thank you so much for your leadership and ministry.

The Very Rev. Brian G. Grantz
The Cathedral of Saint James
South Bend, Indiana

Called to Beloved Community: Episcopalians and Lutherans Working Together

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Grace and peace be with you in Jesus, the Light for all People!

I want to share a video with you describing an ecumenical initiative with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), one of our Full Communion Partners.  In 2015, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church called us to focus on Racial Reconciliation and Racial Justice.  To that end, an initiative was developed entitled, Becoming #Beloved Community.  I shared this material with you in early November and invited us through the Advent season to engage in conversations throughout Northern Indiana, using the resources provided by the wider Church.  We had four conversations during Advent in Gary, Marion, South Bend and Fort Wayne.  These conversations offered insight and wisdom as we listened to one another's stories of race in our communities and churches.

By God's Providence, we came into Full Communion with our Lutheran sisters and brothers in 2000, adopting a working framework entitled, "Called to Common Mission."  Since my election as your bishop, I have reached out to my colleague in the ELCA, Bishop Bill Gafkjen, who serves as Bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, in hopes of living more fully and practically into our full communion relationship.  Beginning in September, Bishop Bill and Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, the new Episcopal Bishop of Indianapolis, and I have been meeting regularly to again seek ways to live more fully and practically into our full communion relationship.  After prayerful discussion and at the invitation of our wider churches, we decided to embrace "Becoming #Beloved Community," as our first ecumenical initiative throughout Indiana.

The video is an initial conversation describing our hopes for this initiative.  We want to engage in StorySharing...which is "a practice that allows everyone to seek, name, and celebrate the loving presence of Jesus in our lives."  We realize that some of us may engage this process with some fear and trepidation.  But it is our hope that, in our sharing and listening, we may practice love, forgiveness and mercy.

As bishops, we have committed ourselves to identifying areas of our diocese or synod, to begin this process.  In Northern Indiana, I would like to begin this ecumenical initiative in Gary, South Bend and Fort Wayne.  Dates and locations for the StorySharing experience will be shared as soon as they are finalized.

I invite you to begin praying for this ecumenical initiative among Lutherans and Episcopalians in Indiana.  I also invite your reflections, suggestions and insights into the particular and practical ways we might walk together toward Becoming #Beloved Community.

Every blessing,
Doug Sparks

An Invitation to Vestry Resource Day: 3 March 2018

Video - Bishop Doug with Fr Dan Layden and Jordan re: Invite Welcome Connect

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Episcopal Church in Northern Indiana!

Grace and peace be with you in Jesus, the Light for all people!

I want to personally invite every elected lay leader, every evangelist and every clergy person, in fact, every person who is committed to our 36 Faith Communities thriving!  This Vestry Resource Day is for YOU!

There is a proven process developed over the last few years called:  INVITE, WELCOME, CONNECT.  I believe it is an essential tool for all of us in our commitment to the Five Marks of Mission, especially Mark 1 - proclaim the Good News and Mark 2 - teach, baptize and nurture new believers!

The Rev. Myles Brandon, who serves at St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas is returning to our diocese to help facilitate our learning more about this important tool for evangelism.  You can visit their website by clicking here .  For more information regarding INVITE, WELCOME, CONNECT you can click

I'll see you there on Saturday, 3 March at St. Anne's in Warsaw!

Register here.