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Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri

Spring 2013 | Volume 4, No. 3




For a Church to remain

A successful food ministry

relevant, it must adapt with

begins not with planting or

the times. The rule certainly

acquiring canned or boxed

applies to communications.

goods, but with the previous

The diocese’s membership

year’s harvest. Gleaning, the

made this clear in three Shap-

act of collecting leftover crops

ing Our Future forums and a survey. The redesigned Spirit before you is one of many improvements you clamored for.

from farmers’ fields after

By Hugh Welsh

be plowed under or used for


animal feed.

Editor’s Letter

PUBLISHER The Rt. Rev. Martin S. Field EDITOR Hugh Welsh

Spirit is published by the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri 420 West 14th St. Kansas City, MO 64105

Bishop Talk


On May 20, a mile-wide tornado

Hugh Welsh, Spirit

devastated Moore, Oklahoma —

Sharing the Harvest

they have been harvested, provides pantries with fresh produce that would otherwise

By John Hornbeck


The Very Rev. John Spicer, St. Andrew’s, Kansas City

nearly two years to the date

Bishop’s Ball Honorees

Angela Crawford, Administrative Assistant

after a massive tornado hit

Eleven individuals were

The Rev. Lauren Lyon, Communications Committee

Joplin. It’s time to pay the

recognized at January’s

generosity forward.

Bishop’s Ball for their

By the Rt. Rev. Martin S. Field

outstanding service to the


diocese’s youth ministry. The

A peek at all that is up-

so deserving.

The Rev. Dr. Steven Rottgers, Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Vitality SUBMISSIONS/LETTERS

Spirit welcomes submissions of news articles, photographs and letters to the editor on topics of interest to the diocese. Submissions should include the writer’s name, e-mail, mailing address and phone number and are subject to editing. PHONE Editor’s Cell: (816) 213-1639 FAX (816) 471-0379 E-MAIL WEB SITE

The Agenda and-coming around the diocese: Community of Hope training, Camp WEMO, Pilgrimage ‘13, Missionpalooza

Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri


Community Services.

was a mere teenager, likely


pondering “boys or the next

The Power of Pack Mentality

together to form a regional

The eighth-annual Bishop’s Ball was

ministry, Episcopal Churches

about more than dancing the night

of the Ozarks (EChO). The

away — it was an opportunity to recognize

bond between them is about

outstanding individuals who have inspired,

more than sharing resources

Photos by Gary Allman. 2 SPIRIT | Spring 2013

A Call from the Wild of St. Anne’s in Lee’s Summit,


educated and empowered youth.


The Rev. Meg Rhodes, rector

Southern Deanery banded

Spring 2013 | Volume 4, No. 3

By Kim Snodgrass

Hunger 5K for Episcopal

gregations in the diocese’s


explains why each was

2013 and the Kansas City

In July 2012, five small con-


youth ministry coordinator

— it’s about growing leaders. By Hugh Welsh

farm animal pet,” when she realized her destiny atop a rock in the woods on her Iowa family farm. By Hugh Welsh


