Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Please join me tonight for a special conversation about our mission and future as a church

Please join me tonight, and each Wednesday evening in Advent, at St. Paul's for a special conversation about the book Christianity for the Rest of Us, by Diana Butler Bass. We will meet at 7 pm after our Community Night dinner, and please come even if you haven't read the book.

You can also join in this conversation on a special blog by clicking on the book cover just to the left or by clicking HERE.

I chose this book hoping to start a conversation involving all of us about our mission and our future here at St. Paul’s. Why are we on this corner? What is God calling us to be in our second century as a parish? How will we live out our baptismal covenant to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?”

The book surveys how 15 very different churches are living out their mission in their own particular way. Some are large, others small, but all are growing spiritually and inclusively as each hears God’s call to them. The book is not a strategic plan or a statistical survey of membership growth. Rather, Butler Bass takes us on a tour of what congregations can be when faithfully hearing God’s call and being courageous enough to act. Each congregation is very different, but all of these congregations have this in common: they began by recognizing not only who they are, but whose they are, and they responded after much prayer and discernment.

I am not asking us to critique the book, but to use the book as a catalyst for our own conversation about our mission as a parish. This is very informal; it is not a committee or a task force. It is not a focus group. We won’t be marking butcher paper on the wall. But I hope we will find insights from our collective wisdom and experience – and will be open to asking the deep hard questions about our mission and ministry that we share together. And I expect we will hear a surprise or two along the way. I hope you can join me tonight and each Wednesday evening of Advent.

Nativity art by He Qi.

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