Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism and Reconciliation, shared her missional moment as she presented at the inaugural Missional Voices Conference in April. In her position Canon Spellers is responsible for supporting the ministry of the Presiding Bishop and Primate as it pertains to evangelism and reconciliation efforts at the local, congregational, diocesan, and churchwide levels. She began her presentation by telling us that mission is about being sent by God. This means that living missionally is about crossing boundaries and participating in God’s mission, that is, “loving the world into wholeness,” in all that we do. She says that the Spirit is on the move and so mission must also be on the move. “Anybody watching us should see God’s mission in all that we do;” it’s a way of being. And so I leave you with the questions that Canon Spellers left to us:
“What is God up to? How do we function in relationship to God’s mission? What is the mission of the church?
Mission trip, mission experience, mission church. Missionary, missional church, missional living. We throw around the word mission in so many context and in so many ways, but when do we consider what mission really means. The Episcopal Mission Center is a ministry focused on missional living; it is stated right in the mission statement: “We seek to instill missional living in youth and young adults.” So what the heck is this missional living thing all about?
On April 15-16th EMC staff attended the inaugural Missional Voices Conference. There they presented an exhibit table on the work of the EMC and heard from courageous leaders in the missional church. They learned about the creative ministries these leaders are a part of and how they seek to encounter people where they are at, beyond the four walls of the church. Here are some of the missional voices we heard:
Last week we heard from Emily Armstrong about the missional moment she experienced while working at St. James School with her high school youth group. She was part of a group from the Diocese of Virginia that visited the EMC during June of 2016 during which they volunteered with City Camp, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and smaller parishes in the diocese. For one adult leader, John Knouse, youth minister at St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton, Virginia, mission felt a little different when he and his group were working at the Free Church of Saint John, in the Kensington neighborhood of North Philadelphia supporting the preparations for City Camp. John writes this about his experience of mission in Philadelphia:
“The one thing that struck home for me [last] year was our last day of mission. I was with the group at The Free Church of Saint John. We started preparing the grounds for City Camp and, by the end, we had 12 young kids from the community helping our crew with all the tasks. Getting to meet the kids we were doing the work for and having them work with us was incredible.”
EMC youth alumni, Adult leaders in the Episcopal Church, volunteer site partners
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
Thank you for your radical hospitality!
Gwynedd Mercy University
Thank you for your hospitality in hosting students from Gwynedd Mercy and Alvernia University during their Alternative Break with the Interfaith Center. The facility was wonderful. We held several of our workshops there in your comfortable space. What an ideal setting! The students especially appreciated participating in your mass as getting a personal orientation from Rev Morris and such a warm welcome from your parishioners.
With much appreciation for all you do,