Posts by Bishop Neil Lebhar

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July Communique Letter from the Bishop

Dear brothers and sisters in the Diocese, One of the first choruses I learned when I was a new Christian had these words: "God is our refuge, our refuge and our strength, in trouble a very present help. Therefore, will we not fear" The words come from Psalm 46, which goes on to speak of God's faithfulness in the midst of earthquake and flood. I share these words because...

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A Helpful Overview of Churches During Pandemics

Dear brothers and sisters, I wanted to commend the following article on the history of churches facing past epidemics. It is by Robert "Budd" Kneip, senior warden of our cathedral, a dedicated disciple of the Lord Jesus whom I know well and deeply respect. He was both a major corporate and government leader prior to his retirement. Budd did extensive research for this ar...

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Sunday Live-Streaming Services

In light of the recent pandemic, you might feel it is better to worship from home, or your local congregation may not be meeting temporarily. If so, we invite you to tune into one of the following churches. These parishes will be live-streaming worship services this Sunday. Please click on the links below to visit their websites for more information. If your congregation...

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The Perfect Storm

Dear Clergy, Many of you are familiar with the book and movieThe Perfect Storm. It told the tragic story of one fishing boat lost at sea in 1991. It encountered a storm created by three converging factors: a ridge, a cold front, and the remains of Hurricane Grace. At the moment, it feels like we in this culture are facing a similar storm, a combination of a pandemic with...

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A Letter Concerning the Death of George Floyd and So Many Others

Dear brothers and sisters in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, What a heartbreaking season we are in. We are surrounded by death as we have passed the 100,000 mark in the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of that tragedy we as a nation are now struggling with the horrific death of George Floyd. Therefore I commend the thoughtful letter linked below written by some of my brother b...

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May Communique Letter from the Bishop

Dear brothers and sisters, Have you ever been promised that someone would give you a present and then you had to wait for it? At his ascension, Jesus promised his disciples that ". . . not many days from now . . . you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the ea...

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To All Diocesan Clergy Regarding Holy Communion

Dear brothers and sisters,Greetings in our ascended Lord Jesus. One thing I have said continually is that we are in a season of adaptive change. Therefore, I ask that you extend grace to me because the following is a result of my adapting to input and concerns I am hearing from many of you. I am writing this to give each congregation permission to decide when it is best ...

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Timing and Leadership in a Difficult Season

[Nehemiah] said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision." (Nehemiah 2:17) Dear clergy, Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday and today and forever(Hebrews 13:8). In this season of constant change, with ever changing...

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Key Questions, Keeping Connected, Zoom Call 4/30 at 11AM EST

To All Clergy Dear brothers and sisters, Let me begin with how I am being encouraged and challenged. I was reading the Jubilate this morning in Morning Prayer and these words came alive: Be assured that the Lord, he is God;it is he that has made us, and not we ourselves;we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.(BCP 2019 version) In the midst of a pandemic that i...

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April Communique Letter from the Bishop

Dear diocesan family, We are in unprecedented and difficult times. But as I reflect on our situation in this midst of this pandemic, I find comfort in the fact that God is our refuge and strength, our help in times of trouble, and therefore we need not, indeed should not, fear (Psalm 46). As I shared with clergy earlier this week, there is a weighing of what seem like c...

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Steps for Reopening and Invitation to Zoom Call

To the Clergy and Wardens - Steps for Reopening Dear brothers and sisters, Greetings in the Risen Jesus who is Lord over all! We have faced the challenge together of ending public church services for this season. I want to commend you all for the prayerful and creative ways you have continued to share the gospel and pastor your flocks. In many ways, moving churches onl...

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Drive-by Communion No Longer in Effect, Next Steps

Dear Clergy and Wardens, Greetings in our Risen Lord this Easter season! I have been asked whether there can continue to be "drive-by" communion services. The quick answer is that the bishops only envisioned and permitted this drive-by exception for Easter as a major Christian feast, not as an on-going practice. You or your eucharistic ministers may continue to t...

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A Special Call to Prayer and Fasting on Good Friday from Archbishop Beach

Dear brothers and sisters in the diocese, I received a special call to prayer and fasting on Good Friday from Archbishop Beach as we face the pandemic together It is a unique opportunity to join in prayer with hundreds of thousands of Christians from around North America, including faithful Presbyterians. Please join in heeding this call. Click here