This week I am spending two days outside of Denver, Colorado participating in the Everyone, Everywhere 2011 (EE11) Conference with over 300 members of the Episcopal Church, including our Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori. This gathering hopes to fan the flames of passion for mission throughout the church that was started three years ago at the first gathering in Maryland.
The focus of Everyone, Everywhere 2011 is: Relationship in the context of mission. As Episcopalians, we are called to ‘seek and serve Christ in all persons’ and to ‘respect the dignity of every human being.’ It is this foundation of our faith that guides our efforts to nourish and deepen our relationships/partnerships in God’s unending mission. We all have our own unique identity and this gathering will engage all of God’s children from different parts of God’s world, recognizing and respecting the diversity of identity present in our Church and in the world. In addition, we recognize that, as followers of Christ, we desire to share God’s love and bring about shalom within God's world, which asks us to create more just, equitable and sustainable societies. The recognition of this desire and our multi-faceted yet common identity as people of God enables more faithful and authentic conversations around relationships and the reconciliation, partnering, and financial stewardship that can be part of them.
Our world is constantly changing and becoming smaller as in-person and on-line interaction becomes easier and more common and provides us with a myriad of opportunities that enable us to share mutual ministries, compare cultures, and experience how God is working in throughout the Body of Christ. How do we as Episcopalians deepen our diverse relationships with our neighbors – those halfway around the world and those just around the corner – to better understand our collective mission as children of God and discover our individual place in God’s wider mission?