Since its inception in the early 1800s, the Episcopal Church in Florida has adapted to changing times as it reaches out to the community.
That continues today, as the pioneering organization that began dozens of early missions across Florida is now committing to a new effort of planting alternative church groups. To begin the conversation on how best to do this, the church will host a Jan. 19, 2013, conference in Bradenton, Fla., that will bring together those who have successfully created these new communities and those who wish to help start them.
“It is very encouraging to see the church re-capturing an entrepreneurial spirit for planting communities,” says Rev. Eric Cooter, who was hired January 1 to establish new missions in the Tampa, Ft. Myers and Sarasota/Bradenton areas by the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida. These new missions will be reaching out to those not currently attending church in great numbers, including the Millennial generation and Generation X.
The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, also known as the Church of England. In Great Britain, a program called Fresh Expressions has encouraged working with Christians from a broad range of denominations and those outside the traditional church to create new forms of church communities, sometimes outside of church buildings in places like coffee shops. In a time of decreased Sunday attendance, this has resulted in hundreds of new congregations being formed alongside more traditional churches.
The Sat., Jan. 19, conference will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, Bradenton, at Christ Episcopal Church, 4030 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205. For more information or to register, visit the conference website at www.pioneeringministry.org or www.episcopalswfl.org.