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Farewell from Rev. Steve Miles

To all at COS,

I cannot quite believe that my time at Church of Our Saviour has already come to an end for this trip. But as Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said in The Terminator, "I’ll be back!” This trip, for me and my wife Jenny, who unfortunately was unable to make it this time, was a time to discern whether or not we are called to minister in the United States of America. Coming with some unanswered questions, I return back to the United Kingdom via a short trip to Denver, Colorado, with answers to those questions but also more questions, that whilst being at COS have developed. Being here at COS has given me a great opportunity to look at ministry in different contexts and with different challenges and to think about how that enables the work and mission of the Church back home in my community.

I recently wrote an article for the San Marino Tribune in which I talk about the Church’s mission, as I hope that you would have gathered over the last few weeks, mission is something I am incredibly passionate about, because for the Church to be the Church it is to be for the benefit of those who are not the stakeholders but those in need.

What Is the Mission of the Church?

Many Christians would stipulate that the faith we profess is not a passive or static faith but rather that following the life and ministry of Christ should lead to a vibrant and active faith, which faithfully and actively engages with the commission of Christ to go and make disciples of all people (Matthew 28:16–20).

So, as I have wandered around the streets exploring San Marino and San Gabriel, I have been thinking how, through both for my community at home in England and here in San Gabriel, each Christian, lay and ordained, is engaging with that commission on the ministerial front line of our daily life.

As Christians, we can often think about programs, events and all manner of activities as a way of being engaged with mission—potentially though, resulting in a separation between the corporate life of faith and the Church and the individual embodiment of personal faith.

But as I have wrestled with the missional identity of the Church, I have settled for the time being on the premise that the Church itself does not have a mission. Let me explain.

The Church often thinks that its mission in fulfilling Christ’s commission is to fill our buildings, to preach the Gospel and to provide activities. This way, people will be attracted on to our campuses and, once they’re in, they will encounter Christ and the Gospel and will not want to leave. However, this way of engaging tends to lead to the Church forcing an agenda onto the wider community, because it thinks that it sees what the community needs but in reality is only fulfilling its own needs.

If, though, as Christians, we believe that God is omnipotent and omnipresent, we must then believe that God is already at work in our communities, before we even step out the front gate.

Therefore, the mission of the Church, as Christopher J. H. Wright espouses in his book The Mission of God, is “to see what God is already doing in our community and join in with him. As the Church, we are invited by God to partner with God in God’s mission—to step into the places that God is already at work and partner with God. Therefore, we’re not thinking up our own mission but are actively called to seek out and engage within our community.

I wonder, then, as you walk around your local community, where do you see God at work outside the four walls of the Church?

As I leave COS, my prayer for your Church is that, in lifting your eyes to heaven, as you gaze upon the cross and as you receive the body and blood of Christ, you would remember that the cross is not where it ended. After Friday came Sunday, the kingdom of God broke into earth and, though it is not fully realized yet, we are called to partner with God in the renewal of all things. So as you walk into the fullness of life that Christ calls you to walk with him in, I pray that in doing so God would reveal to you where he is working outside these walls of COS. That God would empower you to go and join him as he renews and restores your communities around you. I also pray that God would encourage you in your worship and as you break bread together and lean deeper on him in your ministry.

Thank you so much for all the coffees and meals, the conversations and the encouragement. COS is a special place, a place of family, fun and fellowship, and I’ll look forward to seeing you again.

In Christ,

Reverend Stephen D. Miles

1 Comment

Henrietta Ma
Henrietta Ma
Jun 22, 2023

Thanks for your letter.


when you are talking about San Gabriel and San Marino citizen

Yesterday I encounter so many special angels. after altar guild meeting I stayed for a while and headed for doctor appointment I thought I know the way to go to Huntington drive to take bus 260 but I did not go San Marino and go by montery road. I was lost and staggering. Suddenly an old gentlemen stopped by and asked if I need help. Then I went into his van, and I looked on the floor the book woman speaks is there. He did not know where I am going then he brings me to the police dept. I told them I…

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