Omaha cathedral, Nebraska diocese welcome Church Center regional office

Ecumenical, interfaith relations among emphases; Epting to join work in Midwest
February 24, 2008

Omaha's Trinity Cathedral and the adjoining offices of the Diocese of Nebraska have provided space for an Episcopal Church Center Regional Office to open later this year with specialization in ecumenical and interfaith relations, and congregational life.


"We are delighted that the Church center has chosen to locate here," said the Rev. Tim Anderson, canon to the ordinary serving Nebraska Bishop Joe Burnett. "We do believe that Omaha really does represent the Midwest, and the offices that are to be located here will fit nicely with what's going on in this particular part of the country: interfaith work, small-church development, and lay leadership."

"Trinity Cathedral and the Diocese of Nebraska are very excited about the decision to locate [offices] here in the diocesan and cathedral complex," said the cathedral's dean, the Very Rev. Thomas J. Hurley.

"We believe that the offices of Small Church Development, Lay Leadership and Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations are a perfect match for our current ministry here in the heart of the heartland," Hurley said. "While we look forward to benefiting from this relationship we also believe that we have important insights and experience here that can enrich the wholeness of The Episcopal Church."

"We are enthusiastic about the many opportunities that having an office in the heartland will offer," said Linda E. Watt, the Episcopal Church's chief operating officer.

"Our goal in opening the regional offices is to connect our staff directly with Episcopalians around the country, in order to enhance the communication about, and cohesion of, our various ministries," Watt said. "The Diocese of Nebraska has a number of important and dynamic ministries that the Church as a whole may want to learn about and celebrate."

Epting to work from Midwest
Bishop C. Christopher Epting, the Presiding Bishop's deputy for ecumenical and interfaith relations, will continue in this capacity and relocate to the Midwest. Epting was previously bishop of the Diocese of Iowa.

"I'm delighted to be moving back to the Midwest where I served as bishop for 13 years," Epting said. "I hope to be able to relate closely to other national ecumenical offices in the region and also perhaps focus more on local expressions of ecumenism."

Omaha's Tri-Faith Initiative -- a partnership of the Omaha's Temple Israel, the American Institute of Islamic Studies, and the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska -- offers a unique resource to the Episcopal Church's interfaith work, said Anderson, who noted that the three entities are exploring a plan to co-locate houses of worship on an interfaith campus.

Omaha's Trinity Cathedral congregation welcomed the announcement of the regional office location earlier this month, Anderson said.

The office space has been provided to the Episcopal Church Center rent-free under a five-year agreement, he confirmed.

The offices are located at 109 N. 18th Street in downtown Omaha. The complex is anchored by Omaha's historic stone cathedral, known for architectural details including notable stained-glass windows. Organized in 1856, Trinity became the diocese's cathedral in 1872. The present church was consecrated in 1883.

The Omaha site joins the Church Center's new configuration of five regional offices, including Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Arrangements to finalize two additional offices in Atlanta and Seattle continue.

Opened on January 2, the Los Angeles office is located at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, 840 Echo Park Avenue. The Washington office -- the site for some 25 years of the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations -- is located on Capitol Hill at 110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.

Introduced as part of the ongoing reorganization of the Episcopal Church Center staff, the regional offices continue to complement work based in New York City at 815 Second Avenue.

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