From the 2019 Ministry Narrative
Evangelism encompasses all that goes into presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. And while it is easy to appreciate something like an inquirers’ class as part of evangelism, one of the most important parts of this ministry is engaging in the spiritual gift of administration, which supports evangelism.
We continue to work into a world in which social media plays a significant role. We now communicate via email, the E-Letter, our website, and Facebook as well as through physical mailings, such as this booklet.
Embedded in our website and posted on our FaceBook page are videos of sermons which give those looking at us in their initial search for a church a sense of who we are. It also extends our liturgy’s reach to those who are seasonal residents of the Flathead Valley. It’s fun to know that friends of the parish from Washington to Rhode Island regularly view the sermons.
All Saints’ has Twitter and Instagram accounts and we plan to explore using these platforms to reach people who might not otherwise be exposed to the activities and ministry of our church.
The Diocesan Assessment is 19% of our operational budget, excluding designated and restricted offerings, also supports evangelism. Most of this assessment goes to help finance and thus support the ministries of the Diocese of Montana. From that money, the Diocese contributes to program efforts of the eight dioceses of Province VI, The Episcopal Church (which includes not only churches in the United States and Central America but spreads from Taiwan to the Convocation of The Episcopal Churches in Europe), and the worldwide Anglican Communion. Because of the assessment of our general parish income, the Diocese and The Episcopal Church have infrastructures that support all the special ministries with which we are so familiar. The United Thank Offering, Episcopal Relief and Development, as well as other special church agencies, help address the continuing humanitarian crises in our country and around the world. We depend on the Church’s administrative structure to get our offerings to where they are needed most. Similarly, local concerns such as supporting all of the programs and oversight of the diocese, including Camp Marshall, rely on the Diocesan Staff. The assessment from churches all over the state is the major income item in their budget.
Evangelism also depends in many ways upon a strong structure of the church. Our Rector Emeritus has served for many years as one of the priests from the wider Episcopal Church on the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons. As well, both our Rector Emeritus and Youth Minister have served as two of the Diocese of Montana’s eight Deputies to General Convention for several years. They are also two of the six members of the Standing Committee, which is currently the ecclesiastical authority of the Diocese of Montana, until our Bishop Elect, The Rev Marty Stebbins is ordained as the X Bishop of Montana in December this year.
Just as a stunning amount of human service takes place in this diocese, country, and around the world because of our supporting administration through assessment, the same thing can be said about the ministry of our parish. Were it not for the administration of our church, and the wonderful group of people who offer their assistance, most of what we see in outreach, worship, and pastoral care would not take place or run as well as it does.
Presenting the Church to the upper Flathead Valley involves making All Saints’ an inviting and attractive place for worship, solace, and rest. We continue to be mindful of our campus and use the gifts of many to keep it reflective of the loveliness of God’s creation.
We also have specific programs which involve getting our message out to local neighborhoods. The aforementioned public relations work, providing materials to the media, our website, advertising, participating in our Summer Camp program, and pet blessing are all part of evangelism.
This year, we celebrate entering the ninth year of providing our monthly E-Letter, which is sent to each household in our parish via email. Hard copies are mailed to those without computers and copies of the most recent edition along with this ministry narrative are available to guests illuminating our ministry in the area. The E-Letter’s purpose is to keep members informed of the many programs and opportunities at All Saints’. Its editor, Jan Rayford, has done an outstanding job of making it one of the most informative newsletters around.
In the area of printed materials, this Ministry Narrative tells much about who we are and what we do. As well, our bulletin, its inserts, and the description of The Episcopal Church, all help to tell our story.
Part of our evangelism includes informing others about the way we do things at All Saints’. The above-mentioned programs concerning Stewardship and Becoming a Welcoming Church are examples of that. To do this, our Rector Emeritus used the materials and insight we gained from Fr. Steve Wendfeldt, who shaped us in this area of ministry. Because the totality of what we do is based on the giving of time and treasure as a response to our receiving from God an abundance of blessings, this message is greatly appreciated as a fresh approach to a spiritual discipline that often has to confront a world overwhelmed with people operating out of a fear of scarcity.
We continue to be evangelical in ways that are wonderfully exciting and true to St. Francis reportedly saying, “Preach the Gospel daily and occasionally use words to do so.” The evangelical component to our work “up the Canyon” in concert with the Lutherans and Methodists, as well as our work with the various animal groups in the valley through the Blessing of the Pets and the Chili Open, all bespeak our understanding of the good news of the Gospel.
Part of our ministry is making our towns more aware, again through public relations, advertising and signs, that at All Saints’ they will find a congregation that is accepting, inclusive, and willing to embrace them as fellow members of the Body of Christ. As the late former Presiding Bishop, Ed
Browning, often said, “No one shall ever be cast out from The Episcopal Church.”
We also know that we can do so much more in this area of telling our story and we will be exploring this more fully with the very competent people we have in the parish for whom this is their ministry.