Skip to comments.Church Mission Statements Reveal Hearts Of What They Believe
Posted on 10/13/2005 5:28:29 PM PDT by sionnsar
If you truly want to understand what it is an Episcopal or Anglican church really believes in North America, then one need look no further than the mission statements put out on parish websites.
Consider the following. Saint John's Huntingdon Valley, in Huntingdon Valley, a few miles north of Philadelphia a liberal parish in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and its rector, The Rev'd Dr. Guy Collin, proclaims itself a progressive and inclusive Christian community seeking to proclaim God's love in Huntingdon Valley.
"We believe that God loves the whole human family, and that Christianity is about learning how to love like God. This means being called to break down the barriers that separate individuals and communities. St John's exists to share the extravagance of God's love with everyone, and you can read more about this in our mission statement."
"If you are looking for a thoughtful, inclusive and questioning church, I hope you will join us. We celebrate and incarnate the mystery of God's love through regular worship, study and service for those in our wider community."
"You are warmly welcome to our services and events. If you need pastoral care or would like more information about us, please do not hesitate to contact us. Wishing you the fullness of God's love and every happiness."
The church also links its website to such places of liberal enlightenment as the The Nexus School, The Center for Progressive Christianity, The Anglican Communion, Inclusive Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. It is in the vanguard of all that is unfolding, progressive and the "new thing" God, whoever he or she is, is doing in the unfolding drama of North American Episcopalianism.
Now you should also know that this parish draws, on average, about 50 persons each week, well below the survival line, but supported by the revisionist Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles E. Bennison.
Now this parish was once a thriving evangelical parish under the pastoral care of the Rev. Dr. Phil Lyman with some 300 parishioners. No more.
Lyman saw the hand writing on the wall and after one too many diocesan conventions which only consolidated Bennison's power base, the continued push of pansexuality and bad theology, so he and his congregation fled the parish, the diocese and the Episcopal Church leaving behind the buildings, an endowment and stuff they could have taken with them but didn't, saying enough was enough.
He and his flock came under the spiritual authority of two Global South Primates and joined the Anglican Mission in America.
They moved a few miles down the road, found new quarters and formed St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church. They took some 225 members with them and they are growing.
Contrast the Episcopal parish mission statement with that of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church and you will see a study in contrasts. Here is their mission statement:
"Welcome... In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This church opens wide her doors and offers welcome to all who sin and need a Savior; to all who are spiritually weak and seek rest; to all who mourn and long for comfort; to all who struggle and desire victory; to all who are strangers and want fellowship; to all who hunger and thirst after righteousness;
and to whomsoever will come."
This evangelically driven church has a full Sunday school program, and volumes of Christ centered activities, say its leaders.
When St. Johns in Huntingdon Valley was pastored by Dr. Lyman they had two services on Sunday and a bi-weekly Sunday evening service. All that has gone.
Or consider All Saints in Pasadena California, one of the most liberal, pro gay, parishes in The Episcopal Church in North America. Its rector Ed Bacon has this to say of his church: "[All Saints'] embodies God's unlimited and inclusive love that embraces, liberates and empowers people, whoever they are and wherever they find themselves on the journey of faith. To live out Christ's vision of unlimited love that empowers new life, not only for children, youth and adults within our membership, but with other neighbors, especially those who suffer from violence, injustice and bigotry."
Contrast this with the 1,500 plus strong Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, Pennsylvania. Here is their statement: A LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. "We are an active Episcopal church committed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through: Worship; Outreach near and abroad; Nurture and discipleship; Commitment to live and grow together. Although we are a large church we deeply desire each person to feel a part of the Good Samaritan family."
One group of churches proclaims their inclusivity; the other group proclaims transformation and renewal.
One group of churches says come as you are, stay as you are, the other group says come as you are, but be prepared to change, because God wants you cleaned up to present you as a pure bride before the bridegroom.
One group of churches proclaims the church as activist, dealing with issues like violence, injustice and bigotry; the other group proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ as the answer to those issues while not neglecting its concern for the poor and the downtrodden.
The evangelically driven Church of the Good Samaritan has some 70 outreach ministries, giving evidence that gospel proclamation and social activism are not mutually exclusive.
One group of churches is dying because it has no clear salvific message; the other group of biblically-driven orthodox churches, both inside and outside the Episcopal Church, are growing because they have a clear message of mankinds' sin, while offering a hand up and out of the sinful swamp.
One group says change is not necessary, God loves you just the way you are; the other group says we want to take you out of the gutter and the gutter out of you.
One says "I'm okay, you're okay", the other says, "I'm not okay, you're not okay" and Jesus, through his cross can make us both clean, redeemed and forgiven.
And one group of churches is dying and taking its people to hell, while the other group of churches is growing and awaits, with hope, the coming again of Christ to reign with Him.
Beautiful. All the posts on the web site from which this article came boldly proclaim the empowering Gospel of transformation for sinners, not eviscerating political correctness of affirmation regardless of your behavior.
An awful lot of people check up on this site daily. For good reason.
this was excellent..
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