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Bishop Lawrence's Address to the 222nd Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina
The following address was given by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, XIV Bishop of South Carolina at the 222nd Annual Convention of the Diocese held at the Francis Marion Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, March 9, 2013. It has been edited slightly for readability. Download a printable version.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and wither it goest: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 (Jesus speaking to Nicodemus.)
A young rabbi once asked an older rabbi, “What do you have to do to make God smile?” The wise elder replied, “Just tell Him the plans you have made!” Indeed. Who could have envisioned all that has transpired in the Diocese of South Carolina since our Annual Convention on March 10, 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul? Frankly, since last summer’s General Convention of The Episcopal Church there has hardly been a week in which the landscape has not changed in significant and dramatic ways. This week was no exception. On Thursday afternoon I was served a summons to appear in Federal Court as the defendant in a civil suit brought against me by the Rt. Reverend Charles von Rosenberg. You are most likely aware The Episcopal Church has agreed to the state court’s injunction not to use the name of our diocese. Yet now in a self-contradictory move, Bishop von Rosenberg, the Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina has used our name, the name of our diocese in bringing a lawsuit against me. I will leave it to our legal counsel to respond to these matters further. It is, however, an opportunity for us to remember that this legal road will take us down many twisting turns. There will be many ups and downs before it is concluded and at times it may test our resolve. We need to remain steadfast in our faith, firm in our conviction and resolute of will as God gives us strength. None of it however should dissuade us from our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ to live in confidence of the good news of his death and resurrection, to continuously put our fingers in the nail prints in his palms; our hands in his side – Do not doubt but believe – to remember his glorious ascension to the right hand of God the Father exalted over all principalities and powers that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father – remembering his promise to come again in Glory at the close of the age. None of it should detract us from being obedient to Christ’s Great Commission – to Go and make disciples. So undeterred we press on.
At our convention last March I stressed two dimensions of our diocesan calling: Our vocation to make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age working in relationship with Anglican Provinces and dioceses around the world; and secondly our calling to make disciples by planting new congregations as well as growing and strengthening our existing parishes and missions in an era of sweeping institutional decline among almost all of the mainline denominations. These remain two constants for us today even while so much around us is in flux. You will be relieved to hear that it is not my intention in this address to retrace the road we have traveled in these intervening months since our Special Convention on November 17th. Suffice it to say that since these two dimensions of our common life and vocation remained unshaken when the tectonic plates of the diocese shifted, I remain convinced that they were God’s mandate for us then and they are God’s mandate for us now. The reason for this is two-fold: What is at stake in this theological and moral crisis that has swallowed up the Anglican Communion since the latter years of the 20th Century is first and foremost, “What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as this Church has received it?” We did not create it and we cannot change what we have received. So what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Anglicans have received it? There is nothing in Anglicanism that cannot be found elsewhere among the churches of Christendom. What is unique is how we have blended certain aspects of what other churches hold together. But we have received a Gospel. What is it?
The second thing is “What will Anglicanism in the 21st Century look like?” While the former is the more important, the latter is the more complex. Put another way, proclaiming the Good News, “the whole counsel of God” as St. Paul declared in his parting address to the presbyters of Ephesus in Acts 20:27, that should be our first concern. Proclaiming the good news – the whole counsel of God. But the charge to “care for the Church of God, which he obtained with his blood” (Acts 20:28) or as our text last evening put it, “which he obtained with the blood of his son.” was also part of St. Paul’s charge to the bishop-presbyters. If we apply this second charge to take care of the church of God, which he obtained, with the blood of his son, if we apply this charge to ourselves – those of us whose leadership is in this vineyard where the Lord has placed us – I believe this means caring for emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century. Frankly, this caring for Anglicanism in the 21st century gets wearisome at times, painful almost daily, exhausting, but it is a charge we cannot relinquish without abandoning our vocation. What does this mean specifically for us here in this Diocese of South Carolina? Let me take up three aspects of this charge as it I believe it applies to us.
