Living Core Values

This year By Word and Example is joyfully exploring the legacy of leadership of Bishop Ed Little and Canon SuzeAnne Silla.  Leaving a legacy implies lasting impact.  This month we feature an inspirational update from Holy Trinity South Bend, a parish that is living the four Core Values of our Diocese as articulated by Bishop Ed. 
The impact of a church grows when the individuals worshiping there grow in their own discipleship.  So we’ve included a beautiful poem by Kelley Renz about faith and serving the resurrection Kingdom of Jesus Christ. 
"Making All Things New," James Janknegt

"Making All Things New," James Janknegt

Making All Things New at Holy Trinity

Linda Buskirk

In one of the poorest neighborhoods in South Bend, Indiana, the Feast of the Virgin Mary was celebrated this month with ecumenical neighborhood joy radiating from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.  Since 1948, Holy Trinity worship has valued catholic traditions, but the church’s relationship with its neighbors is an even bigger part of its ministry story. 

Most mainstream churches in Holy Trinity’s neighborhood moved out to the newer parts of town decades ago.  As is often the case, the parish struggled to survive, and was the subject of a “what are we going to do about Holy Trinity when the rector retires?” discussion at the diocesan level. 

Meanwhile, back in the summer of 2011, violence in the deteriorated neighborhood escalated at an alarming rate.  Parishioner Susan Adamek tells the story best as she reflected in a report for a Diocesan Congregational Development Institute assignment:

“On a regular basis, [neighbors] witnessed gun fire, homicide, and serious injury almost in their front yards. …neighbors felt abandoned by the city and believed they had no power to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. 

“So here we are!  Good Christians sitting in the middle of mayhem!  Several times gun fire and robberies to persons were taking place as we were having Sunday services and on one Saturday as a bride was walking down the aisle to meet her groom!  What to do?  We could continue to deny everything and go right on as if nothing is happening, or we can take up the call and stand up in protest!  Our neighbors were asking us for help! Then we definitely received a collect call from God!  Now what?  Scary!!  You must realize that we are a very aging church with small numbers and few youthful energies, to answer this call.

“Letters and emails were written to city officials in all departments. All media was notified. Fliers were personally handed out to neighbors and big hand-printed signs went up in the church yard, notifying everyone that our church was to be the scene of a Neighborhood Community Meeting.  My personal fear was that there would be lots of city officials attending and a handful of neighbors.  How embarrassing, and I lost lots of sleep… O ye woman of little faith!

“Well, they started arriving in droves, 45 minutes before the appointed 6:30 PM meeting time.… The pews soon filled, and some folks had to stand!  There was definitely a sense of urgency and frustration in the air.  Several people arrived announcing themselves with great anger and were ready to pick a fight with the city. Many came with little hope of anything being accomplished. Some were just curious and wanted to be on the evening news. And then there were those who were ready to volunteer for any task.”

From this awesome beginning, Holy Trinity has remained a beacon of light and relationship-building in the neighborhood.   Working with neighbors, the church has organized community dinners, invited police officers and neighbors to meet and talk over coffee, and has prayed for its neighbors.

Rev. Terri Bays, priest-in-charge today, explains that the people of Holy Trinity know their ministry strengths -- "We love bells and smells and feeding the poor!" They intentionally decided to focus those strengths within the five-block radius surrounding the church. 

“Our ministry is to those who perhaps haven’t felt ‘holy enough’ to go to church.  They may not feel welcome in other churches, but here we ask, ‘How can we be with you and help you hear God speaking to you?’”

Mother Terri

Over and over, God has provided resources and connections to bless Holy Trinity’s ministry.  Mother Terri says that while finances are always tight, “We are not a dying parish.  We don’t have to wait for someone to come rescue us.  Our job is to find our own ministry gifts and use them.”

When the people of Holy Trinity and the neighborhood process around the church on the Feast of the Virgin Mary, they sing a blues anthem written especially for the service.  They pause after each verse, asking Mary to join them in praying for people in the neighborhood who are suffering as Mary did… for child who is missing, for a son who is wandering without a job and who some think is crazy, for a son you saw die, and for a resurrection and joyful reunion with that son. 

