[The first in a 4-part series by The Rev. Dr. Nancy Lee Jose, Rector, exploring the calling and mission of St. Thomas' Parish]
We at St. Thomas’ Parish celebrate our unique mission as part of the family of God known as the Episcopal Church. In the words of the “An Outline of Faith,” commonly called the “Catechism,” The Book of Common Prayer defines our mission as followers of Christ like this:
- The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
- The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.
- The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.
At St. Thomas’ Parish we take very seriously the unique history of our participation in the church’ s mission of reconciliation, which itself gives flesh to Christ’s mission to restore all people to unity with God and each other.
This happens through a wide variety of ministries, or ways of living and acting as followers of the living Christ.
Our primary ministry is reconciliation that we prepare for in prayer and worship and then live out in our identity and actions as Christians.
Reconciliation with God and one another takes shape through our promotion of justice beyond, not just within, our doors. It starts when we keep filled our Food Basket for those who come to our doors otherwise unable to feed themselves or their families. We were a founding parish of Samaritan Ministry in Washington, DC. Our members regularly cook meals and serve at Christ House & Martha’s Table here in the District of Columbia. Each year we furnish an apartment for a family seeking their own home through the work of the Transitional Housing Corporation. And on a global scale we support and participate in our Diocesan commitments to the Millennium Development Goals; parishioners regularly travel to Central America to do work for the Trinidad Conservation Project.
And reconciliation happens as we learn together in community how to promote peace and love as the grounding principles of our life together. Historically at St. Thomas’ Parish this often has found central expression in providing sanctuary and support for the LGBT community. More recently we have chosen to begin learning the foundations and practices of nonviolent communication — respectful, civil approaches to the differences of opinion and conviction that are inevitable in human society.
Christian faith for us is not otherworldly, but deeply engaged in the needs and joys and beauty and tragedy of the world we share with others, as we seek in them the face of Christ who is the very face of God-made-flesh out of God’s neverending love for creation.
We invite you to join with us as you choose to and are able to support the presence in Dupont Circle of our small circle of whose trying daily to follow The Way that God has shown us in the compassionate and extravagantly generous hospitality of Jesus. Our mission is to do nothing less than to help God draw the world into the embrace of love like that — and to help God heal the divisions and wounds we inflict on one another and that are inflicted upon others by the injustices of the world.
As we celebrate such mission at St. Thomas’ Parish we continue to grow in numbers and resources and desire to help God heal the world. We are by no means perfect; but we know where God is calling us, and we are learning in love to lay the foundations for a more just and compassionate tomorrow.
>>NEXT. Why we begin in prayer and worship in community & how that prepares us to be agents of reconciliation in the world.No comments