Bishop Peter Lee gave what I thought was an excellent and inspiring Pastoral Address at this year's Annual Diocesan Council meeting on Friday. Some excerpts are below. I am proud to be serving in this diocese in this Episcopal Church and believe that the work of Christ is being done here with great passion, care, and dedication. Amidst what some would call a "time of turmoil" in our church, there are wonderful things happening, and I am glad to be serving in this place, at this time.
I've included the conclusion of Bishop Lee's address, but you can read it all HERE.
Last Sunday, at an evensong at St. James’s Church, Richmond, celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the celebrated Norfolk State University Concert Choir sang that beautiful old spiritual “There is a balm in Gilead.” It speaks of what I have experienced in this last year.
“Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.
If you cannot sing like angels, if you cannot preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus, and say, ‘He died for all.’
It is the abundance of God’s love for all that we proclaim. You and I may not have the gifts either of the angels or of Paul, but all of us can tell the abundant love of Jesus and demonstrate by our lives and our words that he died for all.
As I move around the diocese, I rejoice in the signs of that abundant love. Congregations are nourishing their young, caring for the disabled, celebrating the sacraments, and in all things, preaching the Gospel, all out of a love for the Lord Jesus Christ and devotion to his coming kingdom. It is an encouraging time to be serving the church in Virginia, especially when we focus on the positive rather than on the shadows that may accompany us. My prayer for the diocese in this coming year is that we can navigate our differences with grace, support those Episcopalians who have been abandoned by the majorities in their congregations, increase our support for the ministries we share, and emphasize the mission of God’s abundance that unites us more than any effort of darkness that seeks to overcome us. May God continue to bless and prosper the Diocese of Virginia.