Bishop Letters

This blog consists of regular letters from Interim Bishop Martyn Minns to the clergy and members of the diocese. Bishop Minns will be posting 2-3 times per month.

Ad Clerum on a Good Goodbye Website Admini… Thu, 04/28/2022 - 15:39
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The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Ad Clerum on Spiritual Renewal from Bishop Martyn Minns

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Spiritual renewal is still an urgent call for each one of us as an individual as well as for the communities that we serve. Jesus reminds us that the Gospel always comes with a promise: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

Ad Clerum on Easter from Bishop Martyn Minns

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The events of that first Easter morning stretch our imagination. There are humorous moments mixed with the recognition that something of enormous cosmic import has just occurred. The image of an angel perched on a stone that has just been rolled back from the tomb, and Mary mistaking the resurrected Jesus for the gardener—these are almost playful scenes in our minds, yet the world-shaking significance of the Resurrection should bring us to our knees in awe. It must be stressed that the historic Christian teaching has always been that we believe that Jesus experienced a bodily resurrection, not merely the resuscitation of a corpse or a spiritual transformation.
Ad Clerum on Palm Sunday from Bishop Martyn Minns ndblake Fri, 04/08/2022 - 11:26
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I have always enjoyed a parade, so Palm Sunday has always been a favorite festival of mine. When we planted the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Palm Sunday we arranged for a mini-parade of donkey rides for children from the parking lot to the front door. It was a big hit, although they were disappointed that I didn’t let the donkey carry them all the way inside!
Ad Clerum on The Bishop Is Coming from Bishop Martyn Minns Website Admini… Wed, 03/30/2022 - 20:05
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Having had the privilege of serving as your interim bishop for almost eighteen months, let me offer a few observations and warnings. Your new bishop will not be Superman, nor the Son of God, nor even the Apostle Paul. Instead he will be these five things.
Ad Clerum on Retirement from Bishop Martyn Minns (Part 2) Website Admini… Thu, 03/24/2022 - 15:08
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The first and perhaps most important question is, “What are we retiring to?” Not “What are we retiring from?” Bishop Dave Bena, a dear friend and mentor, has retired a number of times. He retired from military service (he served with distinction as a Marine and then in the US Air Force), and he retired as the suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, as my suffragan bishop in CANA, and most recently as the assistant bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word. He is something of an expert on retirement! But he spells it “retire-ment,” declaring that it is an opportunity to change tires and start a new journey.
Ad Clerum on Retirement from Bishop Martyn Minns (Part 1) Website Admini… Fri, 03/18/2022 - 11:22
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A few days ago, a friend told me, “You are failure at retirement!” I understood this as a rather backhanded compliment, but it did start me thinking about what success and failure at retirement look like.

Ad Clerum on Wars and Rumors of Wars from Bishop Martyn Minns

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At a time when the world was far from settled, the apostle Paul wrote, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)

Ad Clerum on Instructed Eucharist from Bishop Martyn Minns (Part 2)

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We were on a family vacation and visiting a church that was new to us. The liturgy was familiar, and we were blessed by the music and the preaching. At communion time, Angela, Rachel, and I headed for the altar rail to receive the elements, and on the way back I was aware of a middle-aged couple who were looking quite intently at us. They didn’t seem unfriendly, so I nodded and smiled, but they continued to stare.

Ad Clerum on Liturgy from Bishop Martyn Minns

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Liturgy serves many different purposes. At its most basic it provides an order for common worship. Even those churches that consider themselves “non-liturgical” have a regular pattern for when they gather for worship. Our Anglican liturgy is grounded in Scripture and many of its elements remind us of our Jewish roots. Its regular use also imparts a common language of faith that is designed to not only instruct and inspire but also establish communities that can bear witness to the non-believing world of the redemptive love of God. Liturgy is never meant to be a “straight-jacket” stifling of the creativity and imagination of the local community, but rather to provide a framework to allow us to draw closer to God and to one another.

Ad Clerum on Hospitality from Bishop Martyn Minns

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Hospitality is not only a Christian virtue – it is also a powerful antidote to the increasing scourge of loneliness. In recent years, the astonishing growth in the use of mobile phones and information technology has failed to improve social cohesion – instead, it has contributed to greater polarization and personal isolation.

Ad Clerum on Missions from Bishop Martyn Minns

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Epiphany is a wonderful season to reflect on new opportunities for mission. If they are not already a part of the life of your congregation, I encourage you to investigate short-term missions. There is an enormous variety of opportunities available for all ages, abilities, and budgets. Not only will you be doing your part to fulfill the great commission, but you will also discover that these mission trips transform the lives of those who go and bless those to whom they go.
Ad Clerum on Deaths of Despair from Bishop Martyn Minns Website Admini… Tue, 11/16/2021 - 15:56
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Deaths of Despair are an increasing problem in the United States and abroad. Too many choose to end their life when they feel the weight of the world closing in around them. So, how are we to deal with this phenomenon as the Church? How do we meet this despair with the love of God?

