Today’s second collection is our quarterly collection for the Maintenance of our Parish Facilities. This was initiated over two years ago with the goal of saving some money for unforeseen repairs and unexpected breakdowns of our physical plant components that are aging. This is different from the 60th Anniversary Fundraising that began recently with specific goals like constructing the new bathroom, renovating the physical worship space, etc. Thanks to many of you whose enthusiastic response raised the thermometer in the narthex to 70% of the $200,000 goal that we had set. If you have not responded, this is the right time to make a contribution. Please consider.
Last Sunday in my homily, I spoke about the “Ministry of Invitation” to help those alienated from the church to return. Let me expand on that: A study by Life Way Research Inc. showed the importance of inviting others to church. Here are some findings from that study:
- 67% of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
- 63% of Americans say a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
- 63% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member.
- 56% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a friend or neighbor.
Such is the power of personal invitation that it is now called a MINISTRY in itself. This ministry is the duty of every member of the Church. In his book Evangelism in the Early Church, historian Michael Green argued that evangelism was the prerogative and duty of every church member. Green argues that “Christianity was supremely a lay movement, spread by informal missionaries … the spontaneous outreach of the total Christian community gave immense impetus to the movement from the very outset.” So let us be conscious of our duty as lay ministers and missionaries to our own people.
One may ask, “Why would people respond to an invitation?” Because people are looking for true fellowship and true community. Several missiologists have stated this truth: “In our post-Christian nation, people who are skeptical of the faith are often attracted to the Christian community before they are attracted to the Christian message. Therefore, introducing people into the relational network of a local church community becomes an important aspect of their journey to the faith.”
We are very fortunate that our St. Matthias Community is truly a welcoming community. Thank you to those of you who have invited others to our Sunday worship or to our parish events, or by distributing/sharing our parish bulletin. How wonderful if the rest of us can follow that good example!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal