Sep 29, 2009

Hats off to the Anglicans...

It's easy to sometimes get trapped within our own bubble as we move along with our day to day activities. The Catholic Church casts a wide net both locally and globally and most of our time is spent focusing on initiatives that ultimately deal with Catholics. That said, we ultimately hope to evangelize and impact people of all faiths and no faith at all.

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


Hidden One said...

Smiling secular priests in cassocks with habited religious priests, brothers and sisters with His Grace Archbishop Collins (or at least an auxiliary bishop or two), perhaps, passing out invitations to Mass with additional pamphlets in their pockets regarding seminars and suchlike on the reality of the Catholic faith?

Anonymous said...

This post is encouraging but I don't think endorsing the message with a picture of what looks like a women bishop is exactly what the Archdiocese Blogsite should be come across as endorsing as it contradicts the teaching of the Church.

riccioli said...

I'm glad it wasn't your idea... I think it was little goofy... mitre & cope at Union Station is a little much. People want substantive outreach and more importantly to be heard. Now that would be news!

Neil MacCarthy said...

Always appreciate the insights from our readers. Some really appreciated the outreach while for others it was seen as too contrived.

And a note to "anonymous", the photo of a female bishop was not any sort of editorial statement but rather, reflecting the reality of the Anglican community and how the story was covered in Canada's largest daily newspaper.

Anonymous said...

They may call themselves "bishops" but they are foolish laymen and laywomen dressed up in a clerical costume.

At least evangelical protestants don't have such hypocrisy.


Anonymous said...

Desperate times in the Anglican church calls for desperate measures. Anglicanism..the church of "change", where everything changes except the bread and wine.