Advent Awakenings to the Jackhammer on the Roof

By Karen Ward 12-12-2007

The denomination which I am now seeking to enter and belong to, the Episcopal Church, is a denominaton that many others are now seeking to depart.

Such a situation carries within it two things: danger and opportunity. The danger is self evident. The opportunty will come from listening to the jackhammer on our roof. The image of a hammer on the roof comes from my Bishop Greg Rickel. I've added "jack" to the "hammer" to note the severity of the "noise." But we must remember that we are people of the paschal mystery. Out of death, can come new life and renewed purpose.

Both the modern liberal and the modern conservative frameworks for being church are crashing down around us. From these ruins, both we and our more conservative friends need new to forge new alternatives and pathways forward for being church and working together on the core things we hold in common: Love of Triune God, the creed of Nicea, the dominical sacraments, the story of Jesus recorded in the scriptures, (albeit with varying frameworks for interpreting the scriptures among the churches) the call to mission, the call to reconciled relationships with one another reflective of the relational being of God, and the call to loving service, in and for God's world.

We who remain in the Episcopal Church should not waste time and missional energy being angry and "against" those who are more conservative, but instead direct energy and resources towards engaging renewed mission, reconciliation and service.

Let us pray for those have left us and ask their prayers for us who remain.

And let those of us who remain in the Episcopal Church give thanks for the "Interim Report House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church," November 2007, which says:

As Episcopalians, we approach and express our faith and relationship with Christ through our Baptismal Covenant and Eucharistic community. Now is the time to articulate and renew these leadership trajectories, and to re-kindle enthusiasm for both evangelism and mission... We need to undertake these efforts with a sense of urgency: urgency in evangelism, urgency in leadership development, urgency in outreach, urgency in structural reorganization-but first and foremost, urgency in more clearly defining who we are, where God is calling us to go, and how we should "press ahead" in mission in response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

With this new urgency, there is much to be done. Anglimergent is small, and newly forming cohort of emerging Anglican leaders that ready to be put to serious work to help lead and transform our church around and renewed focus on mission, reconciliation and service in the way of Jesus Christ. There are amazing missional opportunities before us. It is Advent once more.

Karen Ward is Abbess of the Church of the Apostles: An Intentional, Sacramental Community in the Way of Jesus Christ.

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