December 14, 2017
Dear Friends in Christ,
Advent is a season of transition into something new: a new Christian year and the meditation on the coming of Jesus Christ. The collect for the third Sunday of Advent from our new ACNA prayer book, changed from the ’79 BCP, reads like this:
Lord Jesus Christ, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise make ready your way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world, we may be found a people acceptable in your sight; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.
When we pray the collects of the church year, we are gathering ourselves as a community of believers around a central set of thoughts that shape our listening to the lessons and sermon on a Sunday and throughout the week to come. Here we address our Lord about “the ministers and stewards of your mysteries.” The church has returned to the language of minister and steward in describing the roles of the ordained, and we trust our clergy to guard with serious thought and diligent work the proclamation of the great story of faith and the unfolding of the mysteries of our salvation, which began at his first Advent.
Now we are in an unfolding story locally, a season of change that is not just liturgical. The second bishop of the ADNE will be elected in 2018 and, God willing, consecrated at our Cathedral in March 2019. We will, by God’s grace, hand off in this transition a very different diocese than when we started. Thank you for your part in making this decade of mission launching a success, as we have grown to 24 Churches and Missions, plus numerous other ministries and additional church plants planned for this coming year.
We want to keep moving forward and not miss a beat in the cadence of our march toward a thriving, sustainable, and vibrant diocese. As we move forward, we will be highlighting two giving opportunities: the Founders Fund, left over from our Next Step Campaign, a cash reserve that has helped us through cash shortages; and the New Bishop Consecration Fund, which we started to prepare at Synod 2017. Your generous end-of-the-year gift, designated to one of these funds, would help us in a big way. Perhaps some of you would want to offer a challenge gift or a matching gift to get the churches and parishioners of the ADNE to give to this end, beyond our normal tithes and offerings to the Lord. If you would like to donate, please visit the ADNE Ministries and Funds Donation Page and find both the Founders Fund and the New Bishop Consecration Fund in the drop-down menu.
As we gather at worship this Advent and prepare for Christmas, the great feast of the Incarnation, would you join me in praying for the ones who serve us in the ministry of word and sacrament, that their ministry and stewardship will illuminate the great mystery of our Savior’s birth. Would you pray for one another, that we may receive the offerings of their service with hearts that are open to the wonder and awe of this tremendous story. May their stewardship set our hearts ablaze with the wonder of it all.
May the Lord Bless all of you and your families this Christmas.
In Christ’s Name,
Bishop Bill Murdoch