Sunday, May 31, 2020

Bishop Gutierrez - a message on 31 May 2020

May 31, 2020

My siblings in Christ,

The filming for our Pentecost service was filmed prior to the events of the last few days. I was moved to add to the message.  I offer the following addition in pain, grief, and love. I also want to offer my deep appreciation for this afternoon where at 1 p.m., I spent a fruitful and prayerful time with members of the Religious Leaders Council as we plan unified steps for action. My deep thanks for the Rev. Edward Livingston, Imam Anwar Muhaimin, Bishop Patricia Davenport, Archbishop Nelson Perez, the Rev. Donna Jones, Rabbi David Strauss and all members of the Religious Leaders Council of Philadelphia.
Bishop Daniel


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31May2020 ~ Compline on Pentecost Sunday at St. Mary's - Cathedral Road Philadelphia



31May2020 ~ Compline on Pentecost Sunday
at St. Mary's - Cathedral Road, Philadelphia
7:30 pm


Presiding Bishop Curry's Sermon on Pentecost


Pentecost Sunday Service from the Washington National Cathedral


31May2020 Morning Prayer Pentecost at St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Cathedral Road - The Rev. Peter Carey

31May2020 Morning Prayer on Pentecost at St. Mary's Episcopal Church
Cathedral Road - The Rev. Peter Carey

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Mercy, by Dave Matthews




Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights.




be still



I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth. 
–T.S. Eliot, excerpt from “East Coker”, Four Quartets

A message from the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida



 

Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida

A Message to the Diocese


Sunday, May 31, 2020

From the Collect on Pentecost

“Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages….”
 
On this the Feast of Pentecost I draw our attention to the second Collect of the day in which we pray: O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:  Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things...”

The country needs right judgement which means God’s righteous judgement.  We need Godly perspective when we view violence in the streets, when we see again the terrifying actions of racism, when we see blame and not shame.

Please pray to know, live, and act the right judgement given by God to protect all of God’s children, especially our sisters and brothers in the African American community. Please pray to know, live, and act the right judgement given by God to protect the law enforcement personnel that they may be safe and protect all people. 

May reconciliation bring God’s real peace to our land.  Pray the text of the hymn “Like the murmur of the dove’s song.” 

“With the healing of division, with the ceaseless voice of prayer, with the power to love and witness, with the peace beyond compare: come, Holy Spirit, come.”

I bid your reading today of the communication from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Thank you and God Bless you.

The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith
Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida

A Word to the Church
From Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

May 30, 2020

“Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone."

In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a Minnesota man named George Floyd was brutally killed. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity.

Perhaps the deeper pain is the fact that this was not an isolated incident. It happened to Breonna Taylor on March 13 in Kentucky. It happened to Ahmaud Arbery on February 23 in Georgia. Racial terror in this form occurred when I was a teenager growing up black in Buffalo, New York. It extends back to the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 and well before that. It’s not just our present or our history. It is part of the fabric of American life.

But we need not be paralyzed by our past or our present. We are not slaves to fate but people of faith. Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone.

That work of racial reconciliation and justice – what we know as Becoming Beloved Community – is happening across our Episcopal Church. It is happening in Minnesota and in the Dioceses of Kentucky, Georgia and Atlanta, across America and around the world. That mission matters now more than ever, and it is work that belongs to all of us.

It must go on when racist violence and police brutality are no longer front-page news. It must go on when the work is not fashionable, and the way seems hard, and we feel utterly alone. It is the difficult labor of picking up the cross of Jesus like Simon of Cyrene, and carrying it until no one – no matter their color, no matter their class, no matter their caste – until no child of God is degraded and disrespected by anybody. That is God's dream, this is our work, and we shall not cease until God's dream is realized.

Is this hopelessly naïve? No, the vision of God’s dream is no idealistic utopia. It is our only real hope. And, St. Paul says, “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). Real love is the dogged commitment to live my life in the most unselfish, even sacrificial ways; to love God, love my neighbor, love the earth and truly love myself. Perhaps most difficult in times like this, it is even love for my enemy. That is why we cannot condone violence. Violence against any person – conducted by some police officers or by some protesters – is violence against a child of God created in God’s image. No, as followers of Christ, we do not condone violence.

Neither do we condone our nation’s collective, complicit silence in the face of injustice and violent death. The anger of so many on our streets is born out of the accumulated frustration that so few seem to care when another black, brown or native life is snuffed out.