BISHOP TALK | The Rt. Rev. Martin S. Field

The times are a-changin’ around the diocese

Two years after the world came to Joplin’s aid, it’s time to pay it forward


in public discourse, a tweet was a bird call and to unfriend somebody would imply a blackened eye. A couple years ago, three Shaping Our Future forums indicated the diocese’s membership wished to change with the times on multiple fronts, including communications. With the guidance of the Rev. Lauren Lyon, who chairs the diocese’s Communications Committee, we’ve taken heed. Foremost, all communication from the diocese will be synchronized. Nevermore will you have to fear missing the news of the day because you couldn’t find the time to refer to Spirit, E-Spirit AND the diocesan Web site. The Web site has been redesigned. It’s now more user-friendly, more informative and more visually appealing. E-Spirit has undergone a makeover to its masthead and layout (one you may have already noticed): you can still expect eight to 12 succinct news items on a bi-weekly basis. Spirit, on the other hand, is a whole new shebang. A couple years ago, we devised a survey to gauge what was working with Spirit and what needed improvement. Forty percent of those who participated in the survey agreed that Spirit ought to be published more frequently. A few of you commented that, while the content was good, the presentation could be better. We hired graphic designer Kevin Fullerton of Springboard Creative, whose portfolio includes such magazines as Ingram’s, Thinking Bigger Business and EnergyBiz, to helm the redesign. We’ve also upgraded the stock on which Spirit is printed: the magazine is now officially a glossy. While the redesign debuts with this truncated issue, Spirit’s bi-monthly publication schedule won’t go into effect until August. The first edition of the new 16-page magazine will be devoted exclusively to the diocese’s youth ministry. The issue will recap, in words and images, an eventful summer schedule that will include Camp WEMO (held for the first time ever at Camp Wakonda, a working YMCA camp), Pilgrimage ’13 (journeying youth into the northwestern frontier, where they will visit Glacier National Park, the Little Big Horn Battlefield, Mount Rushmore and the Badlands) and Missionpalooza 2013, a decade-old devotion among youth from the dioceses of West Missouri and Kansas to affect good in the Kansas City community. The August edition will also spotlight the leaders, young and old, that have made the youth ministry the pride of the diocese. We hope you’ll appreciate the new-look Spirit along with the many other improvements to our communications department. We did them with you in mind.+


A day or two ago I sat down at my computer’s keyboard to compose my Missive for this issue of the West Missouri Spirit, and – if I do say so myself – I wrote a wonderful piece about a challenge I will be extending to the diocesan family in the coming days. I was about to e-mail it to the Spirit’s editor yesterday, Monday, May 20th, when news began to come out of Oklahoma about the massive, tornadic damage inflicted near Oklahoma City, particularly to the residents and property in the community of Moore, OK. That previously written article is in the trash, overcome by events and a higher, more pressing priority. May 20th. Just two days short of two years from the date another tornado struck our brothers and sisters in and around Joplin on May 22, 2013. What a tragic juxtaposition. Now, my friends, we have a specific opportunity to “pay forward” the largesse with which the Church, the nation, and the international Anglican Communion showered us in the aftermath of Joplin’s disastrous storm. The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma has established a fund to collect monetary gifts and offerings for the relief and rebuilding of the lives of these affected by the May 20th, Oklahoma tornado(s). As all of us know, the rebuilding that must take place in Moore, like the rebuilding in Joplin, will take several years, and the fund being established by the Oklahoma diocese is intended to be there for the long haul. What you may not know is that the people and Diocese of Oklahoma were among the first and most generous benefactors who responded to our need in the aftermath of the Joplin crisis. I ask you – each and every one of you – to consider giving a gift (large or small makes no difference) to Oklahoma’s Tornado Relief Fund. To do so, send your check, made out to “Diocese of Oklahoma”, to: The Diocese of Oklahoma 924 N Robinson Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Also, designate “Tornado Relief ” in your check’s memo line. Other means of sending gifts to Oklahoma (such as credit card, PayPal, etc.) may be available later; I will try to keep everyone informed. Episcopal Relief and Development (which is also already responding to this emerging need) is also a worthy recipient of your donations, but the best way to make sure your dollars go straight to Tornado Relief is to send them straight to the Diocese of Oklahoma.+ SPIRIT | Spring 2013


THE AGENDA | Upcoming events around the diocese

Community of Hope Training Tuesday, June 4 to Tuesday, September 3 St. Mark’s in Kimberling City Community of Hope trains and supports lay people for pastoral ministry within and beyond their congregations. After the training, which is sponsored by the Episcopal Churches of the Ozarks (EChO) regional ministry, lay caregivers select a community in which to offer a pastoral care ministry. The setting might be parish outreach to homebound or hospitalized members; or regular visits to a nursing home, prison, medical or hospice setting;

or to a site serving those in need, such as the homeless or abused. If you are interested in attending the training sessions, please contact the Rev. Tim Coppinger at 417-739-2460 or

Missionpalooza 2013 Monday, July 15 to Sunday, July 21 St. Paul’s in Kansas City Missionpalooza 2013 trains teens to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world. It combines youth from the dioceses of West Missouri and Kansas for the purpose of mission, fellowship and worship both inside and outside the walls of the Church.

Intended for rising freshmen through seniors, Missionpalooza requires participants to spend their days in the urban mission field heeding Christ’s call to feed the hungry, visit the sick and comfort those in need. Work sites include Bishop Spencer Place, Don Bosco, Wayside Waifs, Habitat for Humanity, Operation Breakthrough and Kansas City Community Kitchen. For more information, please visit the following Web address: missionpalooza/.

