Everyday Adventures: Embracing Plan "B"
In spring 2018, the Evangelism Office of The Episcopal Church created the Episcopal Evangelists Facebook group. It was born from the desire to begin connecting evangelists - young and old, novice and experienced - across the Church.
Here on the Evangelism blog, we will be sharing stories from the Facebook group—stories we think can help others in their ministry of sharing the Good News—and hearing their stories of Adventures in Evangelism. Today’s story comes from the Rev. Grant Mansfield, Assistant Rector of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Sterling, Diocese of Virginia.
Embracing Plan "B"
So, this happened after joining a team of committed evangelists in New York to create a resource on Episcopal Evangelism.
After my 7:20 P.M. flight from New York to Dulles being delayed until 1:00 A.M., then canceled with no offer to cover the cost of a hotel because it’s against company policy, and the next flight with available seats being on Tuesday, I found myself renting a car and driving 5 hours back home to make it to my bed by 7 A.M.. That was an adventure!
And yet, I met an amazing person last night. Flying to Los Angeles, she and her husband were celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary but weren’t able to get flights together. He made it out - she didn’t. She and I talked all night while we waited, sharing our life stories, our passions and vocations, our dreams for our family lives. God is working in her life for sure! When the flight was canceled, she was rebooked at the Newark airport, an hour away. So, I offered to drive her there and she joined me on my road trip.
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Our car ride conversation moved to faith and the Church. Needless to say, the conversation was riveting! She identifies as agnostic, yet had tons of questions about the Christian church and denominations. I think she was quite surprised to meet a priest who is unapologetically pro-choice and agreed that the Church has screwed up a lot, particularly on racism. When I dropped her off, she and I hugged one another and swapped information so we could stay in touch.
Now, this whole ordeal with the airline could have been absolute hell - it was no picnic. Instead, I received an amazing gift last night (or is it this morning?) from God in this person, all because I approached the world from a place of grace and openness, rather than a place of frustration and anger. We shared our stories with one another and began to name how Jesus is present for the other. That, my friends, is what Jesus means about crossing the boundary to meet the stranger. That, my friends, is what true Episcopal Evangelism is all about!
Emboldened by his own redemption through the love of Jesus, the Rev. Grant Mansfield’s ministry focuses on proclaiming the radical love of Christ to a broken world, particularly to the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities. Inviting others to share their faith stories in the world and creating new, passionate, vulnerable Episcopal Evangelists is a cornerstone of his ministry. He currently serves as the Assistant Rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Sterling, VA.
How are you seeking, naming and celebrating Jesus’ loving presence and inviting other folks to discover that goodness for themselves? Tell us HERE! The Episcopal Evangelists Facebook group is a gathering space for Episcopal Evangelists to ask questions, share resources, and encourage each other around the practice of sharing the Good News. To that end, we respectfully ask that you limit your post here to questions, ideas, events, prayers, memes, links, and stories, that can help the wider church learn about and practice joyful and faithful evangelism! By providing a place to share stories, ask questions, and trade resources, we hope that the Episcopal Evangelists group will be a place of learning and growing together, as we share our gifts of imagination and experience and tell out the Gospel wherever we find ourselves.