Conversation Prompt 3

Connecting Now + Imagining our Future

By: Shawn Nowlan

One Sunday as I sat in church, Selena Billington gave a quick talk about EFM (“Education for Ministry” – a four-year program of bible and theological study done in a small group setting).  I thought – “wait, I started EFM back in Lincoln, Nebraska; maybe I should finish it.”  I talked to her after the service.

I joined the EFM group and met a group of committed Episcopalians, where all of us were looking to study, and to discern what ministry God was calling us to initiate.

Through that connection, Selena introduced me (among other things) to St. Andrew’s Lay Eucharistic Visitation (LEV) ministry, where we take the Eucharist to those who can’t be physically present, and we make connections with them.

I imagine a faith community where the Spirit enables us to make new and expanding connections, and those connections lead us to new opportunities to minister to our parish, and to the wider world.

What connections do you make at St. Andrew’s?  And how do those connections help you discern new opportunities to find your ministry?

Posted in Stewardship.


  1. I never understood that one of the best and most powerful things about a faith community is just that, the community, until I was an adult. The many, many ways that I’ve been supported and had the opportunity to support others is one of the great blessings of my life. When I was pregnant with my son, I had to go to bed for 4 months. We were attending St. John’s Cathedral and they had a meal ministry so every week for that whole time, people, mostly what seemed like very ancient women, would knock on our door with a casserole. My husband and I really appreciated the food but also felt so embarrassed to be receiving it as other than my being in bed, we were healthy and able. It made us laugh and wince at the same time!

  2. Shawn, I think about the ten years I spent as an EfM mentor, and the deep connections we shared as a group, even as the group changed over time. We were bound together in the sharing of life stories, looking for meaning and hope in the smallest and most important moments, seeing ourselves as part of the great story of the people of God. I see St. Andrew’s as a community where those bonds and fostered and treasured — it is one of the things that is most precious to me about our parish.

  3. Nina, I have also been the humble recipient of wonderful church member’s casseroles. Our family was saved many times with timely, compassionate food when I had some unexpected hospital stays.

    At St Andrew’s, in the Great Unravelling of Covid-times, our familiar rhythm, our place of comfort has dissolved. And out of this space, this emptied, uncluttered space, I imagine we might just catch a glimpse of new possibilities for Divine worship and the emergence of a community -refined by fire- deeply committed to being “casserole bearers” for the world around us.

    • Kylie, I love what you’ve said here. And personally, I really really really miss the in-person sensorial aspects of worship – I love the optimism you give me here.

  4. Kylie, what a wonderful term you minted, “casserole bearers”! One of the silver linings of this terrible time is discovering and inventing new foods, literally and figuratively, and finding ways to bear our food to others. As a faith community, we can help each other discover new ways, new ministries, new casseroles. Thank you for stretching us with Spirit language.

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