July 2017 Convocation Newsletter
When I slow my pace long enough to take notice of the world around me . . . it is about paying attention and learning to live contemplatively. For some this may seem the domain of gaunt-looking saints and starry-eyed hermits. In fact, it belongs to anyone who sets out on the inward journey of seeing the world differently. It is about opening our eyes to the wonder that is present in and through all of creation. I suspect this is why Jesus said that God reigns only among children. Until we learn to see the world with the simplicity and honesty of a small child, we cannot know the fullness of God’s presence in and among us.
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with local organizations as well as Anglican Communion and ecumenical agencies to provide assistance in Syria and in Europe to people fleeing ongoing violence. In Europe, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe is helping to host and to resettle people in their new home countries. Churches are actively responding at a local level in Rome, Munich, Paris and Brussels, among other cities. "The way in which our 21 congregations have responded makes me very proud,” said The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. “While Episcopal churches in Europe have had significant refugee ministries since the Second World War, our people have unanimously increased their present work."
The former PB Frank Griswold –- I just realized that I am on my third Presiding Bishop, my third Archbishop of Canterbury, and my third Pope. Anyway, back in the dark ages when Bishop Griswold was Presiding Bishop, he used to say quite frequently – quoting AB Rowan Williams -- - that Baptism creates solidarities not of our own choosing. And he kept saying that he was quoting Archbishop Rowan Williams. Well, I happen to be a big fan of Rowan Williams’ writing, and am indeed honored to consider him my friend, so I wrote to him and said, “Dear Archbishop Rowan, Where did you write this? “Baptism creates solidarities of our own choosing.” And he wrote back, and said, “I don’t know but it sounds like me.” And indeed it is a very profound thing to say, whoever it was who said it.
Let me begin by wishing you a happy and blessed new year, full of fresh, new joy. In the name of God, father, son and Holy Spirit. I would like to focus today on the reading from Ephesians. Paul writes blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ, with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of his Will. That is quite extraordinary – what we have been told already – that we have been blessed. We’re God’s children by adoption, and God chose us before the world was created.
Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel entitled You Can’t Go Home Again, which tells the story of a man who returns after many years to his hometown and becomes sorely disillusioned by what he finds. What he had once experienced as a place of innocence had given way to something altogether hostile, ravaged by the passing of time and the inevitability of change. The man concludes: ‘You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood... back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and fame... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.’
Let your Word dwell richly in our hearts our God, to bring us light and life, and love for your son, Jesus Christ, through whom we pray. Amen. So, are you ready? You know what time of year it is. They say that Christmas is for children. I am not sure about that, in fact, I would disagree. Advent is definitely for adults. And this is the first day of Advent. It is the first day of the church year, so happy new year. I am going to spend a little bit of time talking about these traditions and so forth, but then to get to what advent is trying to point us to, which is the Gospel.
How can we pray this prayer of all prayers, here in Paris, the day after? O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP) Yes, Jesus did command us: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” “Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.” (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27). Really?
The installation of the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry as the 27th presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church was undeniably a global and interreligious celebration with the Anglican Communion and the world’s Abrahamic faiths well represented. Six primates and several other Anglican leaders traveled to Washington National Cathedral for the Nov. 1 service that marked the official start of Curry’s nine-year term as presiding bishop and primate. Among the regions and countries represented were Brazil, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Korea, Middle East, Nigeria, Philippines, Southern Africa, West Africa, and the West Indies.The Rev. Christine Hardman, bishop of Newcastle designate, Church of England, attended as the representative of Lambeth Palace, the London residence of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
The Episcopal Church in Europe is helping refugees escaping war and persecution to find new homes in France. The Association d’Entraide aux Minorités d’Orient -- a non-profit organization set up to help the French government identify candidates eligible for asylum -- has helped to resettle more than 2,600, twice the number since this video was first published in June 2013. A.E.M.O., set up in 2007 by Bishop Pierre Whalon and Iraqi businessman Elish Yako, has largely focused on Iraqi Christian refugees. In the past two years it has also helped many Syrian minorities escaping persecution. The association meets the refugees as they enter France and assists them with integration and administrative issues.
As thousands of refugees fleeing conflict started arriving at the train station in Budapest, Hungary, in early summer, Episcopalians Lora Bernabei and her husband Arthur Reynolds knew that as Christians they were called to respond with loving kindness. They gathered apples from their 500-acre farm in southwest Hungary, loaded their car and drove to the capital to start distributing them to the men, women and children who’d walked for weeks to find safety in the arms of their European neighbors. The refugees were exhausted, traumatized and desperately in need of food and water.