The New Wineskins Missionary Network, was in an earlier incarnation called The Episcopal Church Missionary Community (ECMC). You can read its history HERE. ECMC began as an independent voice for mission that both challenged and worked with the Episcopal Church and its missionary efforts. It's first leaders, Walter and Louise Hannum, provided a vision of education for missionaries, engagement in mission, and support of missionaries worldwide that gave rise to several important efforts in the church: (i) ECMC began a church wide global mission conference that has evolved into the New Wineskins for Global Mission Conference; (ii) it provide the context for a conference on reaching unreached peoples that in turn gave energy to the development of Anglican Frontier Missions and supported other evangelical mission agencies; (iii) it developed a prayer list for missionaries and mission societies and agencies.
They have thrown their lot with the American Anglican Council and the Anglican Communion Network and have adopted the tag line of the Common Cause Partnership. They say, "New Wineskins has open doors to work for a united, Biblical, and missionary Anglicanism in North America and even worldwide!" (tag line in red).
Over the years they have ceased praying for those at the Episcopal Church Center whose charge it is to send missionaries or for Episcopal Church appointed missionaries. They are no longer part of the Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission, an umbrella organization of missionary agencies of the Episcopal Church.
Racked as I am with revisionist leanings and a member of the unclean Episcopal Church, I still get letters from New Wineskins asking for donations. I received their Easter letter today (May 9th).
The letter informed me that "Sharon (the Director) was recently honored with invitations to attend the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem in June and the South East Asia Mission Roundtable Conference in Bangkok in October." We may remember that GAFCON is by invitation only from a bishop related to its organization. New Wineskins has maintained a level of purity sufficient to be "honored" by an invitation.
While they are hurting for money, they believe that "God will continue to provide, and we are building relationships with churches across the country and forming new partnerships for our future." Good.
They are forming new partnerships. I presume this means among other things that they will migrate from the Anglican Communion Network to the Common Cause Partnership as the venue for their work as the ACN itself fragments and its purist residue forms this new "united, biblical and missionary Anglicanism in North America."
But here is the declaration that stood out: "New Wineskins will not incur debt. Without increased financial support we will be unable to continue to offer prayer support to missionaries around the world, Mission Awareness Seminars in parishes, and the triennial New Wineskins for Global Mission conferences." The Seminars and Conferences require funding, no question. But I wonder who offering prayer support to missionaries requires much in the way of funding? Perhaps it is to keep the list up to date and send it out.
Well, I could help with that. No, wait…The list is kept up to date by, among other things, keeping it pure and undefiled by people like me, you know, members of the Episcopal Church.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with ECMC. The Hannums are wonderful people and they challenged me often to be better at mission work, but I always felt held in prayer by their list and looked eagerly for the names of new appointed missionaries and the names of colleagues at the Church Center involved in mission sending and support. Those names are not there now.
That Wineskin is getting old; the supple material that could contain us all is more rigid. I am afraid their Easter Letter was not for me.