On Friday, February 17, Bishop Bill attended the Vision New England GO Conference, a two day conference dedicated to encouraging churches to reach New England with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Vision New England began in 1887 when a small group of believers met to pray and plan for the advancement of the gospel in New England. Out of this meeting a new organization was created to serve the local church: The Evangelistic Association of New England. From these humble beginnings a movement was born which continues to the present. They exist to help churches fulfill the great commission and exist as New England’s premier association of individuals, churches and organizations committed to making disciples, doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God.
A series of important connections were made between our diocese and other congregations and ministries. Bishop Bill was there to greet various church leaders from around the region. The day was marked by a series of large worship music sessions and teachings on various topics affecting New England churches and culture. For example, Jo Saxton, a board member at 3DM (a ministry our diocese is currently involved in as part of our discipleship initiative), spoke on racial reconciliation in and through the church by the power of the Holy Spirit. She addressed the thousand-plus crowd with a zeal for affecting change in the surrounding culture through the transformational Gospel that unites all ethnicities in the in the name and under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In addition to large-scale gatherings, there were periods set aside for workshops where attendees could choose a topic of interest. (Visit the GO Conference site to see a list of the other workshops that went on that day!) Bishop Bill’s session was Conversations on Common Ground, a workshop he conducted at the College of Bishops and at the Anglican Diocese of the South clergy conference. About sixty people attended, and it was a blessing to see the positive response to the message about sharing your own story of encountering Jesus with those who don’t know Him. Several young adults expressed how significant it was to hear training around evangelism that they could see themselves using with their peers. Despite the varying denominational backgrounds represented, there was a common love for Jesus Christ expressed and a desire to engage the surrounding culture more with His Gospel and their individual stories.
We are grateful for Vision New England’s openness to us and for their invitation to represent the Anglican Church at this ecumenical event. The next Vision New England GO Conference will take place February 16-17, 2018 at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA. The ADNE encourages all in our diocese interested in seeing what other churches are doing to evangelize and wrestle with our surrounding culture to attend next year, and we will make information available as the conference draws near.