The 2007 installment of "Groundwork" evangelism resources -- offering congregations a Year C Lenten guide for study and action -- will soon be posted online and mailed in early November to congregations churchwide, the Episcopal Church's director of mission, the Rev. Dr. James B. Lemler, has announced.
With content sections designed to support weekly lectionary readings, the resources offer practical suggestions for action designed to increase parish hospitality extended to visitors and seekers.
The new packet opens with content for Sunday, February 25, 2007. It also offers suggestions for enhancement of a congregation's website and online outreach, much as the two previous Groundwork packets for 2004-2005 addressed overall communication planning and advertising.
The title "Groundwork" supports the recent churchwide invitation to "come and grow," also the theme of the 75th General Convention, Lemler said.
"It is an urgent and hopeful moment for the mission of the Episcopal Church," Lemler said, reflecting on the current climate for parish-based evangelism initiatives. "We are faced by changes all around us. Christianity is not in the center of American culture as in previous generations. These realities bring challenges and tremendous opportunities to us. We can invite people, and we are a church of welcome, respect, prayer, and community ... a church for this time. Our call is to the actions of intentional invitation and welcome."
Lemler added: "In a recent survey of Episcopal congregations throughout the nation, the highest desire voiced was for congregational growth and evangelism. Groundwork III helps to address this aspiration. It provides spiritual, biblical, and practical means, and actions for a congregation of any size to engage the practices of invitation and evangelism.
"Groundwork III is a resource for congregations small, medium and large to experience transformation during the coming Lenten season," Lemler said. "It uses scripture and the spiritual themes of Lent to help individuals and congregations pay attention to the mission of the church. Practical ideas and tools for welcome and evangelism are offered as well."
Previously published Groundwork resources, including the 2004-2005, are available here.