Three crucial aspects of spiritual growth in Episcopal* Congregations

September 8, 2013 484

Baptism of Chinese converts at Saint Martin’s, York, UK September 8, 2013

  • A more transformative encounter with God, especially in our common prayer, our worship, and our engagement with Scripture.
  •  A deeper life of discipleship, marked by personal spiritual practices that infuse all of life, not just time spent in a church building.
  •  A more compelling orientation toward putting faith into action, specifically in service to those in need for justice & peace, with clear articulation of opportunities to do that.

 

*Insert any denomination

From Lessons from Unlikely Sources: What a Market Research a Megachurch are teaching a few Episcopalians about Growing the Church – Jay Sidebotham The Anglican Digest 94.3 [496]

Renewal Works

Jay Sidebotham

Jay Sidebotham

Let me be specific about  the call. I have come to the conviction that we are called to three critical aspects of spiritual growth in Episcopal congregations:

1.  A more transforming encounter with God, especially in our common prayer, our worship, and our engagement with Scripture.

2.   A deeper life of discipleship,   marked by personal spiritual practices that infuse all of life, not just time spent in a church building.

3.  A more compelling orientation toward putting faith into action, specifically in service to those in need and work for justice and peace, with dear articulation  of opportunities to do that.

J Sidebotham

J Sidebotham

As I survey the wondrous church, I see a big gap between what we are called to do and be and what we are actually doing and being. In order to close that gap, I believe we need to experience the kind of transformation suggested  in Romans 12: a renewal in our thinking and way of being  that  transforms  the lives of individuals  and church  leaders,  as well as the common  life of our congregations  and denomination. We also need the kind of discerning, sober judgment to which Paul alludes, moving us to a deeper sense of expectation, responsibility, and challenge.

The Reverend Jay Sidebotham

Note: these remarks are taken from an article in the Anglican Theological Review – Summer 2012.  It was this article by Jay that excited me as a method to move forward in Spiritual growth at Saint John’s. JWS

 

The Refracted Fathers

Cover of "Centuries of Holiness: Ancient ...

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I faithfully kept a blog the last time I was on sabbatical but upon returning I allowed the tyranny of the immediate to crowd out my writing. Again I am about to enter sabbatical and again I am launching a blog. I propose this time to focus on my principle concern, to explore the ancient ways of soul work and how to best interpret that practice into my present work as rector of an Episcopal parish in the second decade of this century.

History has been one of my favorite subjects and since everything and everyone has history I am interested in almost everything so long as it has a story. I am an Anglican today because of the rich tradition and sense of continuity with the ancient church. Tradition is ill-served by its friends and despised by its enemies, though in fact neither group appears to be overly acquainted with its riches.

Fr. Richard Valantasis writes in his book, Centuries of Holiness: Ancient Spirituality Refracted for a Postmodern Age, “Tradition is the action of the Holy Spirit making available the wisdom of the past in a new idiom and a new time.” I will share from this work over the months ahead.

John+