But there is another way. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, a broken man lay on the side of the road. The religious leaders who passed were largely indifferent. Only the Samaritan saw the wounded stranger and acted. He provided medical care and housing. He made provision for this stranger’s well-being. He helped and healed a fellow child of God.

Love, as Jesus teaches, is action like this as well as attitude. It seeks the good, the well-being, and the welfare of others as well as one’s self. That way of real love is the only way there is.

Accompanying this statement is a card describing ways to practice the Way of Love in the midst of pandemic, uncertainty and loss. In addition, you will find online a set of resources to help Episcopalians to LEARN, PRAY & ACT in response to racist violence and police brutality. That resource set includes faithful tools for listening to and learning from communities too often ignored or suppressed, for incorporating God’s vision of justice into your personal and community prayer life, and for positively and constructively engaging in advocacy and public witness.

Opening and changing hearts does not happen overnight. The Christian race is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Our prayers and our work for justice, healing and truth-telling must be unceasing. Let us recommit ourselves to following in the footsteps of Jesus, the way that leads to healing, justice and love.

Links:

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. From Dean Randy Hollerith, Washington National Cathedral

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. From Dean Randy Hollerith: Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Christian Cooper. George Floyd.

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing
Washington National Cathedral

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. From Dean Randy Hollerith:

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Christian Cooper. George Floyd.

We must say the names of our African American brothers and sisters who, because of the color of their skin, are subjected to suspicion, harassment and even death. We must say their names because their names are known to God.

Whether on the streets of suburban Georgia, a Louisville bedroom, the wooded pathways of Central Park or a sidewalk in downtown Minneapolis, we must confront the ugliness of racism whenever it robs an innocent person of life or dignity. We cannot, and we must not, turn away.

Those of us in white America need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. We need to honestly acknowledge the privileges afforded us based on the color of our skin -- not out of guilt, but out of responsibility. We must see the casual bigotry that dulls our sense of injustice. We cannot ignore the centuries of systematic oppression that keeps our African American sisters and brothers literally pinned to the ground.

I take for granted that I can walk down the street free of suspicion or fear; such a simple luxury is unknown to millions of Americans. Together, we must own the anxiety a family of color feels when they have to coach their children on how to survive an encounter with law enforcement. And while violence is never the answer, the flames in Minneapolis reflect the disenchantment and hopelessness that burns in the hearts of those who suffer because of their race.

Our obligation to truth demands a confession that too many people make too many decisions, large and small, based on the color of another’s skin rather than the content of their character. God’s justice compels us to move toward something better than where we are and who we have become.

I pray that when we look in the mirror we do not like what we see. I pray that our conscience is stirred to say “Enough.” I pray we are challenged to change and moved to act. We need to make others’ pain our own, for we cannot change something we refuse to acknowledge.

It is not enough to feel bad. It is insufficient to leave the change to others. We are long past that point, and may God grant us the courage to realize it and act.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Christian Cooper. George Floyd. We must never stop saying their names because God never stops loving them, and in God’s mercy, God never stops loving us.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Bishop Gutierrez's Blog: "I Can't Breathe"

Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez. A pilgrim seeking those sacred spaces of transformation in and through Jesus Christ. Along the holy journey, I pray to develop deeper relationships, and pursue understanding, wisdom, and knowledge. To discover God in each moment and each space. By God's will and with God's blessing.



I CAN'T BREATHE


The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:8-9

 “I can’t breathe.” Those words continue to ring in my ears. George Floyd, a child of God, was gasping for air, calling for his mother and pleading for his life.

The truth is revolting. It is easy to turn away and ignore the horror as if it is someone else's problem. Yet, how can we not be horrified and grief-stricken when we believe that every person is created in God's image? How can I ignore the cries when we proclaim that every person on this earth is a beloved child of God? 

This becomes all the more heart breaking when we consider there are thousands more wrongful deaths of our sisters and brothers that do not make the headlines.

Racism is not solely a problem for people of color. It affects us all. If one member of the body suffers, all suffer together. More than just a personal prejudice, racism is a systemic and institutionalized problem that continues to find new ways to seep into our legal system, politics, prisons, and yes, even our churches.

With tears in our eyes and Christ in our hearts, we must do everything we can to confront and dismantle the structures and systems that allow such injustices to occur. As the Body of Christ, we must shield our siblings from the blows inflicted by prejudice and hatred. In the process, may we never meet the violence with violence, or the hate with more hate. We pray for the strength and faith to transform this violence through love. We pray, dear Lord, that we never allow our persecution to turn us into persecutors. For a pure heart that is centered in God will always find God. 

