A Diocese Committed to a Pilgrimage into Living God’s Will
The Sesquicentennial (150th) Annual Diocesan Convention has come and gone and has left us with much to celebrate and give thanks to almighty God. It was a time of immense good work and pioneering insights that will in the words of one delegates “renew the life of the diocese for generations to come”. This is a remarkable statement in light of the reality of challenges and opportunities before a Prayer Centered Church + Mission-Shaped Diocese. We are convinced God is on our side and we shall overcome and prosper for God’s kingdom on earth.
Our Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry has spent the past three years inspiring the Episcopal Church to become comfortable with the phenomenon- Evangelism. In his interpretation he expresses it as the loving, liberating and life-giving love of God. At the Spring House of Bishops meeting currently in progress at Camp Allen, Texas, he introduced, in his sermon to the bishops, the idea of the ‘Lordship of Jesus’. Jesus is Lord over Caesar of the 1st century and Caesar of the 21st Century. This as we know could be interpreted as new language or cultural shift in the Episcopal Church. Nevertheless, it’s appropriate at this time of uncertainty. It is not, he reminded us, about domination, rather it is about formation and spiritual vitality/growth. It is a time for all Episcopalians to get in touch with their relationship with Jesus in a very personal way, it is as one bishops puts it, ‘a journey of spiritual intimacy’.
My beloved in Christ, it was as if the 150th Annual Convention were anticipating Presiding Bishop Curry, when we voted to preserved the integrity and hope of one of our small churches. A vote of confidence that there is a resurrection and new life in every one of Christ’s beloved. The church’s role, as typified by convention’s action, is to create the environment where loving, liberating and life giving actions take place.
Diocesan Convention has embarked on a year of evangelism, deacon formation, youth empowerment and congregational vitality. Evangelism is tied to formation, that is to say, if Jesus is Lord then he is ‘the Way’ and ‘not my way’. If this is the consensus among the faithful we would concur that as much as this is tough work, there is incredible opportunity available to pursue it as a diocese. We will as a diocese engage several opportunities over the year to provide tools to equip saints for this work. At both convocation and cluster levels formation initiatives will soon be unveiled geared to move the focus in the direction of helping to educate our membership to be better evangelists and missionaries.
The vision of Jesus for the Church as enunciated in the gospel is to share the good news without reservation across the world including our neighborhood. In his own words he commands us to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28: 19). Jesus’ Church has a mandate second to none, and we his disciples and apostles are called to live faithfully into that vision.