Ash Wednesday 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Today we pray together the familiar words of the Book of Common Prayer:
“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.” (BCP 265)
Lent is meant to be a time of preparation, a time of focusing our minds and hearts on what God has done for us and what God intends for us. The Scriptures tell us what God has done for us, but the question of how we should respond to this tremendous gift can be hard to answer. So many of us approach Lent wondering what we should “give up” or “take on” to enter into the spirit of this holy season and to draw closer to God.
I don’t have an answer. Or, rather, I don’t have your answer. But when I meditate on God’s holy word, as the church asks us to do, I notice that after 40 days in the wilderness, 40 days of fasting, praying and wrestling with temptation, Jesus returns to the world he has always known, and this is what he says:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
— Luke 4:18-19
As you prepare to observe the holy season of Lent, I invite you to meditate with me on how we as individuals and as a people can bring good news to the poor, to consider whom we ourselves oppress and how they can be set free, and to join with me and with the other members of our diocese in proclaiming in words and in actions the year of the Lord’s favor.
The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe
Ash Wednesday 2015
on the Northern Michigan Episcopate
Bishop Paul V. Marshall
April 5, 2009
The Church, as it ponders scripture, tradition, in the light to the best reason it can muster, is itself the judge of the Church's latitude in doctrine and practice. It defines that latitude from time to time, seeking to welcome the broadest possible expression of the basics of the faith. Core doctrines are maintained most notably by unambiguous reference in liturgy and catechism.
Thus when Bishop Righter was tried for allegedly violating the Church's doctrine in accepting certain persons for ordination, the court was able to say that while the question was a theological question, it was not a matter of core doctrine and was not addressed in our central documents. Unpublished documents from the right wing opine that they subsequently think they would have more likely gotten a conviction if they had charged Righter with violating the discipline (operating rules) rather than the doctrine of the Church.
A Joint Pastoral Letter from Bishop Paul Marshall of the Diocese of Bethlehem and Bishop Anthony Poggo of the Diocese of Kajo Keji in Southern Sudan will be read at churches throughout the Diocese of Bethlehem on Sunday, September 7.
An excerpt: One of the gifts that the existence of differences in culture and outlook presents all of us is the experience of being loved by people who are not like us and who may not share all of our views on any number of subjects. The grace of learning to receive love from those who are not like us is a gift from God that awakens us to the depth of God’s own love in giving Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world. As we continue our vital work together, it is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide us into deeper levels of understanding, devotion, and dedication of the ministry our Lord has given to us in Kajo-Keji and Bethlehem.
Download the letter below.