|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on July 14, 2021 at 2:55 PM|
Last week, a college buddy of mine succumbed to COVID-19. Hailing from South Africa, Cynthia was the sort of person who befriended just about everyone she met. My sophomore year, we both lived on the second floor of the same dormitory and I still remember the sound of her boisterous laugh from all the way down the hall. While in some ways, “normal” life has resumed here in the United States, Cynthia’s death is a stark reminder for me that many parts of the world do not yet have widespread access to lifesaving vaccines. I ask your prayers for her family, in particular for her young son N.
In addition to Cynthia’s family in South Africa, I also am holding in prayer friends of mine in Haiti and Cuba. Over the years, I have had the privilege of traveling abroad to help build relationships with fellow Episcopalians living in other countries. So it grieves my heart that some of the friends I have made are experiencing painful turmoil and upheaval.
I am praying for the people of Haiti as they navigate the fallout of the recent assassination of their President. On Sunday, July 4, I mentioned in my sermon that there are over 84,000 active Episcopalians in Haiti (around 35,000 more than in the Diocese of North Carolina), making it the single largest diocese in the Episcopal Church. As a new priest, I visited Haiti and remember with great fondness the determination and faith of the people I met, despite the many challenges facing them.
I am also praying for the people of Cuba. I have traveled to Cuba five times, and on each visit I’ve had the privilege of spending time with the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Cuba, The Right Reverend Griselda Delgado del Carpio. Bishop Griselda is the groundbreaking and visionary leader of a small but devout group of parishes who have weathered many storms over the years. Her Diocese is made up of warm, funny, resourceful Christians who are hungry for connection and friendship with American Episcopalians after many decades of isolation. It grieves me that my Cuban friends are struggling so much right now, as shortages of food, vaccines, and other necessities are causing the people to raise their voices in protest.
With limited international travel throughout the pandemic, and plenty of issues to navigate here in the States, it becomes all too easy to ignore the plight of those beyond our national borders. But as Hymn 529 reminds us, “In Christ there is no east or west, in him, no south or north, but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.” We are inextricably bound to one another by virtue of our membership in the Body of Christ and the human family. We cannot ignore the suffering of our siblings around the world. May God’s gracious love uphold them in these difficult days.
Yours in Christ,