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Embracing Evangelism

Extending Our Reach Beyond Church Walls

Rev. Anne Abdy

Embracing Evangelism

Dear Friends in Christ,

Since the beginning of spring, Stacy and I have visited Lewis Farms on the north end of town numerous times, enjoying their seasonal strawberries. I suspect most parish members are familiar with their products, which have even been seen as far as Charleston, SC. This makes me think about the reach beyond our corner of North Carolina, much like the twelve apostles reaching beyond Jerusalem.

Why is evangelism so difficult for Episcopalians? Why do we “freeze” at the thought of saying the “E” word? Is it the image of a televangelist pounding the podium with a Bible, or young Mormon missionaries and Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on doors that makes us think we need to be like them? What scares us about evangelism?

Did you know that in the Canons of The Episcopal Church, under Canon 4, there is a lay ministry license for evangelists? The Episcopal Church Website Glossary defines an Evangelist as: “someone who presents God's message to make known the good news of the life, suffering, and death of Jesus.”

That got me thinking. Aren’t we all disciples of Christ from the day we are baptized? We make a promise to spread the Good News. I remember a former rector suggesting to parents and godparents of a newly baptized child or adult to light the baptismal candle each year on the anniversary as a symbol of light, reminding us of our promises to God and the world.

How might the faithful at HCEW spread the Word? Making conversation with a stranger may feel uncomfortable, but it is simply a conversation. We can pray with others at prayer booths at fairs, Pride Festivals, and the Wilmington Hispanic Festival. Let’s wear our T-shirts at these festivals this summer, at the beach, the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park, and concerts too. I invite you to join me in reaching out beyond our doors this summer.

To help with this, we need a new HCEW T-shirt. Let’s wear our different designs and slogans to church to inspire a new HCEW T-shirt design. If you are interested in helping create a design – let’s talk!




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