Sunday, November 05, 2000

Archbishop spreads call to evangelize

By Richelle Thompson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Archbishop of Canterbury George L. Carey
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
        The spiritual head of 70 million Anglicans worldwide and the leader of local Episcopalians share a working-class upbringing and a similar faith journey.

        They also are bound by a common goal: spreading the good news of God and growing the church.

        Archbishop of Canterbury George L. Carey made a rare Cincinnati appearance this weekend to lend support to the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio and the call to evangelism issued by its bishop, the Right Rev. Herbert Thompson Jr.

        Focusing on evangelism “is not so much a new direction but recapturing what is central to the life of the church,” Bishop Thompson said.

        The archbishop will deliver the sermon today at a two-hour service at Xavier University's Cintas Center. He also will charge the expected 10,000 Episcopalians to spread their faith on a daily basis. The service launches Bishop Thompson's goal of increasing diocese membership from 27,000 to 100,000 by 2005.

        This evangelistic vision comes at a time when many denominations are searching for ways to attract members and stay relevant in a digital age. The challenge is particularly acute for the Anglican church, which is steeped in centuries-old traditions and has a membership perceived as more intellectual than evangelical.

        While Anglicans have long been active in social justice issues, members need to be more flexible and innovative in worship styles to bring people to the pews, the archbishop said.

        Members should go out and say “We have good news, we want to share this with you,” the archbishop said Saturday. “We want to make each church a center for mission and evangelism in a holistic way ... not merely praying for people's souls but also for their hearts and minds as well.”

        Bishop Thompson also is expected to announce today a financial gift to the archbishop for relief efforts in the Sudan. The gift is one of six major contributions totaling $4 million awarded this year from the William Cooper Procter Fund.


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