At this time of year, even as the days grow shorter, we experience new beginnings. For some, a new school year begins, for others, it is the start of a new program year. Right now our diocese is in the midst of a new beginning of its own. For almost a century, Trinity was under the oversight of the Bishop of London. After the American Revolution, the Episcopal Church was founded right here in Philadelphia, and our first American bishop was the Right Reverend William White. Another two centuries on, we are now happy to welcome the sixteenth Bishop of Pennsylvania, the Right Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutierrez. Bishop Gutierrez comes to us from his native New Mexico, and will be visiting Trinity as part of his diocese-wide pilgrimage on Monday, September 12 at 1:00 pm.
Thanks to the hard work of Bishop Clifton Daniel, diocesan leadership and the search committee, there was a palpable sense of unity at Bishop Gutierrez’s consecration that I have not experienced since coming here seven years ago. There is a lot of work that we all have to do together, and we should not expect our new bishop to magically heal old wounds and make everything “good”. However, we should rejoice that through prayer, discernment, and the work of the Holy Spirit, we have an able and gifted shepherd among us.
Please join me in welcoming our new bishop with open arms. One way to do this is to join your parish family for kickoff Sunday (details below). Our church is blessed with many families with children and youth of various ages. One of the challenges this presents is competing schedules. We understand that not everyone can be in church every Sunday, but attendance is vital, both to our church as a whole and to your spiritual life. So I encourage you, as we make a new beginning as a diocese, to make a new beginning on a local level. If you’ve never missed a Sunday, that’s fantastic! If you can only be here every other Sunday, we love to see you! However, I think now is a great time to consider how much your presence at worship means to the greater community. We are one body. If you need a ride, just let someone know! We miss you when you’re not here, and it is not a bother to pick you up.
I don’t have to tell you what a special place Trinity is, not only in the lives of its members, but in the community as a whole. Let’s use this new beginning to make a new commitment to our diocese and ourselves!