On Friday, June 9th, All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral hosted At the Crossroads: Mission at the Intersection of Gospel and Culture, led by the Rt. Rev. Todd Hunter, Bishop of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO).
The conference had lectures on the aims of Jesus in His Ministry and how we can incorporate them in our daily Christian life and ministry. In addition to two sessions, the registrants shared a meal together and broke up into small groups for further reflection and discussion. There was also a Q & A session with Bishop Todd and Bishop Bill at the end of the day.
Session 1 focused on the shifting and evolving face of culture, which has given rise to serious issues that deal with sexuality, identity, and meaning. Resolution of these issues depends on a transcendent source that is stable and unchanging, in order to anchor us in the present moment with the answers that we seek. Connecting with this source in the midst of the surrounding turbulence and helping others do the same is the main goal of Christian mission, the source being the living God as revealed in Jesus Christ and as taught in the Scriptures. This mission needs the articulation of not only a transcendent truth but also an end-goal, a purpose, towards which all of history and our individual lives are moving. This end-goal, or telos, provides footing for our own lives and a directing shift in the lives of those in the world who are tossed about in the culture’s shifting trends. The aims of Jesus as seen through the Gospels can show this transcendent truth and telos that he shared with his followers in an equally turbulent Roman culture.
Session 2 focused on the aims of Jesus as he announced the Kingdom and elected its members, creating the Church by embodying the reign of God through his person and those he appointed. The Church is created as an embodiment of the relational life of God in the Trinity and the reality of the coming Kingdom, when God will dwell with man on earth. We are therefore elected to embody this reality and demonstrate it to those who are not yet a part of God’s Kingdom. The mission is first of all not something the Church does but something God does, as mission and relationship are a part of His nature. In terms of practical ministry, without these aims of election and embodiment of Kingdom realities we are left floating in a sea of present moments, manufactured initiatives and programs, without a real sense of direction and purpose. Bishop Todd explored with his audience how this looks in an Anglican context and took them through a quick history of Anglican mission and how it relates to Anglicanism today, especially as we face embodying a Kingdom amidst an ever-changing culture in a way that remains meaningful to those we serve.
Bishop Todd writes, “Here is the real deal: the perspective from which Jesus taught stretches from creation outward to the whole cosmos and to the whole of human history. From that vantage point, he tells us we have no need to be anxious about anything for there is a divine life, a rule and reign, available to us that is the true home of the human soul . . .and that we can enter this realm—the heart of God—by simply placing our confidence in him, becoming his friend and following him . . . and that in doing so we can be renewed from the depths of our souls . . .”
For those interested in more, the notes may be found below in PDF format. Videos of Bishop Todd’s sessions will also be made available shortly.