OUR MISSION

Rooted in the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion, the Living Church Foundation seeks to champion the catholic and evangelical faith of the one Church and to hasten the visible unity of all Christians.

God calls the Church to be one and to sustain a common faith and order “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21). Beginning with the Anglican family and looking out to the whole Christian world, the ministry of the Living Church Foundation prioritizes prayer for unity and renewed faithfulness, rooted in God’s own love. As publishers, teachers, and servant leaders, we pledge ourselves to produce excellent independent news reporting, incisive commentary, and edifying scholarship for a broad audience of thoughtful Christians, and to help heal divisions in the Body of Christ. We also seek to form leaders to carry this work forward in the Anglican Communion for the next generation.

Strategic Plan 2020

THE LIVING CHURCH FOUNDATION

FOUNDED 1878

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Living Church,

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you a new Strategic Plan for the Living Church Foundation. This document is the fruit of work by our Strategic Planning Committee and by the Board and Foundation as a whole, over more than a year. It is the result of a collaborative and iterative process that has involved staff, readers, supporters, and friends of all sorts both near and far.

Like all such documents, it represents an important marker on the way, as the Living Church continues its historic mission and ministry and moves into the future. Our work as a Foundation is intended to resource the Church, and this requires casting our vision anew. As our Lord and Savior reminded his disciples: “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Matt. 13:52).

Within this Plan you will find important new initiatives, as well as the continuation of old emphases. The Living Church is a venerable institution, but not a blinkered one! It has proven its ability over the past decade to adapt, and to take advantage of new opportunities for service to the Church. The Foundation’s reach has never been wider than it is today.

I commend this Strategic Plan to you. The Living Church Foundation remains in my prayers, and I ask for your prayers as well.

Yours faithfully,

+John Bauerschmidt

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee

President of the Board of the Living Church Foundation

OUR INSPIRING STORY

The first issue of The Living Church magazine was published on November 2,1878 by two priests, Samuel Harris of Chicago and John Fulton of Milwaukee. They hoped to awaken and renew their beloved Episcopal Church by encouraging faithful teaching, preaching, and social outreach, and by inspiring the highest quality of music, art, and architecture. From the beginning, The Living Church addressed itself to an audience broader than any single American denomination. The editors had in view the one Body of Christ, joined in fellowship across time and around the world to advance the saving gospel for all.

The small weekly newspaper grew rapidly, nourished by the Anglo-Catholic and ecumenical movements at the time of their greatest flourishing. From 1900-1952, under the editorship of F.C. and Clifford Morehouse, The Living Church earned a nationwide reputation for journalistic integrity and became the major venue for internal discussions of the Episcopal Church’s mission and identity. At the same time, TLC served as a publication of record for ordinations, appointments, obituaries, and official pronouncements.

The Morehouses also pioneered a tradition of distinguished service by our editors in the Episcopal Church’s institutional life, focusing especially on ecumenical relations. F.C. represented the Episcopal Church as a lay delegate to the first Faith and Order meeting at Lausanne in 1927, and Clifford served on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church and as President of the House of Deputies of General Convention. The same model was followed by later editors. Peter Day became the Episcopal Church’s ecumenical officer. H. Boone Porter, a scholar of liturgy and pastoral theology, helped draft the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Current publisher and executive director Christopher Wells works on the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue and on questions of unity, faith, and order in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.

The Living Church was closely connected for decades with Morehouse Publishing, the Episcopal Church’s main source for high church liturgical resources and theological literature. Though the two entities were formally separated in 1953 when the Living Church Foundation was incorporated, TLC has continued the tradition of publishing resources to help congregations worship faithfully. Beginning in 1983, we have produced and distributed The Episcopal Musician’s Handbook, a guide for hymn selection; Illuminations, a lector’s aid; and Daily Devotional, a free commentary on the Daily Office readings. A newly launched digital resource, The Living Word, gathers archival material, classic texts, and sermons from contemporary preachers to equip clergy for faithful and effective preaching, week by week.

Over the last decade, the Living Church has played a leading role in helping Anglicans worldwide remain rooted in the historic faith and order of the Church. Alongside direct political service at the General Convention and in the wider councils of the Communion, we have strategically expanded our ministry through a series of educational initiatives we often call “the movement.” Much of our movement work is now spearheaded by the Living Church Institute, founded in 2017. To date, we have hosted more than 25 public conferences, seminars, courses, teaching days, and webinars, in partnership with congregations, dioceses, and churchwide institutions, both at home and abroad. Anglican identity, the call to Christian unity, and reconciliation have been areas of special focus.

Another side of this same strategic work has focused on finding new platforms and means of instruction and encouragement. In 2009, TLC acquired the Covenant weblog, a talented community of women and men that has played a leading role in Anglican affairs since its founding. Today, Covenant is without peer in the Anglican Communion as an online locus of sound teaching and deep formation in Christian faith and catholic unity. In 2019, we launched a line of catechetical pamphlets, entitled Anglicans Believe. During the pandemic of 2020, we relaunched The Living Church Podcast, featuring interviews with a range of church leaders, readings from classic texts, and roundtable discussions.

Last but by no means least, gathering Christians together to pray, learn, and build authentic fellowship in Christ has been a key ingredient of our flourishing ministry. We are focused on building networks of leaders who are committed to historic orthodoxy and Christian unity, and we work closely with Communion-minded Anglicans and others around the world who share these goals. This impetus to leadership formation and fellowship dovetails with TLC’s increasingly global reach, governed by an international Foundation of nearly fifty stakeholders. Our dispersed model for staffing enables nimbleness as we stand in solidarity with our many friends and partners — in person, whenever possible.

OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE

With growing numbers of readers and contributors, strong and diverse leadership, and financial and operational stability, we believe that God is calling us to an exciting future, with new opportunities to teach the faith and to work for Christian unity.

We expect that the next five years will bring many changes to our world and the Church, including an expanding profile for digital communication, a deepened need for catechesis, evangelism, and renewal, and a continuing shift of Anglicanism’s center of gravity toward the Global South.

Grounded in prayer, we are now planning for that future, confident that, as God continues to call us to seek and serve the faith and unity of the Church, he will supply the means to accomplish his will. Our preparation focuses on five strategic objectives, incorporating a major fundraising effort.

OBJECTIVE 1:

EXPAND GLOBAL REACH AS A PUBLISHER AND AS A MOVEMENT

R ooted in the Episcopal Church, the Living Church has grown in recent years into an international ministry aimed outward to the Anglican Communion and the larger Body of Christ. At a time when Anglicans urgently need to answer God’s call to deeper communion, we are poised to organize and host a movement of renewed faithfulness and witness. In the next five years, we plan to

  • Remain steadfast in our service of the Episcopal Church through the gifts of high-quality journalism and teaching, networking and encouragement, and sustained friendship across difference that reflect both Christian breadth and catholic coherence.

  • Expand the domestic and international audience of our primary publications (The Living Church, Covenant, The Living Word, Anglicans Believe, and The Living Church Podcast) by 50 and 500 percent, respectively.

  • Develop a worldwide team of independent journalists, based in the Anglican Communion’s major regions (Canada, Latin America, Great Britain, West and East Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East), to provide deep coverage of global church news.

  • Hold 1-2 conferences each year in international venues, especially in England and the Global South, to gather a new generation of leaders committed to the work of revivifying the Anglican Communion.

  • Distribute complimentary subscriptions of The Living Church to senior bishops and seminaries across the Anglican world, becoming the must-read journal for key decision makers.

  • Use the 2022 Lambeth Conference as an opportunity to promote our work to all the leaders of the Anglican Communion.

  • Translate Anglicans Believe into Spanish, and market to Spanish-speaking church institutions across the Western Hemisphere.

OBJECTIVE 2:

EXPAND TEACHING RESOURCES

Faithful teaching — rooted in the Scriptures and the apostolic faith of the Church, alert to the challenges of our time — stands at the heart of our ministry and movement. In a time of division and uncertainty, we believe that God has equipped us to reach new audiences through a range of new media and the talents of an expanding network of gifted friends. In the next five years, we plan to

  • Advocate for and organize a clear program for the faithfulness and unity of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion in the run-up to the 2022 Lambeth Conference and in its aftermath.

  • Launch Truth and Life books, an imprint featuring the work of young leaders formed through our ministry, papers delivered at our conferences, and a series of short volumes on the basics of Christianity for a worldwide audience.

  • Complete Anglicans Believe with twelve more pamphlets, yielding a comprehensive survey of credal and sacramental themes.

  • Focus and market more fully The Living Church Podcast, developing a unified thematic format and a committed listening audience.

  • Explore videoconferences and other forms of digital teaching.

OBJECTIVE 3:

STRENGTHEN PARISH MINISTRY

Supporting parishes has long been at the heart of our ministry. We connect leaders across the Church and provide trusted resources for leading worship and proclaiming the gospel. At a time of stress and anxiety in many congregations, we have creative ideas to share and relational networks that can bring leaders together for mutual encouragement. In the next five years, we plan to

  • Develop and promote The Living Word as the premier lectionary preaching resource for liturgical Christians in the English-speaking world.

  • Publish more articles and blog posts focused on parish life and practical ministry issues in The Living Church and on Covenant.

  • Curate our archives fully, using relevant material to create thematic digital teaching resources for adult education in parishes, released for free to promote Christian learning.

  • Monitor the suitability of The Episcopal Musician’s Handbook and Illuminations for the changing needs of parishes, adapting as necessary.

OBJECTIVE 4:

SUSTAIN A COLLABORATIVE TEAM

While we have always relied on the gifts of writers in many places, in recent years our governing Foundation has grown substantially, and our staff has become almost completely dispersed. This has increased our capacity to hire talented people and helps us to attend more closely to the needs of a diverse Communion. It also requires new strategies for building relationships and collaborating closely. In the next five years we plan to

  • Increase the gender, racial, and geographic diversity of the Living Church Foundation and our contributing writers to ensure that our ministry faithfully reflects the gifts and wisdom of the whole people of God.

  • Continue streamlining and digitizing business processes to minimize office space needs and enable maximum accessibility for a dispersed staff.

  • Compensate staff competitively.

  • Gather staff annually to build relationships and plan next steps.

  • Undertake an annual review of staff competencies and recruit personnel to fulfill developing needs.

OBJECTIVE 5:

GROW FINANCIAL RESOURCES

The Living Church Foundation’s financial position is strong. However, like all religious publishers, we rely increasingly on charitable contributions to supplement subscription and advertising income. In order to fund the expanding mission that we believe God has set before us, in the next five years we plan to

  • Implement a five-year budget consonant with Strategic Plan 2020.

  • Ensure that our ministry remains on sound and sustainable footing as a business.

  • Ensure proper management of TLC’s Endowment Fund.

  • Raise $3 million in new gifts and pledges for the Endowment through a strategic and well-organized nationwide campaign, which will underwrite the new programs set forth in Strategic Plan 2020.

CONCLUSION

We have developed these objectives through a year-long process of research, discernment, and prayer, consulting with our staff, Foundation and Board members, and faithful readers from around the world.

We invite your collaboration and support in bringing these goals to life. Please pray for God’s wisdom and strength and share your financial gifts.

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one: Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom you have sent, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

— Collect for the Unity of the Church, Book of Common Prayer, p. 255