It’s 2016! I hope and pray that each of you and your loved ones have a peace, love and joy filled year.
Now that January has arrived and the holidays will soon be in our rear view mirror, it is back to the daily rhythm of work and/or school. So as we settle into our new year, with our personal and professional hopes, goals and dreams, I thought I’d introduce you to an idea that has been in the works since this past summer.
Allow me to introduce you to our brand new Missional Year at a Glance poster (see picture). Each month focuses on a different theme. Each theme is tied into different focus of The Salvation Army as well as Christian holidays like Easter/Lent and Christmas/Advent. For example, in March our missional theme will be ‘Justice/Reconciliation’ due to it being the month when we at The Salvation Army and across the world focus on ‘Partners in Mission’, ‘World Day of Prayer’ and ‘International Women’s Day’.
The idea for this comes out of a few things:
- Last year we followed along with the ethics center focus on The Salvation Army’s 10 core values and it helped us get into a rhythm that many people seemed to appreciate.
- I believe that having a devotional rhythm can be very helpful in our own personal life journey as well as in our ministry units.
- The shelter directors have been asking for ‘missional tools’ over and above my newsletters in order to help keep the shelters focused on mission. If you’re the director of a ministry, this can be helpful as a guide to where to start with doing devotions in any given month.
- This missionally unifies us. We each will know that when we are focusing on these monthly themes, that we are not doing this in isolation but are in sync with the other shelters and TSA ministries.
I remember how powerful this was to me when I was in Cape Town, South Africa a few years back. I felt very far away from home and was feeling a little alone and homesick. I went to a nearby Anglican church (which incidentally was the church where Tutu and Mandela planned their anti-apartheid marches). As Anglicans have a liturgical rhythm that includes following a worldwide lectionary, I realized that the scripture passages they were reading that morning in Cape Town were the same ones they were reading back at my own church in Toronto. It helped me connect and feel less alone and homesick.
This Missional Year at a Glance is an attempt at creating our own liturgical rhythm.
If this interests you, please hit ‘reply’ to this email with your mailing address and the number of posters you want (within reason of course), and I will make sure you get them ASAP as a gift from Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports.
Each month, my (the) Mission Matters emails will focus on the missional theme of that month. For January our focus will be on our mission statement and our core value of ‘excellence’. As I’ve run out of space here, I’ll hone in on those themes next time.
In the meantime, let’s continue to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’ in 2016.
Dion Oxford, Director of Mission Integration
A New Year’s Prayer
Praise God in his holy house of worship,
praise him under the open skies;
Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise him with castanets and dance,
praise him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!
– Psalm 150 from The Message