Stewardship leaders throughout North America and the United Kingdom plan to gather April 23-26 in Suffolk, England for "Generosity + Mission," a historic conference sponsored by the Episcopal Church, the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS).
The Diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich will host "Generosity + Mission," which will be held at Trinity Park Conference and Event Centre in Ipswich.
The conference promises to explore the varied responses to God's generosity, and examine the way a clear sense of mission encourages the generosity of individuals, and the ways in which that benefits the institutional Church.
The premise behind the shared sponsorship of the event is to allow persons on both sides of the Atlantic to share wisdom, ideas, and fellowship around stewardship theology and practice.
Keynote speakers include Bishop Michael B. Curry of North Carolina; Bishop Catherine Waynick of Indianapolis; Terry Parsons, stewardship officer for the Episcopal Church; the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu; and the former Archbishop of British Columbia and the Yukon, Douglas Hambidge.
"The root of the message that I will bring is that stewardship, discipleship, Christian living is all predicated upon a faith commitment, and relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior," said Curry.
Furthermore, said Curry, this gathering intends to take the call of Jesus seriously.
"We are going to come together across our various cultures to really wrestle with how we can more closely and more authentically follow in the way of Jesus of Nazareth," he said. "This means in his teachings, in his living spirit and reality today, by giving our life to that for which he gave his life and preaching the good news and declaring it to the poor.'"
According to Waynick, the conference is important "because our lives as stewards are an integral part of our spiritual life."
"The choices we make, and the priorities we set in exercising stewardship of our whole life are spiritual issues and so anytime that we can gather members of the church to think in those terms, and to reflect theologically on the exercise of their stewardship then we are providing a way for them to deepen their understanding of who they are in relationship to God, and in relationship to other people and the earth," she explained.
In addition to the plenary presentations, the conference will feature an assortment of discussion groups led by representatives of the sponsor churches.
There will also be an opportunity for various members of the Anglican Communion to gather and discuss common concerns of their congregations.
"We do not decide to be stewards, we are created to be stewards," said Waynick. "It is a given and what we decide is how we are going to exercise that stewardship. We exercise stewardship over every aspect of our lives. We have to be faithful stewards of our relationships, time, skills and gifts, the earth, money, even the good news."
When we begin to exercise thinking about stewardship as the image of God, she explained, it "takes on some new layers of meaning for people."
"We often buy the lie that there is not enough, and we need to get over that," said Waynick.
The cost of the conference is $340 (US). Complete information, including schedules, hotel options, optional excursion details, and registration is available here.
"There are several things that are valuable in this conference," said Parsons. "The discussion of the connection between generosity and mission, making that connection and finding our place in it is important. The other interesting thing is that in a time where there are very high level conversations going on in the global church, here is a wonderful opportunity, for what you might call people from the pew, to come together and talk about something that is vital and ordinary in our common life."