Grief and baptism

A Postcard for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost 06/19/22

We joyfully welcomed Henry into the household of God! June 19, 2022, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Greensboro, Alabama.

My heart is breaking.

I was at home Thursday evening when I got the call. As I started getting dressed, I thought I must have heard wrong and called the person back. Tragically, I had misheard incorrectly. There had been a shooting at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills (outside of Birmingham). I didn’t know the details then, but as the hours would pass, the news would report that three people died.

That night we prayed. We prayed in the Publix parking lot. We prayed in an apartment complex. We prayed at St. John’s chapel. Our bishops were there, and they cared for the people reeling in shock and confusion. Friday morning, we gathered, nearly 700 people, to pray again. And I ask you to keep praying for St. Stephen’s, Vestavia Hills and Birmingham, and our country. If you are looking for a prayer, Presiding Bishop Curry offers a good one here.

This morning we gathered in Episcopal Churches across our diocese to meet the risen Jesus in bread and wine. I commend the sermon by the Rev. John Buruss, Rector of St. Stephen’s Vestavia Hill. I was blessed to baptize a child. I was strengthened by reciting the familiar words of our Baptismal Covenant.

In the coming days, there will be conversations about how we gather more safely. We will have to wrestle with the radical love and hospitality that we are called to offer as Christians require vulnerability. Faith takes courage and steadfastness.

I hope in the conversations to come, we will also discuss how we can live bravely into our baptisms and how we can create a world without gun violence.

Dear Church—let us be brave.


A sermon for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greensboro, Alabama, on the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, 06/19/22:

Principal texts: Galatians 3:23-29; Baptismal Covenant

Audio only


Coming next

The often-overlooked “second lesson” of the Sunday liturgy is typically a reading from one of the New Testament Epistles. This summer we will take some time to learn more about these letters that shaped early Christian theology.

  • June 26 – Church of the Messiah, Heflin — Galatians 5:1, 13-25
  • July 3 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke — Galatians 6:1-16
  • July 10 – Church of the Messiah, Heflin — Colossians 1:1-14

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