Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Great Commission

This is Back to Church Sunday, something we celebrate all month at St. Paul’s. If you are new to St. Paul’s or returning, be assured that you are welcome here. In Matthew’s Gospel it is reported that Jesus commissioned his disciples to go “and make disciples of all nation,” to baptize and teach. This is known as the Great Commission and it is taken seriously by the Church over the years. One of our great hymns is based on Matthew 28:16-20 (Hymn 433, Common Praise).

However, it is one of those things that can be easily misunderstood. It doesn’t mean to baptize and teach at all cost. It doesn’t mean forcing, tricking or lying to people to get them to join. It does mean presenting the Gospel in all of its truth and glory, and praying that people will eagerly join the Body of Christ, the Church.

The Anglican Church offers a particular expression of the Christian faith. We do not claim to be in possession of the whole truth, only that we do our best to represent the Gospel. The parish of St. Paul’s Church is one of four Anglican churches in the greater Charlottetown area and if we are not suitable, perhaps one of the others will be. We can put you in touch with one of the other parishes. Perhaps the Anglican Church is not the style of Christian faith you are looking for either. We are friends with our sister churches and there are at least six other parishes within an easy walk of St. Paul’s, and we would be happy to put you in touch with one of them too.

Our goal for Back to Church Sunday (and for whenever someone tries us out) is not to force, trick or lie to people to get them to join us, but to bring people into an awareness of their relationship with the Creator. It is not, for us, about people’s money or joining parish committees, it is simply about creating opportunities for people to give praise and thanks to God for all the blessings of life. The Great Commission is not about increasing the churches membership list, it is about making disciples. If you are new to St. Paul’s or returning please come again or let us help you find a Church that suits you.

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