Monday, November 21, 2005


I ran into someone today and we talked about what being evangelical means. I have this sense that God is calling St. Hermans -the parish - to step outside of itself. There are many people who have come to St. Hermans on their own.... they were searching and found their way to us. But, as a parish we have done very little to invite people to "come and see". Admittedly, there are individuals in the parish who do this by their very nature, but as a parish we have not devoted much time or energy in this area.

I am very excited about our Open House on Sat. Dec. 3rd. I hope and pray that it will inspire us all to think of some other ways we can share our faith with all our new neighbours. Literally.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions. Let me or someone else on parish council know.


Matthew Francis said...

Literally speaking, the word "evangelical" simply means having to do with good news. For Christians, this naturally refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It seems to me that all of our Orthodox Churches are, in this sense, profoundly "evangelical" since we dwell in Christ as His Body.

Of course, personally, I can always be more intentional about this, and about sharing the Good News with friends, coworkers, and those around me in natural, normal ways through the way I live... as well as inviting them to "come and see" for themselves! Thanks for the reminder, Ramona!

Matthew Francis said...

Oh, a few other thoughts on this topic came to mind... as Christ's Body we exist "for the life of the world" (this phrase is taken from John 6)... that is a great and inspiring vocation. I like to try to think in my day-to-day life: how can I be open to bringing Christ's life to the world today?
And also, that we live "on behalf of all and for all..." Of course we do that in Liturgy, but what about the rest of the time? Do I, God helping me, live in such a way that is life-giving to all around me? I think that, from an Orthodox perspective, is what it means to be evangelical.

RW said...

Thanks, Matthew.

I agree with both of your comments - and believe that individually we are all evangelical in how we strive to live our faith in our daily lives taking strength from the The Word and the Sacraments, from our fellowship with others.

Not everyone does it the same way. Some are more "out there" than others, some are the quiet witnesses to the faith.

My question is more about what can St. Hermans do as parish to be more "out there"? Or does it need to be? Is it enough for us to be evangelical in our own individual ways?

Is this a Protestant question? Which it could very well be, as the conversation I had was with a protestant who has been on the edge of St. Hermans for many years. I have never struggled with this idea until now.

What precipitated it was a discussion on what God is calling St. Hermans to do. The parish has always been made up of a wide geographical area. Now it seems that our parish is being made up of more "local" (I am stretching) families. We are surrounded by hundreds of new families who could walk to our church if they so desired.

But since none of the existing members live in those communities, well actually one familiy does now.... how do we reach those people?

The work day calls...

Matthew Francis said...

It's all very challenging, and exciting also, for St. Herman's these days! What an an amazing missionary opportunity... all this development around the Church. I always notice it getting closer and closer when I'm out there in BC.

From what I heard, there was a lot of discussion at the All-American Council about re-embracing the "missionary" dimension of the Church. Does the term "missionary" or "missional" feel better than "evangelical" in being out there connecting with these folks in some ways?

I guess it doesn't matter what you call it... just being out there in some intentional ways (and available) to others makes a big difference.

God bless all your efforts!

Matthew Francis said...

Oh, I don't think it's only a 'Protestant' question... sharing the Good News in tangible, meaningful ways should be the concern of us all as Christians. Maybe the modes of doing that, or the culture we do it in, have been on default 'Protestant' settings for some time... but it's still the work of us all. Archbishop Anastasios of Albania talks a lot about this. Great stuff.

pasivirta said...

I think we should build a coffee/shop/bookstore/cafe/pub/establishment on the property, and some little places to live behind or on top, so we can live, work, and worship in the same place, and have a viable way to bring people in of their own accord. they will get to know us through the business, and then be able to come to the church through the relationships that grow out of that. there are other ways too, but when Phil had a bookstore, he knew so many people. perhaps though it should be in a different spot? I talked to the bishop about this, and he suggested that because of the neighbourhood, it would need to fill a niche and be upscale because of our coffee neighbour on 72 and 200. our favourite starbucks, where I always run into church people, which is cool, but if we had our own place, it could be eclectic yet hip and classy, have ethiopian fair trade coffee, so we are supporting our coptic brothers and sisters, a fireplace so it is cozy, and good healthy food that caters to vegans (and fasting orthodox) and ethical consumers alike (organic stuff)
anyways. I also have some ideas for quick, effective and cheap construction...but we also have to talk to phil and whoever else is interested, I know it is talked about a lot, both Fr. and the Bishop said that the primary issue is zoning and permits etc, which apparently the city is not too keen on just bending over backwards for us about. well, whatever. we'll make a way. It would be built with a lot of wood, lots of spruce and cedar, an alaskan architecture, and ethiopian food feel, but traditional stuff too.
well, all this will be decided by the council (not the church council), whenever it gets going, which may be a little while.

Matthew Francis said...

Okay, you probably want some of your actual parishioners to comment, eh? Hope you don't mind me sticking my ideas in here. : ) But here's an idea that St. Peter the Aleut Church in Calgary did... whenever they have a bake sale or something, they also offer 'tours' of the Church... introduce visitors to the Church's worship and the saints and all that... maybe an idea?

kimberley said...

That's a great idea Matthew.

It makes so much sense as a part of hospitality to say "Ah may I show you around/give you a tour?", as it always makes the guest feel more at home knowing where, as dad would say "the facilities are" and what's behind that door and THAT door. It makes one feel like they are welcome to stay a while.

I'd be pleased to take my turn with "tours" ramona, on the 3rd.
Our Papa would be a good tour guide of course too.

Gabe said...

i like dave's idea. i'd work there. ah yes i can see it. mmmm.

RW said...

Thanks again for all your thoughts. I really like the idea of tours.. we will take that and run with it for Dec 3rd.

Please do pray for this event for us.

Once all your hats have sold you can be a tour guide. I will make sure Fr.'s L and J are on board too.

You have great BIG ideas. I love them. We shall see what the Lord has planned for our parish. I am excited about the future.

MatJenny said...

I love the cafe/living spaces
idea! But then as a java addict I am always in favour of any cafe anywhere, as long as the coffee is good. And anything that can challenge the supremacy of the Man (starbucks)is also a good thing :-)

God bless your open house! It will be great -- a great idea. My only suggestion wd be to have some music playing somehow -- low key and mellow, but it sure improves the mood when people come in.