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Strengthening black congregations focus of fall conference


Congregational and diocesan leaders and those interested in resources for evangelism and hospitality will gather at the Transformation and Renewal V Conference set for November 11-16 at Kanuga Conferences in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Since 1999, these biennial conferences have served as a national resource for strengthening historically black congregations in the Episcopal Church. Participants come from many parts of the country to share knowledge, develop friendships, network and celebrate their Episcopal faith.

According to Kangua’s website, this year’s gathering, themed “People Get Ready: A Fresh Start in Proclaiming Christ,” will prepare participants to throw open their church doors and do the holy work of evangelism, which brings new faces to those doors.

Various workshops -- Tell Me Something Good; Highlights and the State of the Black Church; Evangelism and Congregational Development; Radical Welcome; Liturgical Evangelism; Stewardship and Evangelism; Music; and Let’s Get Moving -- will examine the importance of evangelism and each individual’s responsibility for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through various types of encounters.

The Rev. Dr. Susan Newman, director of the Washington, D.C., office of the Balm in Gilead, a non-profit, faith-based organization that seeks to improve the health of people of the African diaspora by helping faith communities address life-threatening diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, will deliver the keynote address.

A plenary session titled, “Evangelism 101,” will be led by the Rev. Dr. Benjamin K. Watts, director of Hartford Seminary’s Black Ministries Program.

Conference presenters include the Rev. Canon Angela Ifill, missioner for the Episcopal Church’s Office of Black Ministries; the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, minister for radical welcome at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston; the Rev. Martini Shaw, rector of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia; Anne Ditzler, special projects manager of the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF); Carl MaultsBy, executive artistic director of Rejoicensemble, an a cappella choral group based in New York City.

MaultsBy will also lead music for the conference with featured musician Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer, general editor of Lift Every Voice and Sing II, who will lead music for one day of the conference. The featured group will be the St. Ambrose Jazz Mass Quartet from St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are diverse musicians who also perform as the jazz group Moment’s Notice.

The Rev. Karen Montagno, dean of students at Episcopal Divinity School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Rev. Nelson Pinder, former president of UBE, will serve as conference chaplains.


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