Partnership provides online resources for mapping local ministries: Episcopal Asset Map
An innovative partnership between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development has resulted in a new online tool – the Episcopal Asset Map - to learn more about local ministries and to enhance them.
The Episcopal Asset Map, available here, is an online service showing the location and the array of ministries offered by Episcopal congregations, schools and institutions throughout the United States in dioceses that are participating in the project. The Episcopal Asset Map is available at no fee.
“I deeply value the important work diocesan and local leaders have put into building the Episcopal Asset Map thus far, and hope that more dioceses will join in the coming months,” said Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development ex-officio board member. “I know that both The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development are supporting this endeavor with training and resources to encourage widespread participation. The collaboration and partnership between these two important service organizations of The Episcopal Church is a great asset to our mission. It is very exciting to watch the map bloom with information that will lead to new connections, partnerships and ministries.”
The Episcopal Asset Map displays pins on a map interface, with scan and search functions allowing users to explore their local area or the entire country. Clicking on a pin (or a link from the list view) provides contact information and descriptions of programs at that particular location.
“The Asset Map will help tell the stories of some of the truly inspiring Gospel ministry being done in local contexts across the country,” said the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. “Episcopalians on the front line of mission will be the driving force behind this resource as it continues to develop for many years to come.”
What began as a pilot in the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana in 2012 and Diocese of New York in 2013 has grown to active participation of 16 Episcopal dioceses as of March 2015* and more are welcomed. Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program worked with leaders in Diocese of Louisiana and Diocese of New York to build an online platform to catalog and celebrate the ministries and facilities in their dioceses. Now, these maps serve as models for other dioceses to get involved in building their own presence.
“The Asset Map is a visual catalog of The Episcopal Church at large, enabling diocesan leaders, church members and church seekers alike to see at a glance and in depth what the Church’s presence looks like in their area, both infrastructure and programs,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President of Programs. “It has wide-ranging potential to facilitate the development of new ministries and partnerships, and support the mobilization of resources and expertise.”
Join the map
To join, the diocesan bishop needs to agree to participate. From there the bishop appoints up to three administrators, and the Asset Map team members provide training and support to facilitate successful implementation. A simple web-based survey, which can be filled out by anyone with knowledge of the programs, collects information about each location plotted on the map. Images and videos can also be uploaded to provide a detailed description of activities. A diocesan map administrator moderates all submissions before they appear on the location’s page.
A short video is available here
Additionally, the Episcopal Asset Map has particular utility for disaster preparedness and response. The map can show churches and other locations that might be at risk of flooding or near where a tornado has touched down, and what nearby ministries or facilities could be mobilized to help. Increasing collaboration and building on existing resources and expertise are key outcomes supported by the availability of information through the map.
“Utilizing information from the map, diocesan leaders will be able to advise on how to quickly and accurately assess needs and resources in an impacted area,” Katie Mears, Director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program said. “Coordinating a response is much easier when you can instantly see on a map where the nearest food pantry or shelter ministry is. Adding this information to the map can be an important part of disaster preparedness for any congregation or diocese.”
For more info
*List of participating dioceses
California, Central Gulf Coast, Chicago, Colorado, Eastern Michigan, El Camino Real, Georgia, Los Angeles, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Northern California, Northern Indiana and Virginia.
(Note: While the Episcopal Asset Map currently depicts Episcopal dioceses in the geographic United States, expansion will include Province IX and other international dioceses of The Episcopal Church.)