Holy Trinity reflects all of our Diocese’s Core Values.   The people are passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they have a heart for the lost, a willingness to do whatever it takes, and a commitment to one another.  May each of our congregations find inspiration in their story.


"Bread of Life" James Janknegt

"Bread of Life" James Janknegt

Kingdom's Coming

Lord, I hear You talking, but they roll their eyes at me.
I know Your words cannot be wasted, so I step back to see:
Color's coming into lives that once were black and white,
And that kingdom You say is coming, Lord, is coming here tonight.
Standing at the door and knocking has never been Your way.
You tolerate no wood between; You insist on face to face.
Your Spirit will gain a hearing, no matter how fast we run,
For a shadow's length of days are just too dependent upon the Son.
So they can act like You're not talking; I'll just walk behind.
I'll smile as the thunder claps and beats against their half-closed minds.
I'll watch with joy the seed within that bursts open, stretches, groans.
And I'll marvel at You, my Savior, as You bring another home.
It won't be an "I'm right; they're wrong"; You don't play that way.
You take the truth already there and magnify its sway.
The You I am in love with, well, that You is just for me,
I might want them to understand, but it's just too sacred for them to see.
As You came to me, You come to them, in a many different guise.
You work with environment, heredity; You work with reason and with rhyme.
The part of You that's shared with each is owned, signed, and sealed.
I believe we'll get to see all of You at some final sacred meal.
And those who scoffed and said You weren't there, O won't they be surprised?
When the "heathen" offers You shoes to dance and Your feet slip right inside!
O Lamb, O Prince, O Son of Man, make us comfortable with Your image odd,
For shattering is our landscape when we just let God be God.

An empowering legacy...

You may think of Bishop Ed Little as a Biblical teacher, a joyful proclaimer of Jesus Christ, a mentor, an encourager, a leader who will “do whatever it takes.”  He is all that AND he provides strategic focus for the Diocese of Northern Indiana.  In the coming months,  By Word and Example will highlight the legacy of Bishop Ed as well as his partner in strategic strengthening of congregations, Canon SuzeAnne Silla. 

We begin this month with an overview of this legacy, highlighting the Core Values and Five Imperatives of Ministry that serve as a beacon for us as Christians and for our parishes. 

 Also included this month is an update on the inspiring Year-Round Stewardship Workshop and its lessons on the Biblical principles of stewardship.


The Strategic Legacy of Bishop Ed Little

From the beginning of his ministry as the seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, the Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II has beamed a spiritual focus for us to follow.  Personifying the lighthouse on our diocesan seal, Bishop Ed has delivered powerful messages that illuminate priorities for Christ-centered living and ministry.

This strategic legacy began with his seating sermon in 2000, in which he called on his new flock to embrace the lighthouse as a vision for our individual and congregational ministries.  To prompt and guide us, Bishop Ed set four core values for the diocese:

1.      A passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ

2.      A heart for the lost

3.      A willingness to do whatever it takes

4.      A commitment to one another

Throughout the 15 years since that sermon, Bishop Ed has gathered story after story of how these values are beautifully lived in the parishes of northern Indiana.  While he loves recounting them, he’d rather that we each become skilled at telling our own story. 

Strategically, the Bishop sought to strengthen congregations so that we have stories to tell and are emboldened to do so.  He named the Rev. SuzeAnne Silla as Canon to the Ordinary and blessed her to use her extensive congregational development experience to establish the Diocesan Congregational Development Institute (DCDI). 

Since 2008, dozens of lay and clergy people from around the diocese have participated in DCDI.  Bishop Ed says they are more skilled and confident in a whole range of areas – from problem-solving to vision casting to conflict-management.

“At the heart of DCDI is a focus on learning how to tell the story; how to articulate who Jesus is and what he’s done for us, and how to share the ways that he has directly touched our lives,” explains Bishop Ed. 

