Parousia is a Greek word meaning ‘second coming of Jesus’ or the opportunity for another chance to experience the redemptive work of Jesus for all humanity. The mission of the Church on earth is conceived of being about the ministry of offering humans the gift of Christ’s love unselfishly offered to everyone who is willing to access it. Spiritual transformation is assured when we give Jesus a second chance in our lives.
Parousia is God’s gift to the Diocese of Easton, a viable opportunity to be the church on the eastern shore that dedicates its focus, energy and purpose toward proclaiming the vision of the living Christ. We are doing so by committing to be a vibrant and visible witness of a community of faith that isn’t comfortable in living into a dying status quo rather, through the redemptive process, to take what is already here and working it through different missional lenses, whereby, they begin to speak and minister to the 21st century church on the eastern shore.
Granted, the Diocese of Easton isn’t blessed with an abundance of financial resources in comparison to our other dioceses. However, our diocese is blessed with an enormous cloud of vibrant, versatile, dedicated and devoted saints and disciples of Jesus. Godly people who are willing and ready to give lovingly, unselfishly and sacrificially their time, talents and treasures to the vital work of kingdom building and community engagement.
Parousia is meant to make effective use of these precious gifted people giving them the necessary education, formation, training and confidence that will translate into greater empowerment for effective discipleship and evangelism. We should recognize that each of us has a unique gift from God earmarked for God’s glory and purpose. The diocese, through our churches scattered across this landscape, has an obligation to unearth these gifts, nurture and equip them for the work of ministry. We will achieve that by giving God’ people the permission to go into all the world to do the mighty work of faith.
Parousia is divided into three fundamental focuses: Structure and Institution, Education for Ministry and Mission of God. Structure and Institution is addressed by revisiting diocesan convention format in a way that reflects our size, demographic and financial capacity weighed against the amount of business we need to address, and to organize and adjust our resources to complement our needs.
The review of our Constitution and Canons is meant to reflect present reality in ministry and ensure the diocese is in conformity with the Episcopal Church. Ultimately as a diocese, we are called to promote, support and safeguard the work of God. It is my unequivocal conviction that the Constitution and Canons of the Church is a vital spiritual instrument that holds us accountable to our tradition, history and core values in ministry. However, it is our obligation to ensure that they don’t unnecessarily overburden and hinder the mission and ministry of Christ. The Church was called into being to promote grace, mercy, compassion, justice, love and spirituality undergirded by a healthy safety net to God’s people living in the spirit of the resurrection.
Financial sustainability is a critical component of our shared life as a diocesan family. We are required to in a financially challenged diocese, as ours, to revisit and make careful re-examination of our financial resources to ensure we obtain a better sense of what we are working with, and whether or not we are good stewards in utilizing these resources in an effective and studious manner.
The two Task Forces commissioned by convention: Constitution and Canons Review Task Force and Financial Sustainability Task Force have been busy focusing on their respective mandates. They are chaired by two very competent, knowledgeable, capable and highly respected servants in their fields of expertise namely Lynn Mclain – Emmanuel Parish (Constitution & Canons) and Ray Wasdyke -Christ Church, St. Michael (Financial Sustainability). They are supported by stellar teams of over twenty-five lay people and clergy of exceptional giftedness and expertise in their respective areas.
Beloved, Parousia isn’t about changing the fundamental vision of God’s Church on the eastern shore, rather it’s about employing what the Church has been accustomed to and promoted over the centuries and giving them new life, energy, focus, intentionality, purpose and a redemptive quality that make them sing the same old song but with a different melody and rhythm more conversant to the times we live in. As I have often quoted from Dr. Wayne Dyer, “when you change the way you look at things; the things you look at change”. The profoundly compelling characterization of the gospel is the same old story told afresh and anew to a new audience and/or the old audience with compelling and transformative outcomes.