Expanding Horizons

 

Innovation, Compassion, and Transformation in the Episcopal Diocese of California

We selected Expanding Horizons as the title and theme of our campaign after we heard the words of this prayer, attributed to the explorer and privateer, Sir Francis Drake. While many of America’s founding moments happened on the East Coast, it was on the West Coast, in a little inlet near Point Reyes located in the northernmost part of our diocese, that the first service using the Book of Common Prayer was said on American soil. Discovery and disturbance, and the transformation that come from them, have been a part of the life and experience of California, and the Diocese has been a part of that transformative work for 170 years. We ask that everyone in our diocese join together as we pray these words.

    Overview

    The members of the Diocese of California engaged in a comprehensive study process to determine the case for our campaign. This study surveyed more than one hundred individuals, comprised of clergy and lay leaders of every congregation, diocesan leadership, likely potential donors, and representatives from many of the institutions of the diocese. Together, you helped us identify the four main components of the case:  Sharing our First Fruits; Essential Housing; Thriving Congregations; Caring for Creation

     

    Sharing the Proceeds from Expanding Horizons

    To see 2021 distributions from Expanding Horizons, please open this presentation by clicking image

    Stories about Expanding Horizons projects

    Across the Bay Area there is transformation as projects funded by the Expanding Horizons campaign are initiated. We will be publishing a series of success stories to share the good news of the wonderful projects and the beautiful generosity of our many donors, whom we thank wholeheartedly.

     
    Jubilee Farm Church: A Story of Rebirth and Renewal

    The Reverend Jane Stratford, Vicar of St. Anna’s and Brentwood Farm Missioner

    As a long term Brentwood resident with deep roots in this community and in the Episcopal Church in far east Contra Costa County, I am excited and overjoyed to have been appointed the first Diocese of California Farm Church Missioner to Brentwood with funding from the Expanding Horizons Campaign. Living in Brentwood, as I have done for 28 years, you become used to seeing the seasons reflected in the land. I first saw Brentwood in the spring when the fruit trees were in bloom. At this time the fields are busy with farmworkers and machines, weeding, watering, and planting. The summer is busy with pickers and trucks and traffic coming and going from the fruit stands. Then the fall arrives with pruning and bonfires and spraying and ploughing. At this time of year  as we head into winter the land is bare, ploughed into neat, clean lines; waiting, anticipating the arrival of seed so the cycle can being all over again. Driving out of town into the heart of the agricultural core that surrounds the city, I see field after field of bare, brown earth; orchard after orchard of exposed, empty trees; the land lying fallow. As we approach the season of Advent, it is a compelling metaphor for the practice of waiting, watching, and wondering as we anticipate the birth of Christ and the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom into our world. 

    The almost nine acres the Diocese owns in Brentwood has been fallow for much longer than a season, waiting, watching, wondering; anticipating the birth of Christ’s mission and the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom in the developing vision of Jubilee Farm Church.

    Jubilee Farm, the Episcopal vision for mission and ministry in the Brentwood area, is at the center of an inclusive housing project known as Bluebird Village, a mixed-income community featuring affordable rental housing and single-family homes with onsite services to offer regular community events, educational opportunities, and other gatherings that will nurture relationships across socioeconomic divides while fostering environmental stewardship, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. The mission for Jubilee Farm is to establish a vibrant, relevant worshiping community in far east Contra Costa County that relates to God and to each other through their relationship with the land; to provide a place where God is worshipped through connection to the land God created; where people care for creation by cultivating and nurturing the earth, feeding the hungry, and practicing environmental sustainability; to foster relationships across income, race, educational attainment, religion – to God, to each other, and to the land, by caring for the land and the people God created. The community that emerges, related to the land in Brentwood, will be formed by liturgical practice that deepens the understanding and appreciation of the sacramentality of the land and of the creating, redeeming and sustaining God, a channel through which God’s grace comes to all of life. 

    Driving through the fallow fields and bare orchards I wonder about a society that allows its land to lie fallow for a season, but cannot seem to allow its people to seek similar renewal and replenishment for their souls. If the land needs time to rest and recover how much more is it necessary for our own lives?  Jubilee Farm and Bluebird Village will offer not just its residents, but the neighboring communities an opportunity to experience fallow time, time to be quiet and reflective; to spend time in prayer, or worship, or contemplation. Advent is a great gift. It reminds us that if we create fallow space in our lives we can look forward in hope to new life springing from our own hearts and souls. Jubilee Farm hopes to be the same.

    Campaign Next Steps

    The Diocese of California is committed to transparency and accountability in how we allocate funds from Expanding Horizons. Projects and distributions must be approved by the Finance Committee and reported to Executive Council. For questions about this process, or to propose a project to be funded, please contact Davey Gerhard, Director of Development at daveyg@diocal.org or at 415-869-7836.

    Prayer for the Expanding Horizons Campaign

    With each phase of this campaign in congregations and across the diocese, we prayed these words, attributed to Sir Francis Drake. We continue to pray for the expanding of our horizons as we fund the many projects that this visionary campaign has enabled.

    Disturb us, Lord, when
    We are too pleased with ourselves,
    When our dreams have come true
    Because we dreamed too little,
    When we arrived safely
    Because we sailed too close to the shore.

    Disturb us, Lord, when
    With the abundance of things we possess
    We have lost our thirst
    For the waters of life;
    Having fallen in love with life,
    We have ceased to dream of eternity
    And in our efforts to build a new earth,
    We have allowed our vision
    Of the new Heaven to dim.

    Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
    To venture on wilder seas
    Where storms will show Your mastery;
    Where losing sight of land,
    We shall find the stars.

    We ask you to push back
    The horizons of our hopes;
    And to push back the future
    In strength, courage, hope, and love.
    This we ask in the name of our Captain,
    Who is Jesus Christ. Amen.