Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina is to take charge of the denomination at a time when fewer Americans are formally affiliating with a particular religious group.
On Saturday 4th July we mark the more obvious beginnings of freedom in and for this nation. We call it Independence Day, and most of us break our normal routines to engage in conversation, in eating and drinking, in relaxing.
Of course, not everyone has the day off. If some were not working we would not have electricity, or gas, or propane, to light our homes, to run appliances, to fire up our grills. If there were not people staffing grocery stores we might not be able to buy the items we forgot, or didn’t have time, to get during the first part of the week. Public transportation – buses, trains, planes – runs pretty much as scheduled, guided by people who work through days and nights. And many have to work simply to make ends meet, to put food on their tables and a roof over their heads.
There’s a phrase in one of the prayers of intercession in the Office of Compline:
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We celebrate this first weekend of July not individualism, but the fact that, working together, we have been able to accomplish great things, and we have a great future – if we work together, together with one another and together with God.
Worship does NOT stop because of this or any other holiday. In fact, it should be imbedded at the heart of this and every day. We give thanks for all the ways in which our lives have been enriched and blessed and God assures us that we are loved and appreciated.
Yet not all feel this love and appreciation. We HAVE begun lives of independence, but we are far from completing them, and many still live lives that are not free. So we must remain alert, to respond to any situations where we see people being oppressed, abused, deprived of the liberties which are their rights as children of God, our brothers and sisters.
Independence Day calls us to be watchful for the sake of others, just as our ancestors were watchful for those who could not fight for themselves, and were inhibited from being able to speak out on their own behalf. We are not yet free until all are free.
Let us celebrate, then! We are on our way!
There will be special liturgies over the first weekend of July.
- Saturday 4th July: Independence Day 9:30 a.m. Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 (the one in use at the time of the Revolution)
- Sunday 5th July: 9:30 a.m. A special liturgy incorporating readings from historic writings of the United States, and the celebration of Holy Eucharist.
For the Nation (Book of Common Prayer, page 258)
Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
For our Country (Book of Common Prayer, page 820)
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-See more at: http://www.acts8moment.org/
The General Convention of The Episcopal Church, which meets every three years, will convene on Thursday 25th in Salt Lake City, Utah, and run until the 3rd July.
There are many sites which can help you to follow what is happening, and a live-streaming site which can enable you to listen “as it happens!”
If you have a little time over the next ten days or so, you can inform yourself about how TEC “works,” and see where the energy and enthusiasm of the church is faced right now.
The sites will be added in the next day or so.
In the meantime you might look at this: http://www.episcopalcafe.com/praying-for-general-convention/
There is a blog designed for those who wish to pray for the church at this important time. You may check this out also. Please pray for the Church, for the Deputies and Bishops, the Visitors and all connected with the Convention.
Blog site on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816748015216213/
Pray for your Congregation and its Leaders (Clergy, Vestry, Ministry Leaders, and Others), and for your own Christian Witness.
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
About this prayer cycle
The Acts 8 Moment calls on Episcopalians to pray for the church, each day between now and the start of General Convention on June 25. To help you in your prayers, we have suggested a specific prayer intention for each day, along with prayers that might be helpful to you as you pray. We hope you will pray at various times of the day, but especially at 5:08 p.m.! (The number 5 is for the 5th book of the New Testament, the Book of Acts, and 8 is for the 8th chapter.)
The Acts8 Moment is a Missionary Society made of lay and clergy members of the Episcopal Church who seek to change the conversation in The Episcopal Church from death to resurrection; equipping The Episcopal Church to proclaim resurrection to the world.
– See more at: http://www.acts8moment.org/
Visit the Media Hub for the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church at http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/gc/ for live-streaming from Salt Lake City of legislative sessions from both houses, daily worship, press round-ups, and on-demand features. Plus you’ll find links to coverage from Episcopal News Service and a complete calendar of events. Also click on tabs for:
- DEPUTIES (lay and clergy deputies)
The Blue Book, which contains all the reports and resolutions, plus official business of 78th General Convention, may be accessed at:
This month we celebrate the Feast of St. Alban, our patron saint.
Many church congregations take the name of saint, either from Biblical times or from a later period of Church history, to identify themselves. As you may be aware, the Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches admit saints to their calendars from as recently as the end of the twentieth century, so it may not be unusual to find a local saint commemorated through her or his name being used by resident congregations.
It’s probably fairly obvious why St. Alban was chosen as the patron for our congregation. With the city named after that in New York State, and that one being named after the city of St. Albans nineteen miles from central London in Britain, it makes sense to reinforce this connection.
Alban lived in third century Britain and sheltered a Christian priest who was fleeing from persecution by the Romans. A detachment of soldiers from the Roman army went from home to home, looking for the priest. Alban, who’d spent a few days talking to the priest and had been converted to Christianity by him, dressed in the priest’s clothing and surrendered himself, allowing the priest to escape. Alban was taken before the court and the trick discovered. As penalty for this, and for allowing the priest to evade capture, Alban was sentenced to death.
Legend has it that the executioner was so impressed by what Alban had done that he refused to carry out his task, thus incurring a death sentence on himself. Another was found to kill the two. Reputedly the executioner’s eyes fell out when he killed Alban.
How much of this factual is uncertain. What we do know, however, is the basic story of shelter, of the native Alban’s conversion and of his substitution of himself to enable the priest to continue his ministry. A cult arose around the Roman town – Verulamium – and an abbey built over Alban’s grave on top of the hill. Within a few decades of Alban’s death, pilgrims made their way there to pray. They found comfort and strength from the story and the aura of holiness enshrined there. The Abbey and Cathedral Church of St Alban continues as a vital Christian community to this day, with a wonderful building, a magnificent organ and great choirs and a solid pastoral witness and ministry to the city and surrounding county.
Whoever came up with the idea of naming cities in New York and Oregon and, other States; whoever came up with the idea of naming our congregation after Alban, had great vision. Both city and congregation have a mission to stand up for what is right, regardless of the discomfort or cost; they both have the mission to care for those who are defenseless; and they both have the mission to be hospitable.
As we celebrate our Patronal Festival on the 21st June (the actual Feast is the 22nd), let’s remember our call to serve Jesus in this community and keep aware of opportunities for ministry. But let us remember this also as an occasion to celebrate our own faith as well as our ancestors’, and to enjoy the special lunch. Burgers will be provided. Check the notice board for a list of suggestion what you may bring to make this a special remembrance.
As in previous years, at the Eucharist we’ll be using a liturgy developed for use in the Abbey and Cathedral of St. Alban in Britain as a sign of the link that we share with the people there.
With Alban’s blessing and Jesus’ Love,
Robert P. Morrison
The Diocese of Oregon links to resources for the upcoming Convention, including resources for attendees and Blue Book Reports: Upcoming Events | General Convention of The Episcopal Church | Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
The Episcopal Relief & Development’s Nepal Earthquake Response Fund “will help meet urgent needs such as food, clean water and shelter…Following the initial relief phase, this fund will continue to support longer-term recovery efforts with local partners.”
Source: Nepal Earthquake Response Fund
Everyone is invited to add your prayers in words & images to The Prayers of the People at the Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, 2015