It's all who you know...

This weekend in Seattle there was a gathering of the Emerging Coordinating Team (ECG-TEC)--a self-appointed, and hopefully soon internationally recognized, network of individuals in the Episcopal Church focused on visioning and supporting emerging ministries in TEC. In attendance were Episcelebrities Phyllis Tickle, Sara Miles, Karen Ward, Eliacin Rosario-Cruz, Tom and Christine Sine, some important national church types, folks who are doing exciting things on the ground, and for about half the time, me--the interloper/token young dude. (You could have watched as well, b/c it was simulcast.) Thanks for the invite Karen. Here's what we talked about.

Aside from the trendiness of 'emerging church' work, key for me was that this was a group of influential older generation (X and above) folks working to figure out how to resource and empower people in my generation, rather than offering patronizing pats on the head and assuming we're happy to sit around until we hit our midlife crises and decide to become priests. It's a little silly that this is a new thing--my evangelical experience was all about empowering and supporting young leadership--but it does mark a sea-change in TEC, however slow moving. (This was in fact the second such hopeful gathering in recent weeks, with 5-6 TEC Emerging Bishops conferencing a few weeks back.) Beyond that, I do think there is change brewing in TEC, with this gathering formally beginning to re-envision our Episcopal/Anglican identity beyond the arguments, evangelical/traditionalist/liberal divide, and Old White Money Religion mentality. Anglimergent, I think, represents a new option coming up through the center of liberalism and evangelicalism--post-modern Christians entering the Anglican stream as a way of being and making the Church palatable and life-enhancing for people in the real world. Being transformed by culture and transforming it, opening doors, changing perceptions of Christianity, 'spreading the Gospel' if that's the language you want to use, and re-invigorating the church as a 21st century entity. With all of the media talk suggesting that Anglicanism is really just a vehicle for arguments about gay sex, it was great to be engaging in this kind of discussion, and to see it happening at such a high level.

The gathering was evidence that there are (finally) concrete things happening in the Episcopal Church these days for emerging leaders: Emergent Gathering at GenCon in Austin, 2009, financial support, re-envisioning ministerial training, church re-birthings, new monastic endeavors, inter-religious dialogue and ecumenical engagement, friends in high places, learning from British/Australian/Kiwi examples, Pioneer Mission Projects in the Diocese of Olympia, dreams of church planting institutes and financial support for planters, so on and so forth. TEC appears to be dipping its toes in missional waters. It'll be interesting to see what's born of all of this.

I'll include a follow up at some point if meeting minutes get posted online, which I think they will.

Comments

Nate Dawson said…
This is great. Thanks so much for the update.

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