Ash Wednesday message offered by heads of Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
[March 1, 2017] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry joined the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in issuing an Ash Wednesday message. The message was issued by
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Episcopal Church
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Mark 12:31: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Leviticus 19:34: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
Numbers 15:15: One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 10:19: “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
On Saturday, the Washington National Cathedral hosted the National Prayer Service for the President, Vice-President, their families, and those who will be taking on the grave responsibility nominated to cabinet posts. Religious leaders from many traditions joined their voices in prayer and song, and while we shared our most sacred scriptures, we prayed for wisdom for all those who serve our nation. I affirm those prayers, and ask that our leaders listen to the powerful call to serve those who are most vulnerable in continuing to welcome refugees from around the world.
As Christians, we are asked to pray: for our leaders, for our loved ones, for our enemies, and for those who are suffering. Our work does not end with prayer: we also offer assistance to those who are fleeing persecution. We find homes for those who have been forced out of their homes. We feed those who are hungry. The refugees who enter the United States do so after experiencing violence and persecution undeserved of any human being, and they come to the U.S. with hopes to build new lives.
Refugee resettlement is a form of ministry, and one that we, and many other churches and faith-based organizations, cherish. The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries is God’s work, and we show the face of God through the care and compassion in that work. I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption, recognizing the long wait and screening process that means refugees wait months and sometimes years to enter the country. We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is greater than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance.
Our Book of Common Prayer asks for God to “look with compassion on the whole human family;” to “break down the walls that separate us and unite us in bonds of love.” On Saturday, we prayed for God our Father to look with compassion upon the widowed and orphans, outcasts and refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger. We pray to love one another as God loves us. I echo that prayer now and ask that we may work together to build a more grace and compassion-filled world.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “This child came to show us how to change the world,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2016. “So this Christmas, make room for Him to change us. This Christmas help us change the world.”
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release Dec. 5, 2016] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry has issued the following statement on the news concerning the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation:
This morning, the sun ascended over the Great Plains of our nation, and hope truly dawned anew.
After months of courageously and peacefully working to prevent the laying of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which posed a potential danger to the water supply of the people of the Sioux Nation and transgressed their sacred burial grounds, the water protectors on Standing Rock have won a notable victory. Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced their decision to deny an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction across the sacred land and water of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and this long-awaited announcement is cause for joyful celebration and thanks.
On behalf of the Episcopal Church, I offer my gratitude to President Barack Obama and his Administration for championing the rights of the indigenous peoples of the United States. We applaud the decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny the pipeline permit under Lake Oahe. I personally offer thanks to all those who have worked to amplify the voices of the people at Standing Rock, calling our attention to historic wrongs and injustices, and urging us all to consider a new vision for how we might love God, love each other and love creation.
I am grateful and humbled by the water protectors of Standing Rock, whose faithful witness, serves as an example of moral courage, spiritual integrity, and genuine concern for the entire human family and God’s creation. I am equally appreciative of the sacrifice and example of the military veterans, interfaith clergy and trauma chaplains who accompanied the Water Protectors during critical moments of the struggle.
Our whole church should offer special thanksgiving to Father John Floberg of the Diocese of North Dakota for effectively organizing Episcopalians and other people of faith in this effort, and to clergy and lay people who committed themselves to standing with the water protectors – both physically and in spirit.
Even as our Church celebrates this historic announcement, we must also look to the mighty tasks that lay ahead. In the next eighteen months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement to explore alternative routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline. We ask that the assessment involve extensive consultation with affected populations, and that any plan going forward honor treaty obligations with the Standing Rock Sioux. We will also continue to urge the current and incoming presidential administration to launch a thorough Department of Justice investigation into the use of brutal force by law enforcement on Standing Rock. Our work is not over, and the Episcopal Church has a critical role to play in ensuring a just and humane outcome is fully realized.
We recognize that this struggle for the protection of water and of the basic human rights of indigenous people is one moment in a wider movement for social and environmental justice. May we in this way bear true witness to the words of the holy prophet Micah, who said:
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Greetings from Detroit, a city determined to be revived. Greetings also from the city of Flint, where we are reminded that the gift of water has for many of our brothers and sisters become contaminated.
Here we have been exhorted to set our sights beyond ourselves and to minister to the several nations where we serve and the wider world.
We lament the stark joylessness that marks our present time. We decry angry political rhetoric which rages while fissures widen within society along racial, economic, educational, religious, cultural and generational lines. We refuse to look away as poverty, cruelty and war force families to become migrants enduring statelessness and demonization. We renounce the gun violence and drug addiction that steal lives and crush souls while others succumb to fear and cynicism, abandoning any sense of neighborliness.
Yet, in all this, “we do not despair” (2 Cor. 4:8.). We remember that God in Christ entered our earthly neighborhood during a time of political volatility and economic inequality. To this current crisis, we bring our faith in Jesus. By God’s grace, we choose to see in this moment an urgent opportunity to follow Jesus into our fractured neighborhoods, the nation, and the world.
