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Episcopal Enterprise, an organization of people interested in exploring new models of sustainability for congregations of the diocese, launched a series of Social Enterprise workshops at the Cathedral Center in Echo Park on May 9 with “Assessing Your Social Enterprise Options: Identifying Assets, Opportunities and Resistance Factors.”

The group’s purpose is to help congregations find ways to both serve their communities and create new revenue streams by repurposing buildings and property; drawing on other assets, such as the talents of their members; and imagining and launching ministry-based businesses — therefore increasing the church’s impact on its community as well as its financial viability.

“Sustainability has to do with the sweet spot where a congregation’s practical financial needs encounter its heart for being creative, loving servants of Christ in its neighborhood and community,” said Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor. “These workshops will help our churches find new ways to serve and be supported.”

Taylor will host the workshops, which will continue on the second Wednesday of each month (excluding July and August).

Each workshop — facilitated by Betsy Densmore of Academies for Social Entrepreneurship and a vestry member of St. John’s Church, Costa Mesa, and the Rev. Canon Jaime Edwards-Acton, rector of St. Stephen’s Church, Hollywood, and executive director of the Jubilee Consortium — will begin at 3 p.m. and conclude at 6 p.m. The presentation part of each meeting will be recorded for later broadcast.

30 people representing congregations and ministries from throughout the diocese attended the May workshop, which took inspiration from a number of successful programs, including Hope Garden at St. Stephen’s, Hollywood; Shared Spaces at St. Luke’s, Long Beach; the Episcopal Urban Internship Program; The Abundant Table in Camarillo; The Kaleidoscope Institute, Los Angeles; and several others.

Dates and topics for upcoming workshops are:

June 13: What is your niche? Market Research – Competitive positioning; pricing and branding

Sept. 12: Staff Development & Management – Investors “bet on the jockey, not the horse.”

Oct. 10: Start Up Funding From Where? – The nuts and bolts of applying for funding

Nov. 14: Dealing with Resistance – Building political and community support

To learn more about Episcopal Enterprises and to register for workshops, click here or visit the group’s Facebook page here.


This article was updated May 11.