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Invite • Welcome • Connect will be a program of the Beecken Center beginning July 1. The Beecken Center, a department of the University of the South’s School of Theology, is in its fourth year of expansion and is the home of Education for Ministry.

Invite • Welcome • Connect, created by Mary Parmer and developed through the Newcomer Ministry Project in the Diocese of Texas, helps congregations and individuals cultivate intentional practices of evangelism, hospitality, and connectedness.

Designed to accommodate congregations of all sizes, the work has been integrated into 40 dioceses of the Episcopal Church, seminaries, colleges, and other parts of the Anglican Communion. The Beecken Center will host the movement’s third summit in 2018.

Parmer will continue to lead this program’s development as a member of the Beecken Center’s staff.

“We need to be agents of imagination in our communities and empower people to take risks, trying new things for the sake of the gospel,” Parmer said. “In order to expand this important work, a home for the is needed. I am confident that the Beecken Center is just the right place for this work to thrive, to develop, and to grow.”

“With the addition of Invite • Welcome • Connect as a ministry of the center, the opportunities to train transformative leaders of the Jesus Movement increase dramatically,” said Courtney Cowart, associate dean and director of the Center. “I can think of no other sister in Christ I would more gladly welcome to the Beecken Center team, as a collaborator in building beloved community throughout the church and in the world, than Mary Parmer.”

Parmer comes to Sewanee from Austin, where she was director of the Gathering of Leaders, a national group of young Episcopal clergy. She has served as lay deputy or alternate lay deputy to General Convention since 2006, and is a member of the Task Force on Clergy Leadership Formation in Small Churches.

She holds a degree in religious studies from St. Edward’s University in Austin and formerly served as director of adult ministries and evangelism at St. Stephen’s Church in Beaumont, Texas.

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