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All Weekly Messages

Jan. 14—Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters

Today, as a nation, and as a world community, we continue to be challenged by the forces of discrimination, hatred, greed, lust for power, anger, and violence which plagued the world when Thich Naht Hahn and Martin Luther King, Jr. struck up their friendship. As our Presiding Bishop observed in his Message to the Nation on January 6, “there are forces intentionally seeking and working to divide us. Left unchecked, unaddressed, and unhealed, this can lead to the decline and deconstruction of our nation and make it impossible for us to strive to be ‘one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”

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Dec. 17—”Fear Not”

As people of faith, we have a rock solid resource for bravery—our belief and faith in Jesus Christ. “Fear not!” the angel said to the shepherds abiding in the field. “I bring you news of great joy which shall be to all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find the child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

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Dec. 10—The Coming Anew of Christ

Advent is the Church’s holy season of waiting and expectation. We wait for the coming anew of Christ into our world and into our lives. Paradoxically, we also believe, or should believe, Christ is with us now and always. Consider Jesus’ final words to his disciples at the conclusion of Matthew’s Gospel, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). What do we make of this paradox?

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Nov. 19—Being Thankful

There is lots to glorify, lots to give thanks for.

Still, as we continue to live under the oppression of a worldwide pandemic and continued angst and polarization in our nation, there is, for many, a general malaise defined as “a vague, unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort.” What should we do when we feel this way, especially as a holiday approaches with a traditional greeting telling us how we’re supposed to feel—happy?

I would like to suggest that it is possible to be thankful even when we may not feel especially “happy.”

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We All Need Encouragers

To date, under the leadership of Rob Droste, the Diocese of New Jersey has trained close to 40 people, lay and clergy representing the full diversity of the diocese. These persons have completed a rigorous six-month training program requiring more than 40 hours of instruction and practice. As Canon Droste notes, “Our coaches learn coaching basics and add a focus on developing faithful followers of Jesus. This centers them in the church and differentiates them from the secular coaching that is found in nonprofits, businesses and other organizations. Thus, they offer the best of both worlds.”

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Faith and COP26—Nov. 5

Beyond our being citizens of this planet, our faith as Christian stewards and Episcopalians compels us to be concerned about climate change and to act. The fifth of the Anglican Marks of Mission calls for us “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”

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The Unknown Saints—Oct. 29

Monday, November 1, is All Saints Day, one of the seven principal feasts of the church year. On this day, and/or on the Sunday following, we are invited to commemorate all the saints, down through the ages, known and unknown. There are those whose stories are universally known, like St. Peter, St. Paul, Joan of Arc, or even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Others, like Clarence Jordan, are not as universally known, but have stories that should be told to inspire us. We also recognize that there are saints who have been courageous, faithful witnesses to the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ during their lifetimes but, like the soldiers in the Tomb of the Unknown, their names and stories have been lost to us. Our All Saints observance and celebration reminds us of them.

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Celebrating the Mission of the United Nations—Oct. 22

Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers; for they will be called children of God. I am grateful to Fr. Alfred Niese for his advocacy of the United Nations and its work; for reminding us of United Nations Day on October 24; and for his wonderful book on peace, Soren’s Story.

May God lead us all to be peacemakers.

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Women of Honor—Oct. 15

Praise God for the faithful leadership of these women and all the women who will be honored on Saturday. They exemplify Christian discipleship and are instrumental in carrying out Christ’s ministry of love and reconciliation in this part of God’s dominion that is the Diocese of New Jersey.

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“Stewardship as a Human Vocation”—Oct. 8

Too often, we segment “stewardship” to the narrow area of church finances. This is unfortunate. Stewardship concerns the totality of our lives and of our how we manage that which God has entrusted to us. This includes our life and participation in the community of faith that is the Church. It includes our care of ourselves and bodies, but also, our lives as citizens of this planet. As someone observed, “Stewardship is what I do with everything I have, after I say, ‘I believe.”

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House of Bishops, Reparations, and Racial Justice

To be clear, the call for the study of, and dialogue about, the history and legacy of slavery in the United States and the call for reparations is the official position of The Episcopal Church. As a bishop of this Church, I am not only doing that which I believe the Lord commands–the mission of reconciliation—I am also doing that which I, by my ordination promise, have committed myself to, namely “conforming to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.”

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The Diocese and the Church Respond to the Refugee Crisis–Sept. 24

Our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month should not only be a response to the numerical growth we realize. Our Hispanic/Latino siblings have blessed us as a diocesan community in countless ways. From our stand-alone Spanish-dominant congregations—Cristo Rey, Trenton; San Andres, Camden; San Jose, Elizabeth—to other locations where a Hispanic/Latino Ministry has been “planted” or “seeded” in an already existing congregation—All Saints, Lakewood; Christ Church, Toms River; St. Thomas, Red Bank; Trinity Church, Asbury Park; St. John’s, Elizabeth—or where such ministries are being “birthed” as is the case with Holy Trinity, South River—our total life as a diocese has been enriched by the committed faithfulness and meaningful cultural expressions of our Hispanic/Latino members.

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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month!–Sept. 17, 2021

Our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month should not only be a response to the numerical growth we realize. Our Hispanic/Latino siblings have blessed us as a diocesan community in countless ways. From our stand-alone Spanish-dominant congregations—Cristo Rey, Trenton; San Andres, Camden; San Jose, Elizabeth—to other locations where a Hispanic/Latino Ministry has been “planted” or “seeded” in an already existing congregation—All Saints, Lakewood; Christ Church, Toms River; St. Thomas, Red Bank; Trinity Church, Asbury Park; St. John’s, Elizabeth—or where such ministries are being “birthed” as is the case with Holy Trinity, South River—our total life as a diocese has been enriched by the committed faithfulness and meaningful cultural expressions of our Hispanic/Latino members.

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