"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'" (Matthew 28:18-20).
Dear friends in Christ,
As I return from a Diocesan pilgrimage in the Holy Land, I am more aware than ever of our obligation as Christians to meet the needs, not just of our community or country, but of the whole world.
The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. We do this through reconciliation, restoration and journeying with those in need. The emphasis is on people rather than the work accomplished. There is much to be done. But it is crucial that we work together to address the pain in the world and not in isolation from one another. From the moment the Spirit calls us into living out the Great Commission, our mission becomes a sacred pilgrimage.
I want us to renew our commitment to Global Mission. The Episcopal Church's understanding of mission has been evolving over the years. We must develop a more compelling and inclusive understanding of mission. I find this deeper understanding consistent with our understanding of discipleship. It is my hope that we will grow together into this understanding and live out our commitment to serve one another in the name of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
To this end, the Global Mission Commission (GMC) was established at the 2015 Diocesan Convention. This Commission will serve as a networking umbrella entity for all missioners and global mission work done within the Diocese. I have entrusted GMC to represent our Gospel calling as the Diocese - to be my hands and heart in this work.
The Episcopal Church designates March 3, 2019, as World Mission Sunday, a time when the church comes together to focus on the global impact of our call to "seek and serve Christ in all persons." GMC has asked that I share the prayer below for churches to incorporate into their services for the day. And, please prayerfully consider how God may be calling you to Global Mission.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
(from the Book of the Common Prayer, p. 257)
O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you, bring the nations into your fold, pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O God of all the nations of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in your image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the prayers and labors of your holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship you as you have been revealed in your Son; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.