... 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!
The EPISCOPAL CHURCH welcomes you
California dioceses, congregations share historic, continuing mission
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.
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.