“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” – Isaiah 43:18,19

When I first recruited the LDI’s founding leadership team, I never imagined that our would blossom as it has over these past 8 years. We have developed leadership teams within 53 worshipping communities and trained hundreds of people. Our work has spread ecumenically and nationwide. LDI demonstrates that powerful change can happen when people take responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose under conditions of uncertainty.

Today, when people of faith urgently need to embody love that brings about justice LDI is again listening deeply. Over the past year, under Natalie Finstad’s guidance, we have carefully discerned where our work can best meet our community’s need, and have assessed which organizational structure can best accommodate our growing ministry in the diocese of Massachusetts and beyond.

Alongside this process, our fiscal agent, collaborator and long-time funder, ECM, has also been discerning their response to this urgent moment. It has become clear to both the LDI Leadership Team and ECM’s Executive Committee that our work is deeply integrated. LDI is drawn to ECM’s emerging mission of deepening the church’s response to immigration, racial justice and economic justice, and ECM intends to feature LDI’s formation tools and practices as a critical centerpiece of their new strategic plan. As a result LDI will become part of ECM and we will be dropping our distinct public identity. 

We have many people to thank for helping us get to this point, yet we would be remiss if we did not mention Rev. Steven Bonsey, Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm, Rev. Arrington Chambliss, Ruy Costa, Rev. John DeBeer, Rev. Laura Everett, Marshall Ganz, Nicholas Hayes, Duncan Hilton, and the late Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE.

This year was especially sweet under LDI’s formidable Executive Director, Natalie Finstad and her excellent team: Lydia Strand, Isaac Martinez and Jesse Ortiz. I am thrilled about the work this team did this year and equally thrilled that Natalie has accepted the position of Director of Programs and Engagement with ECM. The fruits of our labor will continue under a different banner:  Now a new thing springs forth. Do you not perceive it?

We invite you to consider giving to ECM as a sign of gratitude for the past eight year of LDI and in support of what is to come. 

In solidarity and deep gratitude,

Ella Davila Auchincloss, MTS
LDI Founder
Chair, LDI Leadership Team
Member, Executive Committee, Episcopal City Mission

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Growing Our Tree: A Report On LDI’s 2016-2017 Program Year

Since beginning in 2009, LDI has primarily pursued our mission through the 6-month Formation program (formerly known as the “Flagship” program), in which community-based teams formed by congregations in Massachusetts live out the active and awakened Church in their own contexts. The Formation program trains leaders in community organizing and contemplative skills. During the program, teams attend several workshops with other program participants, and engage in ongoing, individualized coaching with an experienced organizer.

This year, LDI has intended to commit more fully to our mission by pursuing several areas of growth. We have deepened the theological foundations of our training curriculum, bolstered our operational systems, and diversified the programs that we offer. These developments have led LDI to better meet the needs of people of faith yearning for an active and awakened Church. In our growth, we aspire to be like a tree, abiding in Christ to “bear much fruit.”

Check out our 2016-2017 Annual Report for stories on how we deepened our roots and spread our branches. 

 

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Being involved with the CGS AND LDI has been an amazing experience!  Mixing the heart of the CGS community AND the passion (and incredible perspective) of Natalie has elevated my appreciation for the work that CGS does WEEKLY and my appreciation for the greater Episcopal community.  To know that the Episcopal community is just as supportive and invested in the wellness of our world as our individual parish is... it proves that the vision of the greater community and the parish are one.

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We, the members of team “Liberation,” are organizing the members of the Church of Our Redeemer, Lexington, to free them from the dominant “achievement culture,” through using our vibrant church community and our faith in a God of abundance and unconditional love to decrease member’s stress and increase their feelings of connection, resilience and inherent worth, by forming an alternative worship offering that might appeal to or allow participation by more people, to achieve an increase in the size and participation level of our parish community.

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My favorite Bible passage is Acts 2, where we see the beginning of what is now called the church, the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit literally breathes life into this new body: first through the apostles, then through the ears of new converts. We see a community come together, sharing all they have and looking to meet the needs of their world.

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Since the Formation Program launch at the end of January, our seven Formation teams have been hard at work discerning the needs of their communities and working to address injustice. Each team has developed an organizing sentence that names the constituency, purpose, theory of change and strategic goal of their campaign.

LDI is thrilled to support our participants on their journey of discipleship. Here are the most updated organizing sentences from each team:

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