First, we need to take care to nurture our common life. You cannot proclaim the good news the whole counsel of God without caring for the church of God which God has purchased with the blood of his Son.
The risen Christ spoke to the church in Sardis in the book of Revelation and said,
“…Strengthen what remains….” Revelation 3:2
There are forces working to divide us as a diocese. Some of those forces are from without and some of those forces are from within. There may well be a temptation for each congregation to focus on its own needs and its own survival. How easy it would be to become just a conglomeration of churches. We might even cast a sidelong glance at one another wondering if their sacrifices match ours. Do you remember when Jesus told St. Peter those troubling words, there by the sea of Galilee, “…when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) Well remember Peter, on hearing this, saw John, the beloved disciple, and asked Jesus, “Lord what about this man?” The Lord replied, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” Let us remember we have all paid a price to be here today. Every single person in this auditorium who is part of the Diocese of South Carolina has paid a price to be here. So we need to remember the only cross we’ve been told to pick up is the cross that is ours. Let us not grouse or chafe thinking that our neighbor’s cross seems lighter than ours; rather let us remember, while carrying our own cross we have been taught to bear one another’s burdens. Look around not at ways to judge one another but for ways to ease the burden, nurturing our common life.
So how have things aligned in the Diocese? At this time most of the parishes and missions have made decisions regarding their affiliation. Less than a month after the disassociation we were in a clergy conference and one clergyman rose to ask me a question. He said, “Bishop, how many are going to be with us and how many are going to be with The Episcopal Church?” And I said, “It’s all in a state of flux, but I would guess probably 50 with us and 20 with them.” At last count Canon Lewis, has listed 35 parishes and 13 missions with us making 80 % of the diocesan membership ostensibly with us in the Diocese of South Carolina. Those re-affiliating with TEC are 10 parishes and 9 missions making up 18 % of the diocesan membership. Those still officially undecided include 1 Parish and 4 mission congregations thus amounting to slightly less than 2 %. But there are still some realigning of parishioners to and fro various congregations. This final sorting may take some time. So let patience and charity prevail as we continue to walk through what is for many a time of sadness and separation. One of the things that has struck me as I’ve gone throughout the Diocese to speak to large deanery gatherings and small intimate gatherings— whether it be at Ascension, Hagood; Advent, Marion; Christ Church, Quinby; small places or large places—is their struggle and pain. It enables me as a Bishop to understand your hearts, your struggles as people, as deacons as priests of the church. But now with all but a few of the parishes and missions having aligned it is time to assess where and how we will need to link smaller congregations with larger ones to make it through this time of transition. And I propose the Easter season will be the time for the Task Force on Congregational Partnerships to begin its work. Let us know your needs and let us know your resources.
We presently have three places where there are parishioners who wish to remain with us and where their congregation or priest has chosen to re-affiliate with TEC. It has been my counsel that they not attempt to undermine or undo what the chosen leadership of that congregation has done. I can’t say that that has always been reciprocated by those who have chosen to re-affiliate away from us. Nevertheless, we press on. I have assured those who seek to remain in the Diocese of South Carolina that we will work with them as seems most appropriate. In at least two instances there are significant numbers of very active persons who are considering planting new congregations. Let me acknowledge first the fellowship in North Charleston. There are eight former members of St. Thomas, North Charleston that are with us at this Convention. Will you please stand? They are part of a larger group which meets in a community center. Fr. Matthew McCormick, a priest at St. Philips, Charleston, has been assisting them throughout the month of February and will be with them again tomorrow morning. I believe they move from the Community Center very soon to Water Mission International facility. I have been concerned for some time that we were not reaching the North Charleston community in any significant way—at least given the new growth in that area. This group of parishioners may yet be the nucleus of a significant church plant or at least congregational restart in North Charleston. The other community we are prayerfully considering a church plant or restart is in North Myrtle Beach. There are 3 former members from St. Stephen’s, North Myrtle Beach who are with us today as well. Will you please stand? Welcome! I have been working with the Rev. Iain Boyd, Rector of Trinity, Myrtle Beach and the Rev. Linda Manual to pastor and prayerfully think through along with these fine people the possibility of a restart or a church plant in North Myrtle Beach. I will be meeting with them for a second time early next week. Let it be known these worshipping fellowships are not meeting under the name or guise of their former congregation. They do not seek to mount a siege to takeover a congregation that has decided to align with The Episcopal Church. No, this is a new day and a new congregation needs to meet a new opportunity. May God anoint them with his Holy Spirit to see the fields ripe for harvest around them.
