This month of October begins something of a journey outward as we celebrate World Communion Sunday and take our annual World Mission Offering. Sunday you are invited to wear something from your native country or a country you have visited as we acknowledge our common bond with Christians all around the world. The music, liturgy and décor will reflect this multicultural emphasis. And it is particularly significant for us as we continue to claim our identity as a multicultural congregation.
The World Mission Offering not only supports the work of the American Baptist Board of International Ministries as a whole, we also share the money raised between our two special interest missionaries. Dan and Sarah Chetti do remarkable work both in the Arab Theological Seminary in Beirut and in ministry to the women who are brought to Lebanon to serve as domestic workers. Dan (and now Sharon) Buttry travel all over the world, planting and nurturing the seeds of peace in conflict-ridden situations. (Read more about the work of the Chettis and Dan and Sharon Buttry on the International Ministries site.)
The worship focus for Sunday is taken from an old hymn we used to sing, “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations.” I assume we have stopped singing that hymn because of its overtones of an arrogant kind of Christianity that many of us have struggled to let go of and leave behind. Modern missionaries very much see themselves as partners with those they serve. The wisdom of the West is not automatically superior to the rich resources and traditions of people from other parts of the world. Still, when Ann and Adoniram Judson left Massachusetts in 1813, headed for the Indian subcontinent, they believed with all their hearts they had a story to tell. What was the essence of that story for which they were willing to risk their lives? Do we have a story to tell today? What is it? How do we share it? What, if anything, are we willing to risk for it?
Please join us at 10:00 AM on Sunday. Bring along a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or stranger to share in worship; then, stay for Adult Spiritual Formation when Pastor Tripp will lead us in the second of a series, this week featuring a video of Brian McLaren and a discussion of the question, “If you ask me, ‘Is God real?’ I first have to ask you, ‘Which God are we talking about?'”
May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.