Monday, May 31, 2010

Three Critical Questions for St. Edward's

I'm in the midst of an online conversation over on Episcopal Café in response to a recent post. In that conversation, I ask the following questions:
  1. Do we believe in the transformational power of a relationship with Jesus Christ?
  2. Do we believe that the Episcopal expression of Christianity has real value for people in a post-Christian society?
  3. Are our churches prepared to actively welcome, receive, incorporate, and form new believers?
I'm also reflecting on the conversation we had yesterday after church regarding moving from our single 9 a.m. service on Sunday morning to an earlier and a later service. I believe that there was a real consensus that we did not simply want to replicate the "pre-split" schedule and, most especially, did not wish to go back to thinking of ourselves as "8 o'clockers" or "10 o'clockers" that were essentially two seperate churches using one building. One thing that this transitional period has done is to bring those who stayed at St. Edward's together, and while there seems to be agreement that we need to move forward in this way, there is equal agreement that no one wants to go back to the two-churches-in-one-building model.

As I articulated at that meeting, I'm also not interested in simply having the earlier service as merely some sort of holding area for those who prefer traditional liturgy and music, simply sustaining the service without putting more than the minimal resources and attention towards it.  Rather, I would prefer that we actively market and give attention to both services, making sure that we do them both well and that we actively invite and incorporate people into both. If we truly believe that the Episcopal expression of Christianity is worth people's time, money, and effort, then we need to act on that belief with energy, enthusiasm, and our own time, money, and effort. The exact form of that action will be discerned over the next couple of months, but the opportunity of (re-)forming a community of faith so that all three of the above questions may be answered with an unqualified YES is an exciting prospect not to be missed!

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