Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Four Little Greek Words

The Eighth Bishop of Georgia, the Rt. Rev. H.W. Shipps, wrote the following reflection for Saint Paul the Apostle Episcopal Church in Savannah where he attends:

Life as Christians active in parish or diocesan mission and ministry can become complicated and in need of prioritizing. There are four Greek words that clarify our discipleship and provide a way forward.

Kerygma The proclamation of the Good News through preaching, renewal, and evangelism. Holy Scripture is the basic source of our salvation history, and every sermon should have good news as a component. Evangelism to the un-churched and lapsed is a Gospel ministry laid on all baptized persons. Our personal and parish renewal and commitment enhances this ministry.

Leitourgia, literally the ‘work of the people’. Liturgy is the worship of the Triune God by the people of God, especially in the context of celebrating the sacraments, as well as in the Daily Office. Here we may note the three orders of clergy; episcope, presbyter and diakonoi in the Greek. By virtue of Holy Baptism, all baptized persons engage in liturgical worship, especially as we keep Holy Day.

Diaconal is the servant ministry of the Church to the world. This is carried on at all the different levels of the Church, from individuals through parishes, dioceses, and provinces. Community outreach in its several forms is perhaps the most common servant ministry. Again, a ministry of the baptized. In addition to hands-on ministry, we have opportunity to make offerings to special ministries: Episcopal Relief & Development, United Thank Offering, The Church in Jerusalem, Episcopal Youth & Children’s Services, amongst others.

Koinonia describes our life in the Church, the Body of Christ. As baptized Christians, we are in fellowship, in communion, with one another. We are a community of believers which transcends denominational lines. Christianity is a societal religion, in contrast to some others. It is “Our Father,” not “My Father”. It is “our Church,” not “my Church”.

Our life as Christians is fulfilled by living into these four ministries. Each of us is called to utilize the skills God has given us in order to enhance our discipleship with intentionality and purpose. None is free to ignore them.

+HW Shipps



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