November 6, 2013

Editor's Letter November 2013: Answering Jesus' Call


Each time we worship in the Episcopal tradition, we are reminded of the Great Commission: You’ve been filled and fed, now go in peace to love and serve the Lord; go forth in the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.

Across our church, congregations are answering Jesus’ call to go out into the world and make disciples. They are following His example of building relationships, encountering people where they are and, as contributor Bob Leopold writes, “… doing the work of listening, which involves not talking and not trying to solve anything. This is tough for people and takes practice. Most of the time it cannot happen at the worshipping community’s location for worship, but must happen in the communities we are called to serve.” 

Here are some of their stories:

What happens when a church keeps saying “yes?” In “Saying ‘Yes’,” Holly Zook shares how that first “yes” 10 years ago has grown into a thriving ministry and relationship between St. Francis Episcopal Church in San Antonio and the many refugees who live in the neighborhood.

In the first three centuries before the institutionalization of the church, the memory of Jesus’ ministry in the streets, along the shore, out on the margins of his world, continued to inspire small communities of faith to simply be “the church.” In “Cathedral in the Night,” Chris Carlisle shares the story of a church – with links to a diocesan ministry – that believes the openness of space creates an openness of community in Jesus’ spirit.

Out is where mission happens at Southside Abbey. “Heading Out Into Mission” by Bob Leopold introduces us to a community church committed to lifting up hope where that hope has been obscured. How do they do this? They show up and they listen. And they trust the Holy Spirit to help.

Believing that their role as faith leaders includes encouraging incarnational experiences of faith that connects one’s active civic life to their experience of worship, members of St. Paul’s in Richmond, Virginia asked themselves, “what are our next steps for being a better neighbor and helping to build a better community downtown?” Liz Bartenstein’s “Downtown Mission” shares the results of that conversation.

Each article includes a list of linked resources offering additional information and/or practical tools. Interested in what else might be on the ECF Vital Practices’ website? Use the Topics index on each page of the site to find other resources related to leadership including past Vestry Papers articles, blog posts, and the many resources found in our Your Turn and Tools sections.

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