The Kansas Minster Project proposes a collaborative way of organizing ourselves for God’s mission in the Diocese of Kansas in the 21st century — it is a vision of our “branching pattern” for the Jesus Movement, a way of structuring to bear the Way of Love with new vigor.
Each of the diocese’s 11 minsters is a group of churches designed for mutual support and sharing of resources, so they can reach out to serve their neighborhoods and communities. They also ensure that every congregation is sacramentally cared for by the priests and deacons within each minster.
Seven task forces currently lead the diocese’s efforts to support action within our congregations and outwardly toward those in our neighborhoods, communities and beyond.
On May 20 Bishop Cathleen Bascom issued updated Covid-related guidelines for parishes across the diocese. Unlike previous guidance, which was uniform across the 44 churches of the diocese, these new guidelines offer just four requirements while empowering local discretion in relaxing other previous Covid-related safety restrictions, based on local contexts.
The bishop said that this relaxation in diocesan mandates can take place thanks to vaccinations, which have resulted in falling virus rates across the diocese. She gave a special thanks to all those who have been vaccinated while noting that children younger than 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
The four requirements going forward are:
- In line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated people may remove their masks inside.
- As you are able, allow space for socially distanced seating for those who choose.
- Communion may be distributed in the form of consecrated bread only; for now, the common cup (drinking and intinction) remains prohibited. We will continue to watch for new developments about the safety of the common cup.
- Registration, sign-ups or attendance records must continue to be used and records kept for one month.
The bishop said she trusts the clergy and lay leaders of each parish to use these guidelines to make specific decisions for their church in the conduct of worship and other activities, while also being mindful of the canons and guidance from local health officials.
She did ask that special effort be made to care for children, who remain vulnerable to the virus, and to their families, and she encouraged conversations between parish leadership and parents so that everyone feels safe and welcome.
The weekly online diocesan spreadsheet of Covid-related statistics, which has been kept county-by-county since November, will continue to be updated by diocesan staff, but parish leaders no longer need to consult it each week. If virus levels were to return to less-safe levels in any county, the canon to the ordinary will make church leaders in that area aware of that fact.
"Old Saints for New Days" Monday service
Every Monday at 12:10 p.m., Bishop Cathleen Bascom and clergy members of the diocesan staff offer a service from St. Mary’s Chapel in Grace Cathedral, Topeka.
Called “Old Saints for New Days,” it includes lessons for one of the people featured in Lesser Feasts and Fast during the coming week. Sermons tie themes from the lives of these saints in the past to current issues.
The service is livestreamed to the diocesan YouTube channel, and it also can be viewed later on demand.
The weekly sermon in manuscript form can be downloaded for use in parish Sunday services from the diocesan Dropbox.
Justice and Racial Reconciliation Task Force
The Justice and Racial Reconciliation Task Force was created to help the diocese live into its role as the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement in eastern Kansas, especially regarding issues of racial reconciliation, one of the three Jesus Movement areas of focus articulated by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
The task force supports the bishop and the Diocese of Kansas as we learn and grow in our awareness of the dynamics of racism and white supremacy in the church and our nation.
Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry
The mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry is to gather, equip, and send disciples of Jesus Christ to witness to God’s reconciling love.
We strive to accomplish this mission by providing quality programs and events that are biblically based for the entire diocese. Events and programs are designed for young people to experience opportunities in evangelism, spiritual formation, Christian leadership, mission, fellowship, Scripture, discernment and the Episcopal Church.
Bethany House and Garden
Bethany House and Garden is an innovative ministry of the diocese, centered in the historic building that has served over time as a laundry for a girl’s school, a private home, the bishop’s residence and the diocesan offices.
It offers garden space for prayer and meditation, spiritual direction, pastoral care and outdoor worship. Through community listening and engagement, it seeks to be a part of positive change. It also is in the planning stage of imagining what else it might be: demonstration gardens, prairie restoration or a patchwork quilt of ideas?