Networking to Heal a Hurting World

The Episcopal Relief & Development Network of Diocesan and Seminarian Coordinators recently held its annual meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.  Coordinators are volunteers who share about the organization’s mission within their diocese or campus community and help mobilize others to get involved.

This was my first Network meeting, so I didn’t know what to expect.   Was this going to be a typical conference where everyone skips half the sessions and most people are on their Blackberries all the time?  Would there be a lot of lamenting about the plight of the poor, without any real call to action?

After four very busy and inspiring days, I can say it was certainly none of those things!

So what WAS the Network Meeting?

  • A place for Diocesan and Seminarian Coordinators from all over the U.S. to come together and share their successes, challenges and plans for the future in supporting Episcopal Relief & Development
  • An opportunity for Episcopal Relief & Development staff to speak directly to more than 82 coordinators about the ongoing work of the organization and to solicit advice on how they can better serve the Network
  • A space to prayerfully reflect, in the wake of a rash of tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, on what more we can do to prepare the organization and our communities for natural disasters
  • A time for eighty-two-plus Coordinators from Maine to Olympia and from Central Florida to El Camino Real to recommit themselves to spreading the word about Episcopal Relief & Development
  • A tremendous inspiration in hearing how the city of Cleveland and Trinity Cathedral are putting into action many of the concepts we spent the weekend discussing – including community gardens, job creation and education
  • A chance to learn  about the organization’s new Christian formation programs

That’s great, Grey! So what does this mean for the rest of us? 

I’m glad you asked! It means that an inspiring and committed group of volunteers has dedicated themselves to educating their dioceses and communities about Episcopal Relief & Development’s work in the U.S. and abroad, and that over the next year they will be working hard to expand awareness of and support for this work.

Trinity Cathedral community gardenBut the Network Meeting was not all good news.  We also had to say goodbye to Luke Fodor, who has spent the last four years substantially expanding the Diocesan and Seminary Network and has become a good friend and supporter of everyone involved with Episcopal Relief & Development.  None of us has any idea how he managed to juggle a job, seminary and a rapidly expanding family, but we are very glad he was able to do it.  Luke was ordained to the transitional Diaconate this year and will begin working this summer at St. John’s Episcopal in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  Congratulations, Luke, and all the best!

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Grey Maggiano is a Seminarian Coordinator at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.

Photo: Network Coordinators visit Trinity Cathedral's community garden, which during harvest season yields hundreds of pounds of produce that support the Cathedral's weekly hot lunch program.

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