Let us go forth, walk with the oppressed, and raise our collective voices to proclaim the Good News: that every human being is created in the image of God and that out of his boundless love, Jesus gave up his life to save every individual. Therefore, no act of violence is acceptable. And, no life is expendable under any circumstance.

Let us ask the Lord to make us laborers for peace, healers of violence and pain, and messengers of love. Let us always look, see and hear, and then, without fear or hesitation, act with the heart of Christ. 

As a demonstration of our commitment, I am asking for the Diocese of Pennsylvania to pray together the Great Litany on June 8th from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. We will have different voices across the diocese reading the names of those slain by acts of violence during this time. Information on the live-steamed event will be sent out next week.

For this litany, we will move the observance of the Feast Day of the martyrs of Uganda to June 8. The first name to be read in the recitation of names will be Archbishop Janani Luwum. I invite you to send names you wish to be included to prayer@diopa.org. All names received by 5 pm on June 5 will be included. 

As Christians, we cannot look away any longer. May Christ transform our hearts into his own heart of compassion.  

From Bishop Gutierrez: "I Can't Breathe"

Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez. A pilgrim seeking those sacred spaces of transformation in and through Jesus Christ. Along the holy journey, I pray to develop deeper relationships, and pursue understanding, wisdom, and knowledge. To discover God in each moment and each space. By God's will and with God's blessing.



I CAN'T BREATHE



The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:8-9

 “I can’t breathe.” Those words continue to ring in my ears. George Floyd, a child of God, was gasping for air, calling for his mother and pleading for his life.

The truth is revolting. It is easy to turn away and ignore the horror as if it is someone else's problem. Yet, how can we not be horrified and grief-stricken when we believe that every person is created in God's image? How can I ignore the cries when we proclaim that every person on this earth is a beloved child of God? 

This becomes all the more heart breaking when we consider there are thousands more wrongful deaths of our sisters and brothers that do not make the headlines.

Racism is not solely a problem for people of color. It affects us all. If one member of the body suffers, all suffer together. More than just a personal prejudice, racism is a systemic and institutionalized problem that continues to find new ways to seep into our legal system, politics, prisons, and yes, even our churches.

With tears in our eyes and Christ in our hearts, we must do everything we can to confront and dismantle the structures and systems that allow such injustices to occur. As the Body of Christ, we must shield our siblings from the blows inflicted by prejudice and hatred. In the process, may we never meet the violence with violence, or the hate with more hate. We pray for the strength and faith to transform this violence through love. We pray, dear Lord, that we never allow our persecution to turn us into persecutors. For a pure heart that is centered in God will always find God. 

Let us go forth, walk with the oppressed, and raise our collective voices to proclaim the Good News: that every human being is created in the image of God and that out of his boundless love, Jesus gave up his life to save every individual. Therefore, no act of violence is acceptable. And, no life is expendable under any circumstance.

Let us ask the Lord to make us laborers for peace, healers of violence and pain, and messengers of love. Let us always look, see and hear, and then, without fear or hesitation, act with the heart of Christ. 

As a demonstration of our commitment, I am asking for the Diocese of Pennsylvania to pray together the Great Litany on June 8th from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. We will have different voices across the diocese reading the names of those slain by acts of violence during this time. Information on the live-steamed event will be sent out next week.

For this litany, we will move the observance of the Feast Day of the martyrs of Uganda to June 8. The first name to be read in the recitation of names will be Archbishop Janani Luwum. I invite you to send names you wish to be included to prayer@diopa.org. All names received by 5 pm on June 5 will be included. 

As Christians, we cannot look away any longer. May Christ transform our hearts into his own heart of compassion.  

