St. James the Great is a 21st century model church that we built and actively engaged in these last three years, which enabled our community to not only survive in adversity but to thrive. We were able to put forth an extraordinary and relevant vision of transformational change, which inspired people to not only join the church and walk the Way of Christ but to literally go and serve.
I believe we can build on what we learned at St. James the Great and truly rejuvenate the diocese across all congregations and demographics with a dynamic vision that reflects a deep knowledge and understanding of the sacred and the social, economic, and political context and dynamics of the changing world we live in. The need and great opportunity for the Diocese of Los Angeles is to take a leading role in the rejuvenation process so that it can be a model for the rest of The Episcopal Church.
In 2016 we all have witnessed the increasingly profound impact of technology. Our world is changing so rapidly it is difficult at times to keep up with the latest. All these changes also offer new opportunites: for communication, for collaboration, for outreach, and for organizing and sharing information among people across a wide geographical area. Just as technology is a powerful tool in commerce, entertainment, communication and a host of other endeavors, it can be a tool for doing God’s work: spreading the gospel message of Jesus Christ, growing our faith community and nurturing each other with love and compassion.
I am convinced there is an urgent need for technologically informed, creative and visionary responses from the Episcopal Church in Los Angeles if it is to remain relevant and a vehicle for community in the future. The human touch and spiritual kinship are still paramount, and now these can be aided and amplified by the new technologies. Connectivity is key to the future of our nation’s now-contracting religious institutions. But we must be on the forefront of these trends, not chasing from behind. We need to use technology and data to inform, educate and collaborate, to harness the energies, ideas and enthusiasm of our congregations, organizations, constituencies and communities.
In all of this, we must move in love, ever mindful of our mission to nurture both the human and the divine in ourselves and those we serve, and live in the light of Christ. We must collaborate and be a spiritual solution-bearer to the multi-generational, multi-cultural, socio-economic communities we serve and will serve. We must be relevant by using our creative energies together in liturgy, music, art, outreach, marketing and branding. We must have constant leadership training and collegial cross-pollination so the best ideas and best practices emerge and bear fruit. We must care for each other and bring each other along instead of working as independent isolated franchises. Teamwork will revitalize our diocese, especially if we use technology to interconnect us.