The 2023 Mission Formation Program will be held in person on May 2-3
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Tampa, Florida
- Tuesday, May 2, 1 pm – 8:30 pm
- Wednesday, May 3, 8 am – 11:45 am
- Program Fee: $85
- See registration page for information on nearby discounted hotel accommodations.
The Mission Formation Program is intended to equip mission activists to participate knowledgeably and effectively in God’s mission. The program’s centerpiece is a sequence of two day-long sessions over a two-year period. As in 2023, each day can be divided into two half-days. The program is typically offered just before the annual Global Mission Conference, though it was held online during the Covid pandemic. The program can also be offered locally or regionally upon request.
Participants explore biblical foundations of mission, mission history and theology, mission discernment and standards, partnership and companionship in mission, congregational and diocesan support groups, mission team and project development, leadership styles and group process.
In addition to program attendance, participants complete reading, carry out a project between Year 1 and Year 2 and prepare mission reports. Upon completing the program, participants receive certification as Global Mission Agents.
The Global Mission Formation Program will begin on the day before the start of the Global Mission Conference. To register, fill out the Conference Networking Form (on which participants should indicate their intention to also attend the Mission Formation Program when prompted), and pay the $85 registration fee, online or by check.
Desired Learning Outcomes:
The GEMN Global Mission Formation Program is designed so that participants will:
- Be familiar with Biblical Foundations for Mission.
- Know the broad outlines of Anglican and Episcopal Mission History.
- Situate themselves among various options in Mission Theology.
- Develop Cross-Cultural Sensitivity.
- Understand Mission Companionship and how to develop it.
- Understand how to form Mission Committees in parishes and dioceses.
- Know the Episcopal Church’s Standards for Sending and Receiving Missionaries.
- Understand how to lead Short-Term Mission Teams, including youth teams.
- Identify their own Leadership Styles and how they interact with others.
- Cultivate Methods of Group Process.
The Mission Formation Program seeks to catalyze the desired learning outcomes through a number of components. Participants will:
- Attend the two daylong program days, one in Year 1 and one in Year 2.
- Complete a project over the course of the year between Formation Program sessions.
- Participate in a Mentor Group in the time between Year 1 and Year 2.
- Complete required readings and some optional readings from the Formation Program Bibliography and submit an evaluation of each book.
- Attend a diocesan or regional mission event.
- Participate in an international or domestic mission team, or undertake an alternative approved by the Formation Team.
Ideally, each participant attends two successive Formation Program sessions, but if circumstances make it difficult to attend in two successive years, one can extend the program over a longer period of time.
The sessions are designed to balance cognitive learning with growing spiritually. As the learning outcomes suggest, there is material to learn, but the sessions feature an inductive and discussion-based approach. The Formation Program provides a small, comfortable group in which to grow in God’s mission. Graduates have commented that they cherish the friendships that are formed and the inspiration that comes from sharing with one another.
The Formation Project is a an undertaking related to global mission awareness or activity, and its focus can be local, diocesan, organizational or international. The project is proposed by the participant and approved by the Formation Program Team at the participant’s first daylong session or shortly thereafter. Each participant is assigned a mentor. The participant submits an update in January and a final report at the second daylong session. Examples of appropriate fieldwork include:
- A diocesan global mission inventory.
- A study of a particular parish, diocesan or organizational global mission initiative.
- A study of Companions in Transformation or Becoming a World where Love is the Way.
- Formation of a diocesan or parish mission committee, and reflection on it.
- Participation in a global mission team, and reflection on the experience.
- An interview-based study of a global missionary.
Mission Formation Program Team:
Dr. Martha Alexander — Involved with mission in Haiti, Costa Rica, Belize and Botswana. Member, Diocese of North Carolina Botswana Companion Link Committee; GEMN Board member. Lecturer, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. B.S., Florida State University; M.H.D.L., University of North Carolina at Charlotte; M.A., University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Certificate in Global Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Ed.D., Northeastern University.
