Winter Conference 2014: Be Strong and Courageous!
A group of archbishops, bishops, clergy, ordinands and laity were encouraged, anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit at the 14th Annual Winter Conference held January 22-25 at the Hilton Americas in Houston, Texas. Uniting around a common vision and a single purpose—to share the good news of the gospel with the lost in North America—The Mission confidently stepped into the future as a Society of Mission and Apostolic Works.
Welcome, Apostolic Vicar Philip Jones!
This year marked a significant transition in leadership for The Mission as Bishop Philip Jones of All Saints Dallas was installed as Apostolic Vicar. He selected Joshua 1 (“Be bold and courageous”) as the scripture for the conference, preparing for the new challenges ahead and the call to advance the Kingdom.
At the opening service on Wednesday night, Bishop Jones was installed as Apostolic Vicar by the College of Consultors and witnessed by a group of partnering bishops from around the world who signed Concordat. Bishop Jones reminded those gathered, “We exist to bring the 130 million unchurched Americans to faith in Christ. Jesus is saying to The Mission, ‘Keep your hand on the plow, know Me and live for Me.’”
The Rt. Rev. Edmund Dawson Ahmoah of the Diocese of Dunkwa-on-Offin in Dunkwa, Ghana, presented each of the bishops with beautiful vestments made and embroidered by his wife, Gifty. All Mission clergy then participated in a Renewal of Ordination vows.
College of Consultors in attendance: The Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini, The Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung, The Most Rev. Moses Tay, The Rt. Rev. Sospeter Ndenza, The Rt. Rev. Charles H. Murphy III and The Very Rev. Mike Murphy
Concordat Bishops in attendance: The Rt. Rev. Edmund Dawson Ahmoah, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Aaron Kijanjali, The Rt. Rev. Fanuel Emmanuel Magangani, The Rt. Rev Elias Chakupewa, The Rt. Rev. Mathayo Kasagara, The Rt. Rev. Brighton Vitta Malasa and The Rt. Rev. Dr. Todd McGregor
Plenary Session Highlights
Attendees found the five plenary sessions inspirational, challenging and even life changing.
Apostolic Vicar’s Address
Bishop Jones urged recommitment to The Mission’s values set forth over the last 14 years and for newcomers, described what The Mission is all about—a bold and courageous mission, unity in the midst of diversity and three stream spirituality. He described how The Mission is poised to meet Millenials’ hunger for the sacred as it continues changing the face of Anglicanism in North America. Ultimately, he challenged attendees not to forget to love the Lord, as loving Him is the foundation of everything we do. Love creates radical inclusivity of others, leading to belonging before believing in our faith communities.
Quotable: “We are moving forward with God’s grace and anointing, as we move forward in mission. Jesus has shown us the way, it’s often dangerous, risky, but that is the life of the cross.”
(Follow Philip on Twitter @DallasAllSaints)
Amy Orr-Ewing: Questions Jesus Asks Us
Amy, the UK Director of Ravi Zacharius Ministries and a well-known speaker, author and apologist, talked about the powerful art of asking questions that Jesus used to identify the condition of the human heart. She posed three significant questions Jesus asked in the gospels: What do you want? Why do you involve me? Do you love me? She encouraged living all out for Jesus in a way that’s not possible to achieve without the Holy Spirit. To illustrate, she told an incredible story of smuggling bibles to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Quotable: “In the West, we pursue our agendas with no need for God to show up. We’ve got it all covered ourselves. How difficult we find it to step out and trust God in a radical way.”
(Follow Amy on Twitter @amyorrewing)
Brian Hardin: Identity Theft
The founder of the Daily Audio Bible and planter of Four Winds Mission talked about how in our personal lives, we often assume the identity of a slave instead of child of the Living God. We create the reality we live in based on our imperfect interactions with others, and can spend years wandering in the wilderness attempting to “find ourselves.” It’s impossible to know God based on information, outside of relationship. As a church planting organization, we need to get serious about our relationships with God and spending time in scripture every day.
Quotable: “The Scriptures are the North Star that lead us back to the heart of God.”
(Follow Brian on Twitter @realbrianhardin)
The Mission introduced its own version of the outrageously popular TED Talks with a plenary session devoted to sharing ideas about Mission, Outreach and Evangelism.
Don Blair of St. Andrew’s Little Rock shared about church involvement in addictions.
Daniel Lizarraga of Grace Fellowship in San Antonio shared about opening our hearts and minds to what other cultures have to offer us.
Leslie Kingman of Grace Fellowship in San Antonio shared about adopting an elementary school and feeding food insecure children.
Kris McDaniel: Why I Am an Anglican
The founding pastor of Trinity Anglican Mission in Atlanta told the compelling story of how he discovered the treasure chest of Anglicanism as a Vineyard pastor, and how that path eventually led Trinity Vineyard to become Trinity Anglican Mission.
Quotable: “When we as Christians are increasingly unconcerned with power, we become more attractive to a watching world.”
Other Conference Highlights
Many thoughtful components made Winter Conference 2014 an unforgettable experience.
Each morning began with a special devotional led by a member of The Mission’s clergy.
A worship collective from Mission Chattanooga led attendees in uplifting praise and worship.
Attendees could choose from 14 afternoon workshops on topics from Preventing Burnout to Unleashing Beauty for Mission.
In a special ordination service on Thursday, five individuals (Michelle Knight, Daniel Lizarraga, Seth Richardson, Joshua Siu and Nathaniel Smith) were ordained to the deaconate.
The Mission held its first-ever Winter Conference Prayer Walk to bless the city of Houston. Due to inclement weather, participants walked the hallways of the hotel and lifted up prayers of intercession for its occupants.
The annual Clergy Wives Luncheon welcomed Claudia Jones and bid a fond farewell to Margaret Murphy.
New Developments in The Mission
Bishop Jones announced several exciting developments coming in 2014. Follow The Mission on Twitter for updates (@the_AMIA).
- The Mission is working to create a recruitment and assessment system for church planters as well as a “boot camp” experience.
- The Mission is assembling a Presbyterial counsel to provide advice and ideas for Bishop Jones, composed of lay people and ministerial individuals.
- As part of a fresh rhythm, Winter Conference will now be held every other year, and Mission Abbeys will serve as platforms of learning throughout the year. Exciting mini conferences for clergy are already scheduled in Chattanooga (Horizons Conference) and San Antonio.
- Seven to 12 church plants are in the works for 2014 in cities like Chattanooga, Atlanta, Dallas, Little Rock, Vancouver, and San Antonio.
What Winter Conference 2014 Attendees Are Saying
“The Mission Conference 2014 is in the books. Best conference ever. Refreshed. Inspired. Recharged. Excited.”
“I enjoyed and was encouraged by the young speakers and leaders from around the Mission.”
“So much joy, freedom and friendship within the Mission this week.”
“I enjoyed the inspirational message from Bishop Phillip Jones. His words were encouraging and comforting that the Mission is moving forward!”
“I was stretched in faith and blessed by serving on the prayer team.”
“I was extremely inspired by Amy Orr-Ewing’s plenary and her ‘What do you want?’ question.”
“Loved the workshop on creating beauty by Paul Sorensen and Robbie de Villiers.”
“My favorite talk was Amy Orr-Ewing. How exciting to hear how God has used their ministry!”