We have had for years a Diocesan Health Plan, which was unmatched dollar for dollar by The Episcopal Church’s Health care coverage. So that has necessitated no change, no added expense for our congregations. Property Insurance however has been an area where some of our congregations have seen an increase, particularly those along the coast. It has been part of the price you all have paid. This is partially because of the numbers in the program and partially because some of our buildings were under insured. Another area is in pension. For months the work of our Diocesan Benefits Committee has been arduous, demanding, and frequent, but we have finally instituted our Pension Plan for Clergy and Laity. This has meant no increase for our parishes in providing Pension benefits for our Clergy. But it has for some congregations, particularly if they had not been following our diocesan canons since 1991, for lay staff pension this once again becomes a burden, but it is a burden that takes concern for our people. Our Pension Benefits Committee and diocesan staff will work to assist whenever we can with these challenges. And may I ask for some appreciation for those who have worked on the Benefits committee: Nancy Armstrong, Susan Burns, Canon Lewis, Suzanne Schwank of the Standing Committee, John Ivans, Bill Paddock, Haden McCormick. Thank you for your labors and service.
You’ll hear from St. Christopher’s very shortly in this Convention. St. Christopher’s Camp and Conference Center will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary this summer – June 22nd- 24th. I expect all of you there for the 5k run. Clergy will run it in cassock. St. Christopher has shaped a significant number of our lay and clergy leaders over the years. May I ask those clergy who have been shaped by St. Christopher over the years and the laity, you who believe you’ve been significantly impacted by the ministry of Camp St. Christopher will you please stand? I suspect once again we will reach young and old alike this summer with the life changing good news of the Gospel. Mark your calendars and register for this diamond jubilee.
Many of the institutions and ministries within and outside the diocese where we have had relationships have been affected to some degree by the events of this past year—Kanuga, Porter-Gaud, Voorhees, Canterbury House, York Place, Sewanee, Dominican Republic—to name just a few. Here as elsewhere patience, charity and a desire to add value need to be our governing principles.
Now, before turning to my second dominate concern, I urge you brothers and sisters by the mercies of Christ, to bear one another’s burdens: laughing with those who laugh; weeping with those who weep; and nurturing our common life.
We have now begun in earnest our journey within the Anglican Diaspora in North America. We do so with our vocation to help shape Anglicanism in the 21st Century still in place, and clearly before us. We do so, as I have noted earlier, with much of the diocese intact—recognizing this is by God’s grace and through much sacrifice from our clergy and laity. We do so now from outside the official structures of the Anglican Communion and yet spiritually supported and encouraged by the vast majority of the Provinces and people within the Anglican Communion. While this is not a state we desire to remain indefinitely, it is where God has brought us for the moment. It helpful to remember the words from the Book of Acts: Dr. Luke wrote “Now those who were scattered [that is because of the persecution of Stephen] went about preaching the word.” They went about preaching the word—what was the word they went about preaching? Luke goes on to say, “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women…seeing signs and great miracles performed….” (Acts 8:12—13) Well that’s what he preached – the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. I remember when I was a young seminarian like these that we have with us today and I came across those words of Karl Barth where he wrote, “Jesus is the Kingdom and the Kingdom is Jesus.” They were driven out of from where they were in Jerusalem. But they did not remain silent as they went. They spoke of Jesus Christ wherever they traveled. And it’s good to remember the persecution came because they weren’t fulfilling the mission that Jesus had given them to do. For he had told them before he ascended into heaven, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. But they had remained too focused on Jerusalem and he stirred up things to move them out to where they were to go. So important was this event of scattering from persecution for the spreading of the Gospel, first to the Samaritans and then among the Gentiles, that Luke came back to it again in the 11th Chapter “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word….” That is they were gossiping the gospel as one scholar has translated the text. Gossiping the Gospel.
