Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I bid you all a Blessed and Holy Lent. May God grant you the wisdom that comes from earnest prayer and the grace that comes from godly self reflection.
I do wish to bring you up to date on the some of the many dimensions of our church's work. That work occurs on both the spiritual and temporal planes. Much prayer goes into all that we do. Those of us who are most involved in the unification efforts pray daily that our work may protect all we serve and may be pleasing to Almighty God. We ask your prayers for the work of the Joint Synod.
Joint Synod Update
Many of you have asked about future progress toward full organic union. Progress is indeed being made, though much of the work will involve a considerable amount of "heavy lifting."
To get started on the next phase of the unification process, a meeting of the G-4 bishops has been scheduled for early May of this year. Bishop Webb has offered the use of St. Luke's Church in Amherst, New Hampshire for the meetings and worship.
As it stands now, Archbishop Mark Haverland, Bishop Walter Grundorf, Bishop Paul Hewett and myself will meet for two days on May third and fourth to discuss matters related to unification. The discussions will largely focus on issues of polity, i. e. leadership, diocesan boundaries and canons. These issues have been discussed in general terms, but will need to be dealt with in specific terms. A good deal of committee work will be involved. All levels of the church will need to be consulted on matters of polity. Please do keep us all in your prayers as we move forward with this important work of the church.
Although the issues of polity will largely dominate our meeting agenda, we hope to discuss issues of education, ecumenical relations with international jurisdictions like the Polish National Catholic Church, Military Chaplaincy programs, a common directory and the proposed 2020 Joint Synod.
The next Joint Synod is currently in the planning process. A tentative date of January, 2020 has been proposed. Various locations have been suggested for this gathering. The inner harbor of Baltimore or Orlando are among the locations under consideration.
Ecumenical meeting in Dublin, Ireland
Bishops and clergy from several jurisdictions joined with us during the Joint Synod. Most were very impressed with our work, as well as with the clear presence of the Holy Spirit in our work. Some have sought greater unity with the G-4 jurisdictions. Recently, the Polish National Catholic Church has invited the Presiding Bishops of the G-4 jurisdictions to attend an ecumenical meeting of orthodox Christians in Dublin, Ireland. The purpose of these talks will be to seek greater cooperation and, perhaps, another level of communio in sacris.
Your bishop, along with Archbishop Shane Janzen, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and Bishop Ian Gray of the UK will attend the conference.
Bishop Marsh will leave for Dublin on March 1 and return on March 9. During the time he is away, Bishop Webb will be charged with episcopal responsibilities for the Diocese of the Northeast.
Bishop Hewett to speak at the March clericus
Bishop Paul Hewett, the bishop ordinary of the Diocese of the Holy Cross, will be the featured speaker at our upcoming clericus. The March clericus will, as tradition dictates, be held at Graymoor in Garrison, New York.
Bishop Hewett is one of the G-4 bishops who were responsible for the very successful Joint Synod in Atlanta last October. He has been involved with ecumenical relations for many years. Bishop Hewett serves as president of the Federation of Anglican Churches in America. His history of the Continuing Anglican churches, The Day Spring from on High, was published last Fall.
As part of his own episcopal report, Bishop Marsh will provide an overview of the ecumenical meeting in Ireland and a preview of the G-4 meeting in May.
March 1-9. Bishop Marsh attends Ecumenical Conference, Dublin, Ireland.
March 15-16. Clericus, Graymoor, New York.
March 17-18. St. Margaret of Scotland, Conway, New Hampshire. Episcopal Visit. Bishop Marsh.
April 10-11. St. Luke's, Amherst, New Hampshire. Executive Council and House of Bishops meetings.
April 15. Holy Redeemer, Canandaigua, New York. Episcopal Visit. Bishop Marsh.
April 29. St. Joseph, Brooklyn, New York. Episcopal Visit. Bishop Marsh.
May 2-4. St. Luke's, Amherst, New Hampshire. Meeting of the G-4 Presiding Bishops.
May 5. Belchertown, Massachusetts. Meeting of the Standing Committee.
Blessings to you all.
Your Brother in Christ,