[From Bishop Paul]
In most places in the Christian world, the renewal of ordination vows and blessing of oils for the year are private services. In Bethlehem our liturgy is public, lay people are urged to be present, and there is a free lunch.
So why should you accept this invitation?
1) Besides the fact that it is a stunning and uplifting liturgy, it is your chance to be with other members of the diocese as we support and pray for our clergy as they re-commit themselves to to their service to us. It is also the time when together we pray over the oils that are used with the sick and at baptism and confirmation--each time those oils are applied, they represent the prayers of the entire diocese. Those of you with special ministries of healing and teaching will particularly want to be present.
2) Amazing Ecumenical Visitors
Both the Bishop of the NE PA Synod of the ELCA and the President of the Eastern District of the Moravian Church will be present and for the first time, all three traditions will be represented in an Episcopal liturgy. This is history being made.
3) It is yet another opportunity to connect with sisters and brothers from around the diocese as we share lunch. The more connection we have, the better we function.
In some ways, those who travel the farthest for this event will reap the most benefit. When we travel to do something, we change as we go; this is why the ancient practice of pilgrimage still has so much meaning. But whether you are crossing the street or crossing the mountains, making the effort to be at this service will bless you.
To let us know how much lunch to make, your priest will need to know how many are coming, so if you won't be there Sunday to raise your hand at announcement time, let him/her know otherwise, as we need a count on Monday.
I look forward to being with you on this important day.
PS: There will be modest but fun prizes for the children of church that comes the farthest, has the largest percent of its Average Sunday Attendance present, and largest number of attendees.