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Playing Episcopopoly


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It is loosely based on the classic capitalist game Monopoly, but it’s intended to teach kids about stewardship. And unlike the Parker Brothers perennial best seller, ”Episcopopoly” is about more than just money. Instead of building houses and hotels, the object is to build a church.

“It’s all about learning what it takes to run a church in terms of the upkeep or the responsibilities the church has,” says Erik Vochinsky, a manager at the Washington National Cathedral Museum store, which sells the game.


The game was created by Deborah Esayian, a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Riverside, Ill., near Chicago. She was trying to think of a way to teach kids about stewardship. She had the idea to turn it into a game, a knockoff of Monopoly, and then set about to make it happen.

The squares on the board are all churches and seminaries that agreed to help financially sponsor the first 3,500 games, which are almost all sold out.

Instead of choosing to be a top hat, a race car or a dog, players move around the board using tokens such as a baptismal font, a lamb, a dove or the bell tower from the University of the South, an Episcopal college and seminary.

Instead of cards denoted ”Chance” and ”Community Chest,” players can draw cards when they land on either “time, talent and treasure” or “operating budget.”

Instead of going to "jail," a player may have to go to "fund raising," an interesting concept.

The cards feature directions such as "Organist joins heavy metal rock band - go back three spaces" and "Water balloon incident at parish picnic - pay hospital fee of five offerings." Wonder if it includes ones that say "Neighborhood becomes too ethnic - lose turn while moving church to suburbs" or "Church ordains gay bishop - go back five spaces."

The game includes "board, offertory plates, steeples, cornerstones, bricks, tokens, Time, Talent & Treasure Cards, Operating Budget Cards, property deeds, offerings, property brochure and dice."

No mention if the object of the game is to force the other players churches to go out of business, like real Monopoly.

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