AHEAD OF ITS TIME
by Brita Chell
Member, Church of St. Stephen and St. Bede
Member, Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission
 
The Church of St. Stephen and St. Bede
99 Turner Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3J 2S9
204-837-9812    
[email protected]
www.churchofststephenstbede-wpg.org
We acknowledge that the Church of St. Stephen and St. Bede is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Dakota Nations, and the homeland of the Metis Nation, and that we gather on Treaty 1 land. We are grateful for their stewardship of this land and their hospitality, which allows us to live, work, and serve God the Creator here.
Prayer Resources for our Time of Transition
Discernment for the Search & Election of Bishop for Rupert’s Land

Jesus asks us to pray always (Luke 18).  With that in mind we offer some options for prayers, as a resource for the election of our Bishop for the Diocese of Rupert’s Land for use within public worship, within prayer and other small groups, and for individual use.

We offer four basic resources:
      • Prayer for the Election of a Bishop found on page 818 in the BCP
      • Petition for use within the Prayers of the People.
      • Litany for Discernment for the Election of a Bishop
      • Prayers  for the Search Committee and a reflection by Archbishop Oscar             Romaro

1) A Prayer for the Election of a Bishop   From the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (Page 818)
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2) Prayers for Discernment for the Election of a Bishop
Almighty God look graciously on your Church, and guide the hearts and minds of the Diocesan Search Committee, all those who will be nominated, and the hearts and minds of those who shall choose the next bishop of this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries.

3) Litany of Discernment for the Election of a Bishop   This Litany may be used on its own or as part of a public worship service, within committee groups or for individual use.   
The Officiant or Reader leads the petitions.
Almighty and everliving God, in all ages you have raised up faithful servants to pastor and guide your holy people and to make known your will among us: increase in us the gifts of discernment and understanding that we might know and do your will as we prepare to elect a bishop for your Church.
Send your Holy Spirit among us, O Lord.
Open our minds, our hearts, and our eyes that we may see you and choose as you would, a new bishop of faith and godliness.
Send your Holy Spirit among us, O Lord.
Open our ears and guide our tongues that, in all our conversations and deliberations, our listening and speaking might be filled with your grace and favor.
Send your Holy Spirit among us, O Lord.
Make known to us who best will share compassion and grace to care for our clergy, churches and ourselves.
Send your Holy Spirit among us, O Lord.
Reveal to us a bishop who is filled with the Holy Spirit and who will passionately support the mission and ministries of our Diocese.
Send your Holy Spirit among us, O Lord.
Gracious and loving God, you are our guide and Good Shepherd, in you we place our hope and trust: hear the prayers of your faithful people, lead us to one mind and one heart in you, and show us that bishop who will feed and tend your flock.
Send your Holy Spirit among us, O Lord.
 (adapted from Prayers of Discernment for the Search & Election of the XVI Bishop of New York)

4) Prayer for the Search Committee to Pray
God our Wisdom: may we listen for and hear your voice among the many voices; may we choose prudently, imagine boldly, and pray continually; may we be strengthened by our companionship with one another,
and by your presence along the way; and, trusting always in your goodness and mercy, seek in all things to give you honor and glory, for you are one God in Trinity of Persons and Unity of Being, to the ages of ages. Amen.
(adapted from prayers written by the Rev. Jennifer Phillips for the Diocese of Rhode Island)

Reflection Prayer on Mission and Transition
It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
The magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
Which is another way of saying that
The Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that should be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
Knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produced effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
And there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
A step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
But that is the difference
Between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
Ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own. Amen.
(Archbishop Oscar Romero)