Bishop’s Pastoral Note – October 2017 – revised January 2018
DISCERNING TOGETHER OUR COMMON LIFE AS A CHURCH
The 149th Diocesan Convention acknowledged that our baptismal call points us to see ourselves as a church mandated to live and serve the Mission of God (Missio Dei). The Anglican Communion has for the past two decades interpreted that the church does not have a mission, but rather, the church is called to live into the Mission of God. Thereby, the church becomes the transformational phenomenon through which God redeems the world in Jesus Christ. The Convention concluded then, that we would move forward as a:
PRAYER CENTERED CHURCH + MISSION-SHAPED DIOCESE
Following Convention, on April 1, 2017, over 40 members of the diocesan family gathered at Old Wye, Wye Parish, to reflect on two critical areas in our diocesan life in pursuit of God’s Mission: PURPOSE & IDENTITY.
The first of those tasks was to listen to the Spirit’s voice and seek God’s guidance in leading us to consider our purpose as a Church on the Eastern Shore. The process was defined by intensive, constructive, objective, respectful and prayerful conversation. In the end, what emerged was an overwhelming conviction that God is calling the Diocese of Easton to be a place of inclusion of all God’s children where love, service and sacrifice are the defining characteristics.
WELCOME ALL – SHARE JESUS’ LOVE – SERVE THE WORLD (John 13: 35) View the Purpose Poster
From there we held up ten (10) specific ministry imperatives that should ultimately define our work as a PRAYER CENTERED + MISSION-SHAPED DIOCESE. These ministry imperatives collectively embody the Episcopal Church’s Five Marks of Mission, the Discernment Resolutions as presented from recent years of Diocesan self-reflection, the Jesus Movement as defined by Presiding Bishop Curry, and our biblical responsibility enunciated in 1 Corinthians 12 & 14, Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Peter 4, Matthew 22: 37 (the Great Commandment), Matthew 28:19 (the Great Commission), and our Baptismal Covenant. View the Identity Poster
A diocesan cross was designed with components that intentionally emphasize our prominent place within the global Anglican Communion, Eastern Shore and beyond. The cross is also a visual reminder of four comprehensive focal points to organize our work moving forward: Mission! Spirituality! Formation! Vocation! View the Diocesan Cross
You will find on display posters of this work for your comments, reflection and prayerful consideration [distributed to each Parish]. This is not the finished product, but a sampling of the work done at the “Gathering of Saints Day of Contemplative Reflection”. My desire is to give the diocesan family an opportunity to add their input, refection and thoughts on the COMMENTS sheet provided [or submit via online feedback form]. We would like to have your feedback by November 30, 2017. Also displayed are the names of the pilgrims that worked on the project as a community activity on behalf of the wider diocesan family.
Together in Christ’s service,
Bishop Santosh Marray