Last weekend at St. James Newport Beach, more than 100 missional leaders from 22 dioceses in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) gathered for the Telos Collective’s inaugural event. Led by Telos Collective Founder and Leader Bishop Todd Hunter, Dr. David Fitch of Northern Seminary and the Very Rev. Kris McDaniel of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others, the focus of study and conversation was Gospel: Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom and His Concomitant Aims as a Basis for Discipleship, Mission and Church Renewal. Together speakers and attendees began reimagining mission in the ACNA with a goal of birthing local Learning Communities that prioritize peer-to-peer learning.

Sessions and Speakers

Bishop Todd Hunter—The Foundation for the Conversation

Dr. David Fitch of Northern Seminary—A Scholarly View of the Intersection of Gospel and Culture

The Very Rev. Kris McDaniel of C4SO—The Perspective of a Working Pastor/Church Planter

Session videos forthcoming!

Preceding sessions, attendees also participated in times of prayer and worship. 

Provincial Support

Provincial Sponsor Archbishop Foley Beach, who commissioned Bishop Todd to start the Telos Collective, attended part of the conference to show his support. Stating that he recognizes the huge cultural challenges the Church is facing, the Archbishop said he is looking to the Telos Collective to pass on their learnings to the province. We need to be engaging who God has called us to be in the time He has called us to live,” he said. “When I pull up the news on my phone, I say, ‘Lord, how do we engage this?’”  

Where will you take the conversation? 

This challenge, woven throughout the conference, emphasized that Anglicans are uniquely positioned to engage with culture in these turbulent times, and we must each create an imagination for doing that. Instead of easy answers or three-step action plans, #intersection17 sought to ask the right questions and begin an exploration of how to reach post-Christian culture for Christ. To do that, the conference debuted a new learning format—fewer plenary sessions (4) and more time in interactive peer-to-peer Cohort groups (5) similar to think tanks—not focused on top-down learning, but actionable thoughtfulness rooted in the mission field and day-to-day pastoral work. 


The Cohorts—groups of 15-20 people—stayed together throughout the conference and met five times. Content Leaders assigned to one of five core areas of study for the Telos Collective (Gospel, Culture, Missional Ecclesiology, Missional Leadership, and God’s Empowering Presence) rotated through the groups leading a dialogue on their topic. Each meeting was devoted to integration with the theme, Gospel, and processing the insights of the previous plenary session in a humble and non-anxious environment. During these Cohort meetings, Cohort hosts captured insights and suggestions for future implementation. Next year the Telos Collective team will seek to enhance the way attendees interact with leadership and one another. 

Learning Communities

Bishop Hunter tasked each Telos Collective leader with starting or participating in a Learning Community in their area/sphere of influence. Based on the round-table experience of the Cohorts, local Learning Communities will continue asking the important questions and gleaning ideas from peers. The Learning Communities will comprise a small group of people from an attendee’s local congregation, people from their community, or both, and focus on issues relevant to their context. A few attendees gave examples of Learning Communities they are organizing: Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke of The Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others are planning a learning community around issues of race and sexuality in their hometown. Bishop Hunter and his team plan to follow up on and encourage Learning Communities as they emerge. 

Partnership with Northern Seminary

Bishop Hunter announced that over the next five years, the Rev. Scot McKnight and Dr. David Fitch will serve as Chief Advisors to the Telos Collective and help him lead it. Bishop Hunter has also formed an exciting new partnership with Northern Seminary where McKnight and Fitch serve as faculty. Northern Seminary will host the 2018 Intersection Conference, and subsequent conferences, in a new facility on their campus. The seminary will offer an academic program in which Telos Collective participants can obtain graduate level credit or a program through Northern. 

  • Participants can apply for advance standing using the 2017 and 2018 Intersection Conferences. 
  • Participants will be able to obtain a Master of Arts in Theology/Mission or New Testament. 
  • Participants will also have the option to use the Telos Collective as a Doctor of Ministry cohort. 
  • Bishop Hunter is still discussing the possibility of an Anglican studies program (continuing education) for professional development, not graduate credit.
  • Interested students may contact Josh Moore

Future Plans

Bishop Hunter said the work of the Telos Collective in 2017-2018 will include following up on and encouraging Learning Communities; capturing, curating and disseminating insights from Learning Communities to equip the ACNA for mission; continuing to resource leaders through social media, blogs, podcasts, webinars and a monthly newsletter; and providing leadership coaching and resources as needed.


Conversations are messy. Anglicans are diverse. Mission is complex. But combining these vital  ingredients in #intersection17 produced something beautiful that will continue to grow.  

“What a delight to be in a room with 100 active clergy,” says Bishop Hunter. “We listened to one another. We learned from one another. We anticipated the challenges of being in such a diverse group and now have the wisdom of being through it. One thing is top of mind for us: Everyone is welcome at the table. We love, respect and want to serve the whole breadth of the Anglican church, from the ‘lowest’ of the low church to the ‘highest’ of the high church, from those who support women in holy orders to those who do not. In future years, we will find an increasingly diversified panel of leadership to help us with these issues and to contribute to the task of reimagining mission.” 

Dr. David Fitch shared that the conference was unlike any he has ever experienced. 

You can get thousands of people together at a mega conference, stir people for a couple days, then they leave and it’s over,” he said. “Or you can gather 100 leaders and architect two days of deep conversations with much prayer, and start a revolution.”

If you were able to join us at #intersection17, what impacted you the most?

If you hope to join us next time, what would you like to see addressed at the conference?

Share your thoughts. 

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