2018 GEMN Global Mission Conference Highlights Page – Virginia Theological Seminary

The 2018 GEMN Global Mission Conference took place from April 11th to 13th at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. See below for photos, materials and reviews of the conference. (Next year’s conference is scheduled for April 3-5, 2019 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic). Watch for more information!

Highlights from Plenary Speakers:

Wed, April 11 – Keynote Address and Plenary by Dr. Robert Heaney and Rev. Canon John Kafwanka

Dr. Heaney and Canon Kafwanka co-presented a two-part plenary series, the first of which was entitled: “Mission Connects Us – Part I: Without a Theology of Mission We Perish”

The Rev. Dr. Robert Heaney encouraged us to call people to the love of God and work for renewed thinking in mission in the context of inter-cultural partnership:

Thu, April 12 – Keynote Address and Plenary by Monica Vega and Heidi Schmidt

Heidi Schmidt and Monica Vega shared their thoughts, experiences, and reflections in “Mission: A spiritual journey amid the people into the heart of God.”

Monica shared that the theology of mission is to meet God in others.

“We thought we were missionaries but we became disciples…Jesus calls us to heal and be healed [through meeting others].”

Heidi commented that mission is about the journey and those moments when we can sink down into our hearts – our deeper selves, our true selves – and meet others as their true selves.

“These heart-to-heart moments are when we meet God in others…God is right here in this beautiful moment.”

“Love is the threshold in which the Human and the Divine flow into each other.”

“Sit face-to-face in prayer with God first, then you can be shoulder-to-shoulder with God in the world.”

Thu, April 12 – Plenary Address by the Rev. David Copley

“We can sometimes be too busy building physical walls to engage in a relational ministry that breaks down the walls of social, cultural, and theological misunderstandings.” – The Rev. David Copley, Director of Global Partnerships and Mission Personnel for The Episcopal Church

He also reminded us of Deuteronomy’s call to mission in chapter 22, verse 3: “You shall not watch your neighbor’s ox or sheep straying away and ignore them.”

Fri, April 13 – Keynote and Plenary Address by the Rev. Canon John Kafwanka and Dr. Robert Heaney

“I have gifts you do not, and you have gifts I do not. We need one another to be fully human. We lose our strength if our diversity is taken away.” – The Rev. Canon John Kafwanka, Director for Mission, The Anglican Communion speaking on the topic “Mission Connects Us – Part II: Without Partnership in Mission, We Perish.”

Press Releases:

Conference Materials:

Workshop Materials:

Conference Quotes:

“Catholicity is not only a style of worship, but rather a commitment to the gospel of Christ across time and space with all our sisters and brothers.” The Rev. Dr. Robert Heaney

“Mission is not just the activity of the church, it is the identity of the church”.

“Mission is always to the neighborhood AND to the nations.”

“When we don’t have intercultural relationships, we risk isolating ourselves from God’s voice across difference.”

“We need to get the theology of mission right: theology that liberates, theology that dignifies rather than dehumanizes others, theology that gives hope for all and not just for some, theology that calls us to repentance and acknowledges our sinfulness rather than cheap grace, theology that begins with creation and is anchored in the person of Jesus Christ.” – The Rev. Canon John Kafwanka, Director for Mission, The Anglican Communion

“Worship is connected to our discipleship and is therefore more than just what happens when we gather in church. It includes living out the implications of our faith in everyday life. So, the call in the commandment to ‘Love your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and to ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself,’ is in fact the ultimate call to worship.” – The Rev. Canon John Kafwanka, Director for Mission, The Anglican Communion

If you attended the 2018 conference at Virginia Theological Seminary, please take a moment to send in your comments and reflections to gemn@gemn.org. Thanks for your help!