Ad Clerum on Preaching from Bishop Martyn Minns

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"Good preaching starts on our knees as we listen to the Spirit of God. This leads us, through our study, to a confident proclamation of the Word of God, with the sure expectation that God will speak through that proclamation to the hearts and minds of those present – beginning with the preacher! Preaching is a holy moment and deserves our very best effort and most fervent prayers."
Ad Clerum on Jewish Roots from Bishop Martyn Minns Website Admini… Wed, 09/29/2021 - 11:52
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I am convinced that as secularist creeds continue to challenge traditional Christian teaching, we need to reclaim “the faith that was once and for delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3), and a good beginning would be to recover our Jewish roots.

Ad Clerum on Evangelism from Bishop Martyn Minns

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Personal evangelism is not something that comes easily for me. While I know that it is a great privilege, an essential task for the church, and that there is great rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents, I am still something of a reluctant evangelist. I am, however, married to one of the world’s most effective evangelists! Angela is able to move from an opening greeting with a perfect stranger to an in-depth conversation about personal faith in no time, and many of these interactions conclude with prayer. Through her example and encouragement, I have begun to make some headway.

Ad Clerum on Good Grief from Bishop Martyn Minns

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Grief is the natural way that we deal with loss – the loss of loved ones, loss of a home or a job or a church. Grief affects every part of our being – our mind, body, and spirit. It must never be seen as a sign of faithlessness or immaturity. Grief affects us all differently and takes a different trajectory for each situation.

Ad Clerum on Patriotism from Bishop Martyn Minns

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"While I recognize that the US is far from perfect and has much in its history from which we must learn, I am proud to be an American – with a British accent! Patriotism has become a contentious topic in recent years. Extreme views are promulgated with divisive ferocity, and as a result some now suggest that patriotism itself should be renounced or at least kept well hidden. I disagree, and I am in good company with a man familiar to most of you – Clive Staples Lewis."

Ad Clerum on Church Culture and Marriage

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Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4)

It was my first experience officiating at a Nigerian wedding. The bride-to-be was the daughter of a Nigerian Anglican priest who was a part of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) and he had asked me to preside. I was delighted to do so, and we arrived at the church half an hour before the appointed time.

Ad Clerum on the Reality of Evil

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Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.(1 Peter 5:8)

Linda grew up in the Chicago suburbs and after high school attended Cornell University in the late 1960s, majoring in Far Eastern Studies. After graduation, she headed east, spending time in Egypt, where she had a relationship that resulted in an unexpected pregnancy. She continued her journey eastward and eventually found herself in what appeared to be an isolated hippie commune on the west coast of India.

Ad Clerum on Church Culture

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So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19–20)

Eddie Gibbs grew up just two miles from my home near Nottingham, England. We went to the same boys’ grammar school –although a couple of years apart – but we had never met.

Ad Clerum on Changing Culture

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Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Helen, our second daughter, graduated in 1988 from Sewanee: The University of the South. She then joined us as we moved to New York City where I had been called to serve as Rector of All Angels Church.

Ad Clerum on True Repentance

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Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

Larry was a jerk...he admitted it. When he first came to see me, he was quite proud of himself and his selfish playboy lifestyle. He was a yacht broker, drove a late model Corvette, flew his own plane, and had a couple of girlfriends on the side. I first heard of Larry through his ex-wife – she was a member of our church in Connecticut. Larry had divorced her and as a result, she and their two children were living in the basement of her parents’ home.

Ad Clerum on Anti-Social Media

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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:29–30)

They were having one of those painful marital arguments that erupt from time to time. She was determined that this time he would understand just how serious it was for her, so she sent him an email outlining all of his offenses in excruciating detail.

Ad Clerum on If Only

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

A contemporary writer, Kristin Higgins, wrote, “If only … the saddest words in the English language.” And while there may be a competition for the very saddest words, these are two of the most debilitating words that I have heard … and at times used! IF ONLY you had done this, IF ONLY we had not done this, IF ONLY you had behaved differently, IF ONLY you had listened, IF ONLY!

Ad Clerum on Virtual Worship

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Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(Hebrews 10:25)

Virtual worship –blessing or curse? During COVID it became a gift for those unable to gather for worship and enabled people to stay connected during this terrible season of isolation. I even heard of churches that had virtual coffee hours! At the appointed hour everyone made their own coffee and then chatted together over Zoom...but it’s not quite the same as the real thing! Or is it?

