Church Beyond St. Margaret’s Walls

Evangelism: Sharing the joy of our faith.

Our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, has invited all members of the Episcopal Church to follow “The Way of Love,” practices for a Jesus-centered life. It is a commitment to follow Jesus: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. In other words, we are being asked to be a part of the Episcopal branch of the “Jesus Movement.”

According to a recent poll, 86 percent of church newcomers stated they came because someone invited them. Think about that for a moment…one act of evangelism could be as simple as inviting someone to St. Margaret’s. A broader view of evangelism, however, challenges us to take the church beyond our walls and to meet people in their walks of life and share the Good News, just as Jesus did when he encountered people.

Here are a few examples of how some of us are already taking St. Margaret’s outside our walls.

Good Friday on the Ruby Princess – 2018
In the spring of 2016, I was invited by the Rector, along with approximately ten others, to attend a training in the Daily Office (Morning and Evening Prayer). After completing the course, I was licensed by the Diocese as a Worship Leader. A Worship Leader is a lay person who regularly leads public worship, apart from the sacraments, under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith. Since then, I’ve led Morning Prayer on Wednesdays when clergy isn’t available, and I started a bilingual Morning Prayer two Tuesdays a month for our Neighbors4Neighbors clients.

Knowing that I would be on a cruise on Good Friday last year, and that onboard clergy probably wouldn’t be available, I asked the Rector for permission to offer my services to the cruise ship in hopes of leading a Good Friday version of Morning Prayer onboard. He agreed, as did the cruise director. Using the service of Morning Prayer as a template, I added appropriate prayers for Good Friday and printed a short service booklet to take with me. The cruise director made copies and arranged for a location and time on Good Friday. I’m happy to report that approximately 50 of my fellow passengers attended.

Ashes on El Paseo – 2018
Led by Mother Deb, a team from St. Margaret’s, Meredith Hardy, Betty Baxter, Jan Romerdahl, Bill LaVoie, Judy Burton and Mary McKenzie, dispersed along El Paseo on Ash Wednesday last year for more than an hour, imposing ashes on anyone who asked. Some individuals simply asked for a prayer, while others were delighted to receive the ashes.

More than 100 people came up to the team during their time on El Paseo. One of them, a visitor from out of state, gleefully said, “This is great. I can’t wait to share this with my church back home.”

Ashes on El Paseo – 2019
Following last year’s very successful experience, there will be another team on El Paseo on Ash Wednesday, March 6, during the noon hour. If you are unable to attend either of the services in the Sanctuary, this is another option to receive ashes that day.

Ash Wednesday on the Emerald Princess – 2019
A few weeks ago, I realized that I will be sailing on the Emerald Princess on Ash Wednesday, so I asked Pastor Kathleen for permission to ask the cruise director about doing something onboard for Ash Wednesday. I’m not sure if I’ll be doing Morning Prayer (with imposition of ashes) or following the “Ashes on El Paseo” format and calling it Ashes on the Promenade Deck. Whatever the format ends up being, I’m committed to taking church beyond St. Margaret’s walls and onto the high seas.

So think about this: What is Jesus calling you to do? How will you walk in the “Way of Love?” Which of the ministries at St. Margaret’s will you support? What can you do to take the church beyond St. Margaret’s walls? Stay tuned for more details about upcoming trainings and ministry opportunities that will Change the World.

And as my grandmother used to say, “Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.”

About Jim Duke 147 Articles
Jim Duke is the Public Information Volunteer for St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Palm Desert. In this role, he is Editor-in-Chief of St. Margaret's News, Podcast Creator and Host of "St. Margaret's in a Minute," coordinator for local media relations and assists with the management of St. Margaret's social media accounts.