In the early 1980’s, I visited Hong Kong while on the way back from the third and last in a series of business trips to China. While reading the South China Morning Post, I noted that an Anglican church was conducting a street service at the Star Ferry terminal on the Kowloon side.
I was Roman Catholic (as I had to inform the Chinese authorities to get my visa) at the time, but I couldn’t resist. The Episcopal church I had grown up in basically conveyed the message that it was in bad taste to evangelise. Anglicans? Street witnessing? How could this be? I went down to see what was going on, and sure enough, they were having street services, with music and everything. I went to their church the following Sunday morning.
David Valentini’s article that evangelism is certainly not unAnglican is a refreshing reminder that the Great Commission has no exemptions:
Is evangelism "Un-Anglican?" Answer: hardly, it is a part of our shared history as Anglo-Catholics, evangelicals, and broad churchmen. Evangelism can take many forms that can range from preaching the gospel in front of thousands on television, to talking to people in coffee houses who are "spiritual", but yet do not know Jesus, to simply taking prayer books and beginning a simple prayer service on a college campus. Several years ago, the Anglican Digest covered the story of a New Zealand Anglican priest who had a congregation of 80 in a beach community and added 420 more to the Faith by ministering to the surfers on the beach.
In many ways, we as Anglicans, along with other Christians, face the same challenges that the saints encountered: paganism, and parts of the Church that have departed from the apostolic Faith. In times such as these, the Great Commission is so crucial, and as necessary as it was 2,000 years ago. We have the responsibility to bring the "light of Christ" "to a dark and broken world. Let us draw on the example of Christ Himself, the saints of the Undivided Church, and our Anglican antecedents, who have clearly demonstrated that despite your stripe of churchmanship evangelism is a very "Anglican " thing to do. As a result of this, we should go out into the world and bring the light of Christ to those who are so in need of it.
Every time someone gets saved, the angels in heaven rejoice. The rest of us may have to get over the shock when an Anglican church or ministry is involved, but that’s our problem. There’s too much to do and too little time to do it to be so picky.