This past week, we saw an excellent example of faith outreach courtesy of our Anglican brothers and sisters. A simple yet powerful witness in the "public square", local Anglican bishops and volunteers took to the streets to greet commuters on their way to work.
In full vestments, the bishops greeted the thousands of commuters who make their way through downtown Toronto's Union Station for the morning commute. Their message was simple: we hope to see you at church this weekend, whatever faith you may be.
I must be honest - when I first saw the story, I thought to myself, "Boy I wish I had thought of this idea." But at the end of the day - a good idea is a good idea. We see "guerilla marketing" for just about every other product out there, there's no reason faith communities can't get in on the act. I very much enjoyed the fact that the bishops were in their full vestments outside of a religious setting. It was also a classy move to extend the invitation to people of all faiths, not just Anglicans, to return to their respective place of worship.
Media across the country picked up the story. One can only imagine the dollar value of the publicity garnered from this initiative for the very minimal investment required. That said, I'm sure that wasn't the motivation.
For many people of faith, they see their church leaders on the altar or leading the spiritual service. No doubt it was also a bonus for the bishops to hear from the grass roots - to hear their feedback, their encouragement and likely some harsh words for those not fans of organized religion.
At the end of the day, we all need to look for innovative ways to invite the flock back to church and connect with the grassroots in our community. This was a great example of such an invitation, done respectfully and creatively. Kudos to the Anglicans for this wonderful example of faith in the public square.
Of course, the brainstorming has already begun to see how we can respond...
Photos: National Post, Toronto Star