July 2017 Convocation Newsletter
[Episcopal News Service – Philadelphia] Americans are increasingly worried about the country’s polarized political debate and religious communities can help foster a return to respectful dialogue, said panelists in the Episcopal Church’s civil discourse forum here Oct. 22.
[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler grew up in Senegal, a predominately Muslim country in West Africa where his father was a minister. Throughout his childhood he observed the tension between Muslims and Christians. “I thought there has to be a better way. Most of my best friends were Muslims, and today still, Muslims number among my closest friends,” the Episcopal priest said, sitting on a wooden bench at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. He answered logistics calls and texts on his cell phone while taking a break from working on the 2014 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art, “AMEN: A Prayer for the World.”
I have been to 14 conventions of the CECE; this is the fourteenth. The closing Eucharist, to me, has always been a mixture of gladness and happiness...happiness that Convention is over, and sadness, as well, that it is over, because Convention is the only time when others who belong to our scattered jurisdiction can see what I, as Bishop, get to see on a regular basis: the energy, the vitality, the intelligence...and the sheer talent that our churches are blessed with. Faithfulness, outstanding outreach ministries…it is all here, and yet, the Convocation is still very much under construction, and it always will be. But today is a day to celebrate who we are, and to celebrate that we are able to be with our brother and colleague, Bishop Jorge Cabral, bishop of the Lustianian Church – the Portuguese-Anglican church, and with all of the clergy assembled here.
[Anglicans Online] All Episcopalians belong to the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society. Since its founding, the Society in its “foreign mission” has sought to help people in other nations to establish their own autonomous Church. Altogether, we have founded seven provinces or “national churches” of the thirty-eight churches of the Anglican Communion. Today we have eleven dioceses outside the United States, plus the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. We are continuing to develop them in mind of that eventual autonomy.
Dear People of God in the Convocation of Church in Europe, I am writing to you as we begin our annual convention. It is an obligation, as the canon law of The Episcopal Church requires bishops to make an annual Address to their conventions and synods. But for six years now, since the Waterloo Convention in 2008, I have refrained from reading the address to the delegates, in favor of a Pastoral Letter to be distributed to all the members of the Episcopal Churches in Europe.
The American radio show, ‘On Being’ opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Animateur Krista Tippett explores these questions in their richness and complexity, in 21st-century lives and endeavors of her guests. In this episode, she interviews cellist Yo-Yo Ma, one of the most famous musicians in the world. In this intimate conversation, he shares his philosophy of curiosity about life, and of hospitality. ‘Whatever one practices for,’ he says, ‘we have this greater purpose, and that is why we want this communal moment to be really special for all of us because, otherwise, why bother to have come at all. It’s not about proving anything, it’s about sharing something.’
[The Episcopal Church, Office of Public Affairs] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church opened its fall meeting September 17 in the Diocese of Taiwan. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated at the opening Eucharist, and preached the following sermon: "We thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen."
It goes without saying that the Cross is pretty important to Christians. It is the chief symbol of Christian faith. It occupies a central place in our houses of worship. You may display a cross in your home. We hang crosses around our necks. Christians make the sign of the cross when they pray or make some other act of devotion. There is no question of the importance of the Cross to those who call themselves Christian. This has been since the very beginnings of the Christian movement. In fact, the Cross is one of the major themes of the New Testament. The Gospels themselves are largely passion narratives, focused on the crucifixion and on Jesus’ last days leading up to it.
It is a great pleasure and privilege to preach the Gospel here with you today, and to share in this wonderful celebration of the Holy Eucharist. As I was thinking about this --I was told that I had nine minutes maximum -- I thought that I would preach on something that I have never preached on before today. In the middle of the Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, what you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ We normally call this the power of the keys – remember St. Peter was given the power of the keys – and every bishop’s shield, including mine, has a pair of crossed keys in it. It is the power to loose and to bind.