CFEONLINE News from the Diocese of Central Florida
TENS Conference to Focus on Human Rights, Social Justice MinistriesMarch 20, 2017 • Jeff Gardenour  • EPISCOPAL & ANGLICAN NEWS • EVENTS

The gorgeous Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Minneapolis will be the venue for The Episcopal Network for Stewardship’s (TENS) annual conference in May, and The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida hopes to see you there.

The Journey to Generosity annual conference will be held Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, at historical Saint Mark’s, a church that dates to the pre-Civil War days and is located on the southwestern edge of Loring Park in central Minneapolis, according to a recent news release.

This year’s event will feature three keynote speakers who will engage and impel conference attendees on topics such as advocating political change for human rights, social justice ministries, and expanding progressive causes on issues such as faith and justice—all through the love and example of Jesus Christ.

“I have had the great pleasure of representing the Diocese of Central Florida for two years now at the annual TENS Conference,” said the Rev. Gary Jackson, who has been the diocesan Stewardship Commission chairman for a number of years and will again represent the diocese. “Each year, the conference is held in attractive cities with wonderful accommodations.”

The goals of TENS are to provide training, encouragement, nurturing, and support for stewardship leaders throughout The Episcopal Church. The conference provides training for clergy, seminarians, youth, young adults, Generation Xers, and newly ordained clergy.

“There are also fantastic breakout sessions of many varieties,” Jackson said. “Each of the breakout sessions is related to handling stewardship in very practical and proven ways. One other interesting thing that I noticed was the clergy are a minority at this conference. Most of the attendees are laity who are concerned and/or excited about stewardship.”

Each year, the speakers are one of the conference highlights.

One of the 2017 marquee speakers will be the Rev. Canon J. Edwin Bacon, Rector Emeritus of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, which is known for its multicultural worship and ministries. Retired and living in Birmingham, Alabama, Bacon is nationally renowned for his participation as a guest panelist in the Spirituality 101 segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show’s “Living Your Best Life” series. A nationwide lecturer, he is also a progressive spokesperson on issues of faith and justice for all people.

Also speaking is the Rev. Winnie Varghese, director of community outreach at Trinity Church, Wall Street, N.Y. A 15-year priest, Varghese is known for her social justice ministries, which include feeding the hungry and supporting public schools.

Additionally, Dave Toycen, a longtime Anglican who recently retired as president of World Vision, Canada, will speak. Under his guidance, World Vision began working to inspire political change in countries that violate human rights. His book, The Power of Generosity, centers on motivating people to make real change in the world through the power of Jesus Christ.

“One of the first things that struck me was the expertise and sincerity of the leaders and keynote speakers of TENS,” Jackson said.

The keynoters and others are part of an association of church leaders who preach about and practice God’s call to generosity. It is through stewardship, gratitude, and generosity that spiritual growth is attained and becoming more like God is achieved

Those who wish to be a part of this life-changing spiritual event should inform The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida of their intention to attend by calling (407) 423-3567. The diocese will appoint a representative to serve as event liaison.

Preconference and conference registration are currently being taken:

Conference attendees are invited to stay at the Hyatt Regency, Minneapolis, the official hotel for the event. Corporate rate is $189 per night. Early reservations are suggested in order to secure the lower rate.

Reserve your Hyatt room at the TENS rate or call (1-888) 421-1442. The group name is listed as The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) 2017.

“I strongly encourage representatives from as many parishes as possible to go to this year’s TENS conference in Minnesota,” Jackson said. “In addition to coming back with hope, you will also come back with more friends and relationships in and around The Episcopal Church. May God speed us on our journeys to generosity.”

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