Today a new site launched: Episcopal Resurrection. It contains a Memorial to the church and a set of Resolutions for the General Convention to consider and enact for the renewal of the Episcopal Church. These documents were drafted by a group of people who met through their involvement in The Acts 8 Moment. They felt called to go from prayer and reflection to action and advocacy. Earlier this spring they gathered to see if they could together give words to their sense of God’s hope for our church.
I am blessed by my online friendship with these good souls. As a result, I had an early opportunity to sign on to the Memorial. I signed it in a heartbeat. I stand with the original authors when they say
We must find new ways of proclaiming the gospel in varied and ever changing neighborhoods. Old ways of being the church no longer apply. We can no longer settle for complacency and comfort. We can no longer claim to dominate the political and social landscape. We can no longer wait inside our sanctuaries to welcome those who want to become Episcopalian.
We love this church enough to yearn for it to be transformed…
Rather than be ruled by memory and consumed by fear, we can embrace this crisis, trusting that the Lord of Life will give us everything we need to spread the Gospel, proclaim the kingdom, and share the love of God.
Like the rest of the Episcopal Church, over the next few weeks I will ponder the implications of the resolutions that have been proposed.
But today, the day of publication, I find myself marveling at the Spirit-filled audacity of the original proposers.
Nobody authorized them.
Nobody funded them.
Nobody expected anything in particular out of them in advance of this General Convention.
They spent their own money. They spent their own time. They gathered in Bexley, Ohio, hardly a glamour spot.
They read canon law, drafted resolutions, debated and decided. What did they do on their break? Oh, they ate ice cream from a store that later closed for health concerns.
This is really not anybody’s idea of a super fun time.
So why did the authors of the Episcopal Resurrection Memorial and Resolutions do it?
Because they are convinced that Christ is calling the Episcopal Church to new life and health.
Because they feel called to offer their best to God’s mission in the world.
Because each and all have vowed to continue in the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to resist evil, and to proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ. As I have vowed – and maybe you too.
The drafters of the Episcopal Resurrection Memorial and Resolutions are not perfect. This reassures me, because I am not perfect. But they are offering what they have to give, for the sake of Christ and the gospel. And by doing so, they show us a way forward.
The new life of the Episcopal Church, if it is to reflect the life of Christ, will not happen without some personal sacrifice. It will not happen unless good people dare to say, “Nobody appointed me to do it, but I see that it needs to be done.” It will not happen unless we take the risk of new life: allocating funds to unproven projects; revising assumptions and habits; working together – using the tools of the 21st century! – at a task that is bigger than anyone can manage on their own.
For the authors of this package, that meant:
Buying their own plane tickets and setting aside time in their calendars, without knowing for sure what they would be able to accomplish.
Trusting that they could agree on a set of proposals, without any official mandate to do so.
Beyond the initial work on the text of the Memorial and Resolutions, hours of online collaboration to create a new website to share ideas and host conversation.
All done in their discretionary time.
God gave them a vision for renewal. They set themselves a task list in response to that vision. They completed the tasks they set out to accomplish.
Their work gives hope to me and to many who seek the renewal of the Episcopal Church, that together we may more clearly fulfill our divine calling.
Not only because I love their words and their ideas. But because they inspire me to go and do likewise.
Renewal starts when people take risks in response to God’s call.
Renewal starts when people make sacrifices in response to God’s call.
Renewal starts when people dare to act in response to God’s call.
Renewal starts… with all of us in response to God’s call.
In honor of the hours of labor they offered, I urge you: go read the Memorial and decide if you want to sign on.
a participating post in the
What vision do you have for the renewal of God’s people?
What would be your first task to achieve it?