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The Missional Wisdom Foundation provides opportunities for adults, both clergy and laity, to learn how to live in intentional community and how to develop missional communities in diverse social contexts in order to help the church become more faithful in bearing the gospel into the world. Our ministry involves both on-site learning communities (New Day and the Epworth Project) and theological education through the Academy for Missional Wisdom. We also offer pilgrimage experiences, to help the church learn to be a pilgrim people who follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The foundation operates a network of new monastic communities in the North Texas area, and beyond, through the Epworth Project. New monastic communities are small groups of individuals who choose to live together under a rule of life in order to bring the good news to their neighborhood.  Our communities’ rule of life is based on United Methodist membership vows. Participants live, pray, eat and serve together, developing life skills and spiritual depth to propel them into a life of holistic evangelism--loving God and loving others. Our communities are each informally affiliated with a United Methodist Church which cooperates with the foundation to provide spiritual guidance and connection. Our communities include student from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and elsewhere, persons working in non-profits to address root causes of poverty, and others. Our Epworth Project communities are multi-cultural and multi-racial.  At this time more than a dozen churches are connected or impacted by the ministries of the Epworth Project, including Christ’s Foundry and Grace UMC in Dallas, TX.

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The foundation also provides financial and administrative support to the Academy for Missional Wisdom, a two-year non-degree program for laity and clergy.  The academy provides the theological foundation and practical skills needed for starting and leading micro-communities of contemplative prayer and missional action, to help Christians reach beyond the walls of the church to bring the good news of Christ into the world.  The program integrates distance learning technology, immersion experiences, spiritual direction, and training retreats as well as a contextualized practicum with coaching to provide accessible and affordable education for persons who work full time.

Finally, the foundation supports the research and development work of The People of New Day, a growing network of evangelistic, missional micro-communities that are based on prayer, hospitality, and justice and are anchored in United Methodist Churches.

Rev. Dr. Elaine Heath, McCreless Associate Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, on missional micro-communities. She spoke during the 2012 Convocation on the Rural Church, offered by Duke Divinity School with funding from The Duke Endowment.

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