St. Francis Episcopal Church

Bringing Christ to Denham Springs and beyond

Invite LogoWelcome LogoInvite, Welcome, Connect

IWC Conference


Invite, Welcome, Connect

Committee members of  St. Francis Invite, Welcome, Connect attended a deanery conference and shared ideas on the importance of having a welcoming congregation.


UPDATE:  Now, that COVID restrictions, protocol and masks have been lifted, St. Francis will continue on our journey to Invite, Welcome, and Connect with people on their faith journey.







Fr. Dan Krutz

 Maintenance Church versus

Mission Church

Model Comparison 



Dan.Reach the world

Janie Rainey

 Co- Chair

 Everyone has a story. 





Janet Ballow,

Co- Chair

I was a stranger, and you took me in.

Matthew 25:35



Janet.God isn't finished




Janie Rainey and Janet Ballow, co-chairs, welcomed members of the congregation.  Everyone participated in a story-telling exercise and then took the Invite, Welcome and Connect assessments before each presentation.

On a stormy Sunday after church about fifty St. Francis Parishioners took time for a delicious lunch followed by a parish meeting in which the new ministry Invite Welcome Connect was presented. We heard presentations on the three components of the ministry; we filled out assessments of each component and discussed what we are doing well and what could be done to improve in each area. Many wonderful ideas came out of this gathering as well as enthusiasm for transforming our parish.

Going forward:

We want to be intentional about inviting friends, family members and even strangers to church services and other special events and services.

We want to be intentional about warmly welcoming any and all guests who enter our doors.

We want to be intentional about connecting newcomers to our parish life and a ministry that suits the person’s spiritual gifts.

This is a big undertaking but as we prayerfully listen for God’s voice and guidance, we can more fully move from a “maintenance” frame of thought to a “mission” frame of thought. In so doing, we will fulfill our commitment to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”  



Mike Stafford - Invite Team Report

Mike Team Report

Julie Krutz - Welcome Team Report



CeeCee Picou - Summary

Where do we go from here?

CeeCee. Where

Jim Wingate - Connect Team Report



Invite, Welcome, Connect? 

Invite Welcome Connect is a ministry of relational evangelism and congregational empowerment allowing churches to become places of genuine connection for inviting the faith journeys and stories of everyone, enabling deeper journeys of Christian discipleship and enabling the Spirit of Christ to be at the heart of each church's hospitable mission of spreading the Good News. Invite Welcome Connect has circulated throughout the Episcopal Church and, to date, has been presented in 50 dioceses, at three Episcopal seminaries, and in three universities. Invite Welcome Connect has also been presented among the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and to the Anglican Church in Canada.

Designed to accommodate congregations of all sizes, Invite Welcome Connect crosses all social, economic boundaries, and explores the ways creativity and relational ministry go hand in hand in effecting culture change.  The assessment tools, surveys, checklists, and ministry materials are designed to be adapted based on the interests and needs of a particular locale.

In speaking of her work, Mary Parmer writes, "We need to be agents of imagination in our communities and empower people to take risks, trying new things for the sake of the gospel.  In order to expand this important work, a home for Invite Welcome Connect that honors this approach is needed.  I am confident the Beecken Center is just the right place for this work to thrive, to develop, and to grow."

As of July 1, 2017, Invite Welcome Connect is a proprietary, trademarked ministry, co-owned by Mary Parmer, its founder, and the University of the South.  We are pleased with the community of users and participants in this ministry to date.  With its arrival at the Beecken Cneter of the School of Theology in Sewanee, we are committed to a faithful oversight of the use of Invite Welcome Connect in dioceses and congregations. 



Invite, a.k.a. Evangelism

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 Invitation is not only about inviting people into a relationship with you and others in your congregation, but rather it is about inviting them into a relationship with God through Jesus. People need a language with which to talk about their faith. We need to help them “spell Episcopalian with the alphabet of their own soul.” –Roy Oswald, Speed B. Leas. The Inviting Church (Alban Institute, 1987) 




Chairs:  Mike Stafford 

Team Members:

Mike Picou, Midge Magee, Terry Howes, Janie Rainey





Welcome, a.k.a. Ministry of Hospitality

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7 Welcoming the stranger is welcoming Jesus. Jesus paid attention to what was going on around him and especially to those people he encountered on a daily basis. He modeled for us a new way of seeing the other - the way of love, compassion, and forgiveness. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place....We cannot force anyone to such a personal and intimate change of heart, but we can offer the space where such a change can take place. –Henri Nouwen. 




Chairs: Janet Ballow

Team Members:

Dolce McArdle, Gerald Rainey, Janet Ballow, Sandy Stafford, Darla Burnett






Connect, a.k.a. Belonging

For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. Romans 12:4-6 Connection is giving meaning to membership and discovering the gifts of the people. Connection helps the newcomer answer these questions: Where do I fit in? Can I make friends in this church? Is there room for me relationally? Does this church need me? Can I find a place to belong and serve? Am I safe here?© 2017 Mary Parmer, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



Co Chairs:  Jim and Jennifer Wingate

 Team Members: 

Ed Ballow, Alice Pittman, Cee Cee Picou, Shellie Evans,  



For more information Contact Janie Rainey or Janet Ballow