Every member of the church has been “called for a time such as this.” (Esther 4:14) Let prophets tell the truth in love. Let reconcilers move boldly into places of division and disagreement. Let evangelists inspire us to tell the story of Jesus in new and compelling ways. Let leaders lead with courage and joy.
In the hope of the Resurrection let us all pray for God to work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish God’s purposes on earth.
We’ve been talking for a little over a year now about being the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, and somebody recently said to me, “As a bishop, why don’t you paint us a picture, give us a picture of the Jesus Movement so that we can see it?”
When the Gospel is about to be read, the congregation stands up. Something is going on. And then more than that, as the Gospel moment is approaching, a deacon, if there is a deacon in the particular church, a person who has been ordained to be at the intersection of the church and the world, is asked to read or chant the Gospel. And they come down sometimes with the Gospel book held high. And there’s music and the congregation is singing as the Gospel of Jesus, the teachings, the life and the spirit of Jesus enter, in a sense, the room, through the reading of the Gospel. And then, on top of that, everyone in the room turns and reorients from wherever they are, they turn, they reorient themselves, facing the place of the Gospel, and stand for the reading of the Gospel. For hearing the teachings of Jesus. That Gospel moment, the Church has become The Jesus Movement. With life reoriented around the teachings of Jesus and around his very spirit. Teachings and a spirit that embody the love of God in our lives and in this world.
A way of love that seeks the good and the well-being of the other before the self’s own unenlightened interest. A way of love that is not self-centered, but other-directed. A way of love grounded in compassion and goodness and justice and forgiveness. It is that way of love that is the way of Jesus. And that way of love that can set us all free.
Someone once said, “When you look at Jesus, you see one who is loving, one who is liberating, and one who is life-giving.” And that is what the way of Jesus is about. And that is the Movement of Jesus. A community of people committed to living the way of Jesus, loving, liberating, and life-giving, and committed to going into the world to help this world become one that is loving, liberating, and life-giving.
Jesus once said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria . . . “, 42nd Street and 3rd Avenue, you will be my witnesses, witnesses to a way that is loving, liberating, and life-giving. And that my friends, can change this world.
Putting Jesus at the Center
Relationships With God
Relationships With Each Other
And With All God’s Creation
The Jesus Movement
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Election Toolkit provides resources for congregations, individuals.
[Episcopal News Service] Government is a way of participating in our common life,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in a video election message. “And that is a Christian obligation. Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process.”
The Presiding Bishop’s video election message is here. The video is closed-captioned and is subtitled in Spanish.
Election Toolkit and resources
The Episcopal Church online toolkit webpage outlines how individual Episcopalians and congregations can participate in the electoral process through nonpartisan activities. Among the possible non-partisan activities offered are: engaging young adults who are eligible to vote for the first time; hosting a candidate forum; advocating for voting rights legislation; and hosting Get Out The Vote campaigns. Through the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN), information is also available on an important initiative, the Episcopal Pledge to Vote
• Election engagement resources, including the downloadable Episcopal Election Engagement Toolkit, are available here.
• A Facebook/Twitter social media campaign highlighting: state-by-state registration deadlines; information on voting rights; ways to support civil discourse; and historical fun facts of Episcopal political engagement through the centuries of our country. Facebook here and Twitter here.
• Hashtag #EpiscopaliansVote
The Presiding Bishop’s message in English follows:
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Election Message
This November we will gather together as a nation to vote not only to elect a new president but to elect governmental leaders on a variety of levels.
We are blessed. We are blessed as a nation to be able to do so as citizens of this country. This is a right, an obligation, and a duty. And indeed the right and the privilege to be able to vote is something that was won through an American revolution. Something that was won even more through civil rights and women’s suffrage. A right and a privilege that was won for all. So I encourage you to please go and vote. Vote your conscience. Vote your perspective. But vote.
But it’s not just simply a civil obligation and duty. Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life. And that is a Christian obligation. Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process.
In the thirteenth chapter of Romans, sometimes a chapter that is debated among scholars and among Christians, St. Paul reminds us that we have a duty and an obligation to participate in the process of government, “For that is how our common life is ordered and structured.” And at one point he actually says, “For the same reason,” going on, he’s expanding, he says, “For the same reason you also pay taxes for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with everything.” That’s probably very true. “Pay to all them that is due them. Taxes to whom taxes are due. Revenue to whom revenue is due. Respect to whom respect is due. Honor to whom honor is due.” Now he’s talking about the role of government as helping to order our common life. But here’s what I want you to really hear. He continues and says:
“So owe no-one anything except to love one another. For the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments ‘You shall not commit adultery’, ‘You shall not murder’, ‘You shall not steal’, ‘You shall not covet’, any other commandment, they are all summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
For St. Paul, the way of love, the love of neighbor, is the fulfilling not only of the moral law of God, but the way to fulfill the civil law.
Go and vote. Vote your conscience. Your conscience informed by what it means to love your neighbor. To participate in the process of seeking the common good. To participate in the process of making this a better world. However you vote, go and vote. And do that as a follower of Jesus.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
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