You held it together as others fell apart:

Climate Change / Sermons and audio

AI image of a person in a home made medical mask standing by a bedsideOur preacher this year at the Rhode Island Episcopal Diocesan Chrism Mass was the Rev. Elizabeth Nestor, MD, MDiv, FACEP – an Episcopal priest of this diocese and an Emergency Room doctor who served courageously through the recent Pandemic.

Her sermon was a moving reminder of how God uses the broken bits of the World to do things no one would have expected.

In a particularly moving passage of the sermon she talked about what she witnessed of the Church and compared that to what she experienced in the medical field at the same time:

But I think that as medicine has increasingly fallen apart 

the church has kept on doing what it needs to do,

through that first Zoom Easter, touchless services

always blessings, outdoor communions, walk-around-the-churchyard counseling, Zoom Convention, 

and lonely lonely funerals – –

I think clergy kept up the healing

when the doctors, didn’t, really. And I thank you. It was important.

You kept on showing up:

you were gowned at bedsides with the armor of righteousness and home-made masks zooming into homes, providing connection in uncertain and dangerous times providing care in those constrained moments

drawing meaning out of fear and death and anger,

helping us all look towards wholeness: so necessary,

and so life-saving.

You have a right to be exhausted,

with all this holding-things-together that you did, and continue to do, and I think, while doctors and people may be fed up with what ‘health care’ has become under a for-profit model,

people see now that the church keeps going.

The church didn’t freeze in place – it didn’t atrophy or go away –

you adapted and found a way to keep preaching

Jesus’ unlikely message of hope and faithfulness:

to sit in the midst of the tax collectors and the sinners that we all are

and to say: yes there will be separation there will be death

but there will be resurrection from the dead, as well.

I think it is the Church’s moment, really.

And when fear of the other, when violence and anger and grievance

fill our airways and fill hearts

the church is here: we meet here to preach community and continuity and healing and mercy and resilience, and, resurrection.

I’m working on reformatting the whole sermon for publication, but the part about us all showing up in our new pandemic vestments, hospital gowns and home made masks at the bedsides of the sick and dying brought me to tears and will be in my prayers this Triduum in particular.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Bill Hurry says

    Amen. Thank you in Jesus’ name!

  2. Rev. Dn. Anne B Burke (ret) says

    I was both active in pastoral care, and a recipient of pastoral care during this period. Those I could not visit, I telephoned. When things went sour, I received Last Rites. God was in charge. Ministry was what we do, and what we needed. Nursing homes and hospitals were hit hard and I was a visitor until the risk was too high, and a patient in both. Isolation was felt in both roles, but God was still in charge..

  3. Thank you! You validate what we have been going through the last couple of years. Thank you for your posts which have been very helpful and encouraging!

  4. jane frey says

    Praise GOD! He is always in charge.

  5. Chaplain Robin Bugbee says

    Bishop, I need the words you have continued to preach. I have followed you quietly and understood your calling to our hearts. I have not been outwardly vocal about my calling…but it is always the basis of my understanding of my faith and I am so very grateful for your leadership. My heart is with you and always will be.
    Robin Bugbee
    Los Angeles
    A steadfast member of your congregation (Saint Martin’s Providence) now resident in Los Angeles, California.

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