The Mission of the Diocese of The Arctic is as follows:
A) to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God, as revealed through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit,
B) to enable all members of the Church to live out their Christian calling in parishes, the wider church, in society at large, and in the world.
(The statement has been kept deliberately brief and non specific, but the following notes may be helpful in expanding some of the concepts both included and excluded by the above wording)
A GENERAL OVERVIEW
A) The first part of the statement concerns our responsibility to reach out to fulfill “the great commission”.
B) The key idea in the second part is the nurture of those who have responded to Jesus Christ so that they will become mature Christians.
A PHRASE BY PHRASE ANALYSIS
1. The mission of the Diocese of The Arctic is
While this is a statement for The Anglican Diocese of The Arctic, we should not see our primary role as catering to Anglicans. As Christians we are called upon to be witnesses without fear or favour towards anyone according to race, colour, age, gender or any other factor and without regard to diocesan or national boundaries.
2. To proclaim the Good News
The idea of “proclaiming” covers every method of propagating the Gospel by preaching, radio, television, written materials, personal witness and example. The “Good News” is the message of salvation with all the width of experience and theology included in that, such as forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, justification and resurrection to eternal life.
3. Of the Kingdom of God
Our purpose is not to be seen as building up our churches, or for any self-seeking motive, but with its focus very clearly on bringing people into relationship with God. The “Kingdom” concept includes God’s Kingdom on earth, and in heaven, in times past, present and future, temporal and eternal and in terms physical and spiritual.
4. As revealed through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
The means to this end is uncompromisingly based on a relationship with Jesus Christ, recognizing his manner of life, his sacrificial death and his conquering of death with all the promise contained therein for human salvation.
5. And through the power of the Holy Spirit
At the same time we recognize that we cannot earn, buy or deserve that salvation, but are brought to it by the convicting, converting and indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Further, we cannot hope to be effective in our own power, but are fully dependent on the grace of God.
6. In this section we also have a Trinitarian statement.
7. To enable all members of the Church
Having dealt with the Church’s calling to reach out to the World, we now turn to the building up of its committed members. The idea of enabling includes such things as worshipping together, reading God’s Word, prayer, love, mutual support, the sacramental ministry, praise, social functions and all the other ways in which Christians live as a helping community.
8. The little word “all” is also important, as it implies that every Christian shares in this sort of responsibility. Here we have such important concepts as the priesthood of all believers and the involvement of both lay and clergy.
9. To live out their Christian calling
This phrase includes both speaking and living by Christian standards. More could have been added, such as “by word and deed”, but it is better for the statement to be as brief as possible. As soon as we try to be specific, there will always be something important omitted so, once again, the wording is deliberately broad in scope.
10. In parishes
The implication here is that before branching out into other fields, Christians should have a home base, and should have learned and proved themselves in a local setting.
11. The wider church
Service begins at home, but then can lead to wider involvement, both in a wider diocesan sense, but not necessarily confined to one particular denomination. But still it is grounded in a commitment to the Body of Christ.
12. In society at large
This is a key phrase that encompasses the vast range of social responsibility and action expected of the Church.
13. And in the world
Here we have both our mission in its fullest sense and also our political responsibility.
14. In this second half of the statement we also find implied the Christian concept of stewardship, starting with responsibility at the parish level and leading to the stewardship of creation with all the environmental responsibilities that this implies.