Diocese of the Northeast
Rt. Rev. Brian Marsh, Bishop
July 27, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
During the past three weeks, I have had conversations with two priests where the terms total depravity and wickedness came up in the discussions. We tossed the terms about like toys, playing with them as if to avoid the true meaning beneath these loaded words. We do that sometimes to gloss over reality, to avoid the tough issues.
But words like "total depravity" and wickedness" hardly seem fitting these days, especially as we have experienced the last couple of Summer days. Humidity is down and the sunny weather is really quite wonderful to behold. Indeed, total depravity seems incomprehensible, wickedness a term verging on humor. Like Halloween devils' costumes, these words look somewhat like a parody of their true meaning. And so we play with the words, keeping their true meanings at bay.
We tend to forget, especially during the relaxed and easygoing times of our lives, that we are in need of Jesus Christ. Compared to Him, we are indeed depraved and wicked. We are so far removed from the reality of God that we tend to forget our place in His world.
The Holy Eucharist reminds us of the real journey we must take to come into the presence of God and to join with others at the altar, the holy table where we may be truly fed. We begin each Mass with the Collect for Purity, asking God to cleanse us, heart and mind, that we may love Him. We say the Kyrie, asking for God's mercy. We hear God's word proclaimed; this draws us closer to Him. We confess our sins and receive the promise of forgiveness. We say or sing the Sanctus, acknowledging God as holy. We watch as the sacrifice of the Mass takes place. Then, we participate in the great mystery, the sacrament
of holy communion. This is a rich journey indeed. And we know that we can never understand it all, this mystical union between God and His people. But somehow, we know that God is present with us.
On page 85 in the Book of Common Prayer is a section called "Exhortations." I invite you all to read those. It will, I pray, put you in mind of the importance of the Eucharistic feast and of our place in it. We cannot demand the great gifts of Bread and Wine; they are not our right. They are a gift from God that, despite our wickedness and sinful nature, are given to all who truly repent.
In the Eucharist, we may draw close to God - closer than at most times in our lives - and know of the great love that is extended to us. Despite our weak and mortal natures; despite all that we have done against God and our neighbors, this is offered to us. God wants us to take the journey to His altar and He wants us to know how important that is to Him. And for us.
Please know of my prayers for you all. I pray for the clergy, parishes and our beloved church each day.
Your Brother in Christ,
By now, you have no doubt received the first synod mailing. Please ensure that all delegates receive the materials. Many thanks to Linnea for mailing these to us. Thanks again to the parishes of All Saints, Concord and St. Luke's, Amherst for their work in pulling together the details of synod. Linnea will send out another mailing the closer we get to the synod.
The registration fee this year is a very modest $25.00. Thanks to the host parishes for keeping this cost way down. Please do get your registration forms in within the deadline.
Clergy are required to attend synod. It is the only time of the year that we gather as a diocesan community, so the presence of all clergy is necessary. However, should any clergy be unable to attend for any reason, please let the bishop know. This will help us all keep good order in the church. Also if there are financial issues, please let him know. We have a small account to cover such synod expenses.
Mr. Michael Thomas Cupoli and Mr. Allen Albert Ryan will, by the Grace of God, be Ordered Deacons on August 14th at St. Paul's Church in Portland, Maine. Please plan on attending this event, which will commence at 11:00 a.m.
St Luke's Camp will begin on August 15 at New England Keswick in Monterey, Massachusetts. It is not too late to get your registrations filled out and submitted. Check the diocesan website for further details.
Our mission churches are always in need of items. If you have spare material, or you need anything, contact Father Monroe (mirage@maine.rr.com) by August 20th so he can bring items to Synod.
Your bishop will visit Holy Spirit in Pepperill, Massachusetts on August 1. This parish is served by both the Anglican Church in America and the Anglican Province in America. Father Bolduc, the rector, has served the parish for more than two years. He is a priest in the ACA and is licensed by our diocese and the APA. We rejoice in this ecumenical venture, one that has drawn us close to another continuing Anglican jurisdiction.
The Bishop will be taking a short vacation from August 28 - September 2. Archdeacon Koller and Bishop Langberg will be available for emergencies.