By Craig Landreneau
Recently, I participated in our annual Vestry retreat, which we use as a time to organize and coordinate the vestry, set goals for the year, and begin to shape the team dynamic. At this year’s retreat, we also reviewed over Christ Episcopal Church’s mission statement, and we found ourselves looking back to the mission of the Episcopal Church as a whole.
The Book of Common Prayer says that the mission of the church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
This is such a powerful statement which seems simple at first glance. In today’s culture, we are always only a phone lock screen away from social media, news stories, and trending information. It can be extremely easy to get caught up in the anxiety that much of this information is designed to provoke. We can quickly forget that everyone on this planet is here together, forming one global community of humankind. I find it reassuring to remember that our mission is one which calls for unity, love, and fellowship.
The Book of Common Prayer goes on to say that the the Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love and carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members. We can certainly help to further the mission of the Church by regularly attending Sunday service and attending Church functions, but we are also embodying what the Church stands for through acts of love and kindness to others, be they large or small.
Another point that sticks out to me in this section of the Book of Common Prayer is the question that immediately follows:
Q: Who are the ministers of the Church?
A: The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.
I think the order in which the lay ministers are listed here is extremely intentional, with lay persons (non-ordained members of the church) being the first named group. While we are a diverse group of individuals, we also all share a common set of beliefs and have a common call to action, presented in the mission of the Church. Each of the groups listed in the ministers of the church serve their own very important role, but the calling for the entire congregation and the impact we can have (both as a collective group and as individuals all working toward a common goal) is huge.
As we look toward what we hope the future of CEC will turn out to be, I'm excited about all the potential we have as a congregation. There will always be uncertainty, anxiety, and the looming prospect of change (for the better or worse), but I am confident that we have a church family here that is committed to the mission of the Church and to one another, and I know that, together, we will be ready to continue our efforts to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ!