by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/support-summer-nutrition-for-children">Support Summer Nutrition for Children</a></h1>

Take Action to Support Summer Nutrition for Children in Your Community

(via Episcopal Public Policy Network)

It's almost summertime. This season evokes images of freedom, sunlight, and children running through sprinklers and biking through the neighborhood for a day at the pool. These coming months bring the promise of new experiences and friendships as children continue to learn and explore outside of the classroom. Summertime is an important period of learning and growth, yet many children do not experience a fulfilling summer because they're too hungry to enjoy it.

At the end of the school year, many children who formerly participated in the National School Lunch Program abruptly lose access to their daily meals. Summer meal programs already successfully operate in some areas of the country, yet in 2012, only 14% of children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program participated in these summer feeding programs. Millions of school age children suffer a major gap in their meal coverage during the summer, putting them at risk for underdeveloped social skills, weak academic achievement, and long-term health problems.

The Episcopal Church supports adequate funding for programs that combat social and economic conditions which place children at risk, or that diminish children's ability to achieve their full potential in the world. The Church also stands in strong solidarity with federal nutrition programs and the populations that they serve.

Urged by our General Convention and inspired by our faith, let's improve summer for hungry children by increasing enrollment in summer meal programs and promoting access to nutritious food throughout the coming months. Wondering where to begin? Here are three concrete actions that you can take today:

  1. Publicize summer meal programs in your community through sharing these resources and directing others to a food service site near you.

  2. Sign up to participate in a Twitter Thunderclap to promote awareness for summer meal programs on June 3rd.

  3. Contact your Senator and ask them to support the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). This bill ensures that more kids consistently receive meals during summer months by providing eligible families with an EBT card to purchase groceries, replacing the school meals that their children would otherwise receive during the academic year.

Go here to take action today to improve summer for hungry children!

This message was originally sent by our partners at the Episcopal Public Policy Network.

by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/friday-roundup-053014">Friday Roundup</a></h1>

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

'Normal Heart' Teaches New Generation About The Early Years Of AIDS from NPR
Why would Ryan Murphy, one of TV's hottest and most prolific producers, decide to adapt a 30-year-old play about the forming of an AIDS service organization for HBO? Because he thought the story of the outbreak of AIDS was being forgotten.

After Santa Barbara, the world needs us to continue Jesus' message of nonviolence from The Episcopal Diocese of Newark
In Nigeria, the kidnapped victims are girls. In Santa Barbara, the shooting victims were intended to be young women. In both cases, the perpetrators were men wielding guns.

Fisherman catches 4,000-year-old pagan god figurine in Russia from Ancient Origins
A Russian fishermen has hauled in an incredibly rare ancient figurine from the bottom of a riverbed in the village of Tisul in southern Russia, an area known to have been inhabited in ancient times. The pagan god statue has been described as ‘unique and amazing’ by local archaeologists. 

To Pew or Not to Pew? from Clergy Confidential
Yesterday I posted a picture of the removal of pews at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Boston on Facebook and the response was...passionate.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/new-events-added">New Events Added!</a></h1>

Our conference has wrapped up and a glorious Memorial Day weekend has passed. We've just added some new opportunities to our events calendar, including a series of free online trainings from Let's Move!

See more information here: Episcopal Health Ministries Events

by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Stand by Me: Memorial Day and the Healing of Souls from The Huffington Post
If you have to reassure someone that you're not abandoning them, it may be because they feel you slipping away. In John 14, Jesus is responding to the anxiety of those he loves. "I will not leave you orphaned," he says, but it is not clear how he will keep that promise. In a few hours, his arrest, trial, crucifixion and death will all have been accomplished. It will feel as if he has, in fact, abandoned them, or been torn away from them.

More than half of Americans can't swim well enough to save themselves. Can you? from TODAY Health
As the summer season kicks off for Memorial Day, the Red Cross launched a national campaign Tuesday to encourage more Americans to learn now only how to swim but to become stronger swimmers. “Most Americans can’t swim nearly as well as they believe they can,” said Laura Howe, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

The Walking Bicycle Club is Trying to Change the Way We Ride from Spoon & Tango
The bicycle is deeply engrained in Japan’s history. Even by the 1920s the bicycle in Japan had achieved ubiquitous status with the government, in 1927, declaring November 11 to be “Bicycle Commemoration Day.” At the time, government officials noted that Japan had become “the foremost bicycle riding country in the world.” And while the bicycle itself has evolved, its status as a mainstay has little changed.

Sharing Faith Dinners inspires thousands across the country from Episcopal Digital Network
Thousands of Episcopalians across the United States gathered in homes, restaurants and churches last Thursday, May 15, to share a meal and share stories of their faith. In the third year of Sharing Faith Dinners, the Dioceses of West Texas, Fort Worth, Northwest Texas, North Carolina and a few individual churches across the country and even Canada joined the Diocese of Texas for the annual event.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/2014-conference-wrap-up">2014 Conference Wrap-Up</a></h1>

See resources from the conference here.

I want to share a few words with you about our annual conference held recently in New Orleans. It really was a wonderful experience, set just a few blocks from the historic French Quarter. I’ve been to many conferences where we were in a wonderful city and the schedule was such that I never ventured outside of the conference hotel. We made a conscious decision to encourage participants to join together and explore New Orleans.

Dr. Scott Morris of the Church Health Center (CHC) was our keynote speaker Thursday evening. He was the latest in a series of excellent speakers at our evening banquet. Dr. Morris shared incredible stories of his work at the CHC in Memphis, relating them to the importance of community health. It was inspiring and thought-provoking. A few workshop themes emerged:

Living Compass:
We are so grateful to Scott and Holly Stoner for their continued presence and support of our ministry. Their Living Compass program was our primary sponsor this year. We continue to feature a variety of their programs in workshops, due to their consistently high attendance and reviews. This year, their workshops included:

  1. Living Compass Faith and Wellness Initiative
  2. Including adolescents in wellness ministry
  3. Healing Grief: The small group model
  4. Presentation on wellness advocate training, to be held at the Nicholas Center in Chicago.

Older Adult Ministries:

  1. Our conference began with Catherine Courtney from Tulane University discussing the importance of exercise throughout the aging process.
  2. The workshop on Alzheimer’s and dementia care for the congregation provided concrete tools for interacting with those affected by dementia.
  3. Ecumenical community outreach to seniors offered suggestions for safely allowing seniors to remain in their home as long as possible.
  4. End of life narrative for those that are terminally ill discussed the role of ministry to these patients.
  5. Warren Frelund, member of the Older Adults Ministry task force, discussed best practices in aging ministry programs.

Veterans Ministry:

John Sippola returned to continue our ongoing discussion of ministry to returning veterans, giving three workshops with his brother Mark. Each year, these workshops deepen our understanding of what it means to work with moral injury.

Other workshops included:

  1. A pair of sessions on the Affordable Care Act (also discussed at length in Dr. Morris’ presentation)
  2. Dealing with perinatal loss
  3. Recovery ministry (including time during the conference for an AA meeting)
  4. Episcopal responses to violence
  5. Arts workshops, including an exploration of sacred art, prayer beads, and music as health ministry
  6. Community collaboration and funding workshops

Finally, we closed Saturday with a discussion about the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and how they can be applied in local parishes, whatever potential natural disaster you face. Diana Meyers was an incredible host and arranged for us to see her mobile clinic earlier in the week. She and Mary Strange led a wonderful discussion about key strategies for disaster planning.

Many of our presenters encouraged us to share their handouts online. They are featured in the Resources section with the tag 2014 Conference. Stay tuned for an important announcement about our next conference!