‘Tis the season . . .
No, not the Christmas season, but rather the season of transition. Almost every meeting I have with a group includes some conversation about our Episcopate transition. One of the things I am often asked is about “engaging God’s mission” or our “missional focus” during my tenure. My response generally goes something like this:
From its earliest days, the Episcopal Church in Minnesota has been participating in God’s mission. Unlike other faith traditions with similar early roots, most of our Minnesotan Episcopalian ancestors engaged their new neighbors with respect for their local context. Jackson Kemper, Breck, Whipple, Enmegahbowh, and Sister Annette—they all spent time building relationships, building partnerships, and discerning how they and the Episcopal Church could bring their gifts to the good work that they were called to do.
Over the last decade we have dug deep into ECMN’s roots to reclaim that missional heritage. All of our faith communities have been invited and encouraged to discern their unique gifts and passions. Likewise, each of our faith communities has been invited and encouraged to move out into their neighborhoods to discern where God is inviting them to bring their gifts, partnering with others to help create God’s dream of the Beloved Community.
This is the missional work of our ancestors, and it is our work today. It is God’s mission, the work that God has been doing since the beginning of time, reconciling us to God, reconciling us to one another, and reconciling us to the world.
God is actively working to bring forth reconciliation, healing, and wholeness to all of God’s creation. All of us, both individually and collectively as communities of faith, are being invited by God to bring forth God’s dream. God’s mission IS the Church’s mission (although we often turn this the other way around). As we read in the Book of Common Prayer, “The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” God’s Mission, the work of reconciliation and restoration, is manifested when we work to bring forth the Beloved Community for all—when all God’s children feel acknowledged, affirmed, and respected.
Week in and week out as I am blessed to be in our faith communities, I get the opportunity to experience how they are using their gifts and passions in partnership with their neighbors to work towards God’s mission of the Beloved Community. Good and faithful folks, following Jesus in the Way of Love.
Across ECMN, we are not only reclaiming our missional roots, but fully embracing our call to be God’s missional people in our communities today.