by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/do-you-want-to-volunteer-during-emergencies">Do You Want to Volunteer During Emergencies?</a></h1>

We have often been asked about maintaining a database for volunteers during emergencies. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to build and maintain this kind of resource. However, the Red Cross and Episcopal Relief and Development have each developed databases for this purpose. 

If you would like to be 'on-call' as a potential volunteer, please consider registering with both groups. They each have different needs and opportunities during emergencies and it would be tremendously beneficial to know your skills and willingness to serve before you are needed. 

You can find the Episcopal Relief and Development link in our Resources section and the Team Red Cross app in our Media section. Here are the direct links:


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Reduce Hunger and Malnourishment In Your Community AND Help The Environment In Only One Day

Got more Questions? Check out the Ample Harvest FAQ here.

Two Problems:

  1. Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food
  2. Wasted Excess Garden Produce Is Bad For The Environment.

One Solution: enables millions of growers nationwide to donate excess garden produce to a local food pantry.

Spend a few hours just once and help eliminate hunger and malnutrition in your community while improving the environment. It's as simple as A B C D:

Ask a food pantry in your community sign up at It's free! Do it!
Bring to the growers in your community Do it!
Contact your friends nationwide and tell them what you did - and ask them to do it too. Do it!
Donate excess garden produce from your garden to a nearby food pantry. Do it!

Nearly 6,000 food pantries nationwide use to help nourish their community. We need your help to get more food pantries in your community get more fresh food.

What I'm Doing Today

I have a neighbor with a large urban garden. I printed off this flyer and today I'm going to stop by their house and be sure they know about A simple step that might lead to someone in need enjoying fresh, delicious vegetables!

Want to read a great story about how a garden transformed parishes in Great Barrington, MA? Here you go.

by Matthew Ellis   |   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:

Four Tricks to Help You Make Any Difficult Decision via Lifehacker
The decision making process is never easy. No matter how many tricks you have up your sleeve, you're bound to lose a little sleep over the big decisions. If you're really struggling, here are a few ways to make the process a little easier on yourself as you work through all the possibilities.

Health Reform via The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
With open enrollment for the state health insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges, set to begin Oct. 1, educating consumers about their insurance coverage options becomes a major focus of implementation. These resources examine the new exchanges, the public's knowledge about them, and consumer assistance programs.

How to Write a Reflection via Episcopal Church Foundation
If you’re in church leadership, or just a regular church attendee, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to write a reflection at some point, either for the advent calendar or for the stewardship campaign. Over the years I’ve written dozen of reflections for everything from my local church newsletter to Forward Movement. Here is some advice I’ve picked up over the years...

Presiding bishop preaches in Fort Yukon, Alaska via Episcopal Digital Network
Jesus is all about building bridges and making peace between human beings.  He insisted that was his job.  It’s also the job of his followers.  One of the bigger challenges is believing or expecting that peace is possible.  In a small way, that’s what Flat Jesus offers – an opening, a glimmer of hope that this encounter will be a life-giving one, offering hope and possibility, rather than a competitive struggle for survival.

NPR's Scott Simon Live Tweeting His Mother's Final Days via The Huffington Post
NPR host Scott Simon has been live tweeting from the hospital bedside of his mother Patricia Lyons Simon Newman Gilband, chronicling their final moments together for his 1.2 million followers on Twitter.

Six Unconventional, Scientific Ways to Be Happier via Lifehacker
Happiness. There isn't a single human being who doesn't want it, and for many, it is the primary pursuit in life. Conventional wisdom tells us that we need a good job, a great family life, and 11.5 months of vacation time to be happy. But we're going to focus on some lesser known factors of happiness that anyone can apply immediately.

HIV/AIDS: The Fight Isn't Over via The Huffington Post
Not only does the number of those living with HIV continue to grow, but the very medications devised to treat HIV/AIDS, paradoxically, may now be inhibiting our fight to stop one of the deadliest epidemics ever to strike mankind.

