By Alan Bentrup, Co-founder of the Missional Voices Conference
“This is the heart of the Jesus movement. And it will turn the world, and the Church…upside down, which is really right side up.” – The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
One group of student leaders at Virginia Theological Seminary have begun to bring these words to life as they initiate a conversation about mission in the Church at the April 15th Missional Voices Conference. The conference aims to connect church leaders, students, entrepreneurs, artists, community organizers, non-profit leaders, and everyday innovators in the Episcopal Church to help turn the Church inside out. For conference co-founder Alan Bentrup, “We are all missionaries, and this all is God’s mission.” Read more to find out what Bentrup has to say about mission in the Church:
"I experienced mission when we started to gather people to think about what the Church can be and do in the 21st century. I have learned a lot by working with diocesan leaders, practitioners, and others involved in missional communities and innovative ministries across The Episcopal Church.
Missional Voices began last summer with a simple question: What if God is up to something really big and global but it can only be discovered through the small and local? It was through the exploration of that question that Missional Voices was born – a gathering for the sake of reimagining church and transforming neighborhoods.
We’ve asked for several voices to inform what we’re doing. First, what does the tradition, practice, and history of our faith have to say? Second, what do the people, cultures, and neighborhoods in which we're serving have to say? Finally, what do the leaders and innovators doing - or hoping to do - this work have to say? All these voices matter, and we need to hear from them all.
The support and encouragement we have received from people, parishes, and dioceses around the country has been encouraging. There is a deep hunger in the Church for engaging our communities in new ways. We just need to be willing to try something new, and perhaps be willing to fail. It is in these moments that we learn to trust God, and we learn what God is capable of doing in and through us.
We all are missionaries, and this all is God’s mission. We just need to be willing to jump in and participate."
Giving voice to the many ways we experience mission in the church
Check back every Thursday to hear more about what mission looks like at the Episcopal Mission Center and throughout the Episcopal Church.
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,
“Right now, my group is rating our experience as the best mission they've ever been a part of. The orientation and subsequent building of relationships with kids in the community broke down their racial and urban stereotypes. Most importantly, every one of them experienced a deepening of their faith in God, and tangible understanding of how that faith works itself out in mission and issues of social justice. We will definitely be coming back!”
— Rev. Jane Cornman, St. Mary’s Church, Wayne, PA