Missio:Engage! Summit Reflection

Missio:Engage! Summit Reflection

by Steve Mershon, St. Augustine’s, Rocklin

On May 2nd and 3rd teams from missio:Engage! 2012 and members of congregations who are interested in learning more about missio:Engage! gathered with the Rev. Thomas Brackett the Episcopal Church Missioner for Church Planting and Ministry Redevelopment and his colleague Steve Mathews. The Rev. Megan Anderson was also a part of the dynamic facilitation team.

The event began Friday evening at St. Augustine of Canterbury in Rocklin. The attendees were greeted, provided dinner, followed by the Rev. Canon Britt Olson making introductions and providing an orientation. This first evening was hosted by the Rev. Liz Armstrong. The evening included an interactive exercise with a large “Living Systems Map” constructed on the floor. The map represented church and personal ministry stages of achievement and challenges. The participants positioned ourselves on the map stage that represented our current situation/church situation, and we described thoughts and feelings about how we arrived on our respective stages.

Then we were asked to go to the stage where we would like to be. Heartfelt and humorous views were shared about peoples’ transitions. A shared observation was that as we move through our faith journeys, together and individually, it’s expected that we will revisit the various areas on the map cycles. As we moved from our starting locations to the second locations, it was interesting to see who our neighbors were. Though we are from different churches and different situations, this led to a sense of how we can build stronger relationships and empathy for one another. Then the group gathered in a circle and the designated “Spirit-Trackers” shared their interpretations. The evening ended with the Rev. Liz Armstrong leading evening prayer.

Saturday morning, the Very Rev. Cliff Haggenjos hosted the event at St. John’s in Roseville. Breakfast was provided along with a welcome from the Very Rev. Cliff Haggenjos and the Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner. Bishop Beisner led us in morning worship, which included the Bible Challenge readings. The Rev. Tom Brackett and Steve Matthews then conducted an interview with the missio team from Trinity, Sutter Creek. The team shared how their faith has been strengthened as a result of the initiative and new trust and love developed between them. The concern about managing metrics and an expectation of congregational growth is giving way to seeing how God is working in them to build on the strengths of their community and building those relationships.

Next, the Rev. Tom Brackett, Steve Matthews, and the Rev. Megan Anderson facilitated “World Café” sessions. In all three sessions at the “Far Northwest” table, there was a strong sense of gratitude for the love of God and love for God. The table folk said the belovedness God expresses with grace, mercy and love comes to us as we are, in our being – not only in our “doing.” But the table said in doing, and being obedient, the sense of belovedness was even more present. They created “bodacious doodles” on the flip charts provided. A summary of the “harvesting” of the conversations and God’s belovedness for us follows below…

• We found belovedness from God in the description of the transportation ministry June shared, and in her sense of love to fulfill this calling.
• We found it in the description of the YouTube video Tom+ shared regarding the person who provided hugs on the street and the story that went with it.
• Everyone was moved with Trinity Sutter Creek’s interview and the “Operation Care Packages” in particular and how that ministry has grown.
• Belovedness is found in the gift of freedom from brokenness.
• It is found in the gift of transformation through the blessings of service – we receive more than we give.
• The gift of courage we receive from each other.
• The gift of “missio moments” when the Spirit’s presence is unmistakable.
• The gift of the diocese miraculously making possible new property.
• The gift of understanding how to listen and pay attention.
• The gift of God’s love, our love for each other, and in the eyes of the stranger.

Ending the event, the “Spirit-Trackers” were asked for their observations, Bishop Beisner blessed the participants, and we said our goodbyes, giving thanks to God for the gifts of Bishop Beisner, Canon Britt, the Rev. Tom Brackett, Steve Matthews, the Rev. Megan Anderson and each other – and gratitude to the Rev. Liz Armstrong and the Very Rev. Cliff Haggenjos for hosting the event.

For more reflection on the experience from Babette Haggenjos, please click here.

For more information on missio:Engage, please visit: 5marks.org/

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