Preparing for collaboration, planning for disasters: the Episcopal Asset Map

 

What’s going on at St. Mark’s across town? Are Good Shepherd’s raised beds being used for any community outreach? Who else in the country sends their high schoolers to the Standing Rock reservation for service trips? How many other All Souls-es are there in the United States?

If you’ve asked any of these questions or others, be glad to know: there’s an app for that!

Or rather a map. The Episcopal Asset Map is a resource of Episcopal Relief & Development and the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society of The Episcopal Church, and was the main project for Ethan Lowery’s internship for the past year.

The asset map grew out of the US Disaster Program of Episcopal Relief & Development as an attempt to index the relevant resources for a post-disaster response effort: the food pantries, parking lots, generators, shower facilities, bilingual church staff, and the like.

A couple of iterations (and a lot more input from folks all over the church) later, and they have broadened the scope of the info-gathering and created a searchable, visual database of all the ministry programs, human resources, and physical assets for every Episcopal church, school, and other institution across the entire United States and abroad, and that information is submitted by folks in congregations via online survey. 

What began as a tool for disaster work is now capable of being used to connect congregations to other folks doing similar work (networking), to foster development of new ministry (information sharing), and a whole dearth of other things: diocesan database management, exploring Episcopal churches in a new city, finding Episcopal Service Corps programs or campus ministries for keeping your young person engaged in the church, etc.

At the moment, there are almost 8,000 pins on the map and over 50 dioceses participating in map and more are being added to that count every day. There is so much going on throughout The Episcopal Church, and now you can monitor it or share what’s happening at your congregation with others.

As the organizer for the map in the Midwest and western dioceses, Lowery had such a pleasure sharing this work with so many awesome folks and evangelize the paradigm-shifting model of Asset-Based Community Development (short version: the scarcity-model paralyzes us with sadness, work with what (and who) you’ve got).

This resource will continue to grow and evolve as more churches across the diocese and country begin to offer up their ministries and content to the map but your questions can begin now: How can we work together with the local Episcopal churches in town? What are our best ministries and what are our unique gifts and how can those inform our work in the world? How can we continue letting go of the fear of scarcity and that what we have isn’t enough to serve God’s purpose? And in the mean time, invite all your friends across the diocese to submit their info to their church’s page.

Want to update your congregation’s entry? Go to http://edca.episcopalassetmap.org, select your congregation on the map (or search by ZIP code), click to visit your congregation’s specific page, and then click “Take the survey!” If you’ve got questions about updating your congregation’s entry, contact Ethan Lowery, elowery@episcopalrelief.org.