TThis year, the Episcopal Church will observe World Mission Sunday on February 25. Enclosed you will find a variety of resources designed to draw attention to the fact that "We are a missionary church!" Please plan a special observance on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, as approved by the General Convention in 1997 - and then prayerfully consider how your congregation may learn about and become more fully engaged in God's global mission.
I was a missionary for four years, serving the Church of Uganda during the difficult times after the ouster of Idi Amin. Although many people considered this a sacrifice, I believe it was the greatest gift my church ever gave me! We may not all be called to go to Uganda, but we are all called to share in God's mission. In our Book of Common Prayer, the Catechism says, "The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ," and explains very clearly that "The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members." That word all means God's mission is global.
Not all Episcopalians know that the Episcopal Church's official name is The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The General Convention of 1835 took the historic step of proclaiming that all members of the Church were also members of the Society. Therefore, we are all missionaries.
The World Mission Sunday poster included in this packet carries the pictures of just a few of the hundreds of Episcopalians who have answered God's call to serve far from home. Earlier generations are represented across the top: The Rev. Alexander Crummell (1819-1898), was a missionary to Liberia; Deaconess Katharine Putnam, born in 1899, served in China; the Rt. Rev. Charles Henry Brent (1862-1929) was elected Missionary Bishop of the Philippines in 1901, and the Ven. Hudson Stuck (1863-1920) was the renowned "Archdeacon of the Yukon."
The lower part of the poster features four missionaries supported by our national and diocesan budgets: Heather Britt from the Diocese of Texas, now working on behalf of several hospitals in Gaza and Jerusalem; the Rev. Canon Stewart Lane of Colorado, who has worked as a college chaplain for 33 years in Southern Malawi; the Rev. James and Lorine Williams of the Diocese of Western New York, serving as administrator and bookkeeper in Klerksdorp, South Africa; and the Rev. Todd and Patsy McGregor of Southeast Florida, who with their daughters Charese and Corli do lay training and evangelism in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Other materials in this packet feature our Volunteers for Mission program, a special program just approved at the 2000 General Convention for a Young Adult Service Corps, and the Treasure magazine and leader's guide for our annual children's mission offering. Mission is for all ages; you can help serve the mission through prayer, education, and financial support.
Supplemental resources on our web site (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/world-mission-sunday) include a bulletin shell, bulletin insert, activity page for young people, and helpful hints on being a mission-minded church. If you do not have the equipment to download and reproduce these, please contact Episcopal Parish Services (800-903-5544 or email@example.com) to order a camera-ready set.
Thank you for helping your fellow Christians remember that mission involves all of us, everywhere.
Margaret S. Larom
World Mission Interpretation and Networks Officer