St. Augustine’s mission statement ends by saying we’re “led by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our Baptismal Covenant”. The last question we’re asked in our Baptismal Covenant is this: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 305). We believe it isn’t enough simply to “do outreach ministries”…as Episcopalians we’re called to work to change systems that cause and perpetuate problems like hunger, homelessness, racism and other forms of discrimination, violence and war, and environmental degradation. But to be perfectly honest, the church often finds it easier to “do outreach ministries” than to work to change systems. It’s easier to feed someone than to question why they’re hungry (“When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist.” – Archbishop Helder Camara).
Social Justice Ministries – working to change systems – is a growth opportunity for St. Augustine’s. We simply don’t do enough to strive for justice and peace among all people. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. We have organizations in our community that do this work. The Episcopal Church has organizations that continually advocate for the marginalized.
Nationally, the Episcopal Church has several social justice offices. Episcopal Migration Ministries works to ensure immigrants and refugees are treated with dignity and respect. The Episcopal Public Policy Network gives each of us an easy way to become aware of public policy issues that Episcopalians care about and to send advocacy letters to our elected representatives. We encourage everyone to go to this web page and sign up! And please visit the Episcopal Peace and Justice Ministries web page to learn about all the other ways the church works to change systems.
If you have a passion for doing more than outreach, please visit us, call the church office, or send an email. We welcome you!