The core values provided a focus for ministry, and DCDI helped strengthen congregations to be up to the task.  Next, in 2013, Bishop Little once again provided strategic focus by outlining five “imperatives,” or hallmarks of ministry that he prays we will bequeath to future generations of Christians.  These are:

 ·       Focus on Jesus

·       Think Biblically

·       Proclaim Good News

·       Feed the Hungry

·       Mentor the Young

 “Proclaim Good News” is lived out through this By Word and Example blog.  In coming months, we will review even more closely how the strategic legacy of Bishop Ed Little has powerfully impacted our diocese.  YOUR stories regarding the Core Values or Five Imperatives are welcome!  Please send them to

The Miraculous Draught  by John Reilly.

The Miraculous Draught by John Reilly.

Update:  Year-Round Stewardship Conference

On a chilly spring morning on April 11, about 40 people from around our diocese gathered at Lindenwood Retreat Center to be equipped and inspired to develop stewardship activities within their congregations as year-round ministries. 

Bishop Little framed the day with reflections on the essence of what it means to steward resources, and to whom those resources really belong, citing Scripture that provides Biblical principles as a foundation for stewardship ministry. 

“All we have belongs to God, so we are stewards or managers of what He has given us.  We don’t give God ‘our’ money – everything we give is going back to God.  We should use these gifts in ways the give glory to Jesus and extend His Kingdom,” Bishop Ed explained.

The Bishop also gently warned stewardship leaders against communicating their work “fundraising.”  Often, stewardship is reduced to an annual fundraising activity because the church budget must be met.  This is communicated as an obligation, rather than joyfully managing God’s resources and returning some back to Him for the purpose of growing God’s Kingdom.

Highlighting the joyful result of communicating the correct message was personal testimony from Rob Eckstein, Stewardship Chair of St. John the Evangelist, Elkhart.  Rob explained his examination of his own response to God’s abundance in his life, and how that change his life.  Rob’s story beautifully illustrated that the most important benefits of stewardship ministry have nothing to do with your parish budget, but rather with deepening personal relationships with Jesus Christ.

Workshop participants appreciated the “fresh way” the stewardship message was explained in the three-hour session, one citing the connection between stewardship and discipleship as particularly valuable.  People also liked the ideas presented for year-round activities to express gratitude and emphasize various kinds of giving, such as annual, capital, and planned.  Many also commented that they are hungry for more information.

The diocesan Faithful Stewards Commission will take these comments to heart to prepare future workshops as well as resource lists for congregations.  The Commission, made up of lay and clergy volunteers, wants to help the parishes of the Diocese of Northern Indiana be aware, equipped, and inspired to joyfully embrace stewardship as a year-round ministry. 

Let's Have Some Fun With Stewardship!

Welcome to the March 2015 Edition of By Word and Example, where we are Proclaiming Good News, about the spirituality of meaningful stewardship ministry. 

Our Word article shares information about the Year ‘Round Stewardship Conference set for April 11 at Lindenwood Retreat Center in Donaldson.  We hope you read the article, but if you want to hurry and register for this free resource, you can do so right now, here!

Our Example article is just plain fun.  It includes a link to an example of how the Cathedral of Saint James in Chicago used a video to enhance a combined annual giving and capital campaign.  Fun, but also meaningful. 


By Linda Buskirk, Chair, Faithful Stewards Commission

Stewardship ministry is a special calling, but you may feel like you’re in it because you drew the short straw.  Whether you are fulfilled or fearful about stewardship, the Faithful Stewards Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana is here to help!

That’s why we are hosting a Year ‘Round Stewardship Conference on Saturday, April 11.   Your congregation is invited to send representatives to this 3-hour workshop at Lindenwood Retreat & Conference Center in Donaldson.  Vestry members, Stewardship Committee Chairs and Clergy are especially encouraged to attend.  You will learn from some great speakers, and learn from each other.