Kansas City Hunger 5K Run/Walk for Episcopal Community Services Saturday, October 12 Unity Village near Lee’s Summit The inaugural Kansas City Hunger 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by St. Anne’s in Lee’s Summit, will benefit Episcopal Community Services, a cooperative network of anti-hunger ministries in the dioceses of West Missouri and Kansas. For more information, please visit the following Web address:

Please send information about upcoming events, at least three months in advance, to

The Power of Pack Mentality Small, rural Episcopal churches are an endangered species. Fortunately, due to regional ministries such as EChO, there can be strength in numbers. Hugh Welsh


church memberships and an uptick in the average age of people in the pews, regardless of denomination, have made life for Episcopal Church congregations in such communities more precarious than ever. “Age, infirmity and income can limit what these congregations hope to accompish,” says the Rev. Tim Coppinger, who co-directs EChO (Episcopal Churches of the Ozarks) with the Rev. Edie Bird. EChO is a regional ministry comprised of five congregations in the Southern Deanery: St. Matthew’s (Ozark), St. Mark’s (Kimberling City), St. Stephen’s (Monett), St. Thomas à Becket (Cassville) and St. Philip’s (Joplin). “EChO is an opportunity for small churches to join together and be a resource for one another,” Coppinger says. Last year, it was among 15 ministries 4 SPIRIT | Spring 2013

awarded a Roanridge Trust grant from the Episcopal Church, given annually for transformative work across the church. EChO was officially formed in July 2012. The regional ministry arose from a retreat in February 2011 that brought the five congregations together with common purpose. Could the congregations’ welfare be improved through mutual cooperation? Did they have enough in common to make it work? According to Bird, who was a part of a mutual ministry task force while serving the Diocese of Arkansas, the retreat indicated a similar vision among the congregations. They wanted to strengthen bi-vocational clergy, preferred traditional priestly oversight to ministry support teams and emphasized the significance of Christian formation programs and outreach to their congregations. Still, as with many small congregations, obstacles existed then — and now.

“Smaller congregations are often resistant to change and fearful of conflict,” Bird says. “The best way to build community and open up creativity is to acknowledge conflicts and work towards a common solution.” Each congregation within EChO has teams responsible for music, Christian education (for adults and youth) as well as pastoral care. Every congregation also has a member who acts as its strategic planner. Bird has 23 years of experience in team building and strategic planning in small congregations – keys to eventual self-sufficiency. By 2014, two bi-vocational priests, Rick Sims and Paula Lively (both parishioners at St. Mark’s in Kimberling City), will serve half of the four mission congregations in EChO, according to Bird. Sims and Lively are already leading worship and preaching at congregations in EChO.+


Sharing the Harvest Why gleaning, a Biblical practice, is the root of a successful food ministry. When you reap your harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest . . .; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:9-10.

perfectly good, but that would otherwise be plowed under, used for animal feed or end up in landfills. A significant part of our collaboration with SoSA-West is to provide gleaning teams and individual gleaners. In 2012,


and community kitchens are disproportionally reliant on shelf-stable product. Much of this highly processed canned and boxed food is nutrient poor and high in sodium and sugar. The trouble is that the people we serve already have a higher than normal incidence of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, learning disorders and other chronic diseases that are significantly nutrition-based. Indeed, according to Dr. Craig Gunderson with the Department of Agriculture and Economics at the University of Illinois, “Food insecurity is one of the most important public health threats in the United States. It has serious negative health consequences.” This does not mean that canned food drives are wrong. It means we need to go further. About two years ago, Episcopal Community Services started working to increase our capacity to supply fresh fruits and vegetables vital for nutrition. In addition to our own aggressive Food Rescue Initiative, and an expanding network of community and church gardens, we have been building a strong collaboration with the Society of St. Andrew. SoSA is a hunger relief organization with a singular focus: to collect fresh produce from fields, picking houses, farmers’ markets and elsewhere – food that is

