Reclaiming the E-Word and Seizing the Episcopal Moment

By Becky Garrison 7-21-2009

Lost in the buzz over the U.S. Episcopal Church's decision to bless same sex unions was a missional moment. During his speech to the delegates attending General Convention, Brian McLaren proposed that Episcopalians reclaim that dreaded "e" word:

Sisters and brothers, we live in a strange time in relation to the E-word. For many of us, the word evangelism evokes ugly and morally tainted associations with colonialism, religious supremacy, and shabby televangelism. As a result, many Episcopalians would say that evangelism may be Southern Baptist or Pentecostal, but it's not Episcopalian, thank you very much. May I humbly propose that the time for this reactionary prejudice against evangelism is over? May I further propose that from this day forward, we see Episcopal and E-vangelistic as a holy union joined together by God, and what God has joined together, no one should put asunder. Amen?

McLaren's evangelistic call is echoed in the document Seize the Episcopal Moment: An Emergent Manifesto of Hope for the Episcopal Church. In this proposal, the Rev. Karen Ward, Abbess of the Church of the Apostles in Seattle, and the Rev. Donald Schell, one of the founders of St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco, offer some helpful signposts that can move the conversation of emerging mission forward in the Episcopal Church.

portrait-becky-garrisonIn Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church Becky Garrison profiles 33 church leaders working in mainline church settings to reach those for whom church is not in their vocabulary.

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