To What End?

Posted by donna on August 1, 2018

Over the next several months, I’d like to talk about the ENDS. Not the END, but our AGC ENDS – the strategic ministry initiatives by which we accomplish our stated purpose as an Association. With the recent change in our AGC structure, we are focusing on four primary areas of ministry activity that give substance to our vision of being … A Movement of Healthy Reproducing Churches.

Kaemingk book.jpgNATIONAL COMPASSION & JUSTICE:  This is a new END for us. It was birthed from a deep compassion to address the heart-wrenching plight of Syrian refugees. Our Syrian Refugee Initiative has been the framework enabling several AGC churches to sponsor Syrian refugee families as they arrive in Canada to begin a new life, free from the sufferings of war, persecution and destitution that many have experienced.

As Christians, and as an Association of churches, compassion must be a part of our ethos. Throughout Scripture we see the compassionate heart of God.  God’s compassion is extended through His Son, who took the world’s punishment on the cross that made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Father.

Special mention is given in God’s Word as to what our own attitude should be toward “others” among us. Leviticus 19:34 says in part; “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” In Matthew 25:35 Jesus says; “For I was hungry, and you gave Me food, I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me.”  

Having lived in another country for nearly fifteen years, I know firsthand what it feels like to not belong, to be an outsider, to feel a sense of being displaced. Yet, within a Christian community all of that melted away, I did belong, the people I served and served alongside were my brothers and sisters, my family … I was welcomed.

Unfortunately, that sense of welcoming strangers is in danger of being pushed back because of fear and perhaps some latent prejudice as we struggle with our own attitudes towards others who are different.  In his book Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear Matthew Kaemingk makes this statement which speaks of the perception felt by many Muslim immigrants: “Although the vast majority of Muslims do not live in economically depressed physical ghettos, many live in a psychological ghetto caused by the lack of acceptance they feel from their neighbours and colleagues.”

So how will we reach out to these new Canadians? How will we welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, stand up for the oppressed and demonstrate both compassion and justice? These are not easy questions to answer, but they are questions that we as the AGC need to wrestle with if we are to genuinely reflect the love and compassion of Jesus. National Compassion & Justice is an END we want to continue to develop and expand to help us become …  A movement of healthy reproducing churches.

May the Lord guide each of us in our part to make strangers friends and friends family!

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Bill Allan 
President                                                                                                                                                      

Cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous pour la version FrançaiseBlogue Bill Allan Août 2018