The Rev. Robert Alves
May: the Month of Bishops
xx "It is an extraordinary blessing to welcome two of the Episcopal Church's most gifted bishops to John's."
Abundant signs of new life abound as a spectacular spring unfolds before our eyes following a harsh winter in Eastern North Carolina. This spring, we are presented with rich opportunities to rekindle our spirits and to focus on new growth in our parish and in the Diocese of East Carolina. It is an extraordinary blessing to welcome two of The Episcopal Church’s most gifted bishops to St. John’s this month! Bishop Michael Curry will be with us on Monday, May 5 and our own Bishop Provisional Peter Lee will join us on the evening of Wednesday, May 21. At 7 p.m. Friday, May 2, St. John’s will host a Q-and-A session with our four nominees for the VIII Bishop of East Carolina. On Sunday, May 4, all members of the parish are encouraged to attend a luncheon to help Vestry cast a vision for the future of St. John’s. This sounds like a lofty goal! The practical reality is that we are asking you to help your Vestry plan the activities that will embody our ministry next year. We need your ideas, thoughts, and support as we prepare for a new year. On Monday, May 5, Bishop Michael Curry will preach at a service of Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m., and he will lead a discussion of his book "Crazy Christians" beginning at 7 p.m. It is with great pleasure that I welcome Bishop Michael Curry to St. John’s. I served as Chair of the Transition Committee when he was elected Bishop of North Carolina. Bishop Curry is known throughout the Episcopal Church for his excellence in preaching. I encourage you to invite your friends to join you at 5:30 p.m. to hear the sermon and to stay for the book discussion at 7 p.m.. On Wednesday, May 21, Bishop Peter Lee, our Bishop Provisional, will celebrate Holy Eucharist at 5:15 p.m. We will welcome Bishop Lee with one of his favorite meals: North Carolina barbecue. After dinner, Bishop Lee will help lead a discussion of a liturgy called The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant. In the Warden’s Letter, John Holmes elaborates on the process of discussion and discernment which the Vestry and I have begun, regarding the blessing of same-sex unions. This discussion does not take place in a vacuum. The conversation has been going on for decades in the greater church and people of deep faith strongly disagree with one another. As we engage in the conversation at St. John’s, I hope that we do so with an attitude of deep respect for one another and with the hope that God will lead our community in conversation. We are blessed to have Bishop Lee with us to offer his wisdom and insights. I believe that the Holy Spirit is moving in the life of our parish and our diocese. This year has been a year marked by discernment and preparation for the future. As we approach Pentecost, may the Holy Spirit set our hearts on fire and guide us to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to life in the world.