Posted by: Titus Presler | February 19, 2011

Accessible resources for 2011 World Mission Sunday

The Episcopal Church’s World Mission Sunday, an annual observance since 1998, is designated for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, this year on March 6.  This year’s focus is on missionaries.  Congregations casting about for a quick way to access resources in world mission might find this list helpful:

• Bulletin Inserts produced by the Episcopal Church Center for World Mission Sunday – They come in two formats and provide an overview with pictures of four Episcopal missionaries.

• Blogs of Current Missionaries – These are especially illuminating and can very quickly get you close to the ground of missionaries’ actual experiences.  You’ll find links on the World Mission Sunday website.

• Two Mission Sermons by Current Episcopal Missionaries – the Rev. Sandy McCann in Tanzania and the Rev. Christopher Morck in Ecuador – These provide good sermonic reflections that you can quote in your sermon.

Windows on Mission – An excellent video series on Episcopal missionaries produced in 2005 by Canon Jane Butterfield for the Mission Personnel Office, with the filming and editing by filmmaker Philip Carr.  Order form.  The 12 18-20-minute vignettes of Episcopal missionaries on several continents are arresting discussion-starters for parish groups, and you could choose one of them for World Mission Sunday. A discussion guide is also available online.

• “20 Quick Ways to Encourage Global Mission” – A good list available on the World Mission Sunday website.

• Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission website – EPGM is a major network of Episcopal organizations devoted to world mission.  You may find that some of the organizations are located close by you.

• Global Episcopal Mission Network website – GEMN is a network of Episcopal dioceses with work in world mission.

• Partnerships Unit page on the Episcopal Church website – Has some basics.  Troll the Networking Unit page, where you will find notes on missionaries, as well as their blogs.  (The Church Center has reportedly been reorganized to put all these sorts of things in one administrative department, Global Partnerships, but the website evidently hasn’t caught up yet.)

• The website of your own diocese, which in most cases has important material on what your diocese is doing in global mission in the Anglican Communion and beyond.

Here are several resources in which I have had a hand:

Going Global with God: Reconciling Mission in a World of Difference by Titus Presler – Just out from Morehouse and Church Publishing, it highlights the democratization of mission in the Episcopal Church and other mainline denominations and explores how encountering difference is central in world mission.  Includes a study guide.  (Available from Amazon.)

Companions in Transformation: The Episcopal Church’s World Mission in a New Century – The world mission vision statement for the church, published in 2003 by the Standing Commission on World Mission.  Includes a study guide.

Horizons of Mission by Titus Presler, vol. 11 in the The New Church’s Teaching Series (Cowley, 2001) – The closest to a world mission handbook for Episcopalians, designed specifically for congregational study groups as well as for general readers.  Includes a study guide.  (Available from Amazon.)

If you’re short on time, remember that World Mission Sunday is a movable feast: You can observe it in Lent or Ascensiontide as well.  The important thing is to lift it up in the life of your congregation.  A number of the resources are also very workable in multi-week programs, which you might wish to consider.

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