Diocese of the Atlantic States
(Anglican Province of Christ the King)
Office of the Bishop Ordinary
A Pastoral Letter
15 July, AD 2016
(To be read in the Parishes of the Diocese)
Contemplating the shootings that have occurred in Minnesota, Louisiana, Dallas, and most recently, Nice, France, it occurred to us that we have had special intentions at all of our services of the Holy Eucharist at St. George’s for the last ten to twelve weeks; either because of natural disasters, such as floods or wild fires, or because of senseless acts of violence. These events have caused devastating loss of life. The wounded who have survived these traumatic incidents have sustained debilitating emotional and physical scars that will remain with them for a lifetime.
Political pundits, social activists, sociologists, and others have spoken out from their several unique perspectives about why all of this is happening in American society. We have seen everything across the spectrum. On the one end, there are the “Black Lives Matter” movement, accusations of racism, and allegations of police brutality. On the other, there have been people trying to overcome these obstacles with such things as random acts of kindness toward law enforcement officials, who have sworn to protect, defend, and serve the public.
I share the sentiments of the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen who said,
“I am worried about America! I am not so much worried about its politics or its economics, important though they may be: I am worried about its soul. After all, politics and economics are determined by the sense of values which underlies them.”
America’s soul. The souls of our people. It is true that the most important unit of society is the family, whatever its composition. People caring about other people; mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and on and on. Destroy the family and you destroy society. Relativism, Eclecticism, and Utilitarianism are only some of the deadly tricks in Satan’s arsenal which he uses to assault the family. Satan is and always has been a liar ~ the Father of lies. The Spirit of the Age, Satan’s advocate, wants us to be afraid, but we shall not be! Jesus tells us to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. That perfection is found in Love ~ God’s Love. God’s Love for the whole of Creation; from the limits of the Universe down to you and to me, personally.
The Province is also a family; from the National Church, to our Dioceses, to our Parishes, to the Clergy who serve them, and to the families who comprise the Parishes. When situations present themselves which would tear apart the fabric of our society, America’s soul, we must make an extra effort to love each other and conquer the violence with Love, God’s Love, in the way we treat each other; not only our brothers and sisters in our own Parishes, but in other Parishes, our Dioceses, our Bishops, our Province, and our Archbishop. The very simple fact of the matter is ALL LIVES MATTER! We see this by being present at worship and witnessing the greatest example of Love that has been bestowed on all humanity, Jesus Christ and Him Crucified and Raised from the Dead! If you want to experience and appreciate the mystery of God’s Love perfected and re-presented, participate in the Eucharist. There you will see how perfect Love casts out fear and will come to understand how Love became Flesh in the Incarnation of Jesus, how He came into our human history, and how He was obedient even unto Death on a Cross for our Salvation. Through the ministry of every Priest, at every Mass, at every Altar, the Eucharist draws us together as a family, a strong family; bound together for all eternity to one another and nothing can or ever will separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, pray for each other daily and at the Eucharist during these tumultuous times. Pray for your Deacons, Priests, and Bishops by name every day! If you don’t see some of your friends at Church, call them, find them, and make sure they are all right. Be the family of God wherever you are. Cling to the Truth of God’s Love revealed in His Holy Scripture and at the Eucharist. Place one drop of the Sacred Blood of Jesus onto your soul and fear nothing!
For the Love of God and the sake of the Gospel, I remain,
Yours in Our Blessed Saviour,
Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of the Atlantic States
Anglican Province of Christ the King