The Bishop’s E-pistle: Those with Ears to Hear…

Earlier this year, I wrote in the E-pistle that Canticle Communications was doing an audit of the Diocese of Arizona’s communications. I included a link to a survey, which 297 people in our diocese took the time to respond to. Thank you!

I wanted to make sure to report back with highlights of the audit, the full results of which have gone to senior members of my staff and all members of the Standing Committee.

Jesus told stories, and he told stories that met people where they were. I believe church communications serve the same role: telling stories about Jesus and his disciples that meet people where they are. A story can be a narrative, or it can be an image; it can be in print or online; it can be directed at deepening the faith of those who already follow Jesus; or it can be aimed at piquing the curiosity of someone who has never followed Jesus–or someone who has been wounded by the church–and encouraging them to explore faith in God with a new community.

Together, all the stories point to Jesus. They point to the Love of God for God’s people, and the love of God’s people for one another and for the Earth God created.

The communications audit identified several changes we need to make in order to share those stories of the Gospel not just with our congregational leaders, but with our members, and perhaps most importantly, with Arizonans outside the Episcopal Church entirely.

With the support of the Standing Committee, we are in process of negotiating an agreement with Canticle Communications to assist us in:

  • Creating a new website that more effectively shares the story of Jesus Christ and his followers in the Episcopal Church in Arizona
  • Increasing our capacity to share our stories through visual media and narratives online and in the AZ Episcopalian magazine
  • Identifying the leaders in our congregations, both lay and ordained, who have the gifts and skills to help us spread the Gospel

Again, I am very grateful to all who participated in the survey and focus groups for sharing their experience of communications from the Diocese of Arizona. Your voices were heard–and we are taking the next steps to improve and grow.