Global Mission Advocates oriented, learned, planned and networked at first triennial GMA conference at Camp Allen in Texas

In Eastertide, the Global Episcopal Mission Network joined with the Standing Commission on World Mission and the Office of Global Partnerships to plan, sponsor and host the first Global Mission Advocate (GMA) Network Conference at Camp Allen, Texas.

Advocates from 24 dioceses attended the April 3-6 gathering, including GEMN board members who are GMAs in their dioceses: the Rev. Robin Newman (New York), the Rev. Nancy Searby (Virginia), the Rev. Dr. Paul Rajan (Newark), and the Rev. Dr. Meredith Crigler (Texas). As the GMA for the Diocese of Texas, Crigler acted as host and facilitated several sessions, and the GEMN Board later appointed her as GEMN’s liaison with the GMA network.

The conference focused on four activities: orienting, learning, planning, and networking.  GMAs were oriented to one another and their work as together they workshopped these questions: What is global mission? and, What is a Global Mission Advocate? Learning included teaching about the Anglican Communion, resources for mission, and lessons from the field.

GEMN vice president Paul Rajan offered a compelling presentation on the resources GEMN offers to the wider church. The final day of the conference focused on what GMAs could take back to their dioceses and what is next in the network. A Google Drive of resources and pictures from the conference was shared, and a Facebook group was established. GMAs gather online monthly for networking.

The Standing Commission on World Mission was represented by its members who are GMAs for their dioceses: Martha Gardner (Massachusetts), Judy Conley (Arizona), Emily Keniston (Maine) and Diane Wright (Virginia).  Elizabeth Boe and the Rev. Katie Kirk described the work of the Office of Global Partnerships.  Two regional partnership officers shared from their work: the Rev. Bruce Woodcock for Asia and the Pacific, and the Rev. Paul Feheley for the Middle East.  Sean McConnell presented about the work of Episcopal Relief and Development, and Lynnaia Main presented on the work of the Episcopal Church at the United Nations.

The orienting, learning and planning was grounded in prayer stations, socials, meals and free time.  Worship included Morning Prayer, Compline, and Eucharist with Bishop Jeff Fisher of Texas. GMAs left energized and connected for partnering in God’s mission and the work ahead. Support for a GMA conference in the next triennium will be voted on in resolution A085 at the 81st General Convention this month in Louisville, Kentucky.

The origin of the GMA Network is Resolution A016 from the 2022 General Convention:

Resolved, That the General Convention encourage each diocese, jurisdiction, Episcopal seminary, and diocesan school of ministry to appoint at least one person to serve as a Global Mission Advocate to promote the study and use of the Guiding Principles and share with the Church promising global mission practices developed as these guiding principles are implemented alongside other models of ministry such as Asset-Based Community Development and the Sustainable Development Goals; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on World Mission and the Office of Global Partnerships collaborate during the triennium with the Global Episcopal Mission Network to create a Network of Global Mission Advocates to share their experiences with the implementation, study, and promotion of the Guiding Principles. This Network shall provide guidance to the Standing Commission on World Mission on the practical application of the Guiding Principles and suggest amendments.

GMAs are appointed by their bishops/dioceses to share and promote global mission practices and resources in their diocese, liaison for global mission between their diocese and the Episcopal Church and participate in the GMA network. So far, about 55 dioceses have appointed a Global Mission Advocate.

– Meredith Crigler

Pictured from top: Paul Rajan of GEMN presents at the gathering.  Katie Kirk of OGP presents.  Robin Newman of New York prepares the altar for Bishop Jeff Fisher.

Posted in GEMN Organization, Global Mission Advocates, Office of Global Partnerships, Standing Commission on World Mission.