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January 2017 Sanctity of Life

December 21, 2016

Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “a culture of life”? That phrase, made most famous by Pope John Paul II, implies creating a world where we cherish the lives of the most vulnerable among us and then help them to thrive. At Resurrection, we believe that a culture of life starts with defending unborn children and their mothers and fathers. But it cannot stop there. To be pro-life—to create a culture of life as opposed to a culture of death—also compels us to put our convictions into action.

During this Advent season, we have highlighted one way we create a culture of life—by supporting the fathers and mothers of our church’s Replanted ministry. They have heroically responded to God’s call to adopt or to serve as adoptive or foster parents.It’s not too late to show our your love and appreciation by choosing a gift of love for these parents: you can do so here.

Following our Advent season, we will be focusing on the unborn. January 15 will be our Sanctity of Life Sunday, and Pastor Matt Woodley will be preaching on “The High Call of Radical Hospitality,” which I believe is a key component of creating a culture of life. I would also encourage you to mark your calendars now for some very special events this January:

March for Life in Chicago

Sunday, January 15, 12:30-4:00 PM | Reserve a bus seat

People from all walks of life and all across the Midwest will march together in downtown Chicago. Join with thousands of others as we march to defend and protect human life. A chartered bus will depart from the church at 12:30pm. For more information and to reserve a seat, visit the event page.

Infant Loss Memorial Service

Sunday, January 29 | 5:00 PM, Main Sanctuary

If you or someone you love has lost an infant—perhaps through a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or an abortion—come or invite your friend to this service. We want to acknowledge the depth of these losses by providing a safe place to grieve and find renewed hope. This service will be open to the public.

I pray that all of us will respond to Jesus’ call to love the helpless in this new year. May Christ, who first came to us as an infant, fill you with his joy and peace.

With love, 

 

Bishop Stewart Ruch III

You can still support our foster and adoptive families by purchasing gifts or volunteering to babysit as part of our Advent Gift! Click here.

Sanctity of Life Resources

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Stewart Ruch III

November 18, 2016

Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?  The Book of Common Prayer, Baptismal Service

Beloved Resurrection and Upper Midwest Diocese,

Praise the Lord who is our coming king!

I am full of joy and gratitude as I write to you. I am picturing so many of your faces and am reflecting on so many Kingdom of God moments that we have shared together over this liturgical year. I am thinking of the beautiful worship services in all the deaneries, confirmations, ordinations, Holy Week at the Cathedral, and the stunning experience of the God of love at Revive 2016.

As some of you may have heard, I have just returned from a week of reciprocal   mission in Jos, Nigeria. I had the honor of co-dedicating with His Grace Benjamin Kwashi two facilities—Resurrection Clinic, a training center and holistic health care center outside of Jos, and Resurrection Hall, a large classroom to teach the former orphans and community children at Zambiri School. Both buildings were named to honor the generosity of the people of God at Church of the Resurrection.

I also had the profound honor of visiting four villages outside the city of Jos that have been literally burned and destroyed by Islamist cattle herdsmen. Pastor Matt Woodley and I had joined a team of British Anglicans led by the Baroness Caroline Cox. Apparently, these same herdsmen were provoked by our visit and sought to ambush our mission party.  You can read the article here.

Many of you have reached out to assure Katherine and me of your prayers. That means so much. I honestly was not aware of the level of danger that surrounded us.

Instead I was shaken to my core by the stories of surviving villagers. I was especially moved by a conversation with Pastor Paul whose own home was destroyed. He also witnessed the execution death of a fellow pastor. I was shocked on hearing this. This was not a documentary that I was watching in my living room in West Chicago. This was a living testimony of the persecuted church in Northern Nigeria. And this is our family—yours and mine.

Pastor Paul standing in front of his demolished house.

Archbishop Kwashi has regularly taught us in the West that a faith worth living for is a faith worth dying for. He and Mama Gloria have deeply suffered persecution as well.

Against this backdrop, I would also like to comment on matters closer to home—our recent presidential election. Before I departed for Nigeria, I considered writing to you about the election’s results. I refrained because emotions among all of us were intensified and, honestly, I was not sure what to say. Never before have I seen an American moment where Kingdom-committed Christians are either so encouraged or so devastated.

Our experience in Nigeria and conversations with Christian leaders in the Diocese of Jos helped to put some things in perspective. First, as Archbishop Kwashi so eloquently reminded us, Christ is our one king and we are subjects of our first country, which is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Two, we as brothers and sisters in this diocese must pass the test before us of “doing everything in love.” We must eschew a spirit of individualism and competiveness that sees a certain political party or political leader as an affinity greater than fellow Christians. Furthermore, we must respect the dignity of every human being, which certainly includes women, Latinos, and other racial minorities who are feeling especially vulnerable in these days. And, I hasten to add, we must lay down our lives for the dignity of the unborn that are the most vulnerable segment of our American society.  This will take a filling of the Holy Spirit to do so. 

Let us run to our Advent disciplines of prayer and Bible reading. Please practice hospitality in this season to those who think and live differently than you. Please be intentional about having unbelievers and those of different ethnic or racial background than your family heritage in your home. Prepare for the coming of Jesus by building relationships with all those he came to save. I encourage you to read the Call to Prayer After the Election written by our Archbishop Foley Beach.

Brothers and sisters, let us pass this current test by doing everything in love.

With all my love,

+Stewart

Bishop Stewart and Archbishop Ben Kwashi dedicating the Resurrection clinic in Jos