I was at the church for a Commission on Ministry meeting to discuss how to organize all the Commission’s documents and information on the diocesan website.
On my way in I spotted Bob, who was there for an event in the parish hall. Our interaction was limited to waving to each other as we headed in our separate directions. After my meeting I took some moments to pass the time of day with a few volunteers clearing up after the event. I was headed towards the door when I noticed Bob coming towards me. I stopped. He walked up to me, shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “I miss you. I miss you. I miss you and your family. If there is anything I can do, let me know.” Very simple, and also very moving.
Bob was not only being kind and genuine; he was also providing an excellent example of what evangelism can look like in The Episcopal Church. He shows how we can reach out very simply and with few words and yet still have an impact on the lives of others around us.
What we do need to change is our propensity for being reserved and hiding our light under a bushel.
Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find an account of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s recent Revival in Pittsburgh. The events being held in West Missouri on Saturday and Sunday, May 6 & 7 will be somewhat different to those in Pittsburgh, and we are calling our events ‘Awakenings’. There are similarities, and these events are tied back to Bob’s example, as we found out at February’s Evangelism Workshops. At the workshops we were shown that Episcopalians can be evangelists, and really we don’t need to change much to do so. We just need to carry on the work we do in the community, and the quiet works of help and love we give to friends, family and those we encounter along the way. What we do need to change is our propensity for being reserved and hiding our light under a bushel.
When you are serving in the community tell them which church you go to. Want something really simple to do? Follow the example of St. Stephen’s, Monnet. They took a diocesan advertising grant and invested it in St. Stephen’s tee shirts, so that wherever they go and whatever they are doing, they are taking their church with them and introducing it to people. Have printed calling cards for all your members is another simple thing to do. When you are working in the community, be proud to be Episcopalian. Tell them about the church you attend. Don’t be shy! Welcome questions about your church; answer them. Tell them about our wonderful music, our moving liturgy, fellowship and the way in which we welcome everyone. If people are interested, invite them to join you at a service. Keep it simple, and it will be painless.