ATLANTA – The message of love filled the diocese’s 112th Annual Council – from Bishop Rob Wright’s opening challenge to the world, to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon calling upon each of us to be witnesses to the love of Jesus, through the energetic youth-led concluding service.
The volunteers from Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School and Church embodied Christ’s love in the gentle ways they welcomed and served the 600 delegates during the two-day conclave hosted by the North Atlanta Convocation.
Bishop Wright challenged delegates to fully live into the diocesan purpose statement: “We challenge ourselves and the world to love like Jesus as we worship joyfully, serve compassionately and grow spiritually.”
“Last year, we challenged ourselves to love like Jesus because first things need to be first,” Wright said. This next year, he said, “We will move to challenging the world to love like Jesus.”
“Any challenging of the world that you and I do in Jesus’ name has to be based on seeing through the eyes of love. They are not the nameless, faceless poor or hungry. They are siblings and somebody’s child. They are not the nameless, faceless, vile political opposition. They are brothers and sisters with fears and concerns about the present and the future,” he said.
“To challenge as Jesus challenged, we must begin and lean into the journey that puts us in the world without the blinders of contempt or blinding assumptions that flourish because of lack of real proximity.”
An overflow crowd at Council Eucharist, assembled to hear Presiding Bishop Curry’s message, was inspired by the angelic voices of the St. Martin’s Episcopal School Fifth Grade Chorus and the power of the Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society and choir of members from different parishes.
Presiding Bishop Curry called for every Episcopalian to be a witness to the love of Christ, because he said, that isn’t what many people have come to believe Christianity is about.
And, although he was surprised by the international notoriety he experienced after preaching at the Royal wedding, Curry said it was the fact that his message of love was news that really caused him pause.
“I didn’t say anything new. It was a sermon about love, but the fact that a Christian preacher would dare to declare that the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth is to love the Lord your God and to love your neighbor as yourself that wasn’t just good news, it was actually new news!”
Further reflecting the Council theme of love, the Eucharist offering of $5,927 went to The Boyce L. Ansley School for children experiencing homelessness located at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Following the service, delegates joined some 140 youth from throughout the diocese to package 15,000 meals to be distributed by the nonprofit Rise Against Hunger.
Love was also in evidence during the Q&A session with Presiding Bishop Curry, the business session as delegates listened in love and sought God’s guidance in coming to decisions, and when eleven among us who evidence what it means to love like Jesus were awarded the Bishop’s Cross.
Presiding Bishop Curry Preached at Holy Eucharist
In his sermon at Holy Eucharist, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry inspired us and called for every Episcopalian to be a witness to the love of Christ.
Bishop Wright Addressed The Council
Bishop Wright called us to be partners joined by our purpose to “…to challenge the world to love like Jesus” in his address to Council.
2018 Bishop’s Cross Recipients
Bishop’s Crosses were awarded to 11 individuals, one from each convocation, who witness in their lives what it means to challenge the world to love like Jesus.
Legislation and Elections
Delegates listened in love and sought God’s guidance in coming to decisions as they passed three Resolutions and elected members to governing groups.