January 2, 2020

Telling Our Story

We have often discussed how important it is to tell our story, whether personal, congregational or denominational.

We have made telling our story a priority at General Convention in years past and many dioceses have adopted this message including the Diocese of New Jersey that has used it as a convention theme for many years. Today we are also using the process of storytelling in our Evangelism initiatives across the church.

However, while well intentioned, we all have anecdotes about the Episcopal Church being the best kept secret, including our own congregations. Thank God for Presiding Bishop Curry, who enabled us to now say, that we belong to the church of the preacher at Megan and Harry’s wedding.

In attempting to address this issue at the congregational level, are we intentional about forming a Communication committee to tell our stories? A church sister continually bemoans that in reading the local newspaper she sees advertising from other denominations inviting people to church for Christmas or special events, or reporting on an outreach activity, but few or none from our own churches. Likewise, we all know how important a website is for our congregations, many now have one, but they are outdated or very unappealing. Online newsletters are another outlet for sharing, have we invested the time and resources in them?

Many are also frustrated about lack of church growth, however our legacy of exclusivity and inexperience in active evangelism, may be overcome by initiating good communication practices to yield more positive outcomes.

With others from the Episcopal Church, I recently attended the consecration of Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin as the first black female bishop in the Church of England. It was an historic and inspiring event on many levels. In searching the online newspapers for a recounting of the services, there were many articles in the secular press and surprising omissions from some prominent religious outlets. This experience again reinforced that we have to tell our own stories so that our history is preserved for the current and future church.

“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”