Saturday, December 22, 2007

815 Ad in today's L.A. Times

In a word ...

BRAVO!

... to the leadership at 815 for stepping up offer both a history lesson AND a dose of Good News in this ad running today in the Los Angeles Times. "If this Christmas you are seeking a faith community that welcomes diversity of opinion and room for many voices building on more than four centuries of history, please consider visiting an Episcopal Church congregation near you."

The challenges we face are real, my friends, but so are the opportunities for evangelism -- and today's ad is a great step in that direction!

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At Christmas and year-round,
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The EPISCOPAL CHURCH welcomes you



California dioceses, congregations share historic, continuing mission
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IT WAS ALONG California’s coast that common prayer in the Anglican tradition was first observed in the Americas – in 1579 when Sir Francis Drake’s explorer ship made landfall near Point Reyes just north of San Francisco. It is in this tradition that the Episcopal Church was also born.

Soon after, in 1607, the keeping of Christmas -- the “Christ Mass” – began in North America’s first permanent English settlement, Jamestown. From that first congregation developed The Episcopal Church, now active with 2.3 million members in more than 7,500 congregations in 110 dioceses in 16 nations and territories.

Then followed in 1849 the founding of The Episcopal Church’s “missionary diocese” of California, continuing today in the Bay Area complemented by five additional dioceses based in Sacramento, Fresno, Monterey, Los Angeles and San Diego through which some 175,000 parishioners are united in community outreach serving thousands of recipients of much-needed food, shelter, medical care, and other social services annually.

Through these daily ministries, The Episcopal Church’s mission in California continues on course despite recent headlines describing the decisions of some members to disaffiliate. As at other times in history – such as following the Civil War and the end of slavery – The Episcopal Church is emerging stronger for its insistence that all are welcome and full participants in Christ’s body.

If this Christmas you are seeking a faith community that welcomes diversity of opinion and room for many voices building on more than four centuries of history, please consider visiting an Episcopal Church congregation near you.
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View a PDF of the ad here ... which offers overviews of the six California dioceses, including this bit about San Joaquin:

The Episcopal Church continues in Central California amid a current change in diocesan leadership. Assisting in this transition are members of Remain Episcopal and Holy Family Parish in Fresno. Resonating with the season of the Nativity, the Fresno parish’s name recalls Mary and Joseph’s faithfulness in overcoming their challenges in welcoming the Christ Child into the world. The Church’s historical tradition holds that Mary’s own parents, Joachim and Anne, also responded uniquely to God’s call during their lifetimes. It is for Joachim that California’s San Joaquin Valley and the local Episcopal diocese is named.

5 comments:

Jim of L-Town said...

Dear Rev. Russell:

Evangelism, I believe is a very personal and intimate endeavor. As we have learned in our new Anglican start-up in Michigan it is in our personal relationships with our family, neighbors and friends that we can spread the Good News.
Ads, I guess, are helpful, but we have found that in the successful effort to grow our church that ads, which we have tried, are far less successful than the personal contact.
Most of us are refugees from liberal Episcopal congregations and the door-to-door out reach did not come naturally. But we are finding that it really works.
The return on advertising has been very disappointing. The personal contact has been very rewarding.
But in any event I hope that we can agree that Christ died to save us from our sins and that we anxiously await (again) his joyous birth.
As I tell my Sunday School class without Christmas, there is no Good Friday and no Easter.
To you and your blog. Merry Christmas!

A sinner saved by God's grace

Jim from Michigan

EpiscoWill said...

Susan,

Its been quite a while since I've posted on your site, however when I saw that the Anglican church first found it's place in the US right here in the Bay Area, I thought of what a meaningful and, yes, prophetic event that was. When you consider how many countless LGBT people have made their way to San Francisco because there was no longer a welcome for them in their family, church, career, community ... then how very often it has been the Episcopal Church that has been at the door with outstretched arms of welcome and healing, there is so very much for which to be grateful. When I first came here, it was the Night Ministry of The Episcopal Church that was most visible on the streets of The City to welcome the "strangers at the gate". When my own heart was shattered by the exclusion of my Fundamentalist family, it was because of an Episcopal friend in CT that I dared enter the doors of an Episcopal Church and, yes, find that indeed "The Episcopal Church welcomes you". Bless you in your continued ministry!!

Will Byrd

Alice C. Linsley said...

Susan, it is obvious that TEC doesn't welcome everyone and isn't really "inclusive". I wasn't welcome once I disagreed with my bishop, Stacy Sauls. But leaving TEC has turned out to be a great blessing for me, so ultimately I have no hard feelings toward him or you. Merry Christmas!

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

alice ... while wishing you every best blessings for a Merry Christmas, the Episcopal Church continues to welcome "you" ... you've chosen to find a spiritual home where your theological perspective is not a minority opinion. That choice has turned out, as you note, to be a blessing -- but it was a choice. And the door remains open to stop by and visit anytime you're in town ...

hal weiner said...

I don't really understand the last two posts because I don't know Bishop Stacey Sauls. As far as welcoming everyone, it is a hard job when you have to also include in your inclusivity Peter Akinola and those Bishops who are agitating to take their dioceses out of ECUSA and give over their administration to the same people they kept as slaves a few decades ago.

Jesus, Protect Us From Your Followers.

Hal Weiner
Founding General Counsel
GAY ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE INC.

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