Behind and Before: LDI’s Annual Report and New Job Announcement

Hello All,

One of my good friends, Tricia DeBeer, once told me that finding balance is an illusive goal. Instead, she said, balance is an ongoing movement between moving targets. I likened her words to an active Twister mat in which you’re readjusting to make sure your hands and feet stay on the colored circles. Whatever the visual that comes to mind for you, I’ve been in a constant state of finding and refinding balance over the pasts few months as LDI has simultaneously wrapped up a very active program year and completed our merge with Episcopal City Mission (ECM).

Our decision to merge with ECM was driven by the belief that LDI’s work will benefit from ECM’s clear commitment to issues of immigrant, racial and economic justice. Similarly, ECM will be stronger through the addition of LDI’s well developed leadership programs that prepare people of faith to actively seek justice. Ella Auchincloss, Co-Founder and Chair of our Leadership Team shares more about this decision in our Annual Report:

 Today, when people of faith urgently need to embody love that brings about justice LDI is again listening deeply. Over the past year, under Natalie Finstad’s guidance, we have carefully discerned where our work can best meet our community’s need, and have assessed which organizational structure can best accommodate our growing ministry in the diocese of Massachusetts and beyond.

Alongside this process, our fiscal agent, collaborator and long-time funder, ECM, has also been discerning their response to this urgent moment. It has become clear to both the LDI Leadership Team and ECM’s Executive Committee that our work is deeply integrated. LDI is drawn to ECM’s emerging mission of deepening the church’s response to immigration, racial justice and economic justice, and ECM intends to feature LDI’s formation tools and practices as a critical centerpiece of their new strategic plan. As a result LDI will become part of ECM and we will be dropping our distinct public identity

​Alongside LDI’s discernment as an organization, I have been doing my own professional discernment. At the close of LDI came an opportunity for me to apply for the Director of Programs and Engagement with Episcopal City Mission. This position would not only allow me to continue leading LDI’s formation programs but expand my work so that I am able to adapt our current program models so they strategically support grassroots movements that are building relationships of power which bring about more just communities.

 

During my discernment I came to realize that I have been blessed and challenged and thrilled beyond words to have worked with LDI over the past year. And, more than ever, I believe that our world needs a Church that ardently seeks the liberating and reconciling way of Jesus. It was from this place that I decided to apply for the position of Director of Leadership and Engagement with ECM and I am excited to say that I got it!!!! I am overjoyed! Stay tuned for a formal announcement from ECM about my position.

Last but not least, all of this transition came about during the end of the year when LDI was wrapping up the end of a very successful program year in which we worked with over 50 faith communities to develop leaders for an awakened Church. We have attached our annual report to this email – inside you will find stories of people of faith who are boldly following Jesus into their neighborhoods and cities. They know, as do I, that there is no more time for a Church that sits idly by.

It seems if every day we wake up to the news that our country, and our world, are responding to some traumatic event. In addition to the increasing amounts of direct violence there is an increase of systemic attacks on people’s livelihoods. It is clear to me that our entire world is undergoing a massive period of upheaval. While our changing world may continue to benefit white, wealthy, privileged members of society, this upheaval has the potential to bring about a new way of being that facilitates the justice, love, and reconciliation of Jesus’s way of life.

If we want to bring about God’s vision of justice, the Church must take our place in this time of transition. Individual members must model the way of Jesus in our lives. Our congregations must wake up and respond to the needs of people around them. And the Church as a body of believers must collectively hold the governing structures accountable to values of equity and justice we claim to hold dear.

There’s no more time for mediocre church.

We at LDI are grateful for the ways we will be able to wake up the Church to this call through our work next year with ECM and we hope that you will support us in this work by making a donation to ECM as a way of supporting this bold step we are taking as an organization as we move forward.

Thank you all for your prayers and support! Thank you to Ella and Nicholas for accompanying me through this year as trusted guides. Thank you to Jesse, Lydia and Isaac for your willingness to work hard and believe that through God we could do more than we could imagine. I am so grateful for the time we spent together.

In the Blessing,

Natalie

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