Invite, Welcome, Connect

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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.

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)

Chair: 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

Chair: 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?
– Mary Parmer

Chairs: Jim and Jennifer Wingate

Team Members: Ed Ballow, Alice Pittman, Cee Cee Picou, Shellie Evans

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Meeting Days:

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Janie Rainey

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