‘Listening to the spirit,’ task force is reimagining church via Episcopal News Service
Last July, the General Convention was filled with what one of the two conveners of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church calls “extraordinary and unanimous energy around reforming our structures of governance and administration.” Now, a year later, that task force created by convention faces the large job of channeling that energy into specific recommendations acceptable to the next meeting of convention.


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/i-found-my-way-to-10000-steps">I Found My Way to 10,000 Steps</a></h1>

As I mentioned previously, I have recently joined the Fitbit craze (join us at Episcopal Fitbit). A Fitbit is basically a supercharged pedometer that will allow you to track your data over time. 

One thing I quickly noticed is I spend even more of my day sitting than I thought. It's not unusual for me to have to make an effort to get to 3000 steps, let alone the recommended 10,000. This week, I discovered the motivation I might need to get my steps in regularly: my favorite corner in Indianapolis, 54th and College.

A great little neighborhood just south of the main Broad Ripple shopping district, this intersection has become my ideal hang-out spot. On one corner is the Jazz Kitchen and Yats, a cajun creole place. If I could take a visitor to only one restaurant in Indy, it would be Yats

Also at this intersection is my favorite restaurant (Moe and Johnny's), a coffeeshop, a falafel/gyro place, Twenty Tap restaurant, Fat Dan's Deli, a frozen yogurt place, and a Fresh Market grocery. A mere two blocks south is my favorite music store, Luna. 

Each of these places are local, friendly and perfect for relaxing on a nice summer day. Several of them have outdoor patios and staff that are friendly without being overbearing. Once they see you a few times, they drop the formality. Some even greet you with a hug!

So how does this street corner figure into my exercise routine? By some miracle of the universe, my front door is almost exactly 5000 steps to this intersection. This means that a beautiful walk through the neighborhoods to the Monon Trail and over to 54th and back is the perfect route for me to achieve my daily steps. 

This regular walk also makes me feel a lot better about indulging in some chili cheese crawfish etoufee from Yats or a brisket sandwich from Fat Dan's. Getting exercise has never been so rewarding!

Where is your favorite place to walk?

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

No doubt you’ve been starting to hear about the new Health Insurance Marketplace, a key part of the health care law that will be open for business on October 1st. But you probably still have questions. Like what is the Marketplace, and can you really get health insurance? Well we’ve got answers.

The best place for the latest, most accurate, information on the Marketplace is the updated website, At the site, you can learn what it is, who can apply for insurance, how to get insurance, how to lower your costs, and more. If you own a small business, there’s information for you, too. Starting this fall, the Marketplace will help you find health insurance that fits your budget and meets your needs, with less hassle.

No matter where you live, you may buy insurance from private health plans that cover a comprehensive set of benefits, including doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care, and prescriptions. And plans in the Marketplace must treat you fairly; they can’t deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

Enrollment Starts October 1, 2013 Visit to Get Ready is your best source of information about the Marketplace. You can read information that pertains to you, print checklists, and watch videos to help you get ready to apply and enroll. You and your family can explore every qualified health plan in your area, and fill out an application when you’re ready.

You’ll be able to take control with better information, including details about benefits and prices presented in clear language you can understand, so you’ll know what your premiums, deductibles, and other costs will be before you make a choice. Once you’ve decided on a plan, you don’t need to go anywhere else.

Starting in October, you’ll be able to enroll in the Marketplace directly for coverage that begins as soon as January 1st, 2014.

Want help or need more information?

As you explore your options on the Marketplace, you may want to get some help. You can participate in an online web chat on the website; or call a toll free number, 1-800-318-2596, to speak with a trained customer service representative; and there will be people in your local communities who can give you personal help with your choices.

Visit now to get all the information you need about the Marketplace. Come back October 1, fill out an application and enroll. It’s that easy.

This information is distributed in partnership with