“Don’t Keep Jesus for Yourself – Give Him Away”

Rev Dr Ben Aldous reflects on an inspiring day at The Greek Orthodox Community of St. Panteleimon in Harrow.

The organiser of the CTE Churches Group for Evangelisation, CTE’s Rev Dr Ben Aldous, reflects on an inspiring day at The Greek Orthodox Community of St. Panteleimon in Harrow…

It’s not often you get the chance to spend the day gathered with colleagues from the Catholic Church, Evangelical Alliance, ForMission College, the Quakers, the Baptists, HOPE and others to hear an Archbishop’s vision for his Archdiocese and his passion for evangelism…especially not in this ‘time of Covid19’ 

In the era of stay at home messaging, it was so encouraging to be together at the Greek Orthodox Community of St. Panteleimon and have a chance to meet, and hear from, Archbishop Nikitas.

We enjoyed divine service together known as ‘the first hour‘, led by Fr Nephon followed by a Greek meal (and great Greek desserts).

Archbishop Nikitas has been in post since the middle of last year and graciously gave his time to eat with us and share his vision. I was particularly struck by the simplicity of his message which centred around the idea of, ‘not keeping Jesus to ourselves but giving him away to others.’

His Eminence said “we as Christians, we as families, as churches have failed. We have failed society because Christ told us to go and preach and teach and baptise. The Christian churches today have really forgotten the idea of evangelising.

“The church has failed to fill that emptiness in the hearts people. We are losing the opportunity now especially in this crisis period because people are looking for the answer now.

“I believe Jesus is the answer to the savagery, the cruelty of the world. We have failed to develop the theme of Christ as the answer to our problems. We’ve made him unapproachable at times. We’ve made it too complex. We don’t know what words mean anymore. We’ve made things too difficult and complicated. So how do we change these things?

“In our communities we have to forgive people, we have to love them and be a good example to them. Then we can lead them to Christ. We mustn’t keep Jesus to ourselves we need to share him with the world.”

Other members of our visiting group were equally inspired by the warmth of the welcome and desire to work together.

The Christian Enquiry Agency’s Cherry Hamilton said “It was a joy and a privilege to be welcomed… As a group of people representing many different areas of the church, including from the Quaker tradition, this felt very meaningful and encouraging.  Archbishop Nikitas’ hospitality was warm and generous, and I left feeling, more than ever, part of the wider community of God’s Church here in England.” 

Those sentiments were echoed by the Head of Mission at the Evangelical Alliance, Rachael Heffer, “The reverence and love for God as well as love for their community, especially in light of Covid-19 challenges, shone through…The Archbishop shared his passionate heart for the evangelisation of the nation at this time. It was a truly inspiring and memorable experience for us all.”