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Bishop Scanlan’s Pastoral Letter on the Day of Impeachment

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Clergy: please feel free to print copies of this letter for distribution in the parish in lieu of reading from the pulpit. +ACS

A Pastoral Letter on the Day of Impeachment
December 18, 2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

The goal of the Christian journey is unity and wholeness. Through the centuries, as we have best been able to discern God’s purpose in sending Jesus to us, we have come to understand God’s dream for us as one of reunification with God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and modeled for us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In Jesus’ life, we were shown how God desires us to act- with compassion, justice and love. In Jesus’ death, we watched the model of ultimate sacrifice as the Son of God was nailed to the tree. And in Jesus’ resurrection, we learned about the power of God to overcome all evil, to reach beyond our wildest dreams, and to effect for us, eternal salvation. Since the plucking of an apple in God’s garden, we have been tragically separated from our Creator and God’s everlasting dream has been for us to come home to wholeness.

Today, our country is in terrible pain. More than ever, we are a fractured people and our divisions across political lines are played out in the workplace, in our neighborhoods, on the internet and in the fabric of our daily lives. The political divisiveness in our country has kept us from achieving important work- efforts at reducing gun violence, relieving poverty and improving education, to name a few of our society’s most critical needs. Racism, sexism, classism and attacks of vulnerable populations such as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are on the rise- these are signs of the deep disaffection among us and the fear that grows when we are pitted against each other.

We are people of prayer. Since the first Sunday after President Trump’s election in 2016 when some of our congregations refused to include his name in our regular prayers, our Church has been a victim of our political division. We are called, as Christians, to use the power of prayer to transform our world, and today, we need these prayers more than ever. We are called to wholeness; let our prayers give voice to that aim of unity as we come together as the Body of Christ.

I will not offer partisan opinions. My role is to tend to the spiritual health of our diocese and today, I see great dis-ease among us. I am asking us, as we work in our diocese to consider how we engage in God’s mission, to also consider how we can model for a society in great pain, the unity of a people gathered with humility in prayer and turning to God for grace. Please do pray- for our country, for our President, and for the health of our nation. We are shaped by our faith, and now is the time to share the power of prayer and our faith for the wholeness that God dreams for us.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(BCP 823. Other suitable prayers can be found on pages 820 and following in the Book of Common Prayer.)

The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan
XI Bishop
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