Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary….Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28, 31
Here in the Diocese of San Diego, we are a people of Courageous Love. We have confidence that God has given us all we need to follow Jesus and share God’s good news with the world. Yes, we have suffered from a pandemic, whose effects on attendance at our churches linger. Yes, we are a diocese who experienced losses from the divisions of the mid-2000s. And yes, we are in a world where fewer Americans seek out community within churches; many prefer to retreat into online worlds they can experience from the comforts of their home.
But our church has something to offer our increasingly divided and individualized world. Our church honors the image of God in every person, and proclaims the love of God in all walks of life. And we believe that Christ still brings good news that can transform our churches and our communities, serve our neighbor, and bring healing to our wider society.
To share this good news, The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego needs Courageous Love.
Christ calls us to love, and Christ gives us courage. Courage is the strength to act in the face of fear. Courage is the decision to take a risk for the right cause. Courage is the faith that when we work for God’s mission, the Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish what God calls us to do.
Courage is a word that comes from the Latin for “heart.” To have courage is to have the heart to live in the truth of God’s love for us and God’s love for this world.
This is a time for Courageous Love. It’s a time for us to put our hearts into God’s mission for this time and this place – the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.
Our world faces many challenges today. Yet there is no time when God’s love is more vital than a time of trouble and stress. There is no community more in need of the good news of Jesus than a community that lives in a time of turmoil. In fact, that’s exactly the kind of world Jesus came to. It’s the kind of world in which Christianity first thrived. And it’s the kind of world that is hungry for the transformation only the living God can offer.
The Diocese of San Diego has a bold, courageous, God-given vision. Our vision clearly acknowledges the change that is happening in the world around us, and responds with love, joy, and courage. Jesus commanded us to share God’s love, and in the Diocese of San Diego, we are deeply committed to sharing that love.
Our vision grows from the Strategic Plan that our diocese published in 2020. In the midst of that pandemic-stricken year, we still had the courage to look to the future.
As we addressed the myriad challenges the pandemic brought, we courageously began to move towards the aspirations set forth in this plan. And as you will see, we have made significant advances. But there is more still to be done, and I want to invite you to join me in pursuing our vision to become a growing, diverse, worshiping community of Jesus Christ’s followers, courageously sharing God’s transforming love in our neighborhoods and beyond.
The Courageous Love campaign will strengthen congregations, serve our neighbors, and grow the Church by building on the strides we have already made in our post-pandemic work. To ensure the long-term sustainability of our diocese, we will provide resources for leadership, discipleship, and evangelism. By supporting congregations poised for growth and vitality, establishing new churches, and creating college ministries, we can reach out to new populations. As the shape of congregational ministry shifts, we will assist our parishes in discerning how best to use their campuses in a spiritually fulfilling and financially sustainable manner.
As you can imagine, these areas of emphasis impact and reinforce each other. When we serve our neighbors, our congregations discover new members. By addressing the housing crisis in San Diego, we generate income for our congregations. When we gain new members, we meet future leaders of our church whom we might not have
Will you join me in preparing for our future and sharing God’s Courageous Love? Our goal is to raise $2.5 million to answer God’s call to mission in our diocese. Together, we can change the future of the Episcopal Church in our region.
In the following pages, you will find more information about what we have already accomplished, what we hope to achieve with your help, and how you can support this campaign.
With Courageous Love, we act in faith that the Episcopal Church has life-transforming good news to share with the world. We trust God’s promises, because we know that God is faithful.
This is a plan that calls for Courageous Love.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego