In our increasingly complex world, Jesus’s words in Matthew 25 hold deepened meaning as we contemplate what it truly means to feed the hungry, refresh the thirsty, and shelter those fleeing oppression in all its forms.
In this regard, recent weeks have seen the diocesan community engaged in heightened advocacy for individuals and families in need through the work of IRIS (Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Services), the Program Group on Global Partnership, and the Sanctuary Task Force, together with the ministries of Seeds of Hope and similar service programs such as St. Michael’s Outreach Center in Riverside. Reports of some of these excellent efforts appear throughout this edition of The Episcopal News.
Reflecting on the stories in this issue of the magazine, I am reminded of the tradition of humanitarian service that has distinguished the Episcopal Church in Southern California since its inception. Bishop Kip’s years saw the beginnings of Good Samaritan Hospital. Bishop Johnson launched programs caring for the elderly, indigent and families through the Neighborhood Settlement and its affiliates, which continue today as the Neighborhood Youth Association. Bishop Stevens assisted in welcoming and protecting early immigrants through the dark days of World War II and internment of Japanese Americans.
Similarly, Bishop Bloy responded to the region’s unprecedented population growth and civil rights issues, including emergency care following the 1965 Watts Revolt. Bishop Rusack joined in welcoming waves of Southeast Asian refugees, overseeing the creation of Orange County’s St. Anselm’s Center. Bishop Borsch acted boldly and faithfully in response to the various immigration concerns, economic disparities, civil unrest and uprisings that occurred his tenure. And my own 17 years, first as bishop coadjutor and then as diocesan, have seen the added layers of global terrorism, of many hard-won strides made for marriage equality and greater inclusion of LGBT sisters and brothers, and our ongoing efforts to be Jesus’s own “hands in healing,” the theme I chose for my episcopate.
At this time in the life of this diocese, Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce and I rejoice in the arrival of Bishop Coadjutor-elect John Harvey Taylor, to begin — with his wonderful spouse, Kathy Hannigan O’Connor — his episcopate, in which he will in the months ahead succeed me as seventh bishop diocesan. Bishop-elect Taylor has chosen for his episcopate the theme “Feeding Hungry Hearts,” and we look forward to seeing the ways in which the diocesan community will galvanize around this new focus.
Please join us in prayer and support of our new bishop coadjutor in all his ministry as he seeks to respond to God’s mission of serving those who hunger, thirst and seek shelter in the love of Jesus Christ.