Ad Clerum on Heaven

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And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God..” (Revelation 21:2–3)

What do you think about heaven?

Ad Clerum on Sanctification

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But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

Some years ago, Angela and I took a mission trip to Recife, Brazil. At the beginning of the mission we met with the host team to make introductions and to pray for one another. By way of conversation, I asked the team members if they knew they could have one wish granted, any wish at all, what would it be?

Ad Clerum on Testimony

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And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11)

There is something disarmingly powerful about a personal testimony. Trial lawyers know that having one or more eyewitnesses can easily make or break a court case and yet when it comes to matters of faith, we often find ourselves hesitant when it comes to “sharing our testimony.” It really isn’t that complex or difficult...it is simply saying publicly what we know to be true or have personally experienced...and yet we still find ourselves hesitant.

Ad Clerum on Revival

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He asked me, "Son of man,can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, `Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.’”(Ezekiel 37:3-5)

Joe Church was a medical missionary to Rwanda from the late 1920s through the 1960s and one of the most prominent leaders in the East African Revival that swept through Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya,and Tanzania.

Ad Clerum on The View from a Wheelchair

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Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

Thanks to my fractured fibula and the cast that I now wear on my right leg, for the past four weeks, my primary mode of transportation has been a wheelchair. It has given me a very different view of life. At the most basic level, instead of looking down on most people from my normal 6-foot, 2-inch height, I am now confronting most people at around waist height – not a very inspiring perspective!

Ad Clerum on Being Filled With The Spirit

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Letter to the Clergy from Bishop Minns

“And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”(Luke 24:49)

I was privileged to grow up in a small community Baptist church where I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior at a very early age and where I developed love and respect for the Bible as the Word of God. I enjoyed Bible memory games, since they not only gave content for my faith but also provided an outlet for my (somewhat) competitive nature!

Ad Clerum on Mothers

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Letter to the Clergy from Bishop Minns

“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”(Luke 22:27)

It may surprise you to know that I don’t like the British historical television series Downton Abbey, and to the chagrin of my family I won’t even watch it with them. It’s not that I don’t admire the gifted writing of Julian Fellowes, or the beautiful sets and the costumes that adorn the talented actors.

Ad Clerum on Forgiveness

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Letter to the Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.(1 John 1:8,9)

Ad Clerum on Transformation

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Letter to the Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Walking through Penn Station in mid-town Manhattan is not an experience for the faint-hearted. It is ugly, over-crowded, and confusing, and it is a far cry from the grand train station of an earlier era that it has replaced.

Ad Clerum on Change

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Letter to the Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Ad Clerum on Holy Week

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Letter to the Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.Matthew 27:31,32

One of the most celebrated journeys in all history is the Via Dolorosa (The Way of Suffering or Sorrows). It is a processional route in the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion.

Ad Clerum on Stewardship

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Letter to Clergy from Interim Bishop

Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”(Luke 6:38)

I can still remember the time when a man from the “Every Member Canvass” team of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Darien, came to our door and said that he had come to talk about stewardship and our financial giving to the church.

Ad Clerum on "The Other"

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‘If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.’(1 John 4:20)

When we first moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1988, where I was to serve as Rector of All Angels Church, I was excited by the energy and diversity of the people of that part of the city but also somewhat intimidated by the large number of homeless people who were ever present on the streets and subways.

Ad Clerum on Clergy Life

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Letter to Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop*, he desireth a good work.A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:1-5,King James Versi

Ad Clerum on Race

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Letter to Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Growing up in the industrial Midlands of England, I was unaware of discrimination due to race. I was, however, quite conscious of ever-present discrimination due to regional, educational, and class differences that marked much of British society. But racial prejudice was simply not something that I encountered.

Ad Clerum on Lent

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Letter to Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful, were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church.

Ad Clerum on Vocation

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Letter to Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Ad Clerum on the Sanctity of Life

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Letter to Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

"Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

As we watch and pray over the disturbing events in our Nation’s Capital, and the struggles between powerful elites and special interest groups, we can be distracted from the day to day reality of most Americans as they face into the growing pandemic and its many challenges - especially those who are powerless and who live with special needs. It is a world with which we became much more familiar on August 6, 1982.

Ad Clerum on the Imitation of Christ

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Letter to Clergy from Interim Bishop Minns

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a great privilege to be able to serve with you during this interim season and Angela, Rachel and I are very much looking forward to being with you physically once restrictions on travel and meetings abate. I did, however, enjoy meeting many of you through the clergy Zoom calls before Christmas and I plan to hold another series of calls in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I want to use these letters to introduce myself a little more.