Follow by Email

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Evangelizing Anglicans?

A Sunday afternoon rumination:
Monastery Chapel, where we celebrate Eucharist.
After church this Sunday, Br. John and I were catching up with Mangaliso (pseudonym), a gentleman who used to be a monk but left the order years ago -an uncommon practice, but not necessarily bad. John asked what the latest was on him considering priesthood -an ongoing discussion between them. Mangaliso revealed he was leaving town that day, to begin studies at a bible college this week.

An unexpected twist is the bible college is pentecostal. After ongoing self-contemplation and discussion, Mangaliso feels a dissonance between his faith and the Anglican tradition. In his words, he feels called to a more evangelical approach to ministry.
Monastery Lawn, where this conversation happened.
Br. John’s immediate response was to smile and congratulate him. They proceeded to discuss, with smiles on their faces, how they always seemed to be on opposite ends of the faith spectrum. Mangaliso joked he would ‘convert’ Br. John someday, to which John replied “Yeah? You’ve been trying for years, how’s that worked out?”. Again, this was a loving dialogue among friends.

As they were talking, the acting Superior of the monastic order (not just this monastery; the entire order) approached us and met Mangaliso with a hug. After being caught up on Mangaliso’s news, he showed similar excitement and support as Br. John. With Mangaliso’s permission, the Superior led us in a wonderful, sincere prayer of support for Mangaliso on his journey. 

..I love this story. Mangaliso and the monks treated their denominations as brothers of a family, rather than competitors in a battlefield. From my perspective, Mangaliso was cultivating his personal faith and being honest about where it was taking him. Isn’t that a mark of a successful ministry?

Several approaches to “mission work” involve ‘changing’ people. I’m privileged to help re-define this term to mean a ministry of presence. Rather than preaching a particular lifestyle, we instead focus on being with them and helping any way we can. The key, in my experience, is to be sincere: We should genuinely desire to simply be a loving presence in their lives.

Just some reflections from a missionary [of presence] :)


“I used to want to fix people,
but now I just want to be with them”
        -Bob Goff, Love Does

1 comment:

  1. HI Cameron, I enjoyed this post. I'm happy to hear about this model of missionary work--to work alongside and not over the top of a community. Good for you.