Friday, July 12th, 2019
My sisters and brothers in Christ,
The theme of our 2019 Diocesan Convention is “The Year of Living Fearlessly in Christ.” In 1 John 4:18, the beloved disciple reminds us that love, the love found in God, banishes the hesitancy and fear that is so pervasive in the Church. Jesus tells us not to fear, for he is with us at all times.
This convention is our fourth together, and over that time, we have taken steps so that fear is abating and love is our identity. We see it in our ministries, outreach, liturgy, and willingness to be bold and innovative. Love is evident in our desire to support one another, and the firm declaration that no person and no church is abandoned. Love is evident in our collective voices for those marginalized by society. Love is evident in our proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As we begin 2020, let us live this year fearlessly in Jesus Christ. We have the gifts to make an impact not only in Southeast Pennsylvania; in the name of Jesus Christ, we can impact the universal Church. The year of living fearlessly in Christ will transform our work in the diocese and demonstrate how our churches will become holy centers of life. Let us shatter our conceptions of poverty, whether that poverty is economic, physical, mental, or spiritual, we must challenge and address it. By living incarnationally, we can make a difference in the name of Christ.
With courage, we can transform what it means to be a diocese. We can demonstrate to the world that we love one another. We support one another and we uplift the people who live in our community. We are not playing Church - we are the Church.
Let us fearlessly and relentlessly proclaim the message the world needs to hear: Jesus Christ. Let us have the courage to meet the world as His disciples. For 2020, let us make a diocesan commitment to pray from the moment we awake (the heroic minute) and make the name of Christ our last thought before sleep. As take our work out from Convention into the vineyard, let us commit to make Christ the center of every breath, action, every holy encounter.
When we live fearlessly in Christ, our lives and our ministry become living prayers. Jesus Christ is Risen; let us live with that knowledge. At Convention, let us rejoice and celebrate our accomplishments of the past year. Then let us step forth with courage and live fearlessly as we take our good and holy work out into the world.
Your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev'd Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania