The Episcopal Church’s Asiamerica Ministries is partnering with the Church Planting and Redevelopment Office to offer a virtual conference on Church Planting in the Asian Diaspora. The conference will bring together a diverse group of storytellers to share their experiences of church planting as Asian American Episcopalians, and in Asiamerican contexts.
The conference is scheduled for May in observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at the following times: May 13-15, 7-9 p.m. ET (6-8 p.m. CT, 5-7 p.m. MT, 4-6 p.m. PT; for Southeast Asia: May 14-16, 7-10 a.m.).
Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Hmong, Pakistani, Arab-Middle East and multicultural congregations will share ministry stories during the conference. The stories will focus on a variety of themes, including ethnic and cultural identity, models of leadership, and why people of Asian descent might be interested in being part of the Episcopal Church and what compelling witness the Episcopal tradition has for them. Following the stories there will be opportunity for questions and reflection in small groups.
The Episcopal Church Asiamerica Ministries Office helps dioceses start new Asian congregations and strengthen existing ones, and advocates for Asian empowerment at all levels of the church. The U.S. Asian population is one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country.
The Rev. Dr. Winfred Vergara, missioner for Asiamerica Ministries, said, “Cultural diversity, rapid growth and new energy are some of the gifts which the Asian diaspora offers to The Episcopal Church in the United States. Spontaneous congregational developments are happening among these ethnic diaspora. For example, we have the first and largest Hmong congregation in the entire Anglican Communion.”
In addition, Vergara noted, Episcopal parishes have recently welcomed some 30 groups of Karen refugees from Myanmar, and 20 Karen lay leaders are receiving theological education through the Karen Episcopal Ministry.
The Episcopal Church Office of Church Planting and Redevelopment helps provide resources and connections for leaders of new Episcopal communities, particularly those who are historically underrepresented in the denomination.
“Starting new communities, especially those that look different than the status quo, can be lonely work,” said the Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers, staff officer for church planting. “One of our main goals with this conference is to share stories and experiences that will encourage and inspire future Asian American Episcopal church planters.”
Vergara has also initiated a new discipleship program called Asiamerica Network of Disciples Revivalists Evangelists Witnesses and Servant-Leaders (ANDREWS) that seeks to train a cadre of evangelists and church planters among people of the Asian diaspora. This program includes 70 mentors-in-training (35 clergy and 35 laypeople) who will form the nucleus of church planting learners for the conference.
To register for the Virtual Conference on Church Planting in the Asian Diaspora, visit https://DFMS.formstack.com/forms/church_planting_among_asian_diaspora
Contact Angeline Cabanban, Ethnic Ministries associate, with questions regarding registration, 212-716-6186.