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Presence before presents: Can we have a Christmas revival?
I slipped into the pew with my wife and two sons. Looking around the church, a dreadful thought crossed my mind: in less than a decade this service will no longer exist. Why? Perhaps 20 people had gathered and few were younger than retirement age. In a matter of years it will only make sense to forego the whole thing. For the rector who has one less service to organize, that might be a relief. The priest who led the service remarked about the incredible numbers of people who had attended services the night before. But I was filled with sadness. Let me tell you why.
Advent Spiritual Retreat with Bishop Lawrence
In the Wake of Hurricane Matthew; Message from Bishop Mark Lawrence
Now on this Thursday after the storm it is a lovely fall day here; 76 degrees with a light breeze; one could hardly ask for more pleasant weather—yet I know that in other parts of the diocese parishioners are anxiously watching the reports on cresting rivers; waiting for power to be restored to their homes; for insurance adjusters to get back to them; for roads to be cleared from falling trees; for swollen river-closed bridges to be opened so they can return to their homes and discover what Hurricane Matthew and the accompanying waters have dealt them. Allison and I had only a house to put back together and we suffered not even the loss of frozen foods. Others elsewhere were not so fortune—and then there is the unspeakable pain of those in Haiti and southeastern North Carolina. It calls to mind the poignant words of W. H. Auden:
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just
walking dully along; (Musee’ De Beaux Arts)
The poet’s thrust, among other points, is the irony of how one person’s suffering often occurs while another is having a quite pleasant or just normal day.
Snyder Recipient of the Inaugural Stott Award for Pastoral Engagement
The final chapter of John Stott’s classic text, Between Two Worlds, is devoted to two personal characteristics which he judged to be essential to the task of Christian preaching: courage and humility.
It is through the balance of these two traits that Christian preachers can faithfully execute their stewardship as ministers of the Gospel. He writes, “The Christian preacher is to be neither a speculator who invents new doctrines which please him, nor an editor who excises old doctrines which displease him, but a steward, God’s steward, dispensing faithfully to God’s household the truths committed to him in the Scriptures, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else.” (p. 323–4)
Bishop Lawrence Elected a Cummins Theological Seminary Trustee
This is an historic moment in the reconciliation of these two dioceses. The Reformed Episcopal Diocese began in 1874 when former slaves, after the Civil War and Reconstruction, were not allowed to worship in the parishes of the Diocese of South Carolina. They sought refuge in the newly founded (1873) Reformed Episcopal Church (REC). These former slaves wrote to the Rt. Rev. George D. Cummins, founding bishop of the REC, and the General Council, asking for a church home in the REC.