A Worldwide Church in Mission
I hope that all of you enjoyed a meaningful Holy Week and a joyful Easter celebration. As we moved through the Paschal Triduum last weekend, one prayer at the Vigil stood out for me:
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 291)
Through The Episcopal Church we are fed, restored, consoled and inspired. Through The Episcopal Church we have a common language of faith that binds us together as Episcopalians across the world. Through The Episcopal Church we have the opportunity to pursue mission through our common prayer, worship, proclamation of the Gospel and promotion of justice, peace and love. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855)
We are Episcopalians and when we embark on mission – whether at home or abroad – it is important that we continue to embrace our Episcopal tradition and work with our young people to help them understand how The Episcopal Church is adapted in a variety of contexts. In fact, one of the important opportunities within any mission experience is the way we can demonstrate for youth how our common life as Episcopalians helps us accomplish the mission of the church – to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855)
Along these lines, I recommend to you the following chapters from the Episcopal Youth in Mission Manual:
- What is mission? Using The Five Marks of Mission as “Signposts along the road”, by the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori
- Our Baptismal Promises: The Foundation of Christian Mission Experiences and Pilgrimages
In addition, I commend to you the Bible studies, retreat curriculum, and spiritual resources available throughout the Manual.
Most likely, the youth with whom we minister will not participate in the same congregation throughout their lives. One of the great gifts we can give our young people is the understanding that in nearly every place they travel they will find an Episcopal Church somewhere nearby with a community of faith ready to worship with them, serve next to them, and embrace them as fellow members of the body of Christ.
How do you connect with local Episcopal churches or incorporate Episcopal tradition when you are on a mission experience?