Dear Friends in Christ,
I am excited to share with you that our bishop, The Rt. Rev. José McLoughlin, will be with us on Sunday, April 30, 2023 for worship and formation. He will be celebrating and preaching at both services that Sunday, as well as speaking to you during formation between the services. Although we call such occasions an “Episcopal Visitation,” I was taught that we do not “welcome” our bishop as we would a guest since St. John is one of his parishes. Indeed, I serve as your rector on behalf of Bishop José who is the chief celebrant and preacher in our diocese. Together with him and all of our Episcopal brothers and sisters in these mountains and foothills, we make up the Episcopal branch of Christ’s one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.
An Episcopal visitation does require some preparation on our part. The clergy and staff will be planning ahead to make sure we are prepared for that special day in Eastertide. For your part, there are two things you can do to ready yourselves. First, continue to pray for the Church throughout the world, including our bishop and the church in Western North Carolina. Look forward to spending time with Bishop José who embodies in his person our lineage with the apostles. Be open to hearing the Gospel proclaimed by him and receiving his episcopal blessing.
Secondly, please let Sarah in the office know if you would like to be confirmed, received, or reaffirmed by the bishop during his visit. While any baptized person can join the parish of St. John, a further step in faith and communion happens when we are blessed by the bishop through the laying on of hands.
If you have not been baptized or confirmed, then Bishop José can baptize and/or confirm you as an Episcopalian. If you were baptized in another tradition or confirmed in another tradition, you may be received into the Episcopal Church in the same way. Lastly, if your spiritual journey has led to a need for you to publicly reaffirm your faith to start anew or claim who you are as God’s beloved, you can be reaffirmed by the Bishop at this same service.
Please sign-up to be confirmed, received, or reaffirmed by clicking the button below.
While no class is required to join St. John, we do require a class for the mature commitments of faith as described above. With this in mind, we are offering a class on Sundays at 10:00am during Lent (February 26, March 12, 19, & 26) which will serve as the necessary catechism for becoming Episcopalian. You can get more info about that class here.
As I say often, it is a gift to be Christ’s Church with you. I hope you will consider taking a deeper step into the faith during the upcoming Episcopal Visitation if the above applies to you. Please let the office know if you have any questions.