Lead me


Psalm 25
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
my God, I put my trust in you: *
let me not be humiliated,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
2 Let none who look to you be put to shame; *
let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.
3 Show me your ways, O LORD, *
and teach me your paths.
4 Lead me in your truth and teach me, *
for you are the God of my salvation;
in you have I trusted all the day long.
5 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, *
for they are from everlasting.
6 Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; *
remember me according to your love
and for the sake of your goodness, O LORD.
7 Gracious and upright are you, O LORD; *
therefore you teach sinners in your way.
8 You guide the humble in doing right *
and teach your way to the lowly.
9 All the paths, O LORD, are love and faithfulness *
to those who keep your covenant and your testimonies.
10 For your Name’s sake, O LORD, *
forgive my sin, for it is great.
11 Who are they who fear the LORD? *
the LORD will teach them the way that they should choose.
12 They shall dwell in prosperity, *
and their offspring shall inherit the land.
13 The LORD is a friend to the God-fearing *
and will show them the holy covenant.
14 My eyes are ever looking to the LORD; *
who shall pluck my feet out of the net.
15 Turn to me and have pity on me, *
for I am left alone and in misery.
16 The sorrows of my heart have increased; *
bring me out of my troubles.
17 Look upon my adversity and misery *
and forgive me all my sin.
18 Look upon my enemies, for they are many, *
and they bear a violent hatred against me.
19 Protect my life and deliver me: *
let me not be put to shame, for I have trusted in you.
20 Let integrity and righteousness preserve me; *
for my hope has been in you.
21 Deliver Israel, O God, *
out of all their troubles.

30May2020~ Noonday Prayer ~ St. Mary's - Cathedral Road - The Rev. Peter Carey



30May2020~ Noonday Prayer ~ St. Mary's - Cathedral Road - The Rev. Peter Carey


Friday, May 29, 2020

Wait upon the Lord

But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
Isaiah 40:31



(The plan and all related announcements can be viewed here. )


But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
Isaiah 40:31

Resuming In-Person Worship and Activity

Dear siblings in Christ,

Last week the Governor announced that he anticipates the five counties of our diocese will move into Phase II (Yellow) on June 5. While we have always used the Governor’s timeline as a basis for our own plans, we also have to take into account what is best for our churches and people. We also must trust in the Lord, for the Holy One is working in our midst.

Until now we have used June 14 as place holder for the possible resumption of in-person worship and activity. We have also noted that this date could change. After listening to the clergy and after consultation with the Standing Committee, I am now revising this date. The earliest that in-person worship or other church activity may resume is June 21. All Phase I protocols and restrictions will remain in effect until that time. 

However, once our region enters Phase II (presumably on June 5) non-church groups using church space, such as 12 Step meetings, may be allowed to return provided they can demonstrate to church leadership that they can abide by all cleaning and health protocols. Before agreeing, parish leadership should carefully consider how the activity may impact their own plans, staff and resources.

While this is later than allowed by the Governor’s order, we have always placed Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves and his consistent emphasis on caring for the poor and vulnerable among us at the foremost in our decision making. We are postponing to give our churches more time to deliberate and to prepare. Each church must decide what is best within its own unique context. Therefore, as I have stated before, no church is expected to resume in-person activity until they feel both called and prepared to do so. I fully support any church that prayerfully chooses not to resume. 

We cannot think of our churches as businesses or allow our thinking to be driven by politics. Our churches are not simply buildings that house our gatherings.  Neither are they social clubs. They are holy sanctuaries and we are acting to ensure they are treated accordingly. Before we can resume worship, it is our sacred duty to pray, deliberate and, if we plan to resume in-person worship, to do everything in our power to mitigate and reduce the risk to our parishioners. This process cannot be rushed. 

Therefore, I am also extending the date for submission of parish plans to June 12. This gives your vestries and clergy extra time to prepare, gives us extra time to review them with you, and helps ensure that all plans follow the protocols established in The Plan and Addendum . As you prepare them, please follow the Checklist 

We are also now beginning our planning for what life may look like in Phase III (Green). We do not know when this will happen; and we do not yet have many specifics on how many people can gather or what other restrictions will be lifted. But we are working on it, and will get you details as soon as possible so that you have the maximum amount of time possible to prepare. However, even when the Governor moves our region to Phase III, our diocese will not move to loosen Phase II restrictions until I am convinced it is reasonable and prudent to do so.

As you move forward in planning what these next phases may look like at your church, I would also like to encourage vestries and church members to assure that their clergy are planning vacation time. By intentionally designing time for them to rest and recuperate you not only demonstrate your love, you also help ensure that they are better prepared to journey with you into the next phase.

As you consider the next steps for your own parish, don’t rush. Do not allow yourselves to be pressured. Take the time to pray, discern and plan. We have Jesus Christ. When we place him first and foremost, he will be a lamp that will guide our feet so that we might walk in the path of wisdom. 

I give thanks each day for your faithfulness and pray for you constantly. 
Bishop Daniel