First Exclusively Episcopal Orientation To Be Held in January

Dec 20, 2002 05:37 PM EST

AUSTIN, Tx -- In January, the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest will stage training sessions for the first Episcopalians only orientation program. The two-week program chooses 22 candidates to train for missions and ministry.

The Rev. Jane Crosby Butterfield, mission personnel office director of the Episcopal Church says, "We hope to make missionaries more visible in the Episcopal Church. We need to have more focus for training in the worldwide Anglican Communion."

Butterfield opened an extension office of the Mission Personnel Office of the Episcopal Church's Anglican and Global Relation last summer on the Seminary of the Southwest campus following the appointment of he spouse, Rev. Titus Presler, as the dean and president of the seminary in June.

Titled "Cross Cultural Orientation for Mission Personnel--Ministry in the Dimension of Difference," the January 18-31 session will bring missionary candidates to the Austin campus from throughout the country. The orientation program includes seminar discussions ranging from cross-cultural dynamics and mission identity to building Christian community from diversity and worship and spiritual formation for mission. Bible studies focusing on mission themes will be mixed with field trips in the Austin and San Antonio areas. Staff teachers will be coming from countries throughout the world, as well as the Episcopal Church Center. Presler and the Rev. Paul Barton, assistant professor of Hispanic studies at the seminary, will assist in the training.

Mission destinations include Zambia, the north of Ireland, Kenya, Honduras, Jerusalem, Venezuela and Gambia. About one-third of the missionary candidates are members of the Young Adult Service Corps. Persons planning to become Volunteers for mission and appointed missionaries round out the orientation group. Missionaries serve for a renewable term of one to three years. The missionary programs of the Episcopal Church Center and supporting dioceses and home parishes fund their work.

By Paulina C.