My Siblings in Christ,
The weekend of February 13th our diocese will celebrate the feast of Blessed Absalom Jones. The Rev. Absalom Jones was born into slavery and became the first black priest ordained in The Episcopal Church – ordained right here in our diocese. This bold and prophetic action testifies to the historic, revolutionary character of our diocese and had a profound impact on the entirety of The Episcopal Church.
Our celebration of Blessed Absalom will take place in two parts. The first will be an online service of worship and celebration
on Saturday, February 13, from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The Rev. Canon Jordan Casson and the Absalom Jones Planning Committee will offer an engaging presentation on the legacy of Absalom Jones in our diocese followed by uplifting worship from The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. Please register for the celebration here: http://absalomjonesvideo.com/
It is my sincere hope that everyone in our diocese will attend this online service. Not only is it an opportunity to gather for worship, it is also a chance to deepen our understanding of this pioneer of racial justice and reaffirm our commitment to confronting and dismantling the sin of systemic racism. In his Petition to the United States Congress in 1799, Jones wrote, “…the extending of justice and equity to all Classes would be a means of drawing down the blessing of Heaven upon this Land, for the Peace and Prosperity of which, and the real happiness of every member of the Community…”
The second part of our celebration of Blessed Absalom continues in our churches on Sunday the 14th as I have requested that his propers be substituted for the normal readings. In this way, even more of us may find inspiration in his legacy. Through our commemoration of this saint and the ensuing work of the Loving Presence initiative, we are taking vital steps towards becoming the Beloved Community that Jesus Christ calls us to be.
Please join me in commemorating this great and beloved son of our diocese.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G.P. Guitiérrez