Grace to Help Support Flint Residents

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Flint MI

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Flint MI

 

As you may be aware, the water supply of Flint Michigan has been severely compromised. A state of emergency has been declared there because its drinking water has been contaminated with unsafe levels of lead. The lead contamination — which can lead to behavior problems and learning disabilities in children and kidney ailments in adults — has left Flint residents, many of whom are poor and minority, unable to drink unfiltered tap water. The Syracuse City School District and other local organizations including 100 Black Men and Alpha Kappa Alpha are leading an effort to provide some relief to Flint residents by collecting bottled water to be sent to them. At worship on Sunday, Grace will collect bottled water as part of this campaign.

If you want to help, bring bottled water to worship here at Grace, on Sunday, where we will place it around the altar to be blessed and then take to a local collection point.

To learn more about how this crisis developed, take a look at the article posted on Syracuse.com.

31st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

The 31st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be held at the Carrier Dome on Sunday, January 31, 2016.   Doors open at 4:00 pm, with dinner at 4:30 pm, and a program at 5:30 pm.

MarcLamontHillMarc Lamont Hill, Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College and a leading journalistic voice in social justice, will be the keynote speaker. The yearly MLK Celebration at the Carrier Dome is the largest University-sponsored event in the United States to honor King’s legacy.

Tickets sold through the Schine Box Office, and are available on an individual basis ($30). All tickets are for general seating. The evening program is free and open to the public.

For more information, click here.

“Remain Steadfast in God’s Hope.”

Bishop Skip’s Response to the Anglican Primates’ Decision to Censure The Episcopal Church

Dear People of Central New York,

Youskip probably have heard of the decision that has come out of the recent Anglican Primates meeting in Canterbury, England. (The Primates are the head bishops of the various provincial churches that make up the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which our Presiding Bishop is one.) Of the Primates gathered, a majority voted to censure The Episcopal Church for our full embrace of LGBTQ persons, specifically for our most recent General Convention’s action approving inclusive marriage rites that can be used for same-sex couples.
According to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Primates’ decision is not a “sanction” of The Episcopal Church, but a “consequence” of our theological and pastoral decisions that are not embraced by a majority of the head bishops of the Anglican Communion. Whatever the term used, the Primates decided that clergy and lay leaders of The Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, cannot participate in any official Anglican bodies that deal with matters of doctrine or policy.

The positive part of the Primate’s declaration is that they unanimously expressed a desire to continue to walk in partnership, joined in Christ in mission and ministry. In my perspective, however, the Primate’s decision to censure The Episcopal Church compounds the pain of discrimination that LGBTQ people have suffered over the centuries and continue to suffer as a result of Church policy. For that pain I am deeply sorry, and as a Bishop of the Church I apologize to all LGBTQ people, especially those of this Diocese.

Discipleship can be costly and sometimes, although we do not want it to be so, relationships are strained as part of that cost. People who love God can honestly disagree on weighty matters, and it is my desire to respect and remain in relationship with those who disagree with me. It is my belief, however, that as I read Scripture, understand the teaching of Jesus, examine the history of the Church, and apply God’s gift of human reason seeking the Spirit’s direction, that the actions of The Episcopal Church moving toward full inclusion of LGBTQ people are of God. The Spirit is calling us to stand by our carefully and prayerfully made decisions.

We, the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, will continue to embrace our baptismal promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.” As we believe everyone is made in God’s image, we will continue to work to be a faith community that offers God’s radical hospitality to all, assures everyone of God’s loving embrace, and supports relationships lived in fidelity to God and one another, no matter one’s sexual orientation. All leadership positions of this Church remain open to all who seek the Way of Jesus.

The decision of the Primates does not affect us in the every day life of our churches except in one essential way. That is, we must continue to pray for one another and love one another as Jesus has loved us, especially where we may disagree. As the Archbishop of Canterbury said, reconciliation and agreement are not the same thing.

I will be attending an Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in March where I may receive much more information and clarity regarding the decisions made and where we may go from here. Until then, God be with you all. I call upon you to remain steadfast in God’s hope as we seek “to be the passionate presence of Christ for one another and the world we are called to serve.”

In Christ,

Bishop Skip