South Carolina and Global Mission
By The Rev. Dr. James B. Vigen
Convener of the Global Mission Network and pastor of Orangeburg, Orangeburg
During the Christmas/Epiphany season our South Carolina Synod features the work of Global Mission and our Companion Synod relationships. One of the highlights for many of us every Christmas season is the children’s pageant. Often the pageant will feature the Three Kings from the East coming to the manger scene. We know, of course, that these ancient celestial scholars came later, in what we would call the Epiphany season. But, they remind us that this Jesus born in Bethlehem was, from the start, not destined to be “only” the Messiah of the Jewish people, He was born to the Christ of the Nations, also!
While the global church has often waxed and waned in its commitment to the global church, we do, in fact, confess our faith in it every single time we recite one of the historic, ecumenical creeds. We boldly declare our belief in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith.” Matthew, who began his Gospel account with the story of the Wise Men’s coming, ends it with what we call The Great Commission, “…go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matt. 28: 19-20 RSV] John puts the commission in this way, “As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.” [John 20: 21b]
The South Carolina Synod and its predecessor bodies have always been committed to global mission and we invite all of our congregations who are not at present actively involved to become so! There are many ways to do this. You can support any of the missionaries currently serving long term or short term who are connected with our synod. This includes the Young Adults in Global Mission program, which has allowed hundreds of young adults to serve for a year with one of our companion synods or churches around the country.
Another very helpful way to be engaged with Global Mission support is to pray for one or more of our official global partners. These are: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Japan; The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia, and the Southwest Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. Each of these relationships is attended to by a working group within our Global Mission / Companion Synod Task Force. If you’d like to know more, contact us and we will be glad to arrange a speaker to come and give a presentation at your church.
At the very least, we urge you to include our global partners in your weekly prayers of the Church.
For more information you may contact either of the two Task Force coordinators: Rev. Dr. James B. Vigen, firstname.lastname@example.org or Pr. Henri Bishop, email@example.com or Pr. Ginny Aebischer, the Assistant to the Bishop for Global Mission
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