The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez. XVI Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. A Revolutionary Diocese.
February Message 2021
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’
God planned for us to do good things and to live as we were created to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are. Ephesians 2:10
My siblings in Christ,
When Jesus says “follow me,” he is inviting us to be part of something real, something bigger than ourselves alone. Jesus is entrusting us to collaborate with him to restore what it means to be fully human, created in the image of the Almighty. As Paul writes, “to live as we were created to live.” Jesus is calling us to this holy purpose, saying, “Follow me. I have special work for you to do. I will teach you, and I will show you the way if you just follow me.”
Part of following Jesus means following him into the holy season of Lent. Let us seize this opportunity to draw closer to God in prayer. This Lent I ask that we take on the discipline of Noonday Prayer. It takes only a few minutes to pray but can make a world of difference in your life. Set an alarm to remind you. You will not regret it.
As a diocese, we are courageously stepping into the unknown and becoming the light in a world that is desperately seeking meaning.
We continue to lead the Church through bold initiatives. Each month, I want to give you a short update on essential things happening in the diocese and how you can get involved:
• We received unanimous approval from The Board of Trustees to appropriate $250,000 for technology in our churches. These grants of up to $2500, will enable our churches to expand their capacity to stream and record their services. Full details on how to apply will be released soon. We are also pushing forward with the creation of a media center – online and in person - at Diocesan Center.
• We continue our commitment to combatting poverty through creative solutions. We are continuing to reopen closed churches and helping our churches re-envision how they can more fully use their campuses. Most recently, the rectory at House of Prayer will be reconfigured to provide space for college students who are homeless
• In partnership with the City of Philadelphia, we will help build tiny houses as a creative solution to meet the needs of people who are homeless.
As Jesus taught us, you do not love at a distance, and faith is not a spectator sport. Thus, let us follow him and serve both the Lord and one another. Each one of us, from all corners of this diocese, are called to share in this sacred work. Jesus entrusts us to fulfill his purposes. Whether you can give one hour of your time or 20 hours a month, your service to the Church matters. You are our greatest resource. I have great faith in you. As you dream about the ways in which you might serve, please go to diopa.org/together. There you will find some ideas that may inspire you as well as the opportunity to fill out a short survey about how you can help. Whatever you can give of your time and talents will help us make a difference.
I leave you with a story of the great Israeli painter Mordecai Ardon. When asked which picture was the most beautiful he had ever painted Ardon replied, 'The picture I will paint tomorrow.' I cannot wait to see the picture we will paint together today, tomorrow, and each day forward.
Let us pray unceasingly, dare greatly, strive valiantly, love completely and spend ourselves in the service of Christ and one another. In Christ we find both "unity of purpose" and "no fear of failure.” We must. We can. We will. Press on boldly in the name of Jesus Christ.