VOLUME 2, NUMBER 9, JANUARY 23, 2011
A Word from the Mission/Evangelism Committee:
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 (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."
1 Gortner, David, Transforming Evangelism, New York: Church Publishing, Incorporated 2008.
Annual Meeting and
|January 23||January 30|
|MP Officiant and LEM (8 am)||Andy Smethurst||Charles Keil|
|Lay Eucharistic||Debbi Geller||Theresa Peter|
|Ministers (10 am)||Mary Sunden||Andy Smethurst|
|Intercessor (Prayers)||Randall Scott||Aki Okunlola|
|Chief Server||Warren Hirstius||Leslie Bisdale|
|Acolytes||Justin Hirstius||Rebecca Bisdale|
|Debbi Geller||Debbi Geller|
|Thurifer||Kate Landi||Ben Martin|
|Ushers||Jim Cloke||Chris Scott|
|Pat Landi||Janet Delaney|
|Counters||Janet Delaney||Larry Sunden|
|Cookie Smethurst||Charles Keil|
|Altar Guild||Pat Landi||Theresa Peter|
|Chris Scott||Louise Dowdie|
|Coffee Hour||Louise Dowdie||Chris Scott|
|Patty Sayre||Randy Scott|
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