Saturday, February 05, 2011

Sharing the Light with the WORLD

Metropolitan Community Churches make up a denomination that has always been evangelical in the best sense of the word; that is, we are an out reaching movement always seeking to offer hope and healing wherever it is needed in the world. Sunshine Cathedral is a proud part of that important movement.

Sunshine Cathedral’s mission is to share the light with the world…we are living into this mission in a number of ways, including:
1. Our support of our friends in Jamaica continues
2. We offer weekly worship services at two assisted living facilities
3. We offer worship and support services at correctional facilities
4. Our streaming video sermons are watched by people all over the world
5. Our You Tube Talk Show is watched by people all over the world
6. Our financial contributions to MCC support ministry all over North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, and Europe.
7. Our Second Life virtual congregation is accessible to people all over the world
8. We frequently have Worshipers from all over the world visiting with us on Sunday mornings (people from Canada, Ireland, Germany, and the UK for two weeks in a row have made a point to approach me to tell me that the worship service was among the most powerful experiences of their lives so far; one couple from Canada was crying as they explained how they had never been in one room with so many same-gender loving people, and that the worship was so joyful and the message so positive made it even that much more amazing for them!)
9. Sunshine Cathedral, with MCC’s Office of Leadership & Formation Development, offers a weekly Lectionary Discussion Webinar that has participants from all over the US (including Hawaii)…this resources local pastors and provides CEUs for MCC clergy
10. There are people who come to Sunshine Cathedral’s campus for a variety of reasons beyond SC Sunday worship…Arts performances, support groups, lectures, classes, etc.
11. This year’s speakers series includes two non-Sunday morning events where activists from African and Asia share their powerful stories
12. Last night Sunshine Cathedral hosted an international conference call with Ugandan activist Val Kalende (150 people were on the call)
13. When our sermons focus specifically on social justice, they are viewed by more people around the world than our other sermons (most of our sermons get 500+ hits the week they are first posted; the sermon about the bullying related teen suicides continued to get another 200+ hits per week for several weeks after it was delivered)
14. We frequently speak at FIU and Nova SE University
15. Our Spirit & Truth magazine goes out to about 400 people locally each month, another 100 people subscribe to S&T by mail, and two churches order a total of 80 each month to share with their congregants
16. Over two thousand people get our weekly emails
17. Churches all over MCC borrow from our liturgy to enhance their own.
18. Sunshine Cathedral staff minister Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin is a member of our global denomination’s governing board (he is also a Trustee of the Episcopal Divinity School which educates students from the US, Canada, Africa, the Caribbean, Australia, and New Zealand).

These outreach efforts are in addition to the people we touch every week in worship (total worship numbers increased 10% in 2010…7% increase in Sunday morning worship alone, AND January 2011 had 733 more worshipers in the room at 9 am and 10:30 am than in 2010) and are in addition to the many people who are served by Sunshine Social Services.

We are focusing on spiritual renewal in 2011, calling people to regular worship, daily prayer, positive thinking, positive speech, and faithful generosity. These renewal practices are not only good for our church as an organization and good for us individually as we continue to grow and mature spiritually, but they are making “evangelism” more and more effective…that is, lives are being touched with hope, goodwill, good news, empowerment, and healing. Our continued faithfulness and support of ministry really is sharing light with the WORLD…with people literally all over the world.

Everything we ever do should be about evangelism (outreach) and discipleship (continued growth and learning). That’s what it means to be the Church of Jesus Christ and we are continually moving in the direction of this high calling. The faithful support of all members and friends makes this great work possible.

I hope all leaders feel very good about all that we are accomplishing. Please know lives are being blessed, and sometimes literally saved, because we are faithful to our calling and purpose. Sharing the Light with the World is more than a slogan, it is our mission and as we continue to be faithful to it, people all over the world will benefit.

Many blessings are still ahead!