Workshop topics are inspired by the book Ask, Thank, Tell:  Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation, by Charles R. Lane.  All who attend the workshop will receive a free copy!  Workshop sessions will bring the book to life with topics such as:

·       Biblical and theological approach to stewardship

·       Year ‘round congregational stewardship ministry

·       Annual giving campaign strategies

The workshop will include plenty of time for discussion and idea-sharing.  Our aim is to inspire you to enhance your stewardship ministries with messages and activities that deepen people’s spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ and increase their understanding of the link between that relationship and how they consider and use the resources God has given them. 

Space at this FREE workshop is limited, so please register as soon as possible.  Lunch following the workshop is also free, if you make a luncheon reservation. 

You can register now right here!   The registration form is also found on the Diocesan website, – click on “Events” and look for “Stewardship Conference.”

The purpose of the Faithful Stewards Commission is to promote, explain, and celebrate the spiritual growth and ministries that result from honoring God as faithful stewards of His abundance.

The Commission strives for all of us to have a deeper understanding that the important benefits of stewardship ministry have nothing to do with your parish budget.  They have to do with deepening personal relationships with Jesus Christ.



 Do you ever feel that no matter how much you try to share important information with your parish, many people just don’t hear the message? 

The Cathedral of St. James in Chicago experienced that same frustration as leadership launched a combined (usual) fall annual-giving campaign with a capital need: renovating the offices of the diocese.  In a November 14, 2014, post on the Episcopal Church Foundation’s Vital Practices website, author Erin Weber-Johnson explained, “This meant that potential donors would be asked to give to not only the regular campaign but also to consider making an additional gift to their diocese. If the foundation of fundraising is relationships, then this presented a challenge, as potential donors may not feel as strong a connection to the special appeal.”

Terri Mathes, Episcopal Church Foundation Senior Program Director and Consultant, said that initial attempts were made to gather people for special presentations on Sunday at the church or in “cottage” meetings in people’s homes, but attendance was disappointing. 

 So, according to the Vital Practices article, the Cathedral tried a different approach, bringing the message right to parishioners electronically. 

They created a short video parody of the Book of Mormon’s song ‘Hello,’” according to Terri.

“Every other day they sent out a new installment, and later posted it on Facebook where various parishioners shared it. The first installment has 475 hits – note, this is a congregation with 170 pledging units.”

The entire video was eventually featured in an e-newsletter and was very popular on Facebook. A link for you to watch is found below.

You can have FUN with stewardship!

The point of this example is not that a big video production is needed for successful stewardship campaigns.  The point is, you can have FUN with stewardship, while reminding people about the blessings they receive from God through their church.  Proclaim Good News!

 Watch “Hello” from the Cathedral of St. James.  

Register for the Year 'Round Stewardship Conference of the Diocese of Northern Indiana here!   

Consider DCDI

Rediscover the treasure

You love your church.

You are one of those people, the kind who know God shows up in church. Sure, God shows himself in nature, in others, in books, in all sorts of ways. But, you know church is the special place. Church is where God has chosen to manifest himself most clearly, most articulately, most definitely. You’ve experienced this. You know this.

But … something is now missing. Maybe you’ve sensed it since so-and-so left. Maybe it’s the new ways conflicting with the old ways. Maybe that treasure you found so easily at church is just getting harder to find. It’s a nagging thought you’ve had, and it’s been growing over time. And maybe, just maybe, that’s God.

You know your church can be a better vehicle for God.

You’re not alone. We believe God’s Spirit is touching your heart. We believe God is moving in the parishes of our diocese, raising new leaders, putting questions into people’s minds and hearts, calling forward people passionate about Him and His revelation to each parish community.

Rise up. Look around you. Bring with you two or three others. Commit to your parish, and come experience DCDI.

It is a retreat, a renewal, a journey you will take with God, with Bishop Little, with diocesan staff, and with others across northern Indiana. It will transform you and your parish. It will help you rediscover that treasure.

The Diocesan Congregational Development Institute is a two-year journey for individuals or teams from parishes across northern Indiana. It seeks to equip Christians to lead in the renewal of parish life and ministry, opening themselves and others to God’s Spirit and God’s call to be His Body in our world.



