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Parish Ministries Img2 Parish Ministries Img1

The word "ministry" comes from the Greek word "'diakoneo," which means meaning "to serve." Christian ministry means serving the needs of our neighbors with humility and devotion to God. Ministry is not a vocation, but a lifestyle, which can be pursued by anyone in any calling - not just clergy. (Scripture references: Matthew 20:26, 28; Romans 1:1; 1 Peter 4:11)

Every year, the parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan engage in hundreds of different ministries, both big and small. This page provides a sampling of those many ministries. To learn more, call the Diocesan office at (269) 381-2710.

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Examples of Our Parishes at Work

No matter where you live in West Michigan, chances are good that your community has benefited from one of our many parish ministries. These efforts come in many forms, from single-day events like the annual Crop Walk to long-term commitments like bringing the Eucharist to those who are homebound. Some are purely local in nature, while others add to a national or international effort. Some focus on "in-reach" activities like caring for sick parishioners, while others provide "outreach" services to anyone in need, regardless of their religious affiliation.

If our parish ministries share one thing in common, it is this: our desire to live out our faith in the world, as Christ calls us to do. And we want you to join us! Regardless of your age, background or abilities, you can find a way to get involved in one or more of our parish ministries. Examples include:

Feeding ministries, such as breakfast kitchens, soup kitchens, holiday meals and home delivered meals for shut-ins.
Health-care ministries, such as providing in-home assistance for the disabled and seriously ill residents of our area.
Spiritual support ministries for those who are grieving, unemployed, fearful, in transition or facing difficult life circumstances.

Liturgical ministries, such as the Altar Guild, church choir, crucifers, acolytes, ushers, vergers and parish musicians
Literacy and education ministries, such as tutoring, "reading buddies," Education for Ministry (EFM) and Sunday school
Housing ministries, such working with Habitat for Humanity or building wheelchair ramps for the disabled.

Justice-related ministries that speak out for the just use of community resources on behalf of all
Environmental ministries, such as river clean-up days, recycling drives and environmental education activities for kids
World peace and development ministries, such as Episcopal World Relief & Development

Supporting the financial health of our parishes is also a form of ministry that can go beyond traditional individual stewardship to include fund-raising events, merchandise sales and special events. If your parish has a specific ministry effort that's not included above, we'd like to hear about it! Please click here now to send us an e-mail or call the Diocesan office at (269) 381-2710.

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Parish Ministries in our Diocese

St. Andrews, Grand Rapids – Water Purification in the D.R.
St. James, Albion – Saturday Suppers
Christ Church, Charlevoix – Parish Ministries
St. Philip's, Beulah – Benzie County Baby Pantry
St. Timothy's, Richland – Open Doors Kalamazoo
St. Luke's, Kalamazoo – Ministries Overview
St. Martin of Tours, Kalamazoo – Outreach in India
Church of the Epiphany, South Haven – Breakfast Club
St. David's Church, Lansing – Senior World Program

Does your parish have a dynamic ministry that you'd like to share? Send your PowerPoint presentation to our communications department by clicking here now, and we will list it here!

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Diocesan Council Affirms Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Petoskey

November 10, 2012, Diocesan Council affirmed Emmanuel Church for Free Lunch and B.O.W. (Beyond Our Walls) outreach programs.

Free Lunch Program: The Free Lunch Program was started 5½ years ago by Katie MacInnis and Jan Smith of Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Petoskey. It is held Thursdays at the centrally-located Presbyterian Church of Petoskey, which has graciously offered its kitchen/undercroft area for the project. The program feeds 18-20 persons each week and has become a community effort with volunteers from Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, Harbor Brenn Insurance Agency, Bank of Northern Michigan and the Petoskey Library staff. Each group takes turns in providing food, clean-up and socialization.

Outreach: Emmanuel Episcopal Church also has a cell group or committee that oversees our church outreach. It is called B.O.W. (Beyond Our Walls/Outreach). It has been very active in directing our church in utilizing gifts of talent and treasure. Some of the many ways we have reached out to the world community has been through: Crop Walk, S.A.M.E. (South African Medical Expeditions), Exceptional Riders (horseback riding for handicapped) and Trailing for Triumph (breast cancer fundraiser for up north hospitals), as well as Manna Food Project, Brother Dan's Food Pantry, local homeless shelters, Child Fund International, Sponsor a Child and Episcopal Relief and Development.

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Helpful Books on Parish Ministry and Ministry Leadership

The Complete Guide to Small Group Ministry: Saving the World Ten at a Time
by Robert C. Hill

Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry: A Strategic Guide for Leading Group Life in Your Church
by Bill Donahue

Healing as a Parish Ministry
by Jan Alkire and Leo Thomas

The Nearness of God: Parish Ministry as Spiritual Practice
by Julia Gatta

Next Steps in Community Ministry: Hands-on Leadership
by Carl S. Dudley

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