This is the table, not of the Church, but of the Lord. It is made ready for those who love the Lord and for those who want to love the Lord more. So, come, you who have much faith and you who have little, you who have been here often and you who have not been here long, you who have tried to follow and you who have failed. Come, because it is the Lord who invites you. It is the Lord’s will that those who want to follow should meet here.
I recently read this beautiful invitation to the communion table. The words of the invitation resonated with me as I was thinking about the next two years and my hope that through the ECW and other women’s ministries, we will discern together our place at the table. Along with the invitation, I have included a photo on the back of the calendar that I took when visiting Israel. In Magdala, there is an incredible church that looks out on the Sea of Galilee. In the Atrium, there are seven pillars representing different women in the Bible: Salome, the mother of James and John; Mary Magdalene; Mary and Martha; Susana and Joanna; Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, Mary, wife of Cleophas; and other women. The column on the back cover represents all women. When I was visiting, I noticed the door behind the column was ajar and felt we were being invited to enter and come to the table to love and serve the Lord.
Let us pray that together as a community we find new and exciting ways to serve.
2020-2021 Diocese of Alabama, ECW Board President
A Letter from our Bishop
We love our Book of Common Prayer in the Episcopal Church, even though most of us stay within the same ten or fifteen pages. Some of us prefer Rite I and others Rite II, and most of us are a little uncomfortable when we have to use the other one. And most of us Rite II folks use either Form A or Form B; Form D is too long and Form C is just too 'out there' with its mention of "the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home."
But after you get past the 'Star Wars' part, and the confusion of whether or not you should insert the names of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac's wives (and concubines?) you come to this remarkable petition on page 372: "Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal. Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name." We're not invited to come to God's table together, not just to be comforted but also to be equipped, not just to be forgiven but also to receive what we need to go out into God's world and offer the Good News of the Love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
So come to the table of our Lord. Come together to be strengthened and sent out to shine the Light of Christ into a world threatened by its own darkness, and keep shining the way of love.
The Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan
11th Bishop of Alabama
Almighty God, we pray that you will bless our work in mission and ministry in the world. Help us to pray fervently, labor diligently and give liberally to make known the power of your love given through your Son Jesus Christ. Let us not forget the lessons from the past nor fear the challenges of the future. Anoint us with your grace and shine in our hearts as we reflect your light throughout the world. Amen.
May God be within us to refresh us; around us to protect us; Before us to guide us; Above us to hold us up; who lives and reigns, one God, world without end. Amen.