From the fourth pew at Trinity, downtown Fort Wayne…

An interview with Kelley Renz

“I said I didn’t have time, but now that it is over, I miss it,” she says of her DCDI experience. She’s just finishing the formatting of a two-year undertaking, a pictorial directory for the parish, spearheaded by Carol Johnston, Debra Haley, and her. She knows it will continue to touch the parish in many ways, not only showing various groups who live in the same zip codes ministry opportunities, but also calling forward people in the parish who want to call on those on the roster who didn’t come forward for pictures: are they okay? Is there a problem that can be ministered to? might they return if someone shows concern? 

“I wasn’t sure what I was getting into,” she continues, “but knowing I was going to get to pray with other people, focus on God in our lives, and get away for an overnighter four times a year just sounded ideal.”

And ideal it was. “Sure, we had to do some reading, some preparing, learning how best to organize, lead, and deal with difficulties in organizations, but we also got to hear one another’s faith stories. We got to see how God moves in one another’s lives. I feel so much stronger and supported knowing that there are so many other people who want to put God first, who want church to make a substantial difference not only in our lives but in the communities we live in.”

Kelley isn’t stopping with the pictorial directory. She plans on using what she has learned at DCDI to spark other outreaches. She wants to start a group for survivors of childhood abuse, and she is talking to another parishioner about an outreach to women in prison.

“I knew I wanted to do these things,” she says. “Participating in DCDI gave me the tools and the confidence to put that knowledge into action.”

Reading the Bible becomes an action strategy


Imperative #2 – Think Biblically

“Think Biblically” is a phrase that transforms “read the Bible” into an action strategy for making decisions and valuing experiences, people, and priorities in alignment with God’s desire.  The Word of God is most powerful when you actually know what it says. That’s why, in his 2014 Diocesan Address, Bishop Ed Little joyously explained the impact the Bible Challenge is having on lives, and he invited us all to find out for ourselves. Here are excerpts of those remarks.

Linda Buskirk


This is the second year of our diocesan Bible Challenge. In 2013, and again in 2014, I have challenged people to join me in reading the Bible from cover to cover – Genesis to Revelation – in a single year. It’s a significant undertaking, reading three chapters of the Old Testament and one of the New, about 20 to 30 minutes daily. But the impact is profound.

A few months ago, at the end of a Sunday visitation, as I was loading my vestments into the trunk of my car, an older man rushed up to me waving a sheet of paper. “Bishop Ed, Bishop Ed, I have something to share with you!” He went on to tell me that he’d taken on the Bible Challenge, had read the Bible faithfully every day, and kept on coming across scriptural passages that point to the value of old age – a time in life when we can apply the wisdom we’ve acquired over the years and mentor the next generation. As proof, he showed me the passages he’d written down on the sheet of paper.

As he read through the Bible, he reported, he kept on discovering elderly biblical characters had a key role in God’s plan – characters as diverse as the elderly Abraham, traveling in faith from Ur of the Chaldees to the Promised Land, to the elderly Simeon and Anna, who recognized the Messiah in the Temple.  From start to finish, this parishioner reminded me, we are useful to the Lord.  That insight came from his praying and reading the Bible.

…We face a myriad of challenges and opportunities, both as individual Christians and as a Christian community. The church today struggles with questions of human sexuality, mission strategy, declining numbers, declining finances, and a cultural setting that is becoming increasingly secular. In the face of all of that, it is essential that we think biblically; that we allow the scriptures to form our hearts and enable us to ask the right questions; that we not simply learn single Bible verses, but the sweep of the story of redemption, from the creation of the world and the first human beings; to the call of Abraham and his descendants, the people of Israel; to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Word Made Flesh; to the ultimate consummation of history in the New Jerusalem and renewed creation.

“Thinking biblically” does not mean that there’s a Bible quotation for every occasion, as though all we need to do is thumb through a concordance, and eventually we’ll find a simple and direct.  Oh, there are indeed some issues that can be resolved quickly, and with the right passage.  Should I rob the PNC bank? “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) covers that nicely. But other questions require a more subtle and lifelong pattern of internalizing the biblical story, learning of the character of God, and allowing God’s heart to shape our heart.

