The era when “everyone” knew the Christian story, the church held a position of public respect, and Sunday mornings were reserved for worship is ending. The church is losing influence, power, and the social expectations that maintained our institutions and budgets. How will we, as leaders, respond to this transition out of hope and courage rather than fear? What can we learn for this new reality from voices in the church who have modeled perseverance, maturity, faithfulness, and innovation from a place of cultural marginalization? What do we need to retain at our core; what do we need to cast off; and what do we need to adapt in order to proclaim the gospel and form disciples in this new reality?
2022 Themes & Gatherings
The Missionary Church After Christendom
(Gatherings: Alabama, Virtual February, Oregon)
Racial Reconciliation and Discipleship in the Missionary Church
(Gatherings: Philadelphia, Virtual September)
Our Presiding Bishop has called us into a deeper understanding of the relationship between evangelism and racial reconciliation. It has been said that Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America, because our worshipping communities often reflect the dividing lines of race rather than the unity of Christ’s Body or the glorious diversity of God’s creation. We wish to explore the connection between discipleship, mission, and racial reconciliation. Continuing events in our nation make this work all the more urgent. We understand ourselves, as Christians, to be called to reconciliation. How does making disciples facilitate and celebrate racial reconciliation in our particular contexts? How are the church’s legacies of racial division and racial healing affecting your work of evangelism and mission? What signs of hope do you see? Within the context of the Great Commission, what roles do confession, repentance, forgiveness and reparation play in the work of racial reconciliation within ourselves, our congregations and the Episcopal Church?