The other day, I went, in frustration, inside a service station to get the receipt because my receipt didn’t come out of the gas pump. I went in, a little bit irritated that I had to go in and get it on a cold night and I walked in wearing my purple clerical shirt and the young African American lady behind the counter said, “Oh I like that shirt.” I said “I’m not wearing it because I’m styling! I’m wearing it because I’m a bishop.” She said. “What’s a Bishop?” Well I began to give her the whole thing of, “I have a Diocese from Hilton Head to North Myrtle Beach….” and her eyes were glazing over. So I finally said, “Wait a minute. Let me put it this way, a bishop is to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, his having died for our sins upon a cross.” She said, “Oh, I know what that means!” Gossiping the gospel. People don’t want to hear about ecclesiology but they do need to hear about Jesus Christ. Gossiping the Gospel. And then Luke went on to say, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” (11:19—21) They did not know – those who were scattered – the fullness of what God had in mind in their scattering. How could they know that because of the challenge they met at home the gospel was going to spread across boundaries far and wide within the cultures of the world. May this Diaspora be for us a time to rediscover our missionary call and the zeal to make Christ known across cultural and tribal boundaries both at home and abroad, even while connecting us more profoundly to our brothers and sisters in challenging circumstances around the world. That’s what suffering does. It makes you sensitive to your brothers and sisters who labor in places that far outweigh your suffering. I have appreciated conversations with several Primates and bishops with whom we enjoy missional relationships in the Anglican Communion in recent weeks. We have exchanged perspectives on different challenges and circumstances as Anglicans both within the global South and the global North. We will continue to seek their council and prayer support even as we seek to assist them however we can. There is upheaval in Nigeria, Egypt, Tanzania. They are our brothers and sisters and our upheaval enables us to feel a bit of theirs.
At our Anglican Communion Development Committee meeting last month we decided we needed to stop our deliberations and pray. We prayed for about an hour. And we asked God if he would enable us to see more clearly where we are now and what we need to do to fulfill our mission of Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age in this status of dissociation from The Episcopal Church. How does that influence our vision? Let me share a few thoughts from this meeting. First, I want to encourage you to attend the New Wineskins Conference in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. There will be Anglicans from all across North America and from around the world. Some will be key leaders within emerging Anglicanism and in world mission. They will be there and you can rub shoulders and remember that “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Four of these Anglican Bishops from the Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya will then come to the Diocese following the Conference. They will be at the Cathedral on Tuesday evening, April 9 at 6:00 p.m. It will be an opportunity to hear first hand from our brothers from around the world and may I encourage some of you to bring your youth groups to that event. Allow your young people to get a vision of what worldwide Anglicanism is all about. Let them get a vision for what it means to be a Biblical Anglican in this increasingly global age. Let them begin to see that they living here in South Carolina have brothers and sisters who suffer but spread the Gospel in their day. I would especially encourage our African American congregations to bring their youth. We need to pray as a Diocese for young African American clergy to be raised up for the Gospel. Let all our youth see strong, bold leaders whom God has raised up from poverty, equipped with wisdom and knowledge and leading. Bring them if you can, my friends. It’s a rare opportunity. Do not let it pass you by. Also, Kenneth Clarke, the retiring Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, with whom we have a relationship, will be at various places in the diocese as well Mouneer Anis, Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. He will be with us, this longtime friend of South Carolina. I look forward to spending time with him. Please pray for him and the Church in Egypt, and know that hard pressed as they are they pray for us.
Reading through the almost 300 pages of my court summons. I realized that we were referred to as a sect. If we are a sect, why are all these Anglicans from all over the world coming to be with us? They’ve not called us a sect. They’ve called me an Anglican Bishop and this Diocese an Anglican Diocese and so we will remain.
