From Center City to the Great Valley to Coatesville.

Blessings on our sacred pilgrimage.  Come and See the great things occurring in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.  I want to share this journey and will post so that each of you can accompany me as I travel throughout the Diocese.   This week will be a long post - I promise next week will be a bit shorter.

On Saturday the 23rd I joined Sean McCauley on a tour of Crucifixion.  This church is an important part of our history.  I was taken aback by the condition of the outer areas and those areas used by the theater company.  There are numerous areas of disrepair.  However, I found hope in the sanctuary.  It is beautiful.  We are soliciting ideas, and I want to meet with the deanery to determine the future use of the Church.   Keep checking back for updates

On Sunday, July 24th, I was in attendance at the Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany.  Fr. Roger delivered a beautiful sermon.  The liturgy was jubilant, and the community enthusiastic.  The congregation is serving a diverse population near Center City and intentionally meeting people where they are on their life journey.  During the service, we sang Blessed Assurance (I have a weakness for old spirituals so a big plus).  St. Luke’s is asking an important and relevant  question:  “What does church look like and how do we meet the needs of the community?”

A highlight of the week was the board retreat for Episcopal Community Services held at St. Thomas Whitemarsh.    It is important we continue to strengthen the bonds between ECS and the Diocese.  We share a common history and vision. During our time, I was impressed by the dedicated board members, volunteers and staff who work to build our community through service.

St. Peter's in the Great Valley welcomed with love, food, and song.    I was given the grand tour of the grounds by the youth of the parish (they take great pride in their church.)  The grounds of the church are beautiful, and the history is overwhelming. Over the course of the evening, we enjoyed barbecue, pinatas, and laughter.  They also gave me the gift of relaxation on a beautiful Wednesday night.  I was affected by the enthusiasm of the parish and the integration of the youth.  Each new friend expressed love of the church and the desire to spread the Gospel.  Various leaders spoke of their eagerness in building a diocesan community using St. Peter’s as a launching pad. My gratitude to Rev. Nesbitt-Crozier for your work.  I look forward to returning to this welcoming place.

On Thursday evening, I met with the participants of Servant Year.  It was an enlightening and honest conversation regarding their opinions, dreams and how we can continually improve our programmatic efforts.  Following the meeting, we prayed together in the Cathedral and shared a festive dinner as a community.  The participants are faithful, passionate and called to change the world in the name of Christ.  They dispel any notions that millennials do not care about faith.

During the week, I had the opportunity to see old friends during the Democratic National Convention.  I was asked to give the morning invocation to the New Mexico and Arkansas delegation.  Numerous embraces and the opportunity to welcome old friends to my new hometown.

Friday I met two servants who epitomize our episcopal outreach.  Rev. Ned Sherill invited me to tour the Church Farm School.  We toured the grounds, and I learned of the vast history of the school.  When he spoke of the future, my first response was “why haven't I heard more about this school?”  Church Farm School is a gem in the diocese.  A school with standards, vision and determination.  We will double our efforts in publicizing and highlighting their work.

While at Church Farm School, I sat with Pastor Maxine Maddox Dorneman of St. Paul’s Episcopal in Exton.   Both Ned+ and Maxine+ spoke of the collaboration between the school and the parish.  The campus of St. Paul’s is immaculate and inviting.  They are presenting the Kingdom of God through the lens of creation.  The community gardens are bursting with melons, hops and okra (you can rent a plot, and there is a waiting list).  Bee hives grace the gardens and bat houses line the grass.  Bluebird feeding stations ring the edges, so joyful music is heard by those praying or visiting the cemetery.  The church regularly hosts zucchini races, parish cookouts, and solemn outdoor Eucharists.  The enthusiasm of Pastor Dornemann is infectious; nothing holds this congregation back.  I have asked Pastor Dornemann to write an article on the initiatives and outreach.

Saturday evening I attended the Eucharist and dinner for the City Camp Counselors.  As the Office of the Diocese of the Pennsylvania, we need to do a better job of publicizing these events.  The counselors have devoted time and energy to serving the children.  It is my prayer that in the future (with extensive publicity on our part) we will have a packed church and parish hall honoring the work of our youth counselors.

Yesterday, Jude and I traveled to Trinity Episcopal in Coatesville.  A fluid and engaging liturgy that welcomes all that enter the church doors.  We joined this community of Trinity in the monthly feeding of veterans for the Hospital.  The congregation worked with laughter, a holy mission, faith, and efficiency.  In watching the community work, I am reminded when Jesus sent His disciples out into the world they came back filled with joy.  Holy Trinity is joyful.  I was enlisted to cut tomatoes and serve baked beans.   84 veterans were welcomed and fed and in return, they offered their profound gratitude.  Rev. Deets and Rev. Deacon Wylie are faithful and dedicated servants; you give me hope.  The parish was immaculate, the liturgy creative and the congregation is a community.  As we were preparing the food, I could not help but smile.  Every mile I have traveled I see the Kingdom of God building in our Diocese.

Finally.... some closing notes:

As a diocesan staff, we are diligently striving to improve communication and turn the pyramid on its head.  We are called to serve you.  You will see new administrative and outreach initiatives. Keep reading our daily newsletters and send in your requests for our new Resource Guide.

I want to express my gratitude to Canon Lucy Amerman for service to the church and the diocese.  We rejoice and celebrate the next stage of her journey as she transitions to the great state of Colorado.

Please keep in your prayers the Rev. Deacon Nellie Greene.  I was blessed to spend time with her and moved by her courage and faith in Jesus Christ.

Jude is spending the next two weeks with me - YES!

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Bishop.  We are blessed each and every day by the love of Jesus Christ.


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