While it probably goes without saying, I will say it nonetheless: that in 2015, I renew the Bible Challenge, and encourage you to join me once again – or for the first time – in reading the Bible cover to cover, Genesis to Revelation, in a calendar year.

                                                                                                       - Bishop Ed Little

For more information and to register for the Bible Challenge, click here.



Advent is a wonderful time for reflecting on the state of our own discipleship.  As we reverently look upon the Holy Babe in the manger, we might wonder, “Am I following you, Jesus, in a way that pleases you?”  

In his 2014 Diocesan Address, Bishop Ed Little wondered, “What kind of checklist does Jesus have for disciples?”  To answer, Bishop Little dove into the Bible.  Here are some excerpts to stir your head and heart to intentional reflection about God’s plan and desire for your life. 

First, Jesus expects us to answer his call to come and follow.  If I had time, I would take you on a tour of the Gospels, and we’d see – over and over – Jesus inviting people to drop everything and follow where he leads.  One example:

And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him (Mark 1:16-18).

…The question we were all asked in confirmation – “Do you renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?” - and the answer – “I do; and with God’s grace I will follow him as my Savior and Lord” – is at the heart of what it means to be a disciple.  It means saying Yes to Jesus.

Second, Jesus expects us to worship God week by week, in a community of fellow disciples.

…the New Testament, from start to finish, simply assumes that Christians come together weekly for the Eucharist. If you were to ask St. Paul whether you, as a disciple, had to “come to church,” he would not understand the question. For St. Paul, and for all of the New Testament writers, Christian community and Christian worship are a given, absolutely taken for granted. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews puts it this way:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Third, Jesus expects us to be stewards of the resources that he’s placed in our care.

You may remember a semi-dramatic moment at last year’s diocesan convention. During my address, I pointed out that our expectations regarding our mission and ministry should be modest. Northern Indiana, I said, is a small diocese, resource-strapped but relationship-rich, and we need to scale down our plans and make them, if not pint-sized, at least Northern Indiana-sized. Toward the end of convention, our preacher – the Rev. Canon Lura Kaval, development officer in the Diocese of Honduras – made a brief presentation in which she said something like this:

“Bishop, I hate to disagree with you publicly, but I’ve got to do so. The Diocese of Northern Indiana isn’t resource-strapped. You have at your fingertips all of the resources you need for your mission and ministry. The issue isn’t resources. It’s generosity. Are people willing to make the resources that God has already placed in their hands available to him?”

 Canon Lura was absolutely right, of course. She’d identified the real issue. Are you and I willing to allow our “Yes” to Jesus to include his Lordship over our resources?

Fourth, Jesus expects us to be people of prayer and biblical reflection. No two Christians, of course, have identical prayer lives. We’re all wired differently. Some Christians pray formally, some prefer to be “free form”; some Christians read large chunks of the Bible (many of you have been doing that through the Bible Challenge), some would rather savor and meditate on and perhaps even memorize short passages.

Whatever the details, however, the New Testament assumes that Christians will immerse themselves in prayer and scripture and Eucharist and community:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers (Acts 2:42).

Fifth, Jesus expects us to hear and obey his call; in other words, to engage in ministry.  Over and over, the New Testament reminds us that every Christian – in our terminology, clergy and lay people alike – are called to serve Jesus in an active way, in the church and in the world.  

…Here’s a key passage:

And [Christ’s] gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).

…When Christians talk about “lay ministry,” we frequently take it to refer to jobs that need to get done in the church…  ushers, vestry members, lectors, money-counters, Sunday School teachers, altar guild members, [etc.]  … But we shouldn’t think of Christian ministry exclusively in “churchy” terms… the New Testament, and the Prayer Book, has a broader and deeper and more demanding vision:

The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church (BCP, p. 855).

In other words, Jesus is calling you consciously to represent him not only in the church, but above all in the world.


Thank you, Bishop Little, for challenging us to examine and deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ and our discipleship.  For a complete transcript of the Bishop’s Address, click here.