Invite Welcome Connect 2018 Summit: Going Deeper

Invite Welcome Connect is a transformational ministry that equips and empowers clergy and lay leaders 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, Invite Welcome Connect has been integrated into 45 dioceses of The Episcopal Church, seminaries, colleges, and other parts of the Anglican Communion.  

Invite Welcome Connect

The third national Invite Welcome Connect Summit, held June 12–14 at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, will be a wonderful opportunity for seasoned practitioners and newcomers to come together in fellowship to learn, share ideas, worship, and further explore this powerful ministry. In addition to plenary talks and presentations, there will be workshops introducing first-timers to Invite Welcome Connect, and workshops for more experienced practitioners who want to go deeper into the theological truths and practicalities of each aspect of this ministry: Invite, Welcome, and Connect.

Speakers and Facilitators

  • Opening Eucharist: The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta;
  • Plenaries: Mary Parmer, program director, Invite Welcome Connect; and the Rev. Canon Frank Logue, canon to the ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Georgia;
  • Workshop Facilitators:
    • The Rev. Brent Owens, associate dean, Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, Kentucky;
    • Catherine Pryor Miller, retreat leader and spiritual director;
    • The Rev. Chris Harris, assistant rector, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, Poway, California;
    • The Rev. David F. Romanik, associate rector, Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania;
    • The Rev. Donna J. Gerold, interim rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Apalachicola, Florida;
    • Mary MacGregor, canon for congregational vitality, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, retired;
    • The Rev. Matt Holcombe, associate rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Charlotte, North Carolina;
    • Dr. Courtney Cowart, director, the Society for the Increase of the Ministry, New York, New York;
    • James Goodmann, associate director, the Beecken Center, Sewanee, Tennessee.

View workshops descriptions here.

Location: The University of the South, Sewanee, TN


Single room: $375
Double room: $320
Registration for single and double rooms ends on June 5 at 12 p.m. CST.

Commuter rate (no accommodation): $220 (For travel information and nearby accommodations, visit our accommodations page.)
Commuter registration ends on June 8 at 12 p.m. CST.

Meals are included with your registration.

Single and double-room registration will end on June 5 at 12 p.m. CST, after which only commuter space will be available.

Rooms will be located in St. Luke's Hall and Quintard Hall on the campus of the University of the South.

Sign-in will commence in Convocation Hall at the University of the South June 12 at 2 p.m. CST, and the conference will end with lunch at 12 p.m., June 14. View workshops descriptions here.

Register here >


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Workshops will be open to all and will not require signup. Participants will receive a complete schedule of workshops and other events when they arrive.

Wednesday, Session A

Invite Welcome Connect 101
Brent Owens & Donna Gerold

Do you want to learn about the basics of Invite Welcome Connect? This introductory workshop will provide participants with an overview of the Invite Welcome Connect methodology and how the process works. Participants will leave with a better understanding about how Invite Welcome Connect is a ministry about relational evangelism and congregational empowerment to help enable deeper journeys of Christian discipleship.

Morning Prayer as Welcome
David Romanik

Did you know Morning Prayer can be a powerful way to welcome newcomers, especially those with little or no church background? Morning Prayer presents a succinct expression of the gospel and contains some of the clearest language in our liturgies about the Anglican vision of the world. Join David as he reexamines this important resource in The Episcopal Church and considers how it might help us become more hospitable to the communities we serve.

The Role of Spiritual Gifts in Connecting
Mary MacGregor

Thoughtful exploration and discovery into the giftedness of individuals can be enlightening and empowering. Do the people in your parish know which spiritual gifts they have been given? If not, join Mary as she teaches how to conduct a workshop as part of an overall plan for engaging people into areas of ministry both in and outside the congregation that will enrich their lives. Best practices and resource sharing will be a part of this workshop.

Are you Ready?
Matt Holcombe

How do you prepare for change? Learn how to help clergy, staff, and parishioners get ready for small and big requests. One aspect of Jesus’ ministry was focused on getting his disciples ready for The Great Commandment. Join Matt as he explores the importance of getting people ready before you make requests and evaluate their response. Participants of this interactive session will leave with skills and tools to be adaptive change agents.

