Three videos illustrating the witness, prayers, and blessings of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops during the September 2017 visit are available for congregational, group or individual use.
More than 125 bishops of the Episcopal Church gathered in Fairbanks, Alaska to pray, bless the land, visit missions, and discuss the business of the church at the House of Bishops meeting September 21 – 26. Hosted by Diocese of Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime, the theme of the meeting was Culture, Creation and Reconciliation: Bishops in the Jesus Movement.
Members of the House of Bishops and spouses boarded buses and planes to visit churches and villages in a wide area of Alaska, praying with the people, sharing meals, and blessing the land. Among the locations were St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Nenana; St. Jude’s, North Pole; and St. Matthew’s, Fairbanks.
The videos, available here, are ideal for discussion groups, adult forums, Sunday Schools, women’s, men’s and youth groups, current events, formation, newcomers, confirmation classes, individual reflection, etc.
The three videos are a compilation of videos and photos taken by bishops, spouses and staff during the six days in Alaska. The videos can be viewed and discussed separately or as a package.
HOB – A Word To The Church (5:50) features Presiding Bishop Michael Curry narrating A Word to the Church, presented by the House of Bishops at the conclusion of the meeting. The viewer is treated to scenes of the beauty of Alaska and the actions of the bishops.
“The bishops of the Episcopal Church came to Alaska to listen to the earth and its peoples as an act of prayer, solidarity and witness,” the Presiding Bishop says in the video.
Among the points presented in the video are:
“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers” (Psalm 24:1-2). God is the Lord of all the earth and of all people; we are one family, the family of God.
What does listening to the earth and its people mean? For us bishops, it meant:
Recognizing that struggles for justice are connected. Racism, the economy, violence of every kind, and the environment are interrelated. We have seen this reality not only in the Arctic, but also at Standing Rock in the Dakotas, in the recent hurricanes, in Flint, Michigan, Charlottesville, Virginia, and in the violence perpetuated against people of color and vulnerable populations anywhere.
What did we hear?
“The weather is really different today,” one leader told us. “Now spring comes earlier, and fall lasts longer. This is threatening our lives because the permafrost is melting and destabilizing the rivers. We depend on the rivers.”
The land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where the caribou birth their calves is called the “sacred place where life begins,” so sacred the Gwich’in People do not set foot there. “Drilling here,” people said, “is like digging beneath the National Cathedral.”
House of Bishops – Alaska Intro (2:02) presents scenes of the visit and the critical need for the care of creation.
House of Bishops – Alaska Travelogue (2:42) provides an overview of the deep witness of the visit, with videos and photos of the bishops blessing the land and the water.
For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Episcopal Church Public Affairs Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full text of A Word To The Church is available here
Resources are available here