Area Ministry was born out of a coordinated strategic planning effort for the Diocese of California. That effort, the Beloved Community Vision, was created by means of a year long, diocese-wide planning process that involved close to 1,000 people. The major elements of the Beloved Community Vision, adopted by Diocesan Convention to guide the life of the diocese, are these:
Embodied Justice: Intentionally working against discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age; standing in solidarity with the poor and marginalized; and caring for God’s creation with reverence;
Church Vitality: Encouraging evangelism, growth, and new expressions of church; adopting missional practices of worship and outreach; collaboration between congregations; and expressing creativity and joy in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ;
Rooted Spirituality: Through vital education and renewal ministries, communities of Christian discipleship, and formation in the Episcopal tradition with informed respect for other traditions;
Organizational Development: Emphasizing transparency, power-sharing and accountability for all diocesan leaders and structures; leadership that encompasses all orders, sorts and conditions; improving communications throughout the diocese; and revitalizing deaneries;
Inclusive Community: Incorporating all people without regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation or disability, including meaningful participation of all ages — children, youth and elders; and being attentive to the prophetic voices among us.
In order to bring this vision, these hopes and dreams to life, the diocesan staff created Area Ministry, a pattern of Christian living, enacted by people at the local level, shaped by their energies, passions, the needs of the larger communities, and overall by the Beloved Community Vision elements.
Area Ministry encourages collaboration between congregations, embedded action in the local community, and the creation of a diverse Area Ministry Team. These three behaviors are supported by a Christian curriculum, LifeCycles, locally adapted by a writing and editing team of the Diocese of California and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and by the creation of a Rule of Life for each Area Ministry Team.
— The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
- Download the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe’s PowerPoint presentation designed to teach congregations about Area Ministry.
- Read an interview with the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe about Area Ministry.
- Interested in getting involved but unsure which area your church might be part of? View the Google map of possible Area Ministry teams.
- Download the Public Narrative Learner’s Guide from the Stories for a Beloved Community event.
Stories for a Beloved Community Videos
Clinton sometimes felt isolated as an Episcopalian, until he discovered house churches and a new way to be a Christian.
Merry discovered the importance of cross-cultural ministry while working with students in an after school program.
Nancy is a member of an Episcopal Church in Oakland. She has recently started attending an Area Ministry Bible Study with Episcopalians from other East Bay congregations.
Caroline has found a ministry in helping church's in times of transition.
The Rev. Vicki Gray is a deacon in the Diocese of California. One way that Vicki's ministry to the poor and homeless is made real is in Open Cathedral. This open-air weekly worship service takes place in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Soon, Open Cathedral will begin meeting in Richmond, California.
- View Bishop Marc’s welcome address at the 2009 Ember Day gathering.
- View the Rev. Sue Singer’s plenary address at the 2009 Ember Day gathering, and download her powerpoint presentation.
- View the video on diversity shown at the 2009 Ember Day gathering.
Our communities are the primary classrooms for Christian disciples. As adult learners we are informed by our experience, formed by Scripture and the Christian tradition, and transformed through our accountability to communities of faith. Formation for Area Ministry is therefore inherently relational. Christians who in faith develop small groups of intentional prayer and theological reflection naturally pass on faith to children and youth, offer effective Christian witness in their communities, and invite each other into authentic practices of ministry. The teaching resources developed for Area Ministry represent best practices in Christian formation, enhanced by resources generated in partnership with the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) and the Living Stones Collaborative. Click here for a booklet that describes the Christian formation goals of Area Ministry, and view the LifeCycles Curriculum page for regularly updated links to curriculum and other resources for learning and reflection.