BISHOP GRISWOLD: I think probably more has happened here in the course of these past few days than any one of us at this moment can actually fully appropriate and make sense of. And I think many of us are going to have to simply go home and let the pieces settle, because there've been so many directions in which we've been invited to open ourselves to, new experiences and new information and a new sense of brothers and sisters living in very different contexts from our own. Bishop Riah talked about reconciliation, and I remind you that Christian formation and life-long learning for all generations means internalizing the gospel, and at the heart of the gospel is the message of reconciliation. And in our catechism we're told the mission of the church is to restore all people to unity with God and one another in Christ.
Dean McKelvey, Nicholas, and Bishop Riah have spoken out of their experiences of trying to be ministers of reconciliation in very different places. I need to say to you that after 9-11, and I remember writing this on 9-11 itself, I said, "There is a moment when, quite apart from the righteous anger that we all feel, the horror and the shock of this, there's a moment for us to acknowledge the fact that by virtue of what has happened in New York and in Washington, we are now in solidarity with other parts of the world because we know, too, something of terrorism and senseless death, granted on a different scale, but, nonetheless, just as real. I thought if only we as a nation could claim that solidarity, admit our vulnerability and see with new eyes what brothers and sisters live with day-in and day-out as their normal reality. And I'm sorry that we've simply chosen retribution and an assertion of our own strength. I hope and pray that we, our brothers from Belfast and our dear brother from Jerusalem, I hope and pray the we, as your brothers and sisters in Christ, can join with you in authentic solidarity and be instruments of reconciliation that this world so desperately, desperately needs.
And so to all of you as you go forth, that ministry of reconciliation is at the heart of what we are trying to be ourselves, what we are trying to share with our children -- but we have to live that mystery if we are going to proclaim it. As I said the other day, Francis of Assisi said, "Preach all the time and, if necessary, use words." And so be a minister of reconciliation all the time and, if necessary, use words. Some of you said, "Thank you for being here for the whole conference." Well, let me say to each one of you thank you for being here, too. Thank you so much for the ministries you exercise, your ministries of formation. You're an incredible gift to this church and it has been a privilege to be here with you and have random conversations and hear where you're from and what you're doing, because I have to tell you that this role of mine can become awfully abstract and disconnected from the ongoing life of the church. And so to be with you, the practitioners of the very thing we're talking about, is an incredible gift to me and so I take away not only what I've learned, but I take away numerous experiences of you, the people of God who are committed to being ministers of formation for our children, committed to sharing your faith in such a way that it becomes, ah, the lifeblood of our young people. And I'm also grateful to our young people for their ministry, which is just as real, and, again, I've had some wonderful conversations with some of you that tell me that the church is going to be in very good hands, ah, when you -- one of you may be the presiding bishop someday. So, ah, watch out.
But, really, I can not thank you enough who planned this and it's just been, ah, I can't say a miracle, because it's something you've actually planned, but still there's a miraculous element to it and I'm very grateful, very grateful to all of you.
So I'm going to conclude with a prayer that I think orients us as we go home. It's a prayer that occurs on Good Friday at the end of the solemn intercessions and occurs, ah, at ordinations. "Oh, God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favorably on your whole church, that wonderful and sacred mystery. By the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility your plan of salvation. Let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up and things which had grown old are being made new and that all things are being brought to their perfection by Him through whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen."