Friday Reflection: Revival

From The Rev. Canon Anna Carmichael
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Growing up in the South and in the Southern Baptist tradition, the word “Revival” was pretty loaded. It’s kinda the way Episcopalians feel about the word “Evangelism”-something we should be doing, but it seems too scary, too hard, or we don’t know how. So when Bishop David asked me to take on the responsibility of working with The Episcopal Church to bring a Revival here…well, I didn’t even know where to begin or what was being asked of me.

Perhaps, you’ve wondered what this whole Revival thing is about too.

The best way I can explain what we’re being invited to do is to use the words of The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, who is leading The Episcopal Church’s Revival Team: “A revival is a dedicated series of gatherings that combine inspiring worship, compelling preaching and teaching, honest faith-sharing, intensified prayer, and some form of engagement with the mission of God – all for the sake of the spiritual renewal and transformation of people and of society.” For us, in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, our Revival will be focused on how we are sanctuary for all of God’s creation, but particularly with our brothers and sisters of color and who are immigrants.

According to Stephanie, each revival seeks to …
  •  Revive the hearts of Episcopalians in the Host Diocese and   throughout the wider church, stirring love for Jesus, for each other and for creation
  •  Proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in the language of the people
  • Equip and send Episcopalians to share and listen for stories of Jesus loving presence in daily life, through training that may occur before, during and after the event
  • Organize people for reconciling action and justice that embodies good news in the context
  • Gather a diverse body that intentionally crosses lines of age, race, class and/or culture
  • Engage in intensified prayer and preparation before, during and after the event, including gathering and equipping a diocesan network of intercessors
  • Call Episcopalians to intentionally, personally invite and welcome people who are not actively following Jesus 1) to attend a revival and 2) to join the Jesus Movement
Now, I don’t know about you, but hearing some really excellent preaching, listening to the stories of others, acting with a heart for justice and reconciliation, and having my heart revived…well, I can get down with that! And my guess is you can too.

Things you can do to prepare for the Revival:
–PRAY! Our diocesan revival planning team needs your prayers. Our neighbors need your prayers. The Presiding Bishop and his team need your prayers. The Episcopal Church and all its ministers (lay and ordained) need your prayers.

  • INVITE! Start talking to your friends, neighbors, family, friends who live in other dioceses…ask them to mark these dates on the calendar and attend if they can.
  • August 25-27 folks from The Episcopal Church’s Revival team will be with us to help us prepare for the November revival. Please mark these dates on your calendar…we will need you to participate.
  • November 17-19 PB Michael Curry and his Revival team will be with us to celebrate, share, eat, and call us to MORE. We will need you to participate.
  • ENGAGE! While the diocesan planning team has their tasks, you may be called on to help with a specific project or element of the Revival. Please say yes. And if you can’t say yes, refer us to someone who can.
Thank you all for your prayers, engagement and loving support as we work to follow Jesus into a loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, with each other and with creation.

Blessings to you,
Canon Anna

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