from this single source, we were able to donate more than 26,000 pounds of fresh produce to our pantries and kitchens – more than 13 tons of healthy food. We would like to at least double those results, but we need your help. Depending on weather and other factors, this is an activity that is suitable for young and old alike. It is a great mission for youth when school is out, and a wonderful “giving back” project for garden clubs or anyone who just likes to “play in the dirt” every once in a while. As expressed by Lisa Ousley, Executive Director for SoSA-West, “Gleaning is a great way to live out our faith. It gives us an opportunity to help others living right here in our community.” Following a gleaning, the Rev. Sue Sommer of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral observed: “Nutritious food which otherwise would spoil in the fields gets into the hands (and ultimately stomachs) of people who need it: local food for local people. Meanwhile, my

fellow volunteers and I got a morning of fresh air, good exercise, companionship, slobbery dog kisses and a glimpse of the reign of God drawing near.” One of our other gleaners simply said: “Each time I go out, I feel good in so many ways.” This is easily replicated anywhere, and it is not limited by geography. For example, last year we had gleanings in our diocese near such towns as Warrensburg, Clinton, Trenton, Osceola, St. Joseph and Maryville. Gleanings in Kansas included growers near Edgerton, Lawrence, Topeka, Pittsburgh and Wichita. All you need is one or more people to volunteer for gleanings in your area, and we are happy to assist you and your parish in developing gleaning ministries. As a gleaner, you help determine the hunger relief program to which the food is distributed – your own food pantry or community kitchen, that of another parish or any program that you wish to support. Again from Lisa: “Produce gleaned by SoSA volunteers stays local to feed folks in the community.” The other way that you can lend a hand is to connect us with additional growers possibly willing to donate a portion of their crops. Why would they do that? There is a wide variety of reasons. Crops ripen too fast for them to get them all to market, or yields exceed what they can handle, or market prices have gone down, or wet field conditions make mechanical harvesting impractical. But perhaps the best reason of all was expressed by a grower in the Kansas City area: “It’s the right thing to do.”+ John Hornbeck, executive director of Episcopal Community Services, is also on the advisory board for Society of St. Andrew-West. For more information on gleaning ministries, contact Hornbeck at

SPIRIT | Spring 2013


Bishop’s Ball Honorees

At this year’s Bishop’s Ball, 11 individuals were recognized for their outstanding service to the diocese’s youth ministry. Youth Ministry Coordinator Kim Snodgrass details each of their contributions. Kim Snodgrass GOOD HEART AWARDS

Landon Denkler Donya Ross This special award was given to two adults who use their talents to full potential for the glory of God. Although, unfortunately, they are both moving on to other work places, it was important to recognize their loving presence and the fact that they have stood by youth through trouble and joy…always leading toward our relationship with God and the formation of our faith. CLERGY

The Rev. Lauren Lyon The Rev. Lauren Lyon was this year’s recipient of the Purple Cross award because of her ongoing interest in seeing youth be ministered to within every congregation. Despite the fact that St. Mary’s has not had a large number of youth in the past, Lyon has made it a priority to continually offer encouragement, keep abreast of youth ministry activity and inspire others to support the development of fellowship and faith formation opportunities within the diocesan youth ministry program. OUTSTANDING ADULT LEADERS

Ron Ham Amanda Perschall Josh Trader Youth ministry leaders come in all ages! This year’s Outstanding Youth Leader awards went to the following three adults who go “above and beyond” in their efforts to make youth feel welcome, included, encouraged, supported and valued as individuals. They encourage faith formation through conversation and participation in youth activities; they inspire others by their active, engaged role in 6 SPIRIT | Spring 2013

(From left to right): Samantha Behen, Emilie Bridges, Ron Ham, Amanda Miley, Amanda Perschall, Lanie Indyk, Bishop Marty Field, Donya Ross, Drake Taylor and Josh Trader. Not pictured: the Rev. Lauren Lyon

this ministry and connect with youth on a regular basis to help them understand they are part of the universal church. OUTSTANDING YOUTH

Emilie Bridges Drake Taylor Lanie Indyk Amanda Miley This year’s award recipients are the most inclusive, engaging youth you know; the ones who ask you to come to everything and help you to have a good time once you get there. They live out the Gospel by being loving, inclusive, encouraging and inspiring; you can see their faith in action through their relationship with God and their love and concern for others. They are proactive in their own faith formation and have made an impact in the lives of friends, families and beyond!


