The Episcopal Church’s World Mission Sunday, an annual observance designated by the 1997 General Convention, occurs on the Last Sunday in Epiphanytide – this year on February 19.
Epiphany celebrates the showing forth of the light of Christ in all the world – over all the diversity of nationalities, cultures, races, languages and ethnicities. This is symbolized in the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem: they were non-Jewish foreigners, probably from Persia, the present-day Iran.
The theme of Christ’s glory being shown forth in the world culminates every year in the Transfiguration of Jesus on the last Sunday of the season. Jesus was transfigured by the glory of God in order that he might be strengthened to undertake the last and most challenging stage of his missional work, which took him to the cross.
In the collect of the day, we pray that we may be changed into Christ’s likeness, “from glory to glory.” God likewise invites us into God’s mission of transforming the world.
How might you observe World Mission Sunday in your congregation? –
• Explore blogs from current Episcopal missionaries.
• Invite an Episcopal Volunteer in Mission or a Young Adult Service Corps missioner to talk with the congregation about their work on Zoom or another platform during the Sunday Forum or in an informal coffee hour conversation. The Office of Global Partnerships can help connect you.
• Highlight the congregations’s existing global engagement by inviting parishioners to talk about the initiatives they’re involved in – in a forum, during the announcements or during coffee hour. As an example, the banner image above is from Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, where the Mission Committee coordinates initiatives in South Sudan, Uganda and Honduras.
• Invite parishioners from other countries to talk about the life of the church in their homeland – how people worship, how they express community, how they participate in God’s mission.
• Consider using missional prayers and other liturgical resources for World Mission Sunday. During the Prayers of the People, pray for missionaries, specific mission initiatives, and guidance in becoming more globally engaged.
• Show one of the many short videos about mission work from Global Mission Conferences sponsored by GEMN. The 2022 conference alone, on Women in Mission, featured work in Iraq, Haiti, Guatemala, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Cuba and Costa Rica. Explore video resources at previous conferences as well.
You can use World Mission Sunday to convene a small-group study of global mission:
• Gather a group for the 4-week course, Becoming a World where Love is the Way: Guiding Principles for World Mission, developed by the Standing Commission on World Mission (SCWM).
• Gather a group for the 7-week course, Questing: The Way of Love in Global Mission, developed by the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN).
• Explore the resources of the Global Mission Digital Toolkit, developed by the Office of Global Partnerships, SCWM and GEMN.
• Use the Global Mission Cycle of Prayer, which lifts up the wide range of global mission initiatives around the Episcopal Church.
• Mission Thursday on Mission Companionship with Christians in the Sudans – Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. Eastern. Sponsored by GEMN and hosted by the American Friends of the Episcopal Churches of the Sudans (AFRECS). Free registration at Eventbrite is here.
• Save the Date: Global Mission Conference – May 3-5, noon to noon, at St. Mark’s Church in Tampa. Theme: Mission: Journey into Healing. Stay tuned for registration details.
• Save the Date: Mission Formation Program – May 2-3, noon to noon, in tandem with the Global Mission Conference. Stay tuned for registration details.
• Global Partnerships Networking Call will be held at 2 p.m. Eastern, on Wednesday, March 1.
• The deadline for Young Adult Service Corps applications has been extended from Feb. 1 to Feb. 17. – People ages 21-30 serve Christ and God’s people abroad for a year. Apply here. Let young people in your congregation and circles of friendship know about this unique opportunity.