[Episcopal News Service – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said April 10 that “the gospel of peace is reclaimed by loving those who love violence and hatred” and that a church committed to peacemaking “looks like those who join their enemies on their knees.”
“We celebrate the fact that as the Anglican Communion functioning as a community of peace across the world, as it does in so many places so wonderfully with such sacrifices, that it manages disagreement well in many places, that it maintains unity across diametrically opposed views on a matter – that that Anglican Communion to which we belong could be the greatest gift to counter violence of all descriptions in our world,” Welby said.
Welby spoke during the April 9-11 Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: An Episcopal Gathering to Challenge the Epidemic of Violence being held at the Reed Center and the nearby Sheraton Midwest City here.
He said what is sought is a church “that bears the cross, that is so caught up in Jesus Christ and its relationship with Jesus Christ that it is drawn inexorably in partnership with the poor and pilgrimage alongside them, sharing the surprises and risks of the journey under the leadership of Jesus Christ.”
“We do not see such churches today on a global scale, although they may be found in many places at a local level,” he said. “To turn this into a national [phenomenon] such a great and huge nation as this, let alone a global phenomenon, is humanly impossible. We find it easier to be caught up in our own disputes and our own rights.”
It must be acknowledged that human beings are inclined towards violence, Welby told the gathering. “Violence is intrinsic to being human, and I have to say in particular to being human and male, or human and powerful, over against minorities of all kinds,” he said. “Moreover it is addictive, violence is addictive, and we become hardened to it.”
But, God “is committed to acting in response to wrongdoing” and is a God who judges but also saves, “giving of God’s own self to make an opportunity for rescue,” the archbishop said.
Thus, “the resort to violence is always the denial of the possibility of redemption,” he added. “And since in our hearts we believe in redemption as Christians, an early resort to violence denies the very heart of our faith.”
– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg and Lynette Wilson are editors/reporters for the Episcopal News Service.
STATEMENT ON THE ELECTION IN THE DIOCESE OF MASSACHUSETTS
“To return to the Diocese of Massachusetts a quarter century after my ordination to the priesthood there will be a genuine delight. To be called to do so as bishop-elect is an unimagined honor and a privilege beyond the telling.” –The Rev. Alan Gates, Bishop-elect, April 5th
The Diocese of Western Massachusetts joins our sisters and brothers in the Diocese of Massachusetts in celebrating the call of The Rev. Alan Gates as their next diocesan bishop. Alan joins a long line of bishops who have come from the “Home of Leaders” (aka the Diocese of WMA). Alan was the rector of Trinity Church, Ware, Mass., 1990-1996. I look forward to welcoming Alan into the House of Bishops and collaborating with him and Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris in serving the people of God in the Commonwealth and following Jesus in his mission of mercy, compassion and hope. We offer prayers of thanksgiving for the inspired leadership of Bishop Tom Shaw and we pray daily for his healing. May God abundantly bless Alan and his wife Patricia as they embrace this ministry.
”I need to begin by thanking you all for your ministry. No bishop can long survive without the gifts you bring to an office or diocesan team. The work you do, and the dedication and excellence you bring to the work, provide an essential kind of “brain” for the work of a larger body.”
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