The 5 Core Values of an Episcopal Mission Experience or Pilgrimage

Mission MondaysToday’s guest blogger is Wendy Johnson. Wendy serves as the social media consultant for the Office of Formation and Vocations, is working closely with the Episcopal Youth Event Mission Planning Team, and helping to organize 3 Days of Urban Mission. Along with Cookie Cantwell, Beth Crow and myself, she is one of the primary developers of the Episcopal Youth in Mission Manual. She, Cookie, and Beth are collaborators in Inspiring Mission.

As we work to finalize the Episcopal Youth in Mission Manual, we talked a lot about what we believe are the underlying values of meaningful, purposeful and theologically-sound Episcopal mission experiences and pilgrimages.

Attitudes and practices related to mission and service have changed considerably in recent years, shifting away from “doing to” or “doing for” toward “doing with” or “being with” and we wanted this to be reflected throughout the Manual.

Creating this set of core values was perhaps the most engaging, passionate, and challenging part of our work. However, having set them down in writing, these core values guided every part of the Manual’s development.

Here are the core values we developed:

  • Mission experiences and pilgrimages must be clearly defined as an experience based in spiritual practice on the understanding of our faith through our Baptismal promises, and on the hallmarks of mission as outlined in the Five Marks of Mission.
  • Mission experiences and pilgrimages must respect the dignity and integrity of every community and individual by being open to diverse cultural expressions and/or by allowing community partners to define their own needs and assets for meeting those needs;
  • Mission experiences and pilgrimages must emphasize a mutual relationship between people rather than simply observing, working for, or serving another;
  • Mission experiences and pilgrimages must be focused on sustainable development and systemic change in addition to single acts of isolated kindness;
  • Mission experiences and pilgrimages must involve a significant time and energy commitment in spiritual, emotional, and practical preparation and community building among missioners as well as appropriate follow-up and follow-through when the trip is done.

As we approach the season in which many congregations engage mission experiences either as participants or as sending or receiving communities, perhaps these core values will be useful in helping you establish healthy parameters for the opportunity.

Or, maybe they will inspire your community to write your own set of core values.

What would you list as your core values for a mission experience or pilgrimage?

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