Every congregation has its own mission story or narrative, often not written down, that shapes the congregation’s mission. Mission Working Group (MWG) is collecting these stories. Pastor Dana Eglinton, a long-time member of MWG, shared the mission narrative of the Jacksonville church.
“Through Christ God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1.20)
In grateful response to God’s creation-wide reconciliation accomplished on the cross of Christ, we at Jacksonville Presbyterian Church bow down before God in worship. And when we worship we find ourselves sent out by the Holy Spirit to care for God’s earth and its people.
God has been good to those of us who call Jacksonville Presbyterian our church home. We live on an earth that is both beautiful and fruitful. Our particular place provides us with fertile farmland and abundant fresh water, while also granting us access to the cultural resources of the greater New York and Philadelphia areas. History tells us that we have been richly blessed through the work and insights of others. We enjoy a society that has provided us with relative freedom and prosperity. We have been guided and encouraged in our lives by countless parents, teachers, mentors and friends. And we have come to understand that behind it all is the God who reaches out to us in Christ Jesus. We find ourselves the recipients of many graces.
In our encounter with Jesus we have also discovered that much is wrong in our lives and with our world. Our way of life has its dark side – many are left by the wayside, while the earth on which all life depends is being damaged. We see the suffering caused by poverty, sickness, injustice, environmental degradation, and war. And we also find that our privileged position and material wealth often dulls our spirits and inhibits our faith. God calls us to repentance.
And so we turn again to Jesus and find not only forgiveness but a repurposing of our lives. In Christ we find the Holy Spirit directing us to use our lives and resources in the service of the earth and its people. We are being sent out into the world to care for the world. And we go, knowing that we will find ourselves the recipients of many more graces as the Spirit opens up our lives to receive gifts from others and from the earth.