Thursday, April 26, 2007

Presiding Bishop's Remarks on Mission, a Prophetic Voice and Mission

The Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop gave some very interesting remarks to a group of parish, diocesan and national church communicators from around the country. She reminded the group of the importance of mission in a broken world. Here is part of the report from the Episcopal News Service:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori challenged a gathering of Episcopal Communicators April 25 to engage gifts such as proclamation, witness, storytelling, moviemaking, language, images to help usher in the biblical vision of shalom, of equality and justice for everyone.

"There is something gravely and sinfully wrong with a world where the division between the rich and poor continues to expand, where some still live in palaces and recline on ivory couches while others starve outside their gates," she told about 120 parish, diocesan and national church communicators from around the country.

"In our day, the prophets still speak for a world where the hungry are fed, the ill are healed, where all children are educated and no one is denied the basic necessities of life."

While the Episcopal Church is increasingly focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a basis for its mission and work, telling the story of how churches are engaging the United Nations guidelines for eradicating poverty is part of the "important framework for what shalom might look like," Jefferts Schori told the gathering, which is meeting in Virginia Beach through April 28.

So is incorporating chaos theory -- that very small changes in initial conditions can lead to radically different results -- into mission, she said. "Each and everyone sitting here is capable of changing the world. Somewhere, somehow each one of us has the capacity to tame the chaos around us and turn it toward the peace of shalom. So where are the prophets? Who's going to speak those words? Who's going to do that work?

"What you or I do in this moment can bring hope or wholeness somewhere," she said. "The language or images we use can inspire or move others to be change agents themselves ... to move people to a different place. Your ability to tell stories like these can inspire others to change the world."


Read it all.

I was particularly touched by the Presiding Bishop's use of "chaos theory" to make the point that each of us has the capacity to make a real difference in the world. This reminded me of the famous speech that Robert F. Kennedy made to students in South Africa. He offered them hope at a hopeless time for blacks in South Africa by observing the following "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

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