Editor's note: The following is a letter from the Rev. William L. Geiger, rector of Christ Church, Indiana, to his parishioners. It was published in the January edition of the parish newsletter, The Christ Church Times. Bill+ does a very nice job of describing the events happening around the Presiding Bishop's visit to Pittsburgh from Friday, February 3 to Sunday, February 5.
These are the focal points for the three-day Pittsburgh pilgrimage of the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry. It will be the first of five Jesus Movement Revivals he is planning in different cities around the country. His visit to southwestern Pennsylvania on February 3rd, 4th, & 5th will incorporate our Diocesan celebration of Absalom Jones Day (the first African American priest of the Episcopal Church) with a sort of revival including services, celebrations, conversations, and calls to commitment to do this work of the Jesus Movement, particularly as we live it in the Episcopal Church.
Bishop Curry has a passion and enthusiasm for evangelism-each Christian learning to share the joy of Jesus in his or her life – and for the healing and reconciling of divisions, particularly racial divisions, in the Church and the wider culture. The two are deeply intertwined, because we cannot begin to be effective agents for healing of human relationships until we each recognize the brokenness of our own relationship with God, and profoundly experience the reconciliation that comes from the deep, deep love of Jesus.
The sharp divisions that are present in our country, and the inadequacy before God that we probably all feel from time to time, are clear evidence of our need for healing both without and within.
If you, like me, have a longing to experience that reconciliation with God and neighbor more deeply, yet feel at times under-qualified or ill-prepared to be the sort of ambassador for reconciliation that St. Paul writes about, the Presiding Bishop's preaching and other events of the weekend might help bring the encouragement you need – we need – to get back to the business of the Jesus Movement in our own cities, towns, workplaces, neighborhoods and homes.
Members of the diocese are welcome to attend any or all of the events of the weekend, and even bring friends, though the emphasis and primary audience will be slightly different for each:
- Friday, February 3rd at 7 p.m. the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS) will host an event for church leaders from different traditions & denominations, focusing on the unity of the Church.
- Saturday, February 4th will begin with the Absalom Jones Day celebration at Holy Cross, Homewood, with a "Breakfast with the Bishops" for youth at 9:30 a.m., and Eucharist at 11 a.m.
- Saturday at 3:00 p.m. the program returns to PTS with a focus on bridging racial and denominational divides, emphasizing the work we must embrace together: battling addictions, fighting poverty, and renewing the hope Jesus brings the world.
- Sunday morning February 5th will begin with a 9 a.m. service at Calvary Episcopal Church in East Liberty, followed by a 11 a.m. service at St.Stephen's, McKeesport, with a challenge and commissioning for our work together, particularly lifting up the efforts of the new "Mon Valley Mission" in that distressed community.
That we all might have the opportunity to share in this exciting event with our fellow Episcopalians and other Christians in the Pittsburgh area, we are planning our own "Christ Church Pilgrimage" to participate in the closing event of the weekend. The Sunday, February 5th 10:30 a.m. service here in Indiana will be cancelled so we can all travel together to McKeesport. I am hoping we get enough people to sign up that we can hire a small bus, so we don't even have to worry about the drive! We'll plan to have lunch on the way back-either stopping somewhere en route, or bringing nice sandwiches to eat on the bus, and will have everyone back in plenty of time for the Super Bowl pre-game shows that afternoon (for those who are concerned about such things).
If you would like to travel to Pittsburgh together on Sunday, please let me know ASAP-speak to me, call me (724-422-5038) or e-mail me (RoodRunner324@gmail.com) so we can make the necessary transit plans.
If you'd like a few more details about the Presiding Bishop's visit, I encourage you to view the schedule of events at www.episcopalpgh.org/pbvisit, or pick up a brochure at the church. If you are interested in any of the weekend's other events in addition to Sunday morning, you are encouraged to register on the diocesan webpage; also contact me if you are interested in carpooling to Friday or Saturday events.
I hope you'll sign up so we can share in this great opportunity together, for Christ's sake.
The Rev. William L. Geiger, Rector