– Hi, I’m Bishop Brian. I recently had a chance to spend a day with the School of Theology community at Sewanee. I was there for their quiet day, which is a time of reflection and with lots of silence and contemplative prayer that we share in together at Sewanee. In asking me to speak at a quiet day, which maybe sounds nonsensical, I gave three brief talks on ways to pray always, to pray without ceasing in our active life. The three things I said to them: stay put, pay attention, share in ministry.
When you now choose to stay put in a community, we give up that fantasy of that there’s some perfect church, some perfect monastery, some perfect community, and we allow ourselves to be stable, to put down roots in one community. I would encourage you in this season to continue to stay connected to your parish, to parish leadership and to your clergy. Folks have never worked harder than they’re working right now in this time of the Delta variant. And this continues to tax all of our abilities. So stay connected to each other, put down roots where you are realizing that as Christians and community disappointment is something that we’re always dealing with. All the more call to seek forgiveness, to be forgiven, to grow deeper in our faith together, to stay rooted together.
And also then to pay attention. We live in a time of lots of distractions. So notice the things you notice. And then I would encourage you to pay attention to the people, to the places, to the efforts that need your prayers, that need your commitment in this time.
And then finally, sharing in ministry. As Episcopalians, we share. We share in authority, we share in leadership. As your bishop, it’s not my episcopate, it’s our episcopate. It’s a shared ministry that we do together. And it’s a sharing that comes from the past. Those folks who’ve been faithful that allow us to flourish and to do ministry now to realize we’re also preparing for the future, that we’re making good decisions around stewardship and resources, building capacity, inviting others into ministry, and to allow those folks who join us and come in the future to have the ability to flourish and to do ministry if we do it well now.
So stay put, pay attention, share in ministry. Continue to pray for each other, continue to be safe, get vaccinated, wear your mask. Pray for those who continue in the front lines to give care to folks who are dealing with COVID. We will get through this time together. And on the other side of this, we want to continue to be a faithful people of God in East Tennessee. Thank you.