Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pray for the Church

Over 130 people have pre-registered for the "Remaining Faithful" gathering of The Episcopal Majority, which begins at 1:00 p.m. Friday in Washington, DC. The response to this meeting has surprised and delighted us, as we merely reserved space that would accommodate 150 people.

Some of the people who have pre-registered have other reasons to be in Washington this weekend. Many are joyfully present to attend the investiture of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Some are attending other meetings such as the Episcopal Women's Caucus. But very, very many are traveling from throughout the entire Episcopal Church merely to gather with other faithful Episcopalians in this meeting – and to put their hearts and minds into the work of finding a way forward together.

Many hundreds – or maybe even thousands – more people cannot attend this weekend's meeting, but have expressed hope and support for the initiative that The Episcopal Majority has launched. And very many of them have written to ask us, "What can I do"? We respond as Christians – people of the Spirit – people of the Covenant have through these many centuries: Pray. Pray that the leaders and participants in this meeting will be inspired by the Spirit to walk in love and that they will be inspired with creativity to find ways to support this church of ours. Pray that the working sessions will be filled with the Spirit of unity, truth, and creativity. Pray that the deliberations in Washington this weekend will contribute to the unity of the Episcopal Church.

And if you don't know what to pray, use these prayers out of our Book of Common Prayer:

7. For the Church

Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.

12. For a Church Convention or Meeting

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the "Remaining Faithful" meeting for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

14. For the Unity of the Church

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And if you have other prayers – or thoughts and wishes – for this weekend's gathering, please share them here in the "Comments" section.

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