In which mission field are you least active?
Your home, work, local community, wider world, leisure, your spiritual health, or your part in your church’s life and its outreach?
Are you getting any message?
Hints for member mission leaders and consultants:
Try these questions with the people you mentor:
• Who are the most effective agents of Jesus’ mission in today’s world?
• The members in their daily places? or The various activities of the congregation?
• How well does your church reflect your answer?
• Youth starters – two teens and their church – mission in church life
• God and Jeff’s AA work – mission in the local community
• “We are the ‘70 others’” – a sermon – all are on mission
• Beyond Base Camp: Becoming an Equipping Church
• Working From the Soul: From paycheck to transformation
• Listening for the Spirit in a Post-Christian World
• A new moral agenda – mission in the wider world
Youth starters – two teens and their church
Since her infancy, Sam’s grandmother had brought her to meetings of the Episcopal Church Women at St. Thomas, Alamosa, CO (congregations average 14). Sam was always full of fund-rasing ideas that worked. When no one was ready to be elected president, Sam, now 16, said, “I could do it but I’m too young.” Dawn, the priest, replied, “Why are you too young?” “I don’t know,” Sam replied. Dawn countered with, “I think you’d be just fine. How does everyone else feel?” All agreed and decided to support her as the next president.
With two adults as her mentors, Sam is also training to be a licensed lay reader. Already she has filled in for two Sundays while Dawn was away.
Katy, Dawn’s 13-year-old daughter, went to the diocese’s workshop on preventing child abuse, “Safeguarding God’s Children.” She had gone with St. Thomas’ team planning a leap of faith. They would start a Sunday school in September even though they had no children. While there, the team lamented, “We have no children.” Dawn said, “You may feel at a loss on how to work with kids. Well, you’ve got a kid right here that loves to work with other kids. She’s willing to help you any way she can to make the Sunday School a success. And she’ll be there every week to help you lead it.” In December, Katy led a Sunday school project to make 25 Christmas gift bags for the children of mothers at Tu Casa, the local women’s shelter. The Sunday school now has 10 children and 12 were in the Christmas pageant. They will lead a Sunday service after Easter.
At the last annual meeting, Sam and Katy had lots of ideas. They were not shut down as in the past. Rather, the older members met each idea with, “That’s great! How can we help you do it?”
A factor in this welcome of the teens is Dawn’s response when the members said they wanted to grow. “If you want to grow, you have to embrace children. You have to walk the walk of really incorporating them, listening to them, and hearing them.”
Contact: The Rev. Dawn Simpson, firstname.lastname@example.org. St. Thomas is part of the “Growing Coworkers in God’s Mission” project of the four San Luis Valley churches in the Diocese of Colorado. Partnering in member mission is its organizing principle. Here the mission field is our part in our church’s life and its outreach.
God and Jeff’s AA work
Jeff H., a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, lives in Plattsburgh, NY where he carries on his twelfth step work helping others find the help he found. It is his mission in his local community.
What is God asking you to do?
God is asking me to suit up and to show up for people who are sick and suffering.
How is God helping you to do it?
God helps me to try to show up for people to understand where they are coming from and not so much to show them where I am coming from. People see my approach as different. People in addiction spend most of their time trying to convey how difficult a life they have had and very rarely does anyone listen. We need to understand that people lack the skills to readjust. And, as I spend hours with them, they begin to see I spend this time because of my faith in God and in the program. What I found changed my life and I can understand exactly where they are coming from.
“We are the ‘70 others’” – a sermon by Louis Tonsmeire will give preachers ideas for working with baptism at Easter. Tonsmeire has just retired from ten years heading the school board in his home town of Cartersville, GA. He left this covenant with the students on the free or reduced cost lunch program at the school. If they will keep a “C” grade; have no deportment problems; and get their parents involved in their education (seeing their son or daughter works with his or her assigned mentor and, in high school, goes back Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 - 8 PM for help with homework); the school will guarantee them two years of college. Tonsmeire retired 14 years ago and, at 74, serves as the part time rector of St. Timothy’s Church in Calhoun where he preached this sermon. To view the sermon, click on the sermon’s title at http://www.membermission.org/contents_sermons.htm.
Beyond Base Camp: Becoming an Equipping Church: a conference building partnerships to foster ministry in daily life; sharing programs, ideas, concerns, and needs; and becoming prophetic voices to further faithfulness in daily life within the Episcopal Church. For more, go to http://www.dailylifeministry.org/EPFDL%202008%20RegistrationForm.pdf. Stay for “Working From the Soul” below which meets at the same place.
Working From the Soul: From paycheck to transformation: the 16th annual Coalition for Ministry in Daily Life, Thursday dinner, May 28 - Sunday morning, June 1, 2008; at The Cenacle in Chicago. For the registration brochure: http://www.dailylifeministry.org/images/brochure.pdf.
Listening for the Spirit in a Post-Christian World: the annual gathering of catechumenate practitioners sponsored by the North American Association for the Catechumenate, Thursday dinner July 24 - Sunday, 1:00 p.m., July26, 2008 at the Dumas Bay Centre, Federal Way (Seattle), WA. For more information and to register go to http://catechumenate.org/main.cfm?sid=3.
[For member mission in the catechumenate, see pp. 148-151 of WTMATM.]
FOR MEDITATION – A new moral agenda
The biblical prophets tell us that God judges societies not by their gross national product, their military strength, or their cultural dominance, but by their justice and righteousness – especially how they treat the weak and vulnerable. There are multiple threats to human life and dignity that suggest a new moral agenda that could bring us together. Some of the elements of that new agenda could be:
• Overcoming extreme global poverty and disease, as well as unnecessary poverty at home
• Finding a better path to national and global security
• Advancing a consistent ethic of the sanctity of life
• Healing the wounds of racism and sexism
• Ending human trafficking and promoting human rights
• Strengthening marriage and families
• Renewing the moral fabric of our culture
• Protecting God’s creation
[From Jim Wallis in the January 2008 edition of Sojourners Magazine]
Elizabeth (Betty) Newton Parsons Schwab - January 10, 1921 - February 28, 2008
She was the real reason your editor and member mission were able to keep moving. She loved Roger Whittaker and one of his songs is my unending song: "If my life is worth a dime, it's thanks to you,” Betty! [AWS]
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