How global is your local church?
That's the question organizers of "MissionworksToo!"—a biennial mission-minded gathering of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)—hope you'll ponder by attending the three-day global mission conference, October 14-16, in Cleveland.
MissionworksToo! will bring together missionaries, local church members, seminarians and national/ Conference staff to discuss how the church can develop a deeper commitment to Christian ministry with a global consciousness.
About 125 attended the first-such conference two years ago, says Jan Aerie, executive for mission education and interpretation, but more are expected for the gathering's second installment.
Sponsored by the UCC's Wider Church Ministries and UCC/DOC's Global Ministries—and supported by members of FOCUS (Fellowship of Continuing Understanding and Support), a group of global mission enthusiasts—the conference will include an address by WCM executive minister Olivia Masih White and a conversation with Mary Doria Russell, author of "The Sparrow" and "Children of God," a critically-acclaimed, bestselling series of novels that examine the meaning of "human."
"A sign of a healthy church is one where mission is carried out with joy," says the Rev. Jennifer Russell, co-chair of the FOCUS steering committee and a mission advocate in the Pacific Northwest Conference. "A healthy church is one that tells its story while understanding Christ is at the center of our giving and all that we receive. For me, being a mission- minded church means being a Christ-centered church."
"When one appreciates the difference school kits can make in Afghanistan or Bellevue, Wash., the world suddenly isn't so big," Russell says. "This happens when church members and clergy are educated about mission in communities around the world."
The UCC, through its predecessor bodies, was the first U.S. church to establish a foreign missionary board when the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was founded in 1810.
Since 1967, the UCC's overseas mission program has worked in cooperation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and in 1995, the two denominations established a Common Global Ministries Board. The cost for MissionworksToo! is $199 for lodging, most meals and materials. For more information, contact Jan Aerie at 216-736-3204 or .
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