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?

1 comment:

Laura said...

I hadn't thought of the argument for local rather than global support. Too often the argument i have heard seems to be church operating expenses instead of mission altogether which makes us a club rather than a church...
We somehow ended up in Canada...a pretty great democratic nation with a strong (not perfect) spread of social programs to assist those in need ,supported by our tax dollars. Seems to me we can bolster some of those local needs but not at the exclusion of helping people in places in the world that by the circumstances of birthplace have so very little.
Although our JNAC is still "privileged" info, I will risk saying that in creating our "sales package" for potential ministry applicants to consider St Paul's we are grateful to claim some bragging rights in our congregation's consistent and generous support of United Church Mission and Service Fund, along with local needs and emergency responses to crisis both in our community and around the world.