Registrations Accepted for Call to Transformation ABCD Facilitator Formation Workshop

Episcopal Relief & Development Web StatementAugust 3, 2015

Registrations are now accepted for the Called to Transformation Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) facilitator formation workshop September 14-17, designed to train leaders in methods and tools to enhance local ministry and mission.

Called to Transformation is a partnership between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development. The Asset-Based Community Development online toolkit ( and workshops were developed to train facilitators in leading a faith community in understanding the ABCD process, explained the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

“Training people to use the Asset-Based Community Development to approach ministry switches the discernment to an asset view – what we have – from one focused on what we don’t have,” he said. “Asset-Based Community Development allows for a vital step in strategic planning in their communities.”

Asset-Based Community Development engages communities at a grassroots level to recognize local assets – such as people, buildings, relationships and even faith – and creatively envision how to use that abundance to achieve goals and imagine new forms of ministry. “This is why ABCD is so important,” said Sean McConnell, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Director of Engagement. “It builds on the gifts of individuals, congregations and organizations, and brings people together to transform their communities. When people engage their own gifts in this way, they become more deeply invested in achieving the shared goals of the community.”

Through the trainings, participants will learn about the theory and the practice of ABCD work, and then begin the process of creating a working plan to implement an Asset-Based Community Development project in their own ministry community.

“Those who complete the program also will be equipped to serve as facilitators for other communities that would benefit from this proven and theologically-based development methodology,” Stevenson added.

The first of two workshops in 2015 is now open for registration: September 14 to September 17, at the Toddhall Retreat Center, Columbia, IL (across from St. Louis, MO). 

Registration is available here. Registration is $175, which includes room, all meals and course materials. Transportation is not included. Deadline for registration is August 31. Seating is limited.

A second workshop is being planned for November 5 to November 8, in the western US (details will be released soon). “Both workshops will cover the same material, so interested clergy and lay leaders can choose the one that best fits their schedule and travel needs,” Stevenson said.

The Called to Transformation Asset-Based Community Development online toolkit and facilitator formation process were developed by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development with assistance from the Beecken Center of the School of Theology at Sewanee: the University of the South

Workshop trainers include Stevenson; McConnell; the Rev. Shannon Kelly, Acting Missioner for Campus and Young Adult Ministries for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society; and Jenny Korwan, consultant.

“In this time of Church renewal, Called to Transformation’s asset-based approach places the impetus for change and growth within the community itself, rather than solely with church leadership,” said McConnell. “Focusing on relationships rather than finances as their most important resource, these communities grow stronger and more deeply engaged over time.”

For more information contact Stevenson,, or McConnell,

Episcopal Asset Map

One of the tools related to Called to Transformation is the wildly popular Episcopal Asset Map ( This innovative partnership between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Episcopal Relief & Development has resulted in an online tool to learn more about and to share resources for ministries in local, diocesan and church-wide networks.

The Episcopal Asset Map is an online service showing the location and the array of ministries offered by Episcopal congregations, schools and institutions. The Episcopal Asset Map is available at no fee.

As of July 2015, 83 dioceses are participating in the Episcopal Asset Map.

A short video is available here:

For more information contact Stevenson at or Katie Mears, Director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program, at

The Episcopal Church:

Episcopal Relief & Development works with more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through multi-sector programs that utilize local resources and expertise. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners to help communities rebuild after disasters and develop long-term strategies to create a thriving future. In 2014-15, the organization joins Episcopalians and friends in celebrating 75 Years of Healing a Hurting World.