Wednesday, Session B

Cracking the Invite and Connect Codes
Catherine Miller

A personal invitation continues to be the gold standard in the ministry of Invite. But times are changing as many of us look to websites and social media platforms to learn about a church's ethos, core values and beliefs. Join Catherine to learn how to ditch the complexities of a 100 step plan and develop a simple way to invite the churched and unchurched around you. She’ll share creative and inexpensive ways to be radically invitational using social media and more. Her talk will also include valuable tools to create follow up plans, once they've visited.

Going Deeper with Invite Welcome Connect
Courtney Cowart & Jim Goodmann

Many agree with our Presiding Bishop that the future of the faith depends upon Christians who are intentional practitioners, who understand how to nurture their relationships with God and neighbor throughout the seasons of their lives. Join Courtney and Jim as they present a road map for going deeper with each of the three Invite Welcome Connect core practices, through a program focusing on each practice for a period of three weeks.

Joining God in Our Neighborhood
Chris Harris

As you begin considering who we might invite to church, a good place to start are those places where God is inviting us already. What if we re-imagined mission not to something done overseas, but something we do in the mission fields of our neighborhoods, workplaces, local coffee shops, or even the gym we’ve been meaning to get back to. Join Chris as he uses the work of Alan Roxburgh to present a framework for empowering your congregation to travel lightly into the everyday mission fields.

Crazy Ideas = Creative Ministry
Donna Gerold

The most creative ministries are born out of the craziest ideas which is why many say, “the best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” Join Donna for spontaneity through brainstorming and learn how to cultivate fresh ideas through the sharing of unfiltered ideas. Come be spontaneous and practice this way of generating ideas and solutions for some of the most common situations churches find themselves facing.

Wednesday, Session C

Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Brent Owens

This workshop explores how one church has implemented the ethos of Invite Welcome Connect into nearly all aspects of ministry. Join Brent as he shares how Invite Welcome Connect has become a characteristic of culture for parishioners and the concrete steps taken to transform visitors into active members. We will also take a closer look at the metrics used to track progress and how we hold ourselves accountable.

Special Needs & Welcoming the Other
Matt Holcombe

How do you minister to families that have a child with special needs? Join Matt to experience how your parish can accomplish all three of the Invite Welcome Connect core principles by offering a support group for parents. Resources and tools will be provided to participants who are interested in starting your own E.P.E.C. Support Group (Exceptional Parents of Exceptional Children).

Stop Registering and Start Challenging New Members
Chris Harris

Membership in The Episcopal Church often means filling out a form to “register your baptism” or “transfer your membership” with no real requirements or commitments. These dusty practices mean very little and can actually send the wrong message to newcomers and seekers about what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ. This workshop will offer ideas for creating standards and expectations around time, talent, and treasure for new members in a way that fuels connects and builds stronger and healthier parishes.

Holy Listening
Catherine Miller

Have you ever formulated a response to a conversation while the other person was still speaking or interrupted someone because you just couldn’t help yourself? Join Catherine as she explores how the sacred art of holy listening is at the core of building and strengthening relationships. This highly experiential workshop will incorporate the Bible, science, and best practices for transforming relationships through listening.

Thursday, Session D

Faith on the Small Screen
David Romanik

Over the past 70 years, few mediums have more thoroughly encapsulated our culture than television. Television has been a touchstone of our common life and the locus of many shared experiences: from political upheaval, to epochal sporting events, to sitcom finales. Join David as he explores how depictions of faith on television have evolved over time and considers how that evolution can help us discern ways to effectively proclaim the gospel to those outside our communities.

Greeting is More than Hello
Mary MacGregor

How do you establish teams, train, and support greeters to make this a meaningful ministry that supports Invite Welcome Connect? Visitors’ first encounters can make or break impressions of a church’s welcome. We’ve all witnessed a newcomer feel uncomfortable about where to sit, seen a visitor get lost in the service, or experienced an awkward moment when someone wasn’t welcomed. Join Mary and hear about different ways to do this work and share your experiences with it, too.

Spiritual Practices
Matt Holcombe

Learn how to use spiritual practices to enhance the effectiveness of the Invite Welcome Connect ministry by helping parishioners grow spiritually. We will explore spiritual practices you can use for each of the Invite Welcome Connect principles to help parishioners of all ages explore, grow, and deepen their relationship with God, world, neighbor, and self.

Idea Swap - Best of the Best
Catherine Miller

Come prepared to share and write down the best ideas for inviting, welcoming, and connecting. Share ideas you’ve implemented or ideas you are looking forward to implementing when you return home. If you still haven’t heard at least five new things you can do or try in your parish - this workshop is specifically designed for you.

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