Invitation 100 Years Ago Has Borne Fruit

Vic Kinnunen

The Rev. Vic Kinnunen doing some inviting

On occasion I am asked if I have always been an Episcopalian.

Having been baptized as an infant at Christ Episcopal Church in Meadville in 1936, and having been confirmed there in 1948 by Bishop Sawyer, I guess you could say I have always been an Episcopalian.

But what about my parents? My Father was raised in the Finnish Lutheran Church and my mother was raised in the Presbyterian Church. So how did I end up in the Episcopal Church?

When my mother was about 11 or 12 years old, her girlfriend, Dorothy, invited her to come to church with her at Christ Episcopal Church, and my mother stayed, was confirmed and married there, and had her 3 children baptized and confirmed there.

I am able to be an Episcopalian priest in 2015 because my mother’s friend invited her to attend the Episcopal church – about 100 years ago!

Have you invited a friend, or a neighbor, or co-worker, or even a family member to join you at church some Sunday? Who knows what this might mean 75 or 100 years from now? Think about it. Pray about it.

The Rev. Victor J. Kinnunen, Christ Church, Oil City, PA


Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 11.07.35 AM
The Vine is a community for youth in 6th-12th grade and a collaborative ministry of the Episcopal churches in Erie County. The Vine will meet twice a month for dinner, conversation, activities, and prayer. Service, outreach, and mission will also be incorporated during the year, as well as overnights and social events.

A theme has been set in place to focus our conversations and purpose. This year The Vine will focus on the theme of community. During the fall, we will look at the communities of the church and our role in them. In the spring, we will explore the communities that we are a part of outside the church and our role in them. We will also begin preparing for our summer missions.

Plans are underway for two mission opportunities during the summer of 2015. Middle School students, those in 6th-8th grade, will have the opportunity to do local mission work within our diocese or in a neighboring diocese. High School students, those in 9th-12th grade, will have the opportunity to do domestic mission work in another diocese. Currently, we are exploring mission opportunities in Boston, MA. More information will be available at a later date. In order to take part in our summer missions, students must attend at least half of The Vine meetings throughout the year. As we move forward, meetings will incorporate preparation for these missions.

The Vine is meant to be a safe and loving community for all youth. We ask that all our members be respectful toward one another. Bullying, harassment, and violent behavior toward any member of The Vine will not be tolerated. We also ask that youth bring their whole selves to each Vine meeting and event. Come prepared to worship, learn, and engage in the activities planned for the evening or the event. Come prepared to develop and strengthen your relationship with others and with God.

For more information and to see a schedule of Vine events, click here.

Welcome to The Forward

Welcome to the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania’s new blog, The Forward. Here you will find that, as our mission statement says, we are a community of miraculous expectation and of transformational ministry. You will be able to learn about stories from our diocese as well as hear messages of hope. From time to time, you will see messages and videos from Bishop Sean Rowe and other clergy from the diocese.

You may recognize the name The Forward from its days as a printed and, more recently, an online newsletter. There are several reasons we thought that a blog format would be more effective for delivering our news and stories. First, this format allows us to keep you connected in a more timely fashion; as soon as stories and news are available, we can get them to you.   A blog also allows us to share multimedia content, such as video and audio files. Perhaps most importantly, this will allow you to share the news and stories that have impacted or are important to you. By having individual stories online, you will be able to share them through social media, email, text, or by printing out any particular story and sharing it with your congregation. On a regular basis, we will send an email to those of you who are subscribed to give a rundown of recent posts that you may have missed. (To subscribe click the “Join our email list” button on the side bar.)

Pending budget approval, we also hope to publish special edition printed newsletters twice per year. The plan is that each of these would be specific to a topic that fits in with our diocese’s strategic plan and our congregations’ needs at the time of publication. For example, a special edition on stewardship could be published ahead of stewardship season to help our congregations plan for their campaigns.

In order to make all of this work, we want to hear from you. Please let us know of events or stories from your congregation. Tell us if someone in your congregation has an interesting story to tell. Make us aware of new ministries in your congregation. We are constantly looking for stories to include and would love to hear from you.  We also encourage you to share your comments about stories that have been posted or to let us know about topics that you would like to see covered.

We hope that The Forward blog will keep you engaged and informed. We welcome any feedback you have. Please call me at 814.456.4203 or email me at with your comments, suggestions, and story ideas.