Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bishops in New Orleans

Found this message from my bishops in my inbox. It was a welcome change from the articles I've been reading about looming schism. -Renee

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For much of the House of Bishops, today was a break from the business of the House and an opportunity to engage in service.

Bishops and spouses traveled to locations throughout New Orleans and Mississippi to engage in mission work. Another group took a civil rights tour throughout the region and met with social justice advocates.

Bishop Ken and Mariann spent the morning at St. Paul's Home Coming Center preparing gift baskets to give to residents when they return to their homes. They also planted vegetables, butterfly bushes and flowers in a community garden. In the area near the garden, people had returned to a few of the homes. Others remained boarded up, still bearing the "bathtub rings" of water scum and debris across the windows and doors -- a reminder of the 6 feet of water that flooded the entire neighborhood and stood stagnant for six weeks. Organizers of the rebuilding project said that residents returned to plant gardens even before they started gutting their homes. For many, the signs of new life springing from devastation was a symbol of God's promise and the resurrection.

Bishop Ken and Mariann also joined hundreds in celebrating the opening of a new church, All Souls in the Lower Ninth Ward, an area hard hit by the flooding. The church is meeting in an abandoned Walgreens drugstore and held a neighborhood barbeque and party to celebrate.

Meanwhile Bishop Tom and a small group of other bishops worked throughout the day to craft a message from the House of Bishops. They are preparing a first draft to reflect the thinking of the House. They will then present this first draft on Monday morning, and it will become the springboard for discussion and serve as the foundation of the bishops' public response. The bishops expect to release this message on Tuesday.

On Sunday morning, Bishop Tom will be preaching at All Saints, River Ridge in New Orleans, where a former student, the Rev. Susan Davidson now serves. He also will join two other bishops in leading an adult forum about the House of Bishops meeting. Bishop Ken will be at Christ Church Cathedral, where Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is preaching (and where former Southern Ohio priest David DuPlantier is dean).

The House of Bishops will return to session on Monday morning. We will resume our posts on Monday evening. Despite reports of threatening weather and rain, the skies were bright and sunny in New Orleans today. Thanks be to God.


Bishops Thomas Breidenthal and Kenneth L. Price, Jr.
Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio