Evangelization

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the basis for our life as Orthodox Christians. As a symbol of this, the Gospel Book stands on the Altar Table in every Orthodox temple, occupying the central place of authority. Covered in fine metals and stones, it is carried in processions and venerated every week by the people after hearing the proclamation of Christ's glorious resurrection. Its content, the Word of God himself, mystically abides in us as we live our lives within the world he created and uniting it to heaven. 

As Orthodox Christians we are called to live the Gospel of Christ in our entire lives, and not just to honor it in church on Sundays. To enable this, the Church has organized all time and space--the very structure of the world--into opportunities for encountering Christ and being transformed by his Gospel.

The process through which this takes place is known as evangelization, an English word based upon the Greek for gospel, evangelion. The Orthodox Christian life can be said to be a process of continual evangelization, of continual transformation according to the Gospel. There are two ways in which this takes place, an outward evangelization of the world around us, and an inward evangelization of the person within us. The former can not take place without the latter.  

The parish life of Saint Elizabeth Church is grounded in inward evangelization. Every liturgical service is constituted mainly by readings from and allusions to the Holy Scriptures, and especially those of the New Testament. Homilies are delivered at every Divine Liturgy (as well as other occasions) and are based upon the scriptures. The holy icons before us, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ's incarnation and his dwelling within the saints, inspire us to an evangelical life. The church temple, modeled upon that described in the scriptures, is itself an icon or image of our own transformed humanity, built upon Christ the cornerstone and growing ever more fully in him (Eph. 2:19-22).

Secured on the foundation of Christ, we as a parish are prepared to fulfill his commandment to bring the Gospel to the world around us. For all of us this consists simply in being Christ to our neighbors. As Christ abides in us through the hearing of his Word and the reception of his Body and Blood, so we bear him to others around us.

For some of us, outward evangelization also means reaching out in organized ways to engage our surrounding community. Our parish has a standing evangelization committee that is always looking for opportunities for leading outreach activities such as hosting local talks and participating in local fairs. 

Because of its grounding in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Orthodoxy represents the fullest expression of biblical Christianity.