November 2, 2015,

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

When my oldest daughter, Madeleine, was six years old, I tried to teach her a story about safety. She had been careless about riding her bike, so that night I told her a story about a little girl who rode her bike but wasn’t watching where she was going. As a result she hit a tree at relatively high speed. Her papa had to take her to the hospital. On the way the blood (I really emphasized this part) was gushing out of her. The father in holding the little girl, cried out to the ambulance staff, “I tried to get her to ride her bike safely, but she wouldn’t listen!” Upon completion of the story, Madeleine said, “Papa, tell me the hurting story again!”

Behind the humor of Madeleine’s response is the story of a child instructing a parent. Risks need to be taken even knowing we can be hurt. When we constantly cling to the values of safety and security, fear has captured our hearts. Before long our safe environment becomes a cage. It is by taking risks that we learn. When we cast fear aside, love emerges.

Yesterday, Michael Curry became the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. It was a joyful service at Washington’s National Cathedral. His sermon was dedicated to helping us to love God and ALL of our neighbors. Bishop Curry said, “Jesus didn’t turn the world upside down. He turned the world right side up!” Behind this message was the simple truth that love drives out fear. While fear divides us, love unites. Can we in the name of love share Jesus’ Good News? Can we move past our comfort zones of safety and security and risk being reconciled to one another? Through God’s grace we can! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,