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Bishop's Message

RSS By: Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo

 

 

 

"Bridges Not Walls" 

 

"Puentes No Fronteras"

 

 

Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus as we enter 2018 together!

 

We are on the bridge - on many different bridges, to be frank. Transitions and changes surround us. So, I invite you to look back with me at two parts of our life together as a Synod that will have lasting impact. 

 

The Commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, "Reformation 500: Committed to Unity in Christ", on November 1 and in a variety of other events, marked this great year. At this Eucharist, we turned a page in our ecumenical and interfaith relationships. The response from various communions has pointed to a desire to join us on this bridge and work at tearing down walls that divide. I am pledged to lead us in these efforts drawing on the great spirit experienced at our remarkable commemoration. 

 

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The second part of the new vision I have coming across the bridge into 2018 is our renewed and renewing commitment to various issues of immigration and welcoming of all people into our country and our churches. The SENT Committee is working hard at making the renewal happen and I pledge to be at the center of these efforts. Not only are we called to build bridges; we are also called to break down divisions by active participation in our communities at all levels. Lutherans have been central to the work of immigration justice for decades; it is an even greater need today. 

 

These two gifts from 2017 will continue to guide our efforts in 2018. Our unity as a Synod is a tremendous gift from God and together we will, by God's grace and power, cross these bridges into a bright future together.

 

A blessed New Year to all of you!

 

 Rimbo

+ Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo

Metropolitan New York Synod, ELCA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Faith in an Age of Terror

 

This time of year, in a culture facing terror of all sorts, many people are wanting to find faith. I think a better way to approach this is to be in places where faith can find us. I’m not simply writing to invite you to a mosque or synagogue or church – although it would be great to see you there. I’m inviting you to places where people of faith gather. And, just to be clear, those are by no means restricted to houses of worship.

 

To be sure, there are plenty of those places available. On Christmas Eve I expect churches to be full. And I expect many who will sing "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful" will be those who are simply wanting to be faithful, if only for an hour…or wanting to be more faithful because of what they are fearing. And that will be true not only of the Lutherans I represent.

 

The faith we seek to make available to people, the faithful community we will enter, are gifts from God. This faith and these people are marked by certain characteristics we need for the common good.

 

You may know that Lutherans are completing a year of grand celebrations surrounding the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. What I am hoping is that in the coming years we will move from that historic grounding we have commemorated toward greater cooperation with people of faith in ecumenical and inter-religious movements.

 

There is a great commitment among leaders of various communities of faith to engage progressive advances at the grassroots level, to promote tolerance, and to encourage people to flourish in a new and needed age of community. The amazing strides between Lutherans and Roman Catholics point to this.

 

There is a strong desire and willingness to work on welcoming all people in a spirit of generous hospitality. As a Lutheran I can say that many of my tribe are engaged in ministry with the LGBTQ communities. In our own Synod here in Metropolitan New York, we are working to address the systemic racism which is America’s original sin. We are strongly speaking out in opposition to the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia all around us. We are engaged with faithful people in our own country and around the world in addressing the abuses of power we see every day.

 

There are remarkable efforts at offering God’s welcome to immigrants and asylum-seekers and refugees, though we certainly look for more such opportunities in the face of governmental resistance. We will work actively to participate in inclusive welcome, as our Lord Jesus was himself a refugee.

 

There are local congregations in which people of faith are welcoming people of all races and nations, one of the great gifts of the amazing communities in which we live. We are striving to welcome the stranger without fear but with the same kind of faith that our ancestors experienced when they reached these shores and were welcomed by the first nations people.

 

There is a commitment to practicing a faith that is intimately connected with "peace on earth," the gift of wholeness that is truly the meaning of shalom.       

 

There is, in our churches and in many other religious communities, a welcome to the open table of God’s Reign where all can gather together.

 

And while we do not have all the answers, of course, we are faithful in responding to the terror all around, knowing that God is with us and guiding us into a new day of faith when war and hardship and suffering and oppression will be no more.

 

This is pious language. True words. What I am calling the synod I serve as bishop to do is to put these words into action for such a time as this. And I invite you to join me as faith discovers us together again and again.

 

 

Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo

Metropolitan New York Synod

 

 

 

The Lord of hosts is with us

Jun 14, 2016

pride_candleA pastoral letter to the Metropolitan New York Synod.

 

My Dear Sisters and Brothers:

 

Grace, mercy, and peace to all of you in the Name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

 

There is enough evidence for me to realize that not everyone reacted in the same way I did to the horrid violence and evil we saw in Orlando early last Sunday. I was simply, overwhelmingly stunned. My initial reaction was utter silence. I still lean in that direction.

 

When chaos surrounds us and terror is profound, I fall back into the words of Psalm 46: "Be still, then, and know that I am God." At first, on Sunday, I wondered about where God was in the tragedy which could have happened anywhere to anyone. In the listening stillness, we are reminded that "the Lord of hosts is with us." And the Lord of hosts was with those people slaughtered: people named Juan, Anthony, Brenda, Kimberly, Drew. And the Lord of hosts was with that city, Orlando, just as God was with Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and Aurora. And the Lord of hosts is with us.

 

Can we gather faithfully and enter into that stillness? Can we come together to pray "in the midst of the city" as the Psalm declares?

 

I want you to know…you, our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers, who are hurting from the deep pain…you our Latino/Latina sisters and brothers, who are suffering such loss…you, all of you, I want you to know that the Lord of hosts is with us.

 

I hope you have read the letter from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. I hope you have read the letter from Bishop Robert Schaefer of the Florida-Bahamas Synod. They speak from the depths to all of us. And I hope that this experience will prompt all of us not only to speak against gun violence but to come together and work to legislate, to at least attempt to prevent this from happening again.

 

And I hope you will join us on Friday, June 24, 2016, at 6 p.m. for a Prayer Service at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, in Manhattan. We need to be still, together, and know that God is God. We need to come together to be reminded that the Lord of hosts is with us, even when it seems otherwise. We need to commend one another and our world to this God who is mercy and peace and love.

 

The Lord of hosts is with us.

 

The Rev. Dr. Robert Alan Rimbo

Bishop

 

 

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