Bishop James Hazelwood (seated at left) visited Advent on Friday for the first time since his election to the New England Synod last year. A group of parishioners that included some of Advent’s founding members joined Pastor Bob Lindberg to welcome him. Over coffee and refreshments, the conversation ranged from Advent’s 30-year history to outreach opprotunities in the Southern New Hampshire area and beyond. Afterwards, everyone gathered in the Sunday School room to show off the murals in progress by Advent’s resident artist and to pose for a group photo.
After 25 years of being a priest in the Episcopal Church, some things get ingrained in you. For example, at least once a year I would go into my “Paul Revere” mode.
You see, according to canon law, Episcopal bishops are required to visit each parish in their diocese every 18 months (most make it a yearly visit). It is a VERY big deal for the parish. So, once I would get the notice that the bishop was coming, I would run about the parish hollering, “THE BISHOP IS COMING, THE BISHOP IS COMING!!” And everybody would go into “bishop visitation mode.”
An excerpt from Bishop James Hazelwood’s letter to the New England Synod of the ELCA on 15 December 2012:
There are no words available to me to adequately express the loss and sorrow I feel over this tragedy in Connecticut. It may be the season of Advent, but it feels like the morning after Good Friday, before anyone realized the word “Good” could be added.
Our hearts are broken for the parents, siblings, family, coworkers, first responders, ministers and residents surrounding the Newtown, Connecticut community. We pray, indeed. But, this morning my prayer is more deep sigh, than eloquent words.