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Journal Preview


Welcome to Future of the Faith, The Society for the Increase of the Ministry’s new journal of leadership development for the Episcopal Church. Susan Daughtry starkly asserts in her article, Uncharted, (p. 18 in this issue), that there is a “massive adaptive challenge ahead of the Episcopal Church.” I can’t argue with her assessment. With our latest Average Sunday Attendance numbers down another 24.7% since 2008, and with clergy retirements consistently outstripping ordinations 3:1 for the past eight years, clear signs of a dramatic generational shift in the practice of the faith by Episcopalians now appear to be undeniable across every province of the Episcopal Church. If larger and larger numbers of people in our culture are practicing their Christian/Episcopal faith very differently from the ways we practiced it in the past, then it would appear a good deal of adaptive acumen must be brought to bear by our leaders if we are going to reimagine the church in ways that its ministries increase and the gospel grows and thrives. Impassioned conversations engaging these issues among all sorts of people are constant - from mainstream journalists like David Brooks, to Millennials who are not following in their parents’ footsteps, to seminary scholars, to the House of Bishops which is experiencing turnover of a third of its members in the next 2 years. Even so, there are often gaps in disseminating the latest statistical data illustrating trends, and there are very few forums where all members of the Episcopal Church can be assured of updates on the most important and inspiring developments being undertaken by thought leaders in the field of leadership studies. Our perceived sense of our church’s need in this moment is why SIM is reimagining our bi-annual publication and launching Future of the Faith as a leadership development resource for the whole church. In 1857 SIM was founded to identify “suitable” leaders of the church and “aid them in receiving a thorough education,” making The Society for the Increase of the Ministry arguably the first (and at that time certainly the only) leadership development organization in the Episcopal Church. In the pages of this journal you will find SIM lifting up the most provocative and potentially impactful developments in leadership recruitment and formation, at the same time we lift up the actual leaders we believe are the future of the faith so that all of us who are funding their seminary educations remain informed about the inspiring ministries they are eagerly and courageously preparing to lead. Yours in Christ,

Courtney Cowart, Th. D.

 Executive Director The Society for the Increase of the Ministry