Epiphany greetings and Happy New Year! Grace and peace to you and your household! I have three things to say in this letter: a word on Epiphany, heads up on two significant leadership events, and a call for prayer.
The sun rises and sets everyday whether you notice it or not. When you do pause to soak it in you end up creating a reverent moment. Revelation is not complete until it is realized. The Gospel writer John speaks to this when he says,
He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God…. John 1:11-12.
Epiphany churns up several themes of manifestation when light, call, healing, deliverance and transfiguration are pronounced as various accents of good news. Each of them was made complete because it was received. Light, love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit are revealed for us to cherish. And they are only when they are!
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only those who see it take of their shoes—
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. -Elizabeth Barrett Browning
All our congregations are busy with their Annual Meetings this month when you discern and call leaders for your congregation and also for the Diocese. I am encouraged that many of you do this prayerfully and intentionally. Leadership is the single most important investment we make to help transform our portion of the world. I commend to your prayers the clergy of our Diocese who will gather for a retreat/conference from Feb 5-7, and the College for Congregational Development this July.
I also invite you to discern, calendar and send your seasoned leaders and future leaders to two significant formation events focused on leadership development.
The first is an evening to engage the practice of Christian leadership with Rt. Rev. Rob Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese in Atlanta on Monday, April 16, from 5 to 8 PM. This is particularly good for all parish leaders including Vestry members, Wardens, Treasurers, and of course, Priests.
The second is a focused teaching on Lifelong Christian Formation. An acclaimed speaker, teacher and professor, Lisa Kimball, who is the Director of the Center for Teaching Ministry at Virginia Seminary, will come to the diocese on Sunday, November 11th and Monday, November 12th to discuss parish-based lifelong Christian formation programs. This is particularly good for those committed to or curious about ministries with children, youth, young adults, and the whole spectrum of adults.
We pray for all children, youth and families who live in fear, and especially lift up those who wait with hope for Government action on DACA. We raise our heartfelt thanks for First Responders, including our Police, Fire Fighters, Social Workers, operators of snowplows, garbage removers, ER and EMT service personnel, mail deliverers, and all those who quietly make life better for others.
May the light of Christ shine in and though your life! Amen.