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

Bishop's Writing / Enews April


Dear Friends and Colleagues in Christ,


The Epistle for Easter features a sermon by Peter in which he says,  “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35) The resurrection of Jesus Christ, the new life offered in Christ, is available to everyone who loves him and does what is right, to all who love God and neighbor.


Every nation… anyone…


Over the past several decades The Episcopal Church has worked to live into this understanding of full inclusion. We have struggled to come to grips with our fears of those who are different, to confront our racism, our misogyny, our homophobia. We have tried to live into South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s proclamation that “All means All.”


Since the recent Dobbs Supreme Court decision, it seems to have become acceptable to take actions, including legislative actions, against those who are different, and especially women and our LGBTQ+ siblings. Legislation is being adopted enshrining discrimination and denial of rights, including access to health care. Locally, in Hilton, bomb threats were made against the public schools because of a book in the library entitled, “This Book Is Gay.” Those threats have directly impacted children and families who attend our churches.


Our calling these days is to stand on the firm foundation of the resurrection and the proclamation of God’s love for all. We need to be unapologetically who we are and to offer comfort and support to our LGBTQ+ members and to all whose lives and health are impacted by the currents of hatred swirling through our culture. Our differences as human beings are part of the richness and diversity of divine creativity, and our faith communities need to reflect that richness.


It is abundantly clear that American society has a great deal of work to do before it can claim to be the New Jerusalem or a reflection of God’s dream of a peaceable kingdom. It may well be God is inviting The Episcopal Church to take the lead in pointing to that hope. We can say that all are welcome and mean it. We can offer safe haven, solace, and support for those experiencing discrimination and rejection at the hands of the larger community.


In our Baptismal Covenant, we promise “to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.” May these words be more than words for us. May we embrace the "all" that includes each of us and everyone else. May we be brave in offering support and advocacy for our LGBTQ+ siblings and all who suffer from prejudice, bullying, denial of rights, fear, and loss. May we show forth our conviction that all does indeed mean all.


Alleluia. He is risen!


Bishop Steve