06 July 2022

The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory and Power


Funeral for the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee
Friday, July 15, 2:00 p.m.
Chapel of the Cross
Clergy are invited to vest and process
Funeral will also be broadcast via livestream

Condolences may be sent to: The Lee Family, 511 East Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.


The Right Reverend Bishop Peter James Lee, 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, passed away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on July 2, 2022. He was 84. Bishop Lee served for 25 years as Bishop of Virginia, from 1984 to 2009. 
During his tenure as Bishop, Peter Lee ordained more than 200 people to the priesthood; helped to strengthen the Church Schools in the Diocese of Virginia; oversaw major capital improvements to the two diocesan conference centers, Roslyn in Richmond and Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs; developed a partner relationship with the Diocese of Christ the King in South Africa; and established a program to give financial assistance to diocesan youth to make mission trips. He also helped to establish the Triangle of Hope, a covenantal relationship between the Dioceses of Virginia, Liverpool, England and now the Diocese of Kumasi, Ghana. The Triangle of Hope promotes reconciliation and healing from the three dioceses’ shared history in the slave trade.
One of the hallmarks of Bishop Lee’s episcopate was his vote in 2003 to confirm the first openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church. That decision prompted 11 churches to break away from the Diocese, which led to a legal battle over property ownership. The Diocese ultimately won the legal dispute in 2012 when the courts ruled that the seceding churches’ buildings and land were the property of the Diocese.
Bishop Lee said that some of the highlights of his career were meeting Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and being presented to the Queen of England.
Another legacy he leaves to the Diocese of Virginia is a fund established in his name, the Peter James Lee Fund for Small Church Revitalization. The endowment fund was established in 2001 and its purpose it to assist small churches in their revitalization, preservation and expansion primarily of their facilities.  
While Bishop Lee eventually found his way to seminary, ordained ministry was not his first career. Prior to his call to ministry, Bishop Lee served as an Army Intelligence Officer (61-62), then as a journalist for several newspapers, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He enrolled in Duke University Law School in 1963, but it was during his first year that he felt his call to ordained ministry. It was also the year he met his wife, Kristy Margaret Knapp. 
Bishop Lee graduated from VTS in 1967 and was ordained a deacon that same year. In 1968, he was ordained a priest. From 1968-1970, he served as Assistant Rector of St. John’s Lafayette Square, then became rector of Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC, where he served from 1971 – 1984. He was elected Bishop CoAdjutor of the Diocese of Virginia in 1984.  
While Bishop of Virginia, he served in many leadership positions in the wider Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, including as President of the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief (1987-1993); President, American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem (1989-1996); Chairman, Board of Trustees, VTS (1993 – 2009); Chaplain, Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, Washington, DC (1994-2000) and Chairman of The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral in the United States (2003 – 2018).
Though he resigned as Bishop of Virginia in 2009, he continued a distinguished career in ministry. He went directly from Virginia to San Francisco where he served as Interim Dean of Grace Cathedral from 2009-2010. From 2010-2011, he served as Interim Dean of General Theological Seminary in New York City. From New York, Bishop Lee moved to Paris, where he served as Interim Dean of The American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (2012-2013). In 2013, he was elected Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, where he served as an Interim Bishop until 2014. He served in a variety of other ministries including Interim Rector, Christ Church, Georgetown, (2015 – 2017); Assisting Bishop, Diocese of North Carolina and Bishop-in-Residence, Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, NC.
Bishop Lee is survived by his wife, Kristina Knapp Lee, daughter Stewart, son James, and several grandchildren.
Please keep the Lee family in your prayers.

27 May 2022

Message from Bishop Jose from the Diocese of Western North Carolina

 A good friend of mine is now the Bishop of the Diocese of Western North Carolina.  He offered this email this week, which includes not only prayers, but also recommended actions in response to gun violence.

Good resources here,

Pray, and ACT! 

In Christ's Peace,


May 25, 2022
Dear friends,

Yesterday, we received news of a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. At present, there have been two teachers and nineteen young students confirmed dead. I am angry and I am grieving. Tonight, there are families in shock and parents staring at 19 empty beds.

This shooting comes just ten days after another shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, a racially motivated attack that killed ten people. Those families haven't even begun burying their lost loved ones.

This upcoming December, we will recognize ten years since the Sandy Hook Massacre. And yet, here we are again, having these same conversations and feeling this same inexplicable anger, grief, and loss over the murder of innocent people and children.

Enough is enough!

I am inviting all of our churches to join me tomorrow, the Feast of the Ascension, in a day of prayer and action. As the disciples of Jesus did so long ago, let us gather in prayer and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to descend upon us and our land. As a sign of our faith in his promise and our commitment to take action, as well as our solidarity with the grieving, I ask our churches to toll their bells for 10 minutes before Noonday Prayers.

However, thoughts and prayers are not sufficient this time. Yes, pray for the families, the loved ones of those whose lives were taken too soon. But as Christians, we are also called to live out our faith in the world in action, for "faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead." (James 2:17) It is time --in fact it is long past time -- that we begin to take action to protect our siblings in Christ, to take tangible steps to support responsible gun legislation and advocate for those who's voices have been taken away. This is not a partisan issue. It is a public health issue, no matter your political party, no matter your background or your language or your culture. As followers of Christ it is our duty to work tirelessly to ensure no more lives are stolen through gun violence.

Below are some resources in order to take tangible action:

It is time to take urgent action. While the issue before us won't be solved overnight and we may feel overwhelmed by the horror of it all, we are called to join those in our communities working to advocate, teach and build relationships to enact positive change. Gun violence is a public health crisis that will only be rectified with intentional, consistent steps. The time for that action is now.

The Rt. Rev. José A. McLoughlin
May we remember the names of those who lost their lives:

Roberta A. Drury, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackneil, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Celestine Chaney, Heyward Patterson, Katherine Massey, Pearl Young, Ruth Whitfield

Eva Mireles, Uziyah Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza, Xavier Javier Lopez, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, Nevaeh Bravo, Eliahana Torres, Makenna Lee Elrod, Ellie Garcia, Irma Garcia, Jackie Cazares, and those whose names we do not yet know...
The Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina
900B CentrePark Drive
Asheville, NC 28805

Prayers in times of violence


A prayer in times of violence
God of all humanity,
in times of violence
we see how inhuman we can be.
We pray for those who, today, are weighed down by grief.
We pray for those who, yesterday, were weighed down by grief.
And the day before,
and all the days before the day before.
We pray, too, for those who help us turn towards justice and peace.
Turn us all towards justice and peace
because we need it.

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:17-18

tx shooting.jpg

God of peace, we remember the children and our siblings killed today in Texas. Following those killed in Buffalo and so many other tragedies.

Please let us stop, just stop, adding names to the prayer list. Lord, have mercy. When will our hearts of stone turn into hearts of flesh?


09 May 2022

Creating Space ~ From Brene

From Brené

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” —Viktor Frankl

If you wrote this quote as a formula, it might look like this: S(     )R.

I didn’t grow up with any understanding or even awareness of this space. I grew up with the R starting before the S was even done. Something happened, someone did or said something, and I’d come out swinging or fearing or worrying or apologizing.

No space. No choosing a response. Hell, not even the parentheses. Just responding in a way that led to more stacked stimuli and responses. There was very little growth and very little freedom.

The very first time I became aware of the potential for that space was when I got sober. My sobriety birthday is May 12—I’ll have 26 years this year.
For me, the gift and superpower of sobriety is being able to pry open that space. Over the years, the parentheses between stimulus and response slowly came into focus. It looked a little like this: S()R.

Sobriety gave me the strength and focus to pry open the parentheses just enough to stick my foot in. While I wasn’t actually wrestling with parentheses, I was emotionally wrestling to create space.
I try to keep that space wedged open with my sobriety, sleep, prayer, working out, practicing curiosity, therapy, and intentional breathing—to name a few. This effort to create space is probably why our team lovingly refers to our podcasts as pause-casts. I stop now and take a breath before I ask or answer a question. It’s awkward, but it’s life-giving.

They call it the sacred pause in Buddhism, and it is core to my well-being. The quote above has become the source code for my life.

The past couple of years have been hard—personally and professionally—and I’ve found that space closing in on itself again. My responses have started sliding too close to the stimuli. I’m tired, and the pause is suffering. I can’t let that happen to me or to our organization. We need breath and space.

To reinvest in that space, I’ve decided to take a sabbatical this summer. I’ve never done it before, and just the thought of taking off 14 weeks is anxiety-producing for someone who can struggle to take a week off.

And, to make sure we have a critical mass of restorative time in our organization, we’re closing the offices every Friday for paid time off, and everyone in the organization has been asked to take four weeks of paid vacation time this summer, in addition to their normal vacation time.
Hands (wearing awkward, brave, and kind bracelets) in a circle
Members of our awkward, brave, and kind team.
To make this work across our organization, we are going dark on social media effective today. We are also going on a podcast hiatus over the summer. We will be back on social and return to podcasting again after Labor Day.

There are three more don’t-miss podcasts hitting the airwaves in the next two weeks. And I’ve got one event, on Ted Lasso–style kindness, that’s been on the books for a year.
In one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard, actress, screenwriter, director, and producer Michaela Coel said, “Do not be afraid to disappear, from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence.” I’m a big fan of silence. I can’t wait!
We set audacious goals in our organization—like “Start global conversations about shame and vulnerability”—but this might be our boldest move yet.

We’ll be back this fall. Rested and ready for our next audacious goal. 
P.S. Very tricky attribution on the stimulus/response quote. It’s often attributed to Stephen Covey, but he’s on the record explaining that he read it in a book while on vacation in Hawaii and was not able to find the book or attribution again. It’s very in line with Viktor Frankl’s work, but it’s not verbatim in any of his published books. It’s possibly Rollo May or B.F. Skinner. No one knows for sure, but I’m going with Viktor Frankl.
Brené Brown

Stay awkward, brave, and kind,
Follow Brené on social!
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29 April 2022

Episcopal Church’s ‘Sacred Ground’ releases report, updated curriculum


Three years after launching Sacred Ground, a dialogue series on race, racism, and whiteness with more than 20,000 participants thus far, The Episcopal Church’s Racial Reconciliation and Justice Team is releasing a comprehensive evaluation report, updated curriculum and resources, and expanded licensing that invites people in other denominations/faiths to start their own Sacred Ground circles.
"Everywhere I travel, people are bursting to tell me about the transformational impact Sacred Ground has had in their lives," said Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. "The Lord is building Beloved Community through this movement, and in its updated and expanded form, Sacred Ground will help many thousands more take the next steps in the lifelong work of racial healing."
In partnership with the Union of Black Episcopalians, Sacred Ground worked with Christina Pacheco of Indígena Consulting Inc. in 2021 to conduct surveys and focus groups with more than 2,900 participants, facilitators, and organizers of the film- and readings-based series that includes circle groups throughout the U.S. (84 dioceses were represented among survey respondents).
The resulting 63-page report is designed to help Sacred Ground facilitators, organizers, and churchwide staff discover what they can do to create the best outcomes for circles. It includes a detailed breakdown of questions and results, charts, graphs, and numerous quotes from respondents.
Among other findings, the survey showed overwhelmingly that Sacred Ground has had a powerful impact on participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and emotional capacity. It has prompted action such as initiating “racial reckoning” conversations in one’s family, supporting Black businesses, holding listening sessions with Indigenous people, and joining county-level policing accountability projects. The survey also reflected a desire for more guidance in this area.
“It has helped us take action on racial justice, not just preach about it,” a Sacred Ground organizer is quoted as saying in the evaluation report.
While the program was especially designed to help White people talk with each other about race, the survey showed that participants of color also found the experience valuable for their own learning and transformation.
These and other survey results—as well as a curriculum review by volunteers, consultants, and advisors—informed changes, updates, and additions to the Sacred Ground program that include the following:

  • A list of best practices for organizing and facilitating Sacred Ground circles, including a recommendation for more interracial circles.
  • We Bless You,” a 22-minute invitational video produced collaboratively with the Union of Black Episcopalians that speaks to those discerning whether to participate in a circle, and whether to form a White or interracial circle.
  • A revised session 10 and new session 11 to help address the desire for help in moving from reflection to action.
  • Curriculum additions, such as some related to the history of Indigenous boarding schools.
  • Higher visibility of theological reflections in the program.
  • Deeper Dive, a list of supplementary videos and readings for those who want to go further in their learning and exploration.

In addition to the updated curriculum, Sacred Ground’s three-year licenses for videos and readings have been renewed, with an expansion for other local-level faith groups that would like to offer the program without direct Episcopal Church involvement.
One Sacred Ground facilitator is quoted in the report as saying: “Thank you. However painful it is to see what our country has done wrong, I am glad to have become informed of the truth. I hope everyone can have access to this program.”
Learn more about Sacred Ground and how to start a circle.

Amanda Skofstad
Public Affairs Officer, The Episcopal Church
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