As God is doing a new thing in and through The Episcopal Church, we shouldn’t be surprised to see many people reaching similar conclusions all across the church with no evident common source other than the Holy Spirit. This summer at the General Convention, the move for an Acts 8 Momentâ€”in which we stopped to pray, to study the Bible together, to discern, and to dreamâ€”was not the only outward and visible sign that something is afoot. The Episcopal Evangelism Network was also present at the General Convention for the first time and there is definitely a connection between the groups. Here is a brief description of EEN from the group’s website
EEN is a network of Episcopalians and friends called to the practice of progressive evangelism and contextual mission. Our passion is for equipping, supporting and networking individuals and congregations desiring to start new Episcopal spiritual communities, to renew existing ones, and to develop new forms of and approaches to evangelistic mission. We have faith that the churchâ€™s desire for such renewal and growth is part of a broad-based missionary movement that the Holy Spirit is kindling in and through the Episcopal Church.
At one level, I share in the connection as I was at Trinity Wall Street in May for the Episcopal Evangelism Network’s Missional Development Consultation. I came to the convention excited that others would experience the breath of fresh air that is the work EEN has been doing in progressive evangelism. This was covered well in a recent Episcopal Digital Network article â€˜Want Prayer?â€™ Progressive lay evangelists take church to the streets. EEN is also moving forward with a Missional Development Conference to be held September 20-22 at General Theological Seminary in New York.
In another odd connection, I read with interest the last inerview of Cardinal Carlo Martini who challenged his own Roman Catholic Church saying in part:
Where are the individuals full of generosity, like the Good Samaritan? Who have faith like that of the Roman centurion? Who are as enthusiastic as John the Baptist? Who dare new things, as Paul did? Who are faithful as Mary Magdalene was? I advise the Pope and the bishops to look for twelve people outside the lines for administrative postsâ€“people who are close to the poorest and who are surrounded by young people and are trying out new things. We need that comparison with people who are on fire so that the spirit can spread everywhere.
Synchronicity was Carl Jung’s term for the experience that events which seem to be unrelated, serendipitous or random, may be meaningfully connected. I see this in Acts 8, the Episcopal Evangelism Network, and even these words from Cardinal Martini and so am looking to find what else the Holy Spirit is bubbling up out there across the church. We don’t have to create the new thing. We just need to notice where the Holy Spirit is bubbling up, pray and discern our place in it and hop on board.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!
Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.