Nuggets from Convention

Here are some nuggets from the 226th Diocesan Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey which took place yesterday and today in Cherry Hill, NJ. The nuggets are from Bishop George Councell:
  • On Mission: Survival is not a mission - we need to receive God's missionary who is Jesus and become missioners ourselves.

  • On Church Growth: Our work is to feed the sheep, not count the sheep - but denial is denial and resurrection does not follow denial, it follows death.
  • On Pastoral Care: Jesus meets us where we are; not where we ought to be! Jesus heals us from the inside out.
  • On Transformation: We are not a people who are born again, but a people who are seized by the power of a great affection who is Jesus Christ and he found us and we him in the Episcopal Church. (The expression "seized by the power of a great affection" was used in 1975 by Gordon Cosby in his Handbook for Mission Groups).

  • On Leaving Church: "Get up! Get up! Get Outta here!" as the new dismissal for a church that needs to relearn what it means to leave the comforts of home / the church / the pews / our buildings. A dismissal made famous by legendary Milwaukee Brewer's announcer "Mr. Baseball" - Bob Uecker.

In all that we heard this weekend, I was constantly being reminded of Carol Rose Ikeler's hymn:

The Church is wherever God’s people are praising,
singing their thanks for his goodness this day.
The Church is wherever disciples of Jesus remember
his story and walk in his way.

The Church is wherever God’s people are helping,
caring for neighbours in sickness and need.
The Church is wherever God’s people are sharing
the words of the Bible in gift and in deed.

I can't help but wonder if the song lyrics should be simpler: "The Church is wherever God's people are [period]."
As I have more opportunities for reflection, I will share - at St. Barnabas on Sundays, 8 and 10 a.m., at The Branches on Wednesdays at Noon and on the Second Sunday of the month at 7 p.m. and, perhaps in some additional postings here.