Tuesday, November 27th, 2018
"We love Him because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I hope that you had a time of rest this summer. As you step forward into a new ministerial season, I wanted to send a note expressing my sincere gratitude for your ministry and my love for you. I hold my call as your Bishop with sacredness. You are my priority. I am your pastor, and I am always here for you.
As we know, many do not understand our call to ministry. There is often an expectation that liturgy, budgets and spirituality, pastoral presence naturally "happens." Yet, we know that we give our lives and time (at expense to self and families). Inevitably, we encounter loneliness, uncertainty, exhaustion, frustration, and anger. Ministry is a calling to the foot of the cross.
Yet we believe in Jesus Christ. What a wondrous, life-giving and beautiful calling to be His servants and serve God's beloved. Ours is the most profoundly fulfilling journey possible. It is the knowing of the resurrection and the countless possibilities of new life. We walk with people in their pain and joy. We are blessed to be invited into their lives. We represent the hope of Christ in a world that is often devoid of light. We share the sacraments, visit the sick, embrace the poor, and we are present with those we serve.
We are carrying forward Jesus' thoughts and ministry. Each day when we awake, with each action as ordained, we are invited into the Upper Room. There we are fed by sacred hands. From those hands, we take His life and share with all those we encounter.
I have found it helpful (not always successful) to pray over the knowing that we do not need to have all the answers - Jesus has the answers. Salvation is not in our hands - Jesus has saved the world. You are not alone - you are part of a community. We are not 136 separate congregations we are one. I would also encourage you to reach out to one another. Let us make an intentional effort to create communities of support. Let us endeavor to be friends with one another. We are one.
As your Bishop, thank you for serving this Diocese and allowing me to share your journey.
Please know that I am here for you at all times. My cell phone is 505-263-8285. Call me for any reason and at any hour. I pray for you daily and uphold your precious gifts. The diocesan staff also stand ready to serve you, assist in any way possible, and walk this journey with you.
Over the next year, we are working to create further opportunities for gathering, learning, sharing and praying. Moreover, we are exploring creating facilitated clergy support groups that would have a facilitator. As you begin your work once again, know that you are loved and appreciated.
I leave you with His words: "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). God is doing great things through you that we cannot even imagine.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania