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May 26, 2017

Invite*Welcome*Connect Becomes a Program of the Beecken Center

The School of Theology, the University of the South, announced today that Invite-Welcome-Connect, will become a program of its Beecken Center on July 1, 2017.

Invite*Welcome*Connect, developed in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas by Mary Parmer for the Newcomer Ministry Project, is a transformational ministry that equips and empowers congregations and individuals to cultivate intentional practices of evangelism, hospitality and connectedness rooted in the gospel imperative to, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Designed to accommodate congregations of all sizes, the work has been integrated into 40 dioceses in The Episcopal Church, seminaries, colleges and other parts of the Anglican Communion. The Beecken Center will host an Invite-Welcome-Connect summit in 2018, date and location to be announced.
“Invite-Welcome-Connect is a way of evangelism that calls us to be exactly who we are in Jesus Christ—to invite and welcome and connect others to that life-giving reality,” said the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church

Parmer will continue to lead the program’s development as a member of the staff of the Beecken Center. “We need to be agents of imagination in our communities and empower people to take risks, trying new things for the sake of the gospel,” Parmer said.

Dr. Courtney Cowart, associate dean and director of the Beecken Center noted that, “With the addition of Invite-Welcome-Connect as a ministry of the Center, the opportunities to train transformative leaders of the Jesus Movement increases dramatically. I can think of no other sister in Christ I would more gladly welcome to the Beecken Center team as a collaborator in building beloved community throughout the church and in the world than Mary Parmer.”

Parmer comes to Sewanee from Austin, Texas, where she was director of the Gathering of Leaders, a national leadership group of young Episcopal clergy. Parmer holds a degree in religious studies from St. Edwards University in Austin and has served as a lay deputy at several General Conventions. Previous to beginning her work on Invite-Welcome-Connect she served as director of adult ministries and evangelism at St. Stephen’s, Beaumont, Texas.

“Invite-Welcome-Connect is only one of many ways that the School of Theology at Sewanee is poised to support the presiding bishop’s efforts in evangelism, reconciliation, and the care of creation,” said Bishop Neil Alexander, dean of the School of Theology. “Making this program available to the whole church is but one of Sewanee’s contributions to embodying the spirit and the work of being part of the Jesus Movement in The Episcopal Church.”