...some thoughts on what we mean when we talk about the church having an outreach

by The Rev. Jonathan Weldon

The primary outreach of St. Paul’s Church occurs at the dismissal from the Eucharist when we are sent forth to love and serve the Lord. This is a theological point that must never be lost, because without this understanding, we’ve ceased to understand what is basic to Christianity.
I’ve heard our bishop say this again and again, and he’s merely echoing the church’s understanding for these two thousand years of our history.

That outreach through the members sent from the Eucharist occurs in manifold ways through the personal commitments of every member in every aspect of their lives.

  • It occurs when they have the courage and love to be able to say in an AA meeting: Hi, I’m so-and-so, and I am an alcoholic, and when they reply “Hi so-and-so” and when they tell their story and when they sponsor someone else and take those emergency phone calls from someone who is sorely tempted to drink or use and when they say at the end of the meeting: “Keep coming back.”
     
  • It happens through their relationships with neighbors and co-workers,
     
  • and with the attention they pay to their children and to their parent-teacher meetings and their volunteering in schools.
     
  • It occurs in our nursing homes and assisted living facilities and retirement homes where our members are involved in caring for the other residents.
     
  • It occurs through their public service as teachers in our classrooms.
     
  • It occurs when they do the often thankless job of law enforcement with professionalism, keeping us all safe, and when they fight fires and ride ambulances to emergencies and work in our hospitals and emergency rooms or transport us safely from one place to another.
     
  • It occurs when they run their businesses with integrity and make good places for their employees to work and produce a product or service that is useful and serviceable or even beautiful.
     
  • It occurs in their commitments to service they make on boards and committees in government and in various organizations for the common good, in neighborhood associations, in Hospice volunteering and and hospital volunteering, in charitable organizations and in service organizations and fraternal organizations and organizations that service justice and peace.
     
  • It occurs in the work done specifically in the name of St. Paul’s through Alms Ministry and in Maple Alley Café. It occurs in our volunteers working in Hope House.


I could go on and on.

Do you have something you'd like to add to this list of ways
in which the Body of Christ reaches out?