“…And they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’”

So reads the infancy narrative of Matthew’s gospel (1:23). Ever since I was a child singing in a boys’choir, the meaning of the name Emmanuel – God with us – has been a source of strength for me, and it has been a source of strength for Christian people down through the centuries.

As your Assisting Bishop for the next seven months, I will continually take heart from the knowledge that God is always with me, and that God is and always will be with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. Strengthened by that assurance, we will move forward together into the mission and ministry to which we are being called, trusting that God will reveal the path to us and support us on our journey.

So, this Christmas 2008, I am thankful

• For each of you and for the Diocese of Pittsburgh

• For this opportunity to serve with you in the months ahead

• For the diocesan Standing Committee and their courage in inviting me to serve you

• For the future where God is leading us in love

Together we will claim God’s love for us, and we will move forward to serve others in His name.

May this Christmas be a time of blessing for us all as we celebrate the “comfort and joy” of Emmanuel – God with us.

+Robert H. Johnson
Advent, 2008

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