A Bishop's Advent message in 2005
by Bishop Susan Murch Morrison
The stories continue to spill out regarding individuals and communities impacted by this fall's season of earthquakes and hurricanes. One that stays with me particularly is about the destruction of Gulfside, a United Methodist retreat center in Waveland, Mississippi. It is a place of particular importance to our African-American brothers and sisters. As the Reverend Gil Caldwell writes,
All the images that come to us through our news sources can disturb, cause questioning, rock the status quo, can even make us wonder about the way things are or are not. As a statement put out by our Board of Church and Society says:
As I meditate on the upcoming Advent and Christmas seasons, I find images of these past weeks and images of our own journeys mingling with images from the nativity story.
There is a democracy in this nativity story. Position and status are of no
importance. All of creation
We can respond to what is vulnerable around us because we know there are areas in our own lives where we are helpless, infantile and fragile. For the God of the stable meets us, forgives us, loves us and challenges us to live responsibly on behalf of all creation.
We can respond to the outsider and envelop them into the circle open hearts, open minds, open doors because we know there is no room for prejudice or privilege. God creates safe space for all with a welcoming hospitality.
We can journey into the unknown because in the miracle of one baby, Jesus, there is the possibility of the restoration of all of life. That means injustices righted, protests made on behalf of the battered, opening arms to the world's outcasts, speaking out against unjust war, mercy for those imprisoned, health to a struggling environment, simplicity in living where there is abundance, healing where there are scars and pain, and yes, praising God who makes all things possible. So we really can sing,
P.S. During this holiday season, I hope you will join me in taking special
offerings and making donations to support the restoration of Gulfside. You may
contribute to the Gulfside support by making a donation through The Advance
for Christ and His Church. The Advance is an official program of The United
Methodist Church for voluntary, designated financial giving. One hundred percent
of your donation goes to the Advance ministry you choose. Checks may be written
to 'Advance GCFA' and placed in collection plates at United Methodist churches,
or mailed directly to: Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068.
Credit card donations may be made by calling (888) 252-6174. Online giving -
Bishop Morrison serves the Albany (New York) area of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Morrison serves on the General Board of Church and Society as well as on the Commission on the General Conference. She also acts as the Convener of the Forum for the New York State Council of Churches.
Date posted: Dec 01, 2005