Friends and Neighbors in Christ,

The Sea Island Presbyterian Church is a family of faith formed by the grace of Jesus Christ, called to joyfully worship and love God, serve Jesus Christ, share the Good News, and shape disciples equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate in God’s mission of compassion, reconciliation, justice, and peace.
(Adopted September 22, 2014)

Our new mission statement conforms to the Great Commission issued by Jesus in addition to how the mission of a congregation in the Presbyterian Church (USA) is defined in the Book of Order. The mission statement is distinct, however, in that it was developed after several months of study and dialogue within the Session Council, and helps us to better identify what God is calling us to do as a particular congregation among many. The first emphasis of the mission statement indicates who we are. Churches are communities of faith, but we believed the use of the phrase family of faith is a more accurate and personal description of who we are especially as we gather on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday nights and all of the other times we gather together as the people of God.

As a family of faith we are formed by the grace of Jesus Christ whom we are also called to serve. It is in our service to Christ, that the mission statement articulates what we believe is the work and further mission of the church. We are called to worship God, called to shape disciples, and called to participate in God’s mission of compassion, reconciliation, justice and peace. The most important thing we do as a congregation is to gather each week in order to lift our hearts and worship the Lord. As we offer praise and devote our attention to God, it is by way of the order of worship and liturgy for the Lord’s Day (work of the people) that God feeds us by Word and Sacrament. It is in the spirit of Christian community that we share our burdens and find encouragement in the presence of the Holy Spirit and one another.

Pastor Jack will speak from the pulpit on October 19 on the work of shaping disciples. This is important for there are those in the United States who offer criticism that the church has done well calling folks in the Name of Jesus Christ to the way of salvation, but the church has done a poor job in making disciples. It is the consensus of your church leadership that this is a good and appropriate time to devote additional energy and imagination to understanding and putting into practice in one’s life both individually and corporately what it means to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus remembering that it was a faithful servant of the gospel by the name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who asked, “How can we live the Christian life in a modern world.” (The Cost of Discipleship, page 14)

Finally, Pastor Heather’s sermon on October 26 will address the task of sharing compassion with others, from the Christian perspective, doing the work of reconciliation, justice and peace. The Scriptures remind us over and over again that it is impossible to be a disciple of Jesus and turn one’s back on those of special need and care. Moving forward, we embrace the future with confidence and hope. With our new mission statement in hand, the Session Council is now using a portion of their meetings prayerfully developing a particular vision based on specific core values with the expectation that the mission and vision statement in addition to the core values will guide our decision-making as we do the work of the gospel. This is an exciting time in the life of our family of faith as Jesus says to each of us, “Come and follow me.” May the peace and grace of Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen.

+ Steve Keeler