Up until 2009 many of our parish relationships have been with parishes or dioceses within what is known as Province IX of The Episcopal Church —that is, with dioceses such as the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Haiti and the like. These are not however what the Anglican Communion Development Committee called Provincial-Missional Relationships. Why? Because they’re not separate Provinces of the Anglican Communion. They are dioceses within The Episcopal Church. But the vision that I believe God has give us is to connect with Provinces – far and wide outside of that little provincial gathering that has been our home, to help shape what is emerging in the Anglican world from India to Pakistan to Australia to Africa to Chile to the Indian Ocean. And so may I encourage you as parishes--congregations and priests to begin to think strategically about your missional relationships. While we still have friendships and parish missions in places within TEC, and some of these we may want to continue (I’m not suggesting we pull the rug out from anyone). Nevertheless, I believe it is time for our congregations to think more strategically regarding future missional relationships and needs. We have entered a new chapter of our diocesan life and our missional relationships should increasingly reflect that in our parish relationships as it already does on the diocesan level. At our deanery clergy meetings I will be asking our ACD clergy to engage in an active conversation to explain more broadly why this is fundamental to our vocation and vision as a diocese and whenever possible I will seek to be a part of these conversations myself.
Now to another sensitive point. What about our relationship with Anglicans in North America? I’ve had conversations and email exchanges with bishops across what I have been calling the Anglican Diaspora in North America. I want to understand the various bodies outside of TEC yet rooted by heritage and order to Anglicanism. I seek to understand what makes them distinct yet broadly Anglican and how, if possible, we might help to foster greater unity or at least an esprit de corps among these overlapping jurisdictions, many of which can be found here in South Carolina. Little will be served by standing far off in scholarly or separatist fashion. As I’ve stated before I am creating a task force to do much of the leg work in this relationship building. But I repeat what I’ve said on previous occasions neither this task force nor the Standing Committee will make formal or final decisions regarding our relationship with any church or province. That will be a matter for the diocese to decide as it meets in Diocesan Convention. Our affiliation with TEC was decided at an Annual Convention in 1790. Any affiliation in the future will be decided in a similar way, that is, with a vote of Diocesan Convention.
In the mean time can we not learn from the Anglican 1000 Church planting movement, where members of our Diocese attended a gathering at Wheaton, Illinois this very week? Can we work with our brothers and sisters at St. Andrew’s, Mount Pleasant, as they too venture out in Church planting? Can we not learn from them and share with them? We may be an autonomous diocese but we are not isolationists nor consumed with our own identity or franchise. No, we will work with other Anglicans in North America to reach our communities and world for Jesus Christ and his Kingdom. Before I leave this subject of the Anglican Diaspora I remind you to pray for the new Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby whose enthrone is March 21st. Pray also for the Primates of the Anglican Communion especially those of the Global South who have reached out in support with us in our time of need.
Now to the final topic I wish to address
Lesslie Newbigin, missionary statesmen and a founding bishop in the Church in South India, in his book The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church has a chapter entitled “The Community of the Holy Spirit.” It is an arresting chapter which captured my attention because it fit with something I believe God has been stirring in my spirit as I have been on making my regular visitations around the diocese confirming and praying for those received or re-affirmed. I believe as has been observed by one theologian, “When the Holy Spirit moves, the destination is always more important than the emotion, what we feel matters less than where we are going.” Yet still St. Paul always seems in his letters to be quite confident that those who received the Holy Spirit in the early church knew that they had received the Spirit and could witness to it. And along with this the filling of the believer with the Spirit hardly seems to have been a onetime experience; it does however appear nevertheless to have often been an experience. Certainly confidence in the Spirit’s presence should not be first and foremost focused on physical manifestation or some personal experience of the Spirit but neither is there particular virtue, much less a cause for celebration in its absence. I remember Fr. Terry Fullam asking many years ago—“What is a difference that makes no difference?”
