No spirituality can be more exciting and alive
than sharing in God’s mission wherever you are all the time.
[Finish Lent by finding your daily missions to live a Kingdom-centered Eastertide. Go to Basic Tools 1 - 3B.]
• First steps at St. Thomas’ in Greenville, RI
• You, your school board, and your town
• Two sermons for Lent or Eastertide: “Taking up your cross leads to abundant life” and “Start living your missions now!”
• “Finding God at Work in Times of Change – Conversations . . .”
• Faith and Justice Churches: a congregational network
• Ten Ways to Fight Hate: a Community Response Guide
• Cope with “affluenza” for Lent
First steps at St. Thomas’ in Greenville, RI
Marguerite learned of member mission as she browsed the Internet for “mission.” She thought it might give St. Thomas’ a fresh start. While Sunday congregations average 90, the core numbers only 20 or so and the church has financial problems. Her strategic planning committee agreed to a weekend of orientation and goal setting in late October. Its purpose: to understand the member mission vision; to discern our daily missions; to propose a mission statement for the vestry; and to propose for the vestry three or so ways to begin to implement it.
Twenty of the participants in the October session met in early December for further implementation. One said, “I get all inspired on Sunday and on Monday at work I get all these negative feelings.” Realizing that happens to others, they have started a group that now meets monthly between the Sunday liturgies to share experiences. The newsletter describes the group as “striving to be ‘missionaries’ Monday through Saturday.” Also, the key issue of leadership was resolved when Alice, the senior warden, agreed to monitor next steps.
Alice opens these monthly meetings with a prayer and, then, asks, “What’s been happening in your lives over the past month?” At a recent meeting, a speech pathologist told of teaching disadvantaged elementary and middle school children in Providence and asked for prayer support for her colleagues and herself. Others followed easily with their own stories until it was “time for church.”
The youth get it too! They made a poster that reads:
Home: Work: World:
God’s people bring
The recommended education of Goal 1 of the Strategic Plan – member mission is the first recommendation of Goal 1 – has also been forwarded. The rector’s “Adult Forum” between the liturgies has been renamed “Intersections: where faith and life meet” as a little more encouraging for people of all ages who are finding their way in faith.
Their mission statement, as approved by the vestry in November reads: “To renew, inspire, support, and empower God’s people in Christ through prayer, scripture and the Eucharist; to bring love, justice, and peace into the world today.” It used to read; “To know and love Jesus Christ as Lord and make him known.” Further, they have paid up overdue apportionments and continued their priest at full-time. The December newsletter spoke of money offerings as “support[ing] us all in our work as missionaries – at home, at work or school, in leisure, in the community, in the world, and in the Church (worship and its outreach).”
Contact: To reach Alice, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You, your school board, and your town
Louis Tonsmeire sets a good example as a citizen of Cartersville, GA. While health caused early retirement at sixty, bypass surgery made it possible to serve nearby St. Timothy’s Church in Calhoun, GA as rector for 13 years on a contract of limited hours. During this time, he has served eight years on his local school board before his present service on the town council. The schools are struggling with a dramatic increase in Hispanic students who arrive from Mexico unable, even, to read Spanish. He finds that Cartersville’s single schools for primary, elementary, middle, and high school insure the mixing of all students together.
He believes that our public schools fulfill our baptismal commitment about the dignity of every person and working for justice and peace. He finds God helped him in school service with a sense of vision and a sense of empowering people to come together as a community and express those values. In the 1970s, when people offered him money to start a private school, he found that saying “No” took little more than 4-5 seconds. He notes that school board and council elections are nonpartisan so that each body can operate independently of how state or county organizations feel about something.
As a suburb for Atlanta, Cartersville expects to double in population in the next ten years. The council’s challenge is to have both upscale housing to attract people moving here and workforce housing at the same time.
Contact: To reach Louis, write email@example.com.
Two sermons for Lent or Eastertide
• “Taking up your cross leads to abundant life” – a lay person preaches on living your daily missions and finding life; Elizabeth S. Hall; Mark 8:27-38; at St. James’ Church, Keewatin, Ontario, Canada; Diocese of Keewatin; September 17, 2006.
• “Start living your missions now!” – for any Sunday in Lent or Eastertide, the same lay person talks of the new life to be found in being part of God’s mission now; Elizabeth S. Hall: Judges 6:11-24a, Psalm 85:7-13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11; at Trinity Church, Milford, MA; February 4, 2007.
“Finding God at Work in Times of Change – Conversations . . .” – 15th Annual Consultation of the Coalition for Ministry in Daily Life (CMDL); - BROCHURE
Faith and Justice Churches: a congregational network – ready-to-use resources for busy local church leaders committed to social justice: sermon prep, discussion guides, organizing toolkits, analysis of current events, connection with like-minded colleagues, and more. By special arrangement with its developers, Sojourners / Call to Renewal, you can join at the special rate of $69.95 at www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=network.learn_more&promotioncode=cn_pc3.
Ten Ways to Fight Hate: a Community Response Guide – ten things to do with analysis, suggestions, and resources for each way. Go to http://www.tolerance.org/10_ways/ and click on the picture in the left column for a free PDF download in English or Spanish. Assorted resources for K-12 as well as adults are available. A product of the Southern Poverty Law Center – 334-956-8200 or www.teachingtolerance.org.
Cope with “affluenza” for Lent
“We’ve been seduced into a way of life that isn’t even making us happy. We’re suffering from what filmmaker John DeGraaf calls affluenza. The Affluenza Website (www.affluenza.org) points out that the average American house in the 1950s was 900 square feet: today that’s the size of a three-car garage. We’re not that much happier than people were in the 1950s.”
[Barbara R. Rossing quoted in The Christian Century of 11/14/06, p. 25]
By contributing to the Millenium Development Goals to end extreme poverty and hunger around the world, you can begin to direct your spending away from affluenza. One source for information about the MDGs is http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_77743_ENG_HTM.htm
A resource for churches, “God’s Mission in the World” is produced jointly by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church; go to the link above, click on the ONE Episcopalian website; then, click on the picture of the Study Guide in the lower right corner; and order.
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