This weekend I was invited to be the guest preacher at the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island's annual convention by Bishop Nick Knisely
Last month I presided at the Eucharist during the Western Massachusetts Episcopal Convention, preached at Pr. Bill Peterson's installation as the new Rector of All Saint's Episcopal in New Hampshire, and spoke at the Clergy day for Lutherans and Episcopals in East Longmeadow, MA. What's the point?
Called to Common Mission is the name of the agreement between our two church bodies, where we now have formally agreed to engage in mission together. Our clergy can serve in each others congregations, and most importantly, we can now do ministry together.
Here's what we got going so far:
Cathedral in the Night, Northampton, MA and soon to be Pittsfield, MA. This is a joint effort to be a church without walls serving the homeless Veterans of these cities with worship, a meal, ministry of care giving, and social services.
Church without Walls in Providence, RI. A similar ministry with both Lutheran and Episcopal clergy serving together.
Missional Community, Portland, ME. A new venture reaching out to young people who are spiritually curious but church averse in the Portland area. Pr. Maria Anderson just started this project.
Iglesia Luterana, a Lutheran congregation worshiping at All Saint's Episcopal in Providence.
Escuela de Laos, OK my spanish is breaking down, but this Lay School of Ministry which began as a Lutheran only program, is now connecting with the Episcopal church.
FARM, Swanton, VT where Kim Erno is reaching out to Mexican migrant workers in Vermont.
There are others, and there is more to come.
Each tribe, that's what I call the denominations, has gifts and each has shortcomings. We are working together to leverage the gifts and minimize or compensate for the short comings. So far we are engaged in some pretty cool stuff. Some Jesus stuff.
That's why I'm driving all over Kingdom come, aka New England, to help ensure these relations are fostered and nurtured.
Question for you: Do you know the Episcopal church near you? What have you done with them? Shared a meal? Joint Ash Wednesday worship? Merged a pericope study group? Maybe just taken a priest out for coffee, or a beer or a glass of cherry?
Most significant things start with relationships.