Asset mapping is about empowering and giving voice to those in your communities. It is about identifying the gifts of the people and showing how your buildings and your land, your organizations, and how your ministries are utilized to improve the quality of life of your neighbors. Here in the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, we are creating an asset map which will focus on those ministries finding solutions to poverty, hunger, social justice, and disaster response in Louisiana.
We were called by Christ to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit the prisoners, and show kindness to strangers. Throughout the Diocese we can find many examples of this command being taken to heart:
- Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Baton Rouge is using their land to grow fresh fruit and vegetables to feed the hungry
- The churches in Morgan City, Franklin, and Bayou Du Large have new case management programs
- The Chapel of the Holy Spirit in New Orleans is empowering energetic college student to effect change in the neighborhoods surrounding Tulane University
- Churches throughout the Diocese are engaging and educating children in the poorest neighborhoods.
ECSLA is committed to lifting up and celebrating this work the churches are doing!
How can the Asset Map be used?
1) The map can be used as a tool for ministry formation
2) The map can be used as a tool to determine the direction and growth of existing ministries.
3) If a disaster should strike, the map can be used to share successful strategies to help communities through times of stress.
What is the Asset Mapping project going to look like?
1) First thing is to use the technology of Google Maps to locate where the feeding ministries are, the medical ministries, the children’s ministries… We will link to census data so you can see where the needs are in your community. During times of disaster, we can see the status of our churches. It can be a resource for volunteerism and way to organize the need for donations. If you need 20 volunteers to help feed people or you need cleaning supplies to hand out on that busy corner in your community, we can reflect this need on the map.
2) The next thing we want to do is to give churches the opportunity to tell the stories of their ministries. We will do this through video, photography, and narratives. This project is all about sharing our strengths, sharing our successes and helping each other along the way.
3) We will write a series of “How to Guides” to give practical advice as a tool for ministry formation. Sharing our knowledge is a critical in helping our brothers and sisters across south Louisiana to find their voice and their strengths. If churches are inspired by the work being conducted around the Diocese and feel the call to start a similar ministry, they will have a valuable resource to turn to in the early stages of planning.
The process of asset mapping actually began a year or so ago when members of the Episcopal Community Services staff visited every church to talk about the outreach they are doing. Now we are just building on that initial meeting and delving in deeper and extracting the essence of what it really means to
… run a feeding ministry in Uptown New Orleans,
… to minister to the fishermen in the Bayou Country
… to visit the prisoners in Angola
… to educate children in the inner cities
… to see how ministries are transforming lives!
This project is made possible through a grant from Episcopal Relief and Development. Episcopal Relief and Development recognizes the fantastic work being done throughout the Diocese and chose us to pilot this tool which they hope will be used nationally.
We look forward to sharing the great work of the churches of the Diocese of Louisiana.