Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

Bishop's Enews Writing / January 2021

January 21, 2021

Dear saints,

Today is the Inauguration of our 46th President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris! What a historic moment, when this wonderful and imperfect country lives into its promise! The oldest man ever to be inaugurated as President and the first African and Southeast Asian-American Woman Vice President take center stage today! The cabinet around this Presidency promises to be the most diverse in the history of our nation!

Yes, we face all kinds of challenges with pandemic justice, racial justice, economic justice, climate justice, truth justice, and justice around extremist violence. But we have proved that we are still a democratic republic and while the process has been tested again, we know it works! I could not be prouder and more hopeful than I am today of being an American! I pray that our better days are ahead of us because we know about the integrity it takes to responsibly steward this tenuous democracy. I pray that we will hold on to the ideals of a constitutional democracy that are built on the foundational principle of integrity of, for, and by the people! May God bless America and the whole wide world! I invite you to pray for our new President, Vice President, and their team, as well as our locally elected State Senators on Thursday, January 22, 2021 at 5 pm. Please contact Steve Richards if you wish to join us for this time of prayer.

I also wish to give a shout out to two elected state Senators elected from our pews. Senator Samra Brouk, who grew up teaching Sunday School at St. Peter’s in Bloomfield, and Senator Jeremy Cooney, who grew up at Christ Church in Rochester, where he now serves on the Vestry and also on our Diocesan COVID-19 Task Force.

We have work to do to live more deeply into our baptismal identity as beloved children of God. I invite every one of you to join us for this year’s Diocesan Ash Wednesday service online when we will celebrate Absalom Jones from 7 to 8 PM! Our Preacher will be Rev. Nita Byrd, Chaplain and Dean for Spiritual Engagement at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The music and liturgy will be stunning to glorify God in celebration of Blessed Absalom. I promise you; it will be worth gathering around your computer with your loved ones for hope, joy, and inspiration as we prepare for a holy Lent. This will be the first all diocesan liturgy of 2021.

I also commend to you the follow-up Book Study, Unsettling Truths on Thursday, January 28, 5-6:30. We are extremely grateful to the Racial Reconciliation, Healing, and Justice Circle of our Diocese for their diligence in helping us journey together with honesty to embrace beloved community.

Finally, I commend to you a white paper on the Diocesan Dean design after a year of living into this distributive model of leadership.

I wish you meaningful annual meetings filled with grace, imagination, safety and possibility.

With affection,