Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18, 2008

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Another day of meditations by the Archbishop and much time contemplating their content. Lots of conversations with bishops from other parts of the world. My bible study group is made up of two bishops from Zimbabwe, one from England, and three from the US. We are still awaiting the arrival of three others. It is amazing how the bible study has helped us to see that in spite of very differing contexts we have a great deal in common in our ministry as bishops. Today we looked at the figure of John the Baptist in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John and discovered snapshots of our own ministries. One question even asked "Do you ever feel like a 'voice crying in the wilderness?'" Different settings, same answer. Yes!

The Archbishop is leading us slowly through insights into our own ministry of missionary leadership as bishops and how that relates to our need to be in communion. He reminded us that it was Tertullian who said "A single Christian is no Christian." We are in communion as God's gift to us even though that communion might be impaired by our human divisions. We are called to stay together while we work to heal those divisions.

I also spent much of the day meeting and hearing from bishops around the world -- Canada, Ireland, Australia, Sudan, England, South America. I listened with grateful ears as they shared the stories of their life in Christ, and then I was able to share with joy the small part of the Diocese of Atlanta that is mine to give.

Though it, at times, seems like we are not getting to the business at hand, especially after hours of sitting in a beautiful but cold cathedral, I know we are doing what must come first. We are preparing our souls so that we can meet Christ in the sometimes difficult conversations ahead. It is not always easy to remember that all this is not about us. We serve the living, risen Lord who is leading us into all truth.

God's great blessing on you. You continue in our prayers.

Bishop Keith

PS thought you might like some visuals.

St. Paul's Church, Wordsworth Ave., Sheffield

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