In another newcomer’s guide to the Episcopal Church, “Jesus was an Episcopalian (and you can be one too)” by the Rev. Chris Yaw, Rector of St. David’s in Southfield, Michigan, there is a really intriguing mention of a group of scientists considering making a time capsule. In addition to deciding what to put in it, they wrestled with two really interesting questions: on what to record the information and how to keep knowledge of its existence from being lost. After reflecting on the ephemeral nature of modern storage media (DVD, mag tape, punch cards, etc.) they concluded that there is nothing more timeless than ink on paper. And their solution for preserving knowledge of its existence was equally interesting – a dedicated small group that perpetuates itself over time. To the author, it all looked like the church, preserving and proclaiming the gospel through the centuries, through the rise and fall of empires and through every conceivable upheaval in human history.
How best do we continue to do that; to be that group that preserves the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus? It is dependent on perpetually bringing the unchurched into the church, and that is the crisis of the church in our time. There are many potential answers to that question. We at St. Alban’s are thinking about that in the context of an additional contemporary services as a way of better connecting with the unchurched. We are not alone in this; most other parishes in one way or another are doing the same. This is a conversation in which everyone should participate; so join in please.
Blessed Lord, you caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that we may ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life. (Paraphrase of the Collect for the Sunday closest to November 16.)
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 10-February-2015.