Statement on Mission and Evangelism


Statement on Mission and Evangelism

SCOBA Conference of Bishops

Antiochian
Village, Ligonier, Pennsylvania

November 30-December style='letter-spacing:.05pt'>2, 1994

 

style='font-size:11.0pt;letter-spacing:-.05pt'>The end of the second millennium
after Christ coincides with a unique missionary challenge to the Orthodox Church around the world.
To mention only two
dimensions
of this challenge will show its scope.
1) The fall of communist totalitarianism in Central and Eastern European countries opens the way
for the re­evangelization of the peoples of
these countries. 2) In the United States and Canada
style='letter-spacing:-.05pt'>millions of people are in spiritual crisis,
millions of people are unchurched, the societies are afflicted with a spiritual
and moral vacuum, and the Orthodox Church
is therefore presented with a challenge to bear witness to the Orthodox
faith and to
evangelize.

We, the Orthodox bishops of North America, assembled at the Antiochian Village, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, November
30-December 2, 1994, have heard an address on Mission and Evangelism by His
Eminence, Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese,
and a response by His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas, Orthodox Church in
America, and have reflected together on the
missionary task of the Orthodox Church in North America.

We
wish to express the following convictions and commitments regarding mission and
evangelism in North America:
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It is our
conviction that mission is the very nature of the Church, and is an essential
style='font-size:11.0pt'>expression of her apostolicity, and that the Orthodox
Church is therefore commanded by the Lord
Jesus Christ to teach, to preach, and to make disciples of all nations;
-
It is our conviction that the Orthodox
Church's history and experience give
numerous
examples of commitment to mission and to the preaching of the Good News of
Christ (missions to the Slavs, missions in Siberia, China, Korea, and Japan,
the evangelization of the Alaskan native people, and contemporary mission in
Africa,
Indonesia and Albania);

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We believe
that our task in North America is not limited to serving the immigrant
style='font-size:11.0pt'>and ethnic communities, but has at its very heart the
missionary task, the task of making
disciples in the nations of Canada and the United States;
- style='letter-spacing:-.1pt'>We believe that the Orthodox of North America -
bishops, clergy and laity - style='letter-spacing:.1pt'>are called to think together, plan together,
and work together in order to do mission work together;

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We commit ourselves to show
special pastoral attention to couples coming to marry in style='letter-spacing:-.05pt'>the church, especially in mixed marriages, and to
their Orthodox Christian education and inauguration into Church life.

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We commit ourselves to the
evangelization, or re-evangelization, of those many people who call themselves
Orthodox, and have indeed been baptized and chrismated in our churches, but
whose lives are in fact distant from the fullness of the Orthodox style='letter-spacing:-.1pt'>Faith and the fullness of the Orthodox Church's
sacramental life;
- We commit
ourselves to avoiding the creation of parallel and competitive Orthodox
style='font-size:11.0pt;letter-spacing:-.1pt'> parishes, missions, and mission programs;

style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Wingdings;letter-spacing:.55pt'>§ style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'>      style='font-size:11.0pt;letter-spacing:-.05pt'>We commit ourselves to common
efforts and programs to do mission, leaving behind style='font-size:11.0pt'>piecemeal, independent, and spontaneous efforts to do
mission, moving forward towards a concerted,
formal, and united mission program in order to make a real
style='letter-spacing:-.05pt'>impact on North America through Orthodox mission
and evangelism; - We strongly
endorse the unified Orthodox Christian Mission Center, the
Mission
Conferences (at present co-sponsored by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian style='letter-spacing:.55pt'>Archdiocese, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and
the Orthodox Church in

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America style='font-size:11.0pt'>), and encourage further consolidation of mission
efforts and programs here and throughout the world;

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We commit ourselves to express a
common vision of mission and to work towards this end in the teaching of
mission as an important part of the theological education of style='letter-spacing:.05pt'>our future priests.

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We
respectfully petition His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch to convene a
world
conference of
mission representatives to help coordinate Orthodox mission strategies
style='font-size:11.0pt'>and efforts around the world;

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We Orthodox in North America
commit ourselves to bringing our household into order for the sake of the preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ, His
Incarnation
and His teaching, His crucifixion, death, burial, and
resurrection, and His presence in the Church
through the descent of the Holy Spirit.

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