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Breakout Sessions and Interest Groups Shape Upcoming Assembly 2012

Provincial Assembly 2012 is just around the corner, taking place on June 7-9 in Ridgecrest, NC. Archbishop Duncan announced that this event is “very much about building up the mission of the church and encouraging the next generation of leaders in our midst.”

In order to help build relationships among current leaders, and to educate the next generation of leaders, Assembly 2012 will feature a series of breakout sessions and interest groups throughout the three-day event.

“We’re hoping this combination of breakout sessions and special interest groups will bring both challenge and encouragement for all who attend,” said Deacon Todd Simonis, Leader of the Taskforce on breakout sessions and interest groups.

A unique feature at Assembly will be the opportunity to gather in “special interest groups” where participants will meet for fellowship, and to teach and learn from others in their area of ministry. These special interest groups will gather on Saturday afternoon toward the end of Assembly. Lay and ordained leaders from around the Province have organized thought-provoking group discussions on a range of topics.

Some of the interest groups that have been organized include a Faith in the Workplace interest group, along with Clergy Spouses, Bi-Vocational Ministry, Women Clergy, Higher Education and Seminary Discussion, Anglicans for Life, Internationals in our Churches on Our Campuses, Anglican Relief and Development Fund, American Anglican Council, Church Planting (Anglican1000), Discerning the Call, and more.

For most participants, this may be the only opportunity to gather in-person and discover valuable lessons from others in their field.

Deacon Todd added, “The special interest groups will allow individuals to connect and network with others who have a similar passion or interest.”

During the afternoons on Thursday and Friday, there will be four breakout session themes featuring several topical discussions. The four themes include Multiply Congregations, Transform Communities, Captivate Disciples, and Youth in Our Midst.

“The breakout sessions are meant to dive deeper into the main focus of the wider Assembly, which revolves around Captivating Disciples, Multiplying Congregations and Transforming Communities,” explained Deacon Todd.

In the Multiply Congregations breakout sessions, participants will hear from various leaders and experts including the Rev. Tom Herrick, Executive Director of the Titus Institute for Church Planting and Multiplication, a ministry dedicated to establishing an Anglican multiplication movement in North America. Fr. Herrick’s session will focus on the ways that every church, regardless of its size and stage of development, can develop a culture of leadership that activates the missional energies of its members.

“We will look at practical ways to recognize emerging leaders, encourage the exercise of leadership gifts, and organically cultivate disciples who are bearing fruit in ministry and reproducing faith in the lives of others,” said The Rev. Herrick.

Mike Flynn, pastor of four churches in the Los Angeles area, will focus his Multiply Congregations discussion on Power Evangelism’s role in planting and growing congregations. How to be “naturally supernatural” will be a main thrust of the presentation and a calling down of the Holy Spirit will follow his talk.

Another key breakout session theme is Transform Communities and participants will hear from lay and ordained leaders who will share captivating stories of profound transformation both domestically and abroad. Grant LeMarquand and his wife Wendy will hold a discussion titled “Refugees Transforming Refugees: The Impact of Anglican Churches in Western Ethiopia.” In the border region between South Sudan and western Ethiopia, Sudanese refugee pastors have planted 53 Anglican churches. The area is poor, de-forested, undeveloped, has little clean water, a high level of non-literacy, lack of health care and few educational opportunities – but 53 Anglican churches have been planted and they are beginning to transform their communities with the Gospel.

Grant LeMarquand, a Canadian and former Professor of New Testament and Mission at Trinity School for Ministry, is also the Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa with the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa. Wendy LeMarquand is a family physician who is trained in tropical medicine, has experience with community-based health care in Africa and leads prayer ministry teams.

Also under the topic of Transform Communities, Bruce Colvin, a seasoned missionary in post-traumatic cultures and communities, will hold a breakout session relating the transforming community and disaster response and relief.

“There is no better metaphor for the Gospel than disaster response and relief. This session will address how to prepare the local church to be an intact, ministering community for the sake of its neighbors, particularly in times of tragedy and misfortune,” offered Colvin.

Maintaining a focus on mission work abroad, a separate Transform Communities track is titled, “Investing in Africa: “Teach a Man to Fish: Go With Him on His Boat” and will be led by The Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll. Prof. Noll will guide the audience in considering the opportunities and difficulties of doing business in Africa, as well as discussing his own involvement in Uganda, with a focus on education as business venture and also land development.

Fr. Eric Dudley, rector of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Florida, will lead a more familiar breakout session under the topic Transform Communities, and his discussion is titled, “Transforming the Local Church.”

Fr. Dudley explains, “Transformation within the local community must first take place within the local church. You cannot act as a vehicle of God’s Spirit to transform the community unless transformation is first taking place at a parish level.”

The third breakout theme to be discussed in various sessions is Captivate Disciples. Bishop David Bena will lead a discussion titled, “Captivating Co-Baby Boomers for the Kingdom” With all the emphasis on reaching Gen X and Gen Y, Bishop Bena will remind his audience that they cannot forget captivating the Boomers. This session will highlight some of the characteristics of Boomers and how they can be reached with the Gospel.

A fourth breakout topic that will be offered this year is Youth in Our Midst which will address varying issues related to youth ministry and outreach and will be led by experts from around the Province.

If you have not already done so, there is still time to register for Assembly 2012. Join us this summer as we are equipped and empowered to follow God’s call to spread the transforming love of Jesus Christ throughout North America!

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