Saturday, November 11, 2006

Local Life for Global Good

From Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

In order to achieve effectively the Episcopal Church's priorities for peace and justice work framed by the Millennium Development Goals, our congregations -- together with the individual spiritual life of each of us -- must be rooted in places of health and strength.

For our congregations, this means practicing a stance of welcome and hospitality, reaching out to invite seekers and neighbors into widened expressions of community. It also means assuring the highest quality possible in public worship, education and outreach programs.

As individuals, this grounding comes in the form of a regular and disciplined prayer life, study of the scriptures, the commitment to participation in a local community of faith, and an attitude of generosity that limits personal excess in order to provide necessities for those in need.

In short, this practice is a matter of living a local life for global good.

For our congregations, I call each local community of faith to a season of careful assessment of your ministries of hospitality, evangelism and service. The 2007 "Groundwork" Lenten-study resources provided by the Mission Office at the Episcopal Church Center can help.

I would also recommend a re-engagement of the 2020 energy that called our Church, through the General Convention in 2000, to work to double its membership within two decades' time. This is doable, even with the challenge of declining birthrates that have an impact upon all mainline denominations at present.

For each of us individually, I recommend a discipline of personal examination of life, focused attention to the needs of others, and a generosity of spirit that seeks to love our neighbors equally as we love ourselves. That is the sort of holy living to which Jesus calls us all. When we meet and love our neighbor, we are meeting and loving God himself in our midst.
The suggested Groundwork III resources can be found here. This series was edited by Charles Fulton and James Lemler. I recently participated in an excellent workshop offered by these two gentlemen. I'm looking forward to using these resources for this year's Lenten study.


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