Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
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REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED BUT WALK-INS ARE WELCOME ON SATURDAY!
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Our Stories Speak of God
Diocesan Spring Learning Event
Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston
Reimagining Our Congregations: I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
With God’s help, we can support our congregations as they reimagine the shape of discipleship in 21st century Massachusetts. We believe in the power of Christian community to transform lives through God’s grace, a promise that sustains us even as we adapt to meet the needs of a changing world. We will deepen our relationship with God and increase our capacity to speak of our faith. Rooted in a living tradition, we will joyfully and courageously invite all people to worship our Creator, to share the reconciling love of Christ, and to participate in the work of the Holy Spirit.
The above quote is from the new Mission Strategy for the Diocese of Massachusetts. Right from the beginning it is a call to ground this process in our faith and calling as followers of Christ as we "deepen our relationship with God and increase our capacity to speak of our faith." However, talking about our faith is something that is difficult for many of us and we need help to learn an "Episcopal" way of sharing faith that feels right. If we want our churches to grow, if we want to make a difference in our community and connect it with our faith, and if we want others to know the transforming power of God in their lives then we need to find a way to talk about it.
Our keynoter this year, the Rev. Hershey Mallette Stephens will lead us in an interactive workshop with two parts. First we will learn about story, narrative, and myth and how they function in our faith. We will consider what the stories, narratives, jokes, and tropes we repeat say about who we are and how we understand God in our Church. In part two, together we will engage our spiritual imaginations, and learn how storytelling can redefine evangelism. Telling your story makes the story of God in creation, the Living Word. We will tell our stories, and listen to others stories looking for the glory of God. Come share, learn, and be inspired by the way our stories speak of the goodness of God in our time.
Hershey has led several workshops for groups across the Episcopal church including the recent "Evangelism Matters" conference in Texas and the yearly conference for Episcopal college chaplains. Her work is both inspiring and practical and attendees will find new ways of sharing faith to take back to their congregations and communities.
We encourage clergy, wardens, vestry members, any church leaders and all those interested in getting comfortable sharing faith to attend this event.
Please consider using the EPIPHANY PAPERS before this event. This year's theme is "Recognizing God's Story" and each of the 5 downloadable studies emphasizes a story from around our diocese of God at work in unexpected ways. These are not dated and can be used at any time.
Registration closes on March 2, 2016
The Rev. Hershey Mallette Stephens is a native North Carolinian, currently serving in New York City. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and educated at North Carolina A&T State University, and Howard University before graduating from General Theological Seminary. These days you can find Hershey at Trinity Episcopal Church on Wall Street, welcoming newcomers, teaching adult confirmation classes, laughing, telling stories and working at St. Paul's Chapel with the children and youth.
The call to engage children, youth and adults around spiritual practice, Anglican identity, religious thought and community building has lead Hershey to work with programs of the National Church as well as in communities abroad in the Anglican Communion. She most recently presented at Evangelism Matters; a conference for Episcopal Church evangelists. Her favorite spiritual practices are storytelling, journaling, cooking, and laughing with family, friends, sorority sisters, and the host of characters she has met along the way.
Hershey describes her spiritual journey as a life spiraling in control. Through the influences of sage grandparents and elders, many wise priests, loving friends and family, romantic relationships, and spirit-filled communities both spiritual and secular she is met and guided by God’s immeasurable grace each and every day!