The Rev. Jean Beniste — Native of Haiti with mission experience in Dominican Republic and Florida. Rector, Christ Church, Waukegan, in Diocese of Chicago. GEMN Board member. B.A., Grand Seminaire Notre Dame d’Haiti; M.Div., Virginia Seminary.
The Rev. Jeff Bower — Member and former chair of Diocese of Indianapolis Global Mission Commission, working in companionship with Haiti and Brasilia. Currently associate rector, St. Paul’s Chuch, Indianapolis. B.A., Wabash College; M.Div., Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis.
The Rev. Holly Hartman — Mission Formation Team convener. Served seven years as missioner for global mission partnerships in Diocese of Massachusetts. Long involved in mission outreach in Haiti. Vocational deacon currently serving at Old North Church, Boston. Former GEMN Board member. B.A., University of New Hampshire; M.A., Andover-Newton Theological Seminary.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler — Missiologist. Longterm mission in India, Zimbabwe, Pakistan. Teaching and leadership in theological education. Former GEMN Board president, now GEMN executive director. Currently vicar, St. Matthew’s, Enosburg, Vermont. Authored Transfigured Night: Mission and Culture in Zimbabwe’s Vigil Movement; Horizons of Mission; Going Global with God: Reconciling Mission in a World of Difference. B.A., Harvard; M.Div., General; Th.D., Boston University.
The Rev. Paul Rajan — Originally from Church of South India, served as cross-cultural missionary in Karnataka. Mission work among Samoans, Tongans, Fijians, Fijian Indians, Sri Lankans, Ghanaians, Nigerians in New Zealand. Formed InterChristian Initiatives mission organization. Currently vicar, Good Shepherd, Wantage, Diocese of Newark. B.Th., Madras Christian College; M.A., Madurai University; M.Div., Interfaith Seminary, N.Y.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Helen Van Koevering — 26 years as British Anglican missionary in Mozambique, two years in Zimbabwe. Authored Dancing Their Dreams: A Theological Reflection on the Lives of Anglican Women on the Lakeshore of the Diocese of Niassa, Mozambique. Currently rector, St. Raphael’s Church, Lexington, Kentucky. GEMN Board member. B.A., Durham University; M.Phil., Bristol University; D.Min., Virginia Seminary.
From Our Graduates:
“I joined the Mission Formation Program at the 2013 GEMN Conference in Bogota to make connections with people already involved in mission. What I got was a family of like-minded individuals who taught me the important ‘ins and outs’ of mission work. The Mission Formation class gave me ideas that hadn’t occurred to me in the preparation phase of our mission.” – Jeff Cornforth, Missionary to Bolivia, Diocese of Iowa
“The Mission Formation Program broadened and enhanced my knowledge of mission theory and experiences of others, and it continues to influence my own thought process as I try to serve ‘the least of these.’ I strongly recommend that you participate in the program.” – Terry Franzen, Diocese of Atlanta
“The Global Episcopal Mission Network provides educational opportunities and support for the apostolic missionary work God is calling us to do. If you are ready to say ‘Here I am, send me,’ and are looking for an educational opportunity to affirm your skills and empower your ministry, the GEMN Global Mission Formation Program is the opportunity you have been seeking.” – The Rev. Canon Lura M. Kaval, Missionary to Honduras
“My GEMN Mission Formation Program fieldwork resulted in re-establishing the United Thank Offering at my parish in Atlanta. The offering had been off the radar there for some years, so it required both education and publicity to get folks excited about daily prayerful thanksgiving and the tangible results that comes from dropping coins into the blue box. Those coins lead to more financial grants for global mission needs.” – Mary Brennan, Office of Communication, The Episcopal Church
News of Past Sessions of the Mission Formation Program:
Plans for Mission Formation Program in May 2021 (click here)
“Mission Formation Program offered in Pandemic drew Record Enrollment” (click here)
Plans for Mission Formation Program in April 2020 (click here)