2014 Global Episcopal Mission Conference

2014 Global Episcopal Mission Conference

by Dan Boeger and the Rev. Lucretia Jevne, representing the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California's Millennium Development Goals Committee

Two members of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, Dan Boeger of St. Timothy's, Gridley and the Rev. Lucretia Jevne, attended the Annual Conference of the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN), of which our diocese is a member, May 29–June 1, 2014 in Seattle, WA.

The title of the conference was “Mission Horizons: New Directions in a Changing World.” The speakers included the Rev. Eric Law presenting his new program “Holy Currencies;” the Rt. Rev. Mark McDonald, National Anglican Indigenous Bishop for the Anglican Church of Canada; and Brian Sellers-Peterson from Episcopal Relief and Development, who spoke on issues around food sustainability around the world.

Bishop McDonald delivered a keynote address: “We are not a church, but a group come together as a communion. We are in a unique position to act as agents of reconciliation." There were a number of notable quotes from Bishop Mark McDonald’s workshop:

“When the Gospel comes as norms and standards, things don’t work out so well."

"When you let the Gospel just move, there is just no stopping it.” 

“Unless we have a capacity for being surprised, we are unlikely to even notice when God does something spectacular.” 

“The glue of the church is not administrative. It is the dynamic of the Gospel shared person to person…”

The Rev. Eric Law, Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Institute in Los Angeles, gave a fine keynote address on ‘Holy Currencies,’ which are a way to develop sustainable ministry using six ways to vision and integrate for congregations.

The conference was an amazing mixture of people from all over the United States, all interested in Mission and all eager to learn new and better ways of being church in the world. Mission is no longer “us” going “there” and teaching, preaching and/or serving. Mission is collaborative, it is a learning process and has become reciprocal. For example, Natalie Finstad took what she learned about community organizing to Kenya, where she formed a non-profit to develop local leaders who then engage their communities, providing real solutions to injustice. This group is now prepared to teach us about how the power of relationships can change the world around us.

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel of the the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia opened the conference and also took part in the closing panel discussion. Moderated by the Rev. Shelley Denney, the panel consisted of Robin Denney, missionary to South Sudan and Elizabeth Boe from the Global Partnership Office of The Episcopal Church, as well as Bishop Rickel. 

Displays and information were available about various programs including Episcopal Relief and Development, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, as well as various mission projects. The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California was represented by our MDG display and the Liberian Children's Schooling Project from St. Timothy, Gridley.

The Network also held its annual meeting, electing new board members and presenting a plan to revision and develop a communication strategy. A part time executive director was hired and the bylaws revised. The current president is the Rev. Ted J. Gaiser, who is the Episcopal Diocese of Colombia's Director of Mission Development and an appointed missionary of The Episcopal Church. He has been working to promote mission outreach and sustainability throughout that diocese.

Already GEMN is looking forward to the next conferences which will be in the Atlanta area next spring and in 2016 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

We were very grateful to the Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner and the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California for making it possible for us to attend this rewarding and stimulating conference.

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