I often pick up bulletins at churches I visit, interested in seeing what programs and other activities they offer. One I recently picked up was from the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City. Their bulletin, as do those of many churchs, contained their parish mission statement. Xavier’s mission statement reads
We, the Church of St. Francis Xavier, are a prophetic Roman Catholic community where Jesus Christ is recognized as Companion in our journey and made present through our celebration of the sacraments, our proclamation and echoing of the gospel, and our loving outreach and service especially to those in most need. While acknowledging our incompleteness and need for God’s grace, we affirm the equality of God’s people that flows from baptism and we commit ourselves to the spirit of inclusion and collaboration. We are called to respond to God in our time by being a community where seekers and their questions are welcomed, where injustice in all its forms is challenged, where the alienated and the marginalized find a home, and where people are refreshed, reconciled, and renewed in their journey to God. Standing together as a people of hope, we seek to realize the Reign of God.
I’m often a critic of parish mission statements, finding that so many say so little. Since such statements are generally crafted in committee, seeking consensus often results in reduction to a lowest common denominator that is so small as to enlighten no one as to the parish’s aim.
This one, though, is a mission statement that has real content. You read this and know who and what this community is about. A spirit of inclusion and collaboration that welcomes all and that welcomes the input of all. A commitment to the needs of the least of our brothers and sisters. A recognition that Jesus is our companion and our guide in everything that we do. And effort to reach out to those who have become disaffected or are otherwise marginalized. I’m guessing they don’t implement it all perfectly; none of us do. But there is a prophetic and practical vision here.
This is a mission statement I could get excited about standing behind. Is your own parish’s mission statement so bold? Does it express what your community is about? If not, why not?
What about your own “Mission Statement”? How you articulate your mission as a Christian?