Samantha Behen This year’s award winner, like others before her, leads a busy life. She’s been involved in activities offered through her high school - and each have equally demanded her time and energy. But thinking beyond today, she made a choice, an intentional decision, to make living out her faith, and putting it into action, a priority in her life. Samantha exemplifies great leadership because her “life goes over into other lives.” Passion is a word that captures her essence. When she first became a member of the commission, she jumped into the ministry with both feet and never looked back. But many others will also describe this person as a loving, loyal, devoted and natural leader who has the highest personal integrity. She is greatly appreciated and admired by her peers.+

A Call from the Wild

At 28, the Rev. Meg Rhodes is the diocese’s youngest rector — but her inspiration is as old as the earth. Hugh Welsh


ing rock,” a lone boulder in the thicket. She’d ponder many things on that rock: boys, pets (as it wasn’t a working farm, the animals were mostly pets, not livestock) – her future. One day when Meg was 16, she erupted into tears on the thinking rock. She had an epiphany and told her parents right away. She waited two years to alert the rest of the world. “I felt some embarrassment; I figured no one would believe it,” she says. According to Meg, her parents were always supportive, though her father worried if the Church would chastise her because she was a woman. Thirteen years later, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop is female and many of the more conservative congregations are calling women as their priests. It’s the new normal. “We knew Mtr. Meg was who we wanted as our rector the first time we spoke with her,” says Jerad Stock, who served on St. Anne’s rector search committee. “She represents our future.” Meg was born into the Episcopal Church: her parents are converted Congregationalists, a Protestant church in which each congregation operates independently and autonomously. Her mother, Colette Clark, was a schoolteacher and her father, John Clark, is a former Iowa state representative who was mentored by the Rev. Jack Danforth, the former U.S. Senator and Missouri Attorney General. Danforth is an Episcopal priest. “Being a priest is sometimes like being a politician,” Meg says. “You have to remind people of the collective vision and move them in a common direction.” The farm, in the family for about 150 years, overlooks the Des Moines River. Meg’s parents live there to this day. Along

the horizon lies Missouri. “Missouri’s been calling me since I was very young,” she says. Meg attended Drury University in Springfield, majoring in religion while minoring in medieval studies, one of few Midwestern institutions to offer such a program. At Drury, she met her husband, Eric Rhodes, who’s originally from St. Louis. Upon graduation from Drury, Meg entered Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, earning her Master of Divinity in 2009. Prior to arriving at St. Anne’s in August, Meg was rector at St. Paul’s in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was an older congregation – Meg and her husband were commonly referred to as the “youth group.” In fact, the next youngest couple at St. Paul’s were grandparents. Average Sunday attendance was 24. “The bishop gave me carte blanche to dive in and do stuff,” she says. In a few years, Meg managed to double the average attendance at St. Paul’s. With the help of her husband, she bolstered St. Paul’s social media presence and reengineered its Web site. The death of a prominent donor, however, meant the church could no longer afford Meg’s salary. She wouldn’t have to wait long for her next assignment – on the phone: a parish from Missouri. Meg was installed as St. Anne’s rector in November. At 28, she is the diocese’s youngest rector. She’s not a mover and shaker, except when cooking (she has a blog devoted to the subject at St. Anne’s is casual, family-oriented and as much about fellowship – seldom does anyone dart out the door immediately following a service – as worship. It’s this sense for fellowship that Meg says

sets St. Anne’s apart. “They don’t realize how special they are,” she says. “I’ve never known a congregation like them: they’re so welcoming.” The issue, Meg says, is visibility. “I’m not sure if people know we’re here,” she says. Her charge to the congregation is not to change who

they are, but project their generosity onto the greater community. “There are all sorts of books about growing churches,” Meg says. “You won’t find your answers in books – but from within.” “I’m not sure if people know we’re here,” she says. Her charge to the congregation is not to change who they are, but project their generosity onto the greater community – a generosity Meg can personally attest. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that makes it difficult to stand for great lengths of time. After preaching and standing at the altar for Eucharistic Prayer, it’s simply too burdensome for her to give communion while standing. So, two parishioners crafted a chair especially for this purpose. “My weakness became their strength,” Meg says.+ SPIRIT | Spring 2013


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Spirit // Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri // Spring 2013  
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