May 31, 2016
I cannot help thinking as the summer season approaches in this year of the Lord 2016 that our faith is perhaps more important than it has been through the lifetime of most of us still living. The tenor of our public life and discourse bears little resemblance to Gospel conversation as recorded by the four Evangelists. Even the moments of confrontation and dispute in Jesus' active ministry bear the visible mark of a divine love that confronts wrongdoing yes, but without any trace of a vindictive or condemning spirit. Such is not the case in what we hear daily today of conversation taking place that should address the common good of all the people.
What we believe as Christians, and as members of the Episcopal Church, has something to say into the fray. Ours is a voice that has much in common with a number of other denominations, and indeed with aspects of non-Christian groups as well. Ours is a voice, as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry thankfully does not miss a chance to remind us, that is a part of the Jesus Movement. Bigger than us, but embracing us. Speaking love to truth over the centuries, and into the 21st.
And so, two notes on Mercer plans as we enter the season of warmth and, I pray, a bit of a break for you. First, in light of our present context, education in the Christian faith seems to me of unrivalled importance for all of us, whatever be our generation or state in life. This month we failed to get to enough folks on board to bring faith formation pioneer John Roberto to our diocese. Rather than giving up, we are redoubling our efforts. John has agreed to present a day for the clergy of our diocese here at Mercer on Thursday, September 22. Then John will return to present a powerful and workable vision with everyone, for sharing the faith into the world, on Saturday, January 28, 2017. Help us get a great group together to interact with John Roberto!
Secondly, for the 2016-17 year we will have, for the first time I believe, a theme underlying and informing our Mercer year. The theme is leadership in church and society. The provisional title for the year's program on the theme is Twenty-first Century Leadership: how shall we reach the future together? Under this broad umbrella, your suggestions for possible events, lectures, workshops and presenters are still welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And closer to the present moment, on Sunday, June 26th we are going to do something rarely done here. We are sponsoring a concert. Jody Mullen, an energetic soprano who loves the great American songbook, will be with us. Jody hails from New Jersey and is a member of the choir at Grace Church Brooklyn Heights. Why is Jody singing here? We want to raise money for refugee relief for those fleeing war and poverty and trying to reach Europe. Last week alone some 860 men, women, and children lost their lives trying to reach new life. We will be accepting just freewill offerings at the concert. But I believe your free will can make a difference. You can learn more about Jody Mullen at http://jodymullen.com/
Jody Mullen, soprano, in concert at Mercer on June 26th
May the warm sun bring new growth among us,