This last weekend we gathered with the Northwest Mission Area for a fabulous time of conversations, fellowship, networking, learning, worship and of course, lots of good food and fun. This was the last Mission Area Gathering (MAG) of the 2016-17 program year. It has been a blessing to gather with faith communities from across ECMN. Like every one of our faith communities, each has its own context and culture. As such, each MAG has a different feel.
Our 2016-17 Mission Opportunity and programmatic focus has been, “Hearing our Stories, Healing Relationships: Engaging God’s Mission of Racial Reconciliation.” Each MAG has leaned into this extremely important and timely work. Folks across ECMN have shared their stories and experiences of racism in their own neighborhoods and communities. People have also become more educated about our historic racial challenges both in the Episcopal Church and in Minnesota. And as importantly, individuals and communities have learned and shared an abundance of tools to continue to do this critical work of racial reconciliation moving forward.
To that end, there are two resources I want to make sure that all in ECMN are aware of. First, there is the Toolkit that can be found on the ECMN website. Second, many of the fabulous folks who have faithfully served as the design team for our Mission Opportunity for this year will be transitioning to form the Commission on Reconciliation. They are continuing to develop a focus and outcomes for their work, if you’d like more information, or want to be involved, email your Missioner for Community Engagement, Rachel Babbitt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mission Area Gatherings have served as one of the primary places for faith communities and individuals to network in their context. Networking is at the heart of who we are in ECMN: “The Episcopal Church in Minnesota is a NETWORK of faith communities called to transformation by engaging God’s mission.” It is through our collaborating, sharing, partnering with fellow faith communities and others that we are able to build capacity for our participation in God’s mission.
To this end, because of the critical importance and the ever-expanding growth of networking in ECMN, we are reordering the work of your Missioners. Beginning in June, Amanda Ziebell Mawanda will transition from serving as Missioner for Mission to Missioner for Networking. Amanda, as many of you know, brings a high skill set in organizational development. This, coupled with the work she has done with the Mission Area Teams over the last several years, makes her the perfect person to place significant focus on networking in ECMN. Karen Olson, your Missioner for Ministry, has both significant experience and recent expansion of her skill set facilitating discernment with our faith communities. Moving forward, she will be your resource for the next generation of the Missional Assessment Process (MAP).
I am very grateful to all of our Mission Area Teams who imagined and implemented outstanding opportunities for our Mission Areas to gather this program year. I am excited to see how the increased network resourcing will help all our Mission Areas and faith communities engage God’s Mission in their context and culture.