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Pastoral Letter from Bishop Chris

From time to time, bishops write letters to their diocese. These are known as Pastoral Letters, or simply Pastorals. Historically, this has been a common way for Anglican bishops to communicate when there are extreme circumstances or acute needs. Pastoral letters are open letters addressed by a bishop to the clergy or laity of his diocese, or both. They contain specific instructions or directions for behavior in particular circumstances. Sometimes they are also intended to provide consolation or to share information which the bishop feels is especially important.

 

The above paragraph contains Bishop Chris’ opening words in an email he sent to all the clergy in the diocese earlier this week, along with a Pastoral Letter. This is among the gifts of being Anglican—we live under the pastoral authority and care of one who has vowed to guide and guard the people of God. The Letter we have received from Bishop Chris is a faithful expression of this God-ordained role.

 

At the Bishop’s direction, I will read the Pastoral Letter aloud before the Prayers of the People in both services this Sunday, and Pastor Sallie will read it aloud at the women’s retreat. While the Letter does not contain graphic details, please be advised that it does address sexual abuse that occurred at one of our sister churches in the 1990’s. The letter is attached below so that you may read it ahead of time.

 

Parents, I encourage you to speak with your children if you choose for them to remain in the Nave while the Letter is read (most younger children will be in Children’s Church). It’s important for our children to be aware of these issues in ways that are appropriate to their age and experience.

 

For those of you affected by the pain of sexual abuse, please know that we are ready to provide you with care and support. If you still plan to attend on Sunday, prayer teams will be available as usual during the 10:30am Sunday service. All our women prayer ministers are away on retreat, so if you would like to meet with a team of women, you may let Pastor Sallie, Margaret Mann, or me know, and we’ll arrange a time for you to meet with them. Pastor Sallie and I, of course, are available to meet with you as well, or assist you in finding a trusted therapist.

 

I’m grateful our Bishop is leading the way in addressing this tender issue openly and pastorally. This is an opportunity to be reminded of the importance of caring for our children and other vulnerable ones, and to offer hope and healing to those who have experienced abuse.


Pastoral Letter Abuse Spring 2024
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Download PDF • 142KB

Your Pastor in Christ,


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