Grace Notes



A Word from the Mission/Evangelism Committee:
Evangelism 101

Where do you start? "It's every Christian's duty!" somebody says, opening his New Testament to Matthew 28:19,20 "It's part of what we mean when we affirm every Sunday, 'I believe [in] one holy, catholic, and apostolic church…'" says another, demonstrating her knowledge of New Testament Greek "In the original," she says, "the word is apostellw is where our word 'apostolic' comes from. Now apostellw just means "I send" (cf. John 20:21 'As the Father has sent me, even so I send you!' So 'apostolic' does not refer so much to matters of polity, but to the fact that the church has also been sent into the world to proclaim the gospel.

But this way of starting out has its problems. For one, me telling you it's your duty to evangelize is a lot like me trying to teach a cat to sing. It's a waste of time – both yours and mine, and it only annoys the cat!

There are reasons for that. For starters, there is our ethos as Episcopalians for us the word 'evangelism' is the "E-word." For another, the idea of evangelizing conjures in our minds images of defrocked TV preachers dressed in cheap polyester suits with wide lapels, or worse. We shudder at the mere mention of the word, and the suggestion that we Episcopalians might want actually to engage personally in evangelizing others – well, frankly, that drives me to hunt for some Alkaseltzer! The Mission and Evangelism committee has been reading and discussing David Gortner's Transforming Evangelism[1] (published by Church Publishing, "Publishers for the Episcopal Church"). The book has been an eye-opener for all of us. Here is Gortner's opening salvo:

Evangelism is your natural expression of gratitude for God's goodness. Gratitude and wonder, born of grace, drive evangelism, propelling you outward beyond yourself to places you have not gone before. Your story compels you to ... express in word and deed the wonder and delight of God's love for you and all humanity." (p. 1)

When I first read Gortner's words, my reaction was, "Where'd he get that idea? What about sin, hell, damnation, and justification by faith?!"

Gortner provides an intriguing reference in the story of Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well outside the village of Sychar (John 4:1-30). Instead of focusing on why John included this story in his gospel, let's to think for a bit about this woman.

Here's what I suggest: go, get your Bible, and read the story. Put yourself imaginatively in this woman's sandals. What is her life like traipsing to the well from Sychar every day to fill her pot with water? What has her past life been like? Does she remind you of anybody you know? And how does Jesus relate to her? What does he tell her? And most importantly, imagine her running back to the village to tell her story of her encounter with this strange man.

In my next installment, I'll have some more to say about this "Samaritan woman."

--Mack Harrell

1 Gortner, David, Transforming Evangelism, New York: Church Publishing, Incorporated 2008.

Annual Meeting and
Potluck Luncheon
Sunday, January 23
Following the 10 am Mass

PICK UP THE Diocese of Newark's Newspaper "The Voice"... The January 2011 issue of the Voice, 24 pages filled with pre-convention news as well as feature articles and photos from around the diocese, is now available. You may pick up a print copy from the narthex or download it from the diocesan website here. (The paper will no longer be mailed directly to your home.)

PLEDGE CARDS... Thank you to everyone who has pledged to God's work at Grace Church in 2011. If you have not yet made your pledge to Grace Church for 2011, please do so as soon as possible. Extra pledge cards are in the narthex. Thank you!

2011 OFFERING ENVELOPES... Please be sure to pick up your 2011 pledge envelopes from the narthex.

ADULT FORUM FOR SUNDAY, JANUARY 30... In December, members of Grace Church donated gifts for three families being served by Apostles' House in Newark. On January 30, Regina Miller from Apostles' House will be attending the 10:00am mass with at least one person being served by their programs. We hope it will be one of the persons whose family received our Christmas gifts. If you contributed, please attend to hear how your gift helped brighten the Christmas of someone who is desperately poor. All of the families served by Apostles' House are headed by single mothers. Even if you did not participate in the program, please come to hear about the Apostles' House ministry, which Grace Church seeks to support on an ongoing way.

REMEMBER FOOD FOR FRIENDS THIS WINTER... Winter has set in with a vengeance and should be with us well into March. The statistics concerning those who have been unemployed for over a year and are losing faith and hope is very disturbing. Many of these persons may be turning to food pantries to make ends meet. Please help St. Paul's help people in serious need. The Food Pantry especially welcomes high protein items, such as beans and canned meats. Otherwise, their wish list asks specifically for tuna, cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may be drawn in favor of St. Paul's Community Development Corporation and marked Food Pantry. Please send checks directly to St. Paul's at 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501.Thank you.

2011 CALENDARS... New calendars are available in the narthex. Please help yourself!

Ministers of the Assembly

January 23January 30
MP Officiant and LEM (8 am)Andy SmethurstCharles Keil
Lay EucharisticDebbi GellerTheresa Peter
Ministers (10 am)Mary SundenAndy Smethurst
LectorLarry Sunden
Intercessor (Prayers)Randall ScottAki Okunlola
Chief ServerWarren HirstiusLeslie Bisdale
AcolytesJustin HirstiusRebecca Bisdale
Debbi GellerDebbi Geller
ThuriferKate LandiBen Martin
UshersJim ClokeChris Scott
Pat LandiJanet Delaney
CountersJanet DelaneyLarry Sunden
Cookie SmethurstCharles Keil
Altar GuildPat LandiTheresa Peter
Chris ScottLouise Dowdie
Coffee HourLouise DowdieChris Scott
Patty SayreRandy Scott