Saturday, April 06, 2013
Mission and Service in Christ's Name
The other day a colleague mentioned that a guest speaker while she was absent from the pulpit one Sunday took it upon herself to tell the congregation that they shouldn't be supporting outreach projects away from the community, but instead stay close to home. To the credit of my colleague's congregation, when she returned a number of them expressed concern at this message.
There is a fair amount of this "charity begins at home" stuff that I must say amazes me in a day when we benefit from a global economy and expect that we have news from around the world. With knowledge comes responsibility, it seems to me, and we have an obligation and privilege to enter into compassionate partnerships with those in often distant places on our planet.
Recently our United Church moderator Gary Patterson signed letters to congregations across the country for their contributions for mission and outreach. He blogged about it, and good-humouredly admitted that it was no small task to scrawl his signature at the bottom of all the certificates. He knew that when he signed one for a Grace United as Grace Patterson he might be losing it!
The Mission and Service fund gives us the opportunity to enter into those meaningful partnerships with church groups around the world. We believe our M&S dollars are better spent working with local church agencies than parachuting into other countries.
This doesn't mean "either/or" though. St. Paul's has strong outreach to a number of local outreach agencies and ministries, including The Gathering Place community meal.
All round, well done in your generosity and compassion! Thoughts or comments?