Speaking personally, I need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That prayer first attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo, “Revive thy Church, O Lord, beginning with me” has become my prayer. Not praying in some narcissistic or self-important way as though it has to begin with us; but if we’re going to pray we ought to pray for it to include us or we ought not to be praying that prayer. Seeking God for the fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit to flow among us has been an almost unspoken prayer emerging within me—a sigh at times too deep for words. So when I came across these words of Bishop Newbigin’s, I put down the book momentarily and prayed. I believe I need to share them with you: “Catholicism and orthodox Protestantism, however deeply they have differed from one another, have been at one in laying immense stress on that in the Christian religion which is given and unalterable. Catholicism has laid its primary stress upon the given structure, Protestantism upon the given message, but both have known, at their best, that in so doing they were seeking to honor and safeguard the uniqueness, sufficiency and finality of God’s saving acts in Christ.” Well so far so good. But then the bishop goes on to acknowledge a third stream of Christian tradition equally important for us to recognize. He characterizes this stream thusly, “…that its central element is the conviction that the Christian life is a matter of the experienced power and presence of the Holy Spirit today; that neither orthodoxy of doctrine nor impeccability of succession can take the place of this; that an excessive emphasis on those immutable elements in the Gospel upon which orthodox Catholicism and Protestantism have concentrated attention may, and often does, result in a Church which is a mere shell, having the form of a Church, but not the life; that if we would answer the question, ‘Where is the Church?’, we must ask ‘Where is the Holy Spirit recognizably present with power?’” Where is it present? Where is he present in power? Indeed, as the apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians in Thessalonica, “ We know, beloved of God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (I Thessalonians 1:5) I mention this because while convinced that as Anglicans, in a diocese committed to an Episcopal form of governance and succession, and to the “given” orthodox message of the Holy Scriptures, we are also in continuous need of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit with power. It is the Holy Spirit who must ultimately validate our witness and give power to the preaching of God’s Word both among us and in the world. It is the Spirit that guides and empowers our day to day ministry to one another and our good works in our community. It is the Spirit who directs our mission and evangelism; that inspires our worship, enlivens the sacraments, and equips us with the gifts to do what God has called us to do, enabling us to live the abundant life of Jesus Christ today. It was this same Holy Spirit who enabled those scattered disciples of the early church to gossip the gospel with power and authenticity. The Holy Spirit points to the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and seeks to work in unsevered relationship with Christ’s Body, his Church and in always in accordance with the Word of God which he has caused to be written for our learning. When the three streams are one— and the fire is in the fireplace, the flames of the Spirit are not quenched, grieved or resisted, the Wind of the Spirit blows where it wills and those born of the Spirit sing like God’s windchimes, God’s love song of salvation in its breeze to a weary and waiting world. Walker Percy said, “The world is waiting for news.” Well, the gospel is news, good news, waiting to be told.
So I conclude with this: Let us protect and tend our shared and common life as the Diocese of South Carolina looking to build one another up in love and as we share the gospel in word and deed in our local communities. As we sojourn among brothers and sisters in the Anglican Diaspora of North America let us look for ways to bring unity and to partner in the work of the gospel. As we to seek to fulfill our God given vision of making Biblical Anglicans for a global age I encourage our parishes to turn the page for more strategic missional relationships within the Anglican Communion. Finally, I urge you to join me in praying for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we might become a contagious Community of the Holy Spirit—catholic in order, evangelical in faith, and Spirit empowered for mission and ministry. We are called to carry out Christ’s mission in this time of sifting just as so many of our fellow brother and sister Anglicans are doing around the world. Lest we take refuge in finding our identity solely as some “corporation perpetuating itself by legally valid means” or by providing questionable religious services to consumers, while we ourselves become “the trustee of an absent Lord”, let us pray for the Holy Spirit to come. Come, Holy Spirit, come. Come as the wind and cleanse; come as the fire and burn; come as the living water and slake our thirst that we might offer your living water to a thirsty world; come as the oil and anoint us for service and ministry; come as the dove that we might have the peace that passes. Come, Holy Spirit, come. Amen.