Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Evangelism for Anglicans II

Tonight I attended the second of our 5-week "Evangelism for Anglicanism" class. Sadly, our numbers were no higher due to illnesses and other issues; some people who made it last week didn't this week, and some who didn't then did tonight.

I understand that Fr. Daniel is making the handouts available to those who missed. Apparently Matt is taking the material from the one large Word doc for the course that he received and is separating it into handouts which he passes out at the appropriate time. Great idea! I would have cringed to receive the 50 page book that is the original. And after some misunderstandings last week he makes sure that the original authors are credited on each handout. (They are the Rev. Canon W.B. Wait III and the Rev. Canon Harold Percy.)

The handouts won't be sufficient, though. Or at least it seems to me that while they shape and guide our discussions, it's the material outside the handouts that seems to be shedding the greater light. Whether it's Fr. Daniel's prefatory discussion of the "agricultural model" of evangelism discussed last week, the "salesman" model we sometimes see today (inundate them with paper, make the pitch, make clear the sale is "now or never", close the deal and move on -- this being my interpretation), or the "fisherman" model hinted at by the opening reading Matt 4:18-22 (including the "fishers of men" Gospel pun) which stresses patience, delicacy (bringing them into salvation whole, not punctured with a hook), skill and knowledge of the waters wherein you fish.

The theme this week was "Getting Started" and it was in fact about getting started. The first handout noted we start where we are, not where we aren't -- with those around us in our families, with our friends and those with whom we work. Many reflections back to last week's class with the "six human needs" that those around us may be suffering, plus preparations for what may be before us, the same handout noting that "Conversion is almost always a long process." (Agricultural analogy again: planting, tending, and nurturing long before the result.) Now that sounds very Anglican!

And yet, Linda recounted a story of a friend of hers who became a (Protestant) Christian many years ago. To this day she says, "I'm a Christian now," and Linda said she continues to have a certain glow, but her life is also still changing in the way noted in the second handout. That handout uses the word "reconciliation," which in the sense used here sounds an awful lot like what my Greek Orthodox friend calls "theosis" (which I think we call "sanctification" -- if there are distinctions between these I am not yet aware of them).

After the class Matt tossed me a question I am going to be puzzling over: "How do we make this a part of our parish life?" (Or something close to that.) He clearly does not want this to be something that's done once and dropped, "Been there done that," nor do I. I have to ponder this; it may be that this class is something to be repeated occasionally when we have enough new(er) members, but that is not sufficient. Our "core group" needs to alter the parish.. psyche?.. somehow.

Funny how my own perspective has changed in just a week. Reading the last post on this topic it was something on the order of "we (Anglicans) have something special to share with the world." I'm not standing down from that, though I know it might not be everybody's cup of tea. And I saw in this evening's discussions clear evidence that we do not consider ourselves, whether it's St. Bartholomew's, the APCK, or Anglicanism in general, to be The One True Church and Sole Possessor Of The Truth. No, the focus was not on bringing in folks from other churches but on reaching out to those are quite unchurched.

And we have so many of those in the Pacific Northwest.

2 Comments:

  • At 9:38 PM, Blogger Anglican Parish Priest said…

    Thanks for your thoughtful, ongoing coverage of the class. I am learning a lot in the class itself, and it is nice to read your summary later, too.

     
  • At 7:15 PM, Blogger Continuing Home said…

    Fr. Daniel, thank you!

    Fortunately my travel schedule doesn't overlap the next two Wednesdays, but we do need to consider July 4th!

     

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