A Message and a Call to the People of our Diocese from your Bishop and Bishop-elect:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The past three days have been tragic and utterly horrifying.
As Episcopal bishops, as laity and clergy, but more importantly, as members of the human family, we are heartbroken for our brothers and sisters in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas. We are heartbroken for all who are victims of violence.
We follow Jesus Christ, and our calling is to touch the hurting, bind the wounds of division, and seek peace and reconciliation. We will not only weep at the deaths that have occurred; but we will also work tirelessly to bridge the various chasms that are separating this country, whether they be religion, race, political party, sex, or ideological divisions. We seek our higher calling as people who live in community with one another.
Therefore, we call our diocesan family to prayer and reflection on these tragedies at all church services this coming Sunday and suggest the use of the following prayer:
Most Loving God, source of all peace, we your servants live in a world divided and enslaved by divisions, suffering and hatred; and you have entrusted your mission of healing and reconciliation to our hands. Give us strength to bind up the wounds of division. Give us courage to be strong reconcilers. Endow us with the energy to bridge the chasms that inhabit all parts of our nation. Your blessed Son died and rose again to implant in our hearts your divine vision of love, reconciliation, peace and community. Strengthen us to be ever bolder witnesses to the mission you have entrusted to us. As followers of Jesus, let us sow love, plant peace, build reconciliation and grow community in our world. This we pray in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
When our Presiding Bishop meets with the clergy of our diocese next Friday as part of the events leading up to the consecration of our Bishop-elect, we have asked that a portion of our time together with him be spent in prayer and to hear his wisdom and reflection on these tragedies.
We remain, faithfully,
Your Shepherds in Christ,
Clifton Daniel, Bishop
Daniel Gutierrez, Bishop-elect
July 8, 2016