Mission Newsletter #17
From A. Wayne Schwab and the
Member Mission Network June 9, 2004
For meditation as elections approach: ‚ÄúI believe
that spirituality is something universally human, that all people are
spiritual, that spirituality and religion are practically synonymous,
that spirituality, therefore, is as much concerned with the outer life
(of the body, community, institutions, liturgy, tradition, doctrine,
ethics, and society) as with the inner, and that spirituality is as much
concerned with the public life of citizenship and work as with private
life.‚Äù ‚Äì Owen C. Thomas, Professor
of Theology Emeritus, Episcopal Divinity School
Integrating Member Mission into Congregational Life
A systems story
Richard Bliese put in place the basics of a systems change for member
mission ‚Äì that is, a clear purpose stating what
is wanted and the changes to be made to achieve it ‚Äì where
he serves a south-side Chicago church, St. Andrew‚Äôs,
Glenwood, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
‚Ä¢ His purpose as pastor: to set people free for ministry,
so that they discover their vocations in daily life as well as in the
‚Ä¢ A theme for small groups: vocation in daily life ‚Äì how
to be in family and world as a Christian.
‚Ä¢ A new pastoral activity: visiting members at work.
‚Ä¢ Clarity about his limited work time and call for
the members to increase their share in leadership: only 15 hours per
week (he‚Äôs bi-vocational serving full time as Academic
Dean at Luther Seminary in St.. Paul, MN).
‚Ä¢ Twenty members have been trained to do everything for
70 - 80 homebound people in the neighborhood.
‚Ä¢ Laity make the first visit on new comers.
‚Ä¢ Laity lead almost all of the regular prayer at congregational
‚Ä¢ After 13 years, average Sunday congregations have grown
from 35 to 100.
Contact: The Rev. Richard Bliese, Luther Seminary, 2481 Como Ave., St. Paul,
MN 55108; 651-641-3471; email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Widening one‚Äôs church life
A member of St. David‚Äôs Episcopal Church, San Antonio, TX
heard that a woman in her office would not be able to be part of Maundy Thursday
liturgies in her Roman Catholic church. With water, a towel, and a basin, she
sought her out at work and said, ‚ÄúI heard you say you were
upset you could not get to your Maundy Thursday service for the foot-washing
and so I decided we would do that here.‚Äù She woman did
the foot-washing there at her friend‚Äôs desk as her friend
responded gratefully. Although they were alone in an alcove, there was absolute
silence through the entire office.
Contact: The Rev. Hugh Magers, St. David‚Äôs Church, 1300
Wiltshire, San Antonio, TX 78209-6098; 210-824-2481; email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Worship that expresses member mission
Each year, Trinity Church, Ambler, PA plans to commission its members for their
missions in their daily work on the following schedule.
January ‚Äì Ministers of the Home and Family
May ‚Äì Ministers of Creativity and Construction; Ministers
of the Land
October ‚Äì Ministers of Education; Ministers of the Human
Body and Spirit
December ‚Äì Ministers of the Provision of Goods, Services,
and Resources; Ministers of Community Service
For the specific kinds of work in each grouping, ask the contact person below.
Contact: Eddie Black, Trinity Episcopal Church, 708 S. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler,
PA 19002; 215-646-0416; email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Clarity about mission ‚Äì the first step in moving
a congregation toward member mission
The vestry of St. Anthony on the Desert, Scottsdale, Arizona has woven
call, vision, mission, and current goals together like this.
THE CALL: To know Christ and to make Christ known.
THE VISION: We are called by God to be a place of uniquely traditional
worship, while maintaining a warm and friendly atmosphere where everyone
is welcome. As a community, we treasure the energy of our young and the
wisdom of our elders. We also seek to be Christ‚Äôs
hands in service to the wider community, and to be a sanctuary for those
in need of healing and reconciliation with God and humankind.
THE MISSION: The church of St. Anthony on the Desert is the homeland
for its members who are missionaries in their homes, their neighborhoods,
their workplaces and in the wider world.. We are here to assist our people
as they seek to make a difference Monday through Saturday by choosing
to be different in Christ.
