Calvary is a special place with great preaching, wonderful music, an active laity, and a friendly and mission-focused congregation …
“As a place of tolerance and acceptance of others; the friendliness, love and support of our congregation ensures we will continue to remain an open and affirming place for everyone.”Vision 2020 excerpt
I find myself thinking of God, community, and Scotland this morning. Being an Episcopal priest I am often thinking of God and the community of Christ that is such an important part of my faith tradition, so it is not unusual that those are my thoughts over my first cup of coffee today. But why would my thoughts include Scotland? Part of the reason is undoubtedly that our recent weather in the Shenandoah Valley is very reminiscent of the rainy, windy, and cold climate of Scotland! The stormy weather here in Front Royal is the perfect backdrop to my reflections of how Scotland has played important roles both in the establishment of my Episcopal denomination, and in my personal faith journey.
Scotland played an important part in the establishment of the Episcopal Church in America after the Revolutionary War. In 1783 Episcopal priests in Connecticut elected Samuel Seabury as the first bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA. Because there were no Anglican bishops in the newly independent states to consecrate Seabury, and because the English would not consecrate him because he refused to swear allegiance to the monarchy, Seabury sought out willing bishops in the Episcopal Church of Scotland. Thus, on November 14, 1784 in Aberdeen, Scotland, Samuel Seabury was consecrated as the first Anglican bishop in the United States of America.
Scotland also has played an important part in my personal spiritual growth. Several years ago I had the privilege of going on a pilgrimage to the Isle of Iona, a rocky island in the Hebrides chain off the coast of Scotland. It was on one of Iona’s stone-covered beaches around the year 563 that Saint Columba and a small band of Irishmen landed and began establishing the center from which he would spread Christianity throughout Scotland. The abbey Columba founded is still home to an amazing group of Christians known as The Iona Community who are dedicated to spreading social justice throughout the world. My brief time on Iona was filled with wonderful experiences of God and community that will live on in my soul always.
And so when I think of Scotland, I smile, and am happily reminded that God’s love and community travels across the seas and throughout the world, much like the sound of the bagpipes playing Amazing Grace echoes through the Scottish Highlands! When we find God on a rocky beach in Scotland, or along a trail on the Skyline Drive, or in a mosque, or synagogue, or temple, or one of the churches along Royal Avenue, we are very blessed!
– The Rev. Ann H. Truitt, Priest Associate
[This posting originally appeared as The Weekly Pulpit on the Religion page of The Warren Sentinel of June 2, 2016].
Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.