[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in retreat March 11 – 15 at Camp Allen Conference Center in Navasota, TX. The following is an account of the activities for Friday, March 11.
The bishops of The Episcopal Church came together in the morning with a great sense of anticipation for the first gathering of the House of Bishops to be led by the new Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. They were led in Morning Prayer and deep reflection by the Chaplain, the Rev. Bill Redfield, Diocese of Central New York.
Bishop Todd Ousley of Eastern Michigan, the emcee for the day, introduced Presiding Bishop Curry who led the bishops in prayers for those members of the House who died in the past year and for those in need of physical healing. He assured all of his own recovery from an injury suffered last fall. And he expressed his gratitude to Katharine Jefferts Schori, the former Presiding Bishop, for all the wisdom she shared with him.
After prayer and the Presiding Bishop’s opening remarks, the bishops gathered in small groups to reflect on developments in their personal lives and in their dioceses since they were last together at General Convention in Salt Lake City, UT in July 2015. It was an animated hour in which they discussed challenges and new ministry initiatives.
The afternoon began with meditation and Presiding Bishop Curry spoke about the theological and biblical foundations for his oft-quoted phrase “The Jesus Movement” and how that Movement integrates evangelization and reconciliation. Presiding Bishop Curry contrasted the two great commandments of love of God and neighbor with a self-centered perspective on the world that destroys society and creation itself. He illustrated this with a powerful biblical image of Jesus entering Jerusalem from the east for the Passover just as Pontius Pilate and the Roman army was entering from the west. Pilate was there to quell any possibility that this could be a new Passover in which the Jewish people would be set free from oppression. The Jesus procession (movement) of love and hope went through the city and the crucifixion on Friday, and the silence of the tomb on Saturday, and the earthquake of Resurrection on Sunday and that procession, that movement, continues to the present day.
The bishops then modeled evangelization and reconciliation by reflecting on the times they each experienced the love of Jesus in their own lives and then shared those stories in small groups.
Be sure to check the Presiding Bishop’s Facebook page for the video account of today’s activities.
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