THE GOALS FOR 2004: [Included are stewardship, evangelism and hospitality,
more nurturing of the faith of each member, and being a ‚Äúhands-on-vestry.‚Äù ‚Äì The
Vestry of 2004
Contact: The Rev. Jonathan Coffey Jr., Rector, 12990 East Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
AZ 85259; p:480-451-0860; f: 480-451-4413; email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More of worship expressing member mission
Recall this dismissal at the end of worship in MMNews #16: ‚ÄúSisters
and brothers, we are not dismissed. We are not just free to go. Christ sends
us! Go in the power of the spirit to love and serve the Lord. Go to help and
to heal in all you do. Thanks be to God!‚Äù Bill Fleener
(email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)) suggests for the following
Sunday at the Offertory: ‚ÄúNow bring the results of your
ministries this week.‚Äù
God‚Äôs call to care for the earth
[Our email does not provide for sending pictures. Our website manager
will post them on the Newsletters -- #17 -- on the website. Go to www.membermissionpress.org
Barbara Kunzi and Kathy and Will Reinhardt clean up NY 22 in Essex,
NY. Kristin and Mark Kimball mark a field to plant onions on their
organic farm in Essex, NY. ‚ÄúWorking in harmony
with the land is my spirituality,‚Äù says Kristin. ‚ÄúEvery
day I get a sense of the magical and the mysterious and they are more
present the simpler I farm,‚Äù Mark adds. All four
helping in this wider world mission are Friends of St. John‚Äôs
Church, Essex, NY
‚Ä¢ Basic Tools #18 ‚Äì Small groups
that support member mission. How to form and lead the small groups for
biblical reflection, sharing of our daily missions, and prayer that,
with worship, are the essential support for the ongoing missions of the
members. See the Making the Vision Work menu on the website.
‚Ä¢ Basic Tools 19 ‚Äì Using systems
theory for member mission. To have members who can tell weekly of transforming
their daily arenas with God‚Äôs help ‚Äì being
specific both in achievement and where, they believe, God helped, we
need to redesign the system. How to do the redesign and implement it
in the congregation. See the Making the Vision Work menu on the website.
‚Ä¢ Church Voices in the Public Square II: ‚ÄúA
Place at the Table,‚Äù Friday and Saturday, June 18-19,
2004, at Hobart and William Smith College, Geneva, NY helps with our
mission in the wider world. Keynoter: Catherine Bertini, Under-Secretary-General
for Management of the United Nations and former Director of the UN World
Food Programme. Sponsored by the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches of upstate
New York. Register with Carmen Seufert, 716-685-6924, email@example.com
‚Ä¢ Environmental concerns in both the local community
and wider world: see ‚ÄúA Different Use for the Book
of Leviticus‚Äù at http://www.thewitness.org/agw/andrus031804.html
(http://www.thewitness.org/agw/andrus031804.html); at http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0403&article=040320
see ‚ÄúThe Turtles of the Field‚Äù by
Brian McLaren; and see ‚ÄúTo Serve and Preserve: The
Bible calls us to dominion over creation. Or does it?‚Äù by
Ched Myers at http://sojo.org/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0403&article=040323
‚Ä¢ Healthy spirituality for youth: see Soul Shaper,
Tony Jones, Zondervan and Way to Live, Dorothy C. Bass and Don C. Richter;
click on the Bookstore at www.upperroom.org (http://www.upperroom.org/)
for these spiritual practices for youth that go beyond party-and-pizza
‚Ä¢ ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Time
for a New Take on Mission‚Äù by A. Wayne Schwab challenges
church leaders to embrace the daily missions of the members as the most
effective means for transforming the world around us with the power of
God‚Äôs love and justice. Offering inspiring worship,
increasing membership, deepening the quality of congregational life,
and forming all in the Christian story find their proper role as the
missions of the body to support the daily missions of the members. See
‚Ä¢ ‚ÄúLeft behind‚Äù ‚Äì for
comment on and interpretation of ‚Äúthe Rapture‚Äù in
working for a healthy spirituality: see ‚ÄúEn-raptured‚Äù by
Jason Bypasse in the 4/20/04 Christian Century (call Cora at 312-263-7510,
ext. 221 for a fax or email copy of the article or the complete issue);
see The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation
by Barbara R. Rossing, 2004, Westview Press for a discussion of the biblical
texts (pp. 173-186) and the beginnings of this teaching in the work of
John Nelson Darby in the 1830s (pp. 22 ff.); and see Rapture Culture:
Left Behind in Evangelical America by Amy Johnson Frykholm, 2004, Oxford
University Press which explores why people are drawn to this kind of
‚Ä¢ ‚ÄúThe Passion: The Gospel as Political
Parody‚Äù by Ched Myers, author and theologian, treats
Mark‚Äôs account as a parody on the political-legal
system that condemned Jesus. The ‚Äúparody‚Äù lies
in how Mark‚Äôs writing unmasks the hollowness of both
the religious and the secular leaders. See http://www.thewitness.org/agw/myers040704.html
(http://www.thewitness.org/agw/myers040704.html) for this important resource
for one‚Äôs spirituality.
‚Ä¢ When the Members are the Missionaries can be searched
on amazon.com by clicking on the title >Search inside this book >enter
a word >click on the page desired. Leaders and planners considering
this approach for their church life will be able to view one page at
a time until their quota is reached.
In Memoriam: Bob Hoffman of West Linn, Oregon died suddenly of an apparent
heart attack on May 18, 2004. We so valued his deep commitment to encouraging
the ministry of the laity in daily life.
* * *
Tell us about your work with member mission ‚Äì firstname.lastname@example.org
(email@example.com) or phone / fax 518-963-7541.