When was the first time that you were invited to church? I was three when Mrs. Williams offered to pick us up to go to Sunday School at the new formed St. Barnabas parish in the Jasper Place. Many of you were introduced to church by parents or grandparents, and welcomed in by loving Sunday School teachers.
When were you invited to church as a teen or an adult? I had friends who invited me to their evangelical church. I had one experience and then declined further invitations. But the invitation was one of the things that helped me find my way back into the Anglican Church as a young adult. And so invitation matters, whether people say yes or no. Being turned down is not a failure.
We are an invitational church. Invitation can happen anytime as the opportunities arise and as the Spirit moves us. The children and youth already do this when they invite their friends to Sunday School or youth group or summer camp. Sometimes it is appropriate to invite friends to a special event like a lunch or a dinner, or the Canada Day celebration, or the Carol Sing. Sometimes it is appropriate to invite them into a group, like the choir, or an adult education event, or the Kingbrewers. Sometimes it’s a matter of recognizing when people are at a place of transition, or when they are looking and inviting them. Sometimes it’s a matter of simply inviting.
Invitation is really just invitation. It is not coercion, nagging, a secret conversion plan or an effort to boost attendance statistics. It is who we are as Christians in the world. It is what prevents us from becoming an inward looking club, and enables us to be truly Christian community in the world.
On September 10 we will officially welcome our new rector the Rev. Renée Desjardins, with a pot luck lunch. It will also be invitational Sunday. On this day we particularly encourage you to invite your family and friends. St. David’s is a place where all are welcome.
Grace and peace,
~ The Ven. Kathy Bowman