In addition to all the other celebrations of All Saints' Day, last Sunday, November 1 -- including our own, the Episcopal Church welcomed +Michael Bruce Curry as our new Presiding Bishop with a grand celebration in Washington National Cathedral. As I write this letter, I'm listening to the glorious music from that service, you can find it on the Cathedral's YouTube channel.
For 12 years, Bishop Curry served as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina of 125 parishes and institutions on that state's central Piedmont plateau. Once every nine years, the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops elects one of its own to preside in their shared ministry, and to serve as the chief pastor for the whole Episcopal Church in 109 dioceses in the United States and in 17 other countries..
At the Episcopal Church's General Convention last summer, Bishop Curry's election to succeed +Katharine Jefferts-Schori as our Presiding Bishop, made history: he was elected overwhelmingly on the first ballot (which had not happened before), and he became the first African-American bishop to be elected Presiding Bishop. News accounts were quick to note that just over two weeks separated his election from the racially motivated shootings at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
For those unacquainted with Bishop Curry, his election may seem merely a reaction to the persistence of racism and violence in our society. However, for those familiar with his ministry and preaching, such as his colleagues in the House of Bishops, +Michael Curry likely seemed the Spirit-inspired leader to guide the Church in facing the challenges for the Church today. While not pulling back from the hard work the Church has done internally, Bishop Curry's focus is first and foremost on our participation as Episcopalians in what he calls "the Jesus Movement."
Presiding Bishop Curry's spiritually infectious preaching is well documented on YouTube. For this Sunday the Rectory Forum decided to watch and listen to one of his sermons; my hunch is that like potato chips, they won't be able to stop at just one! You can find his sermon from last Sunday here. I'll warn you, most of his sermons are not short, but the time flies by. You can find his short "Word to the Episcopal Church," at the Church's website: www.episcopalchurch.org
Our All Saints' celebrations certainly touched my heart. We baptized Tim and Lucas Malton, and in song, prayer and praise, we claimed our membership through baptism in the fellowship of all the saints. Our Sunday School continued our baptismal celebration with a lovely Coffee Hour. Many thanks to the Lafatas, and the Patino-Links for organizing and decorating, and to all of you who helped provide all the goodies.
Our "God's Call to Us" Home Gatherings are about to begin for the fellowship of the saints we know as Christ Church, Guilford. Already 45 parishioners are ready to participate in this weekend's three Home Gatherings to get better acquainted, share some good food, and talk about our beloved parish. I understand there's still room to accommodate a few more folks in Home Gatherings scheduled for the next two weekends, with a possibility of additional Gatherings as needed. Thanks to all who have responded with a "What Options Work for You?" form. Print copies are available in the church and rectory. Please bring them with you Sunday, drop them off, or respond via email. Your participation is important!
In "Glad Tidings Online," your Vestry invites the whole parish to the "vision-casting" process of the Home Gatherings; there's also a bit from me about how I see our baptismal promises informing our participation in the "Jesus Movement." GTO also has news about our Daytime and Evening ECWs, a new Cookbook, a Report from the Treasurer, and introductions to -- and terrific photos of -- our newest acolytes. On behalf of all us, thanks to copy editor Diane Barker, web guru Jane Ferrall, and photographer Sue Shackford, for this new digital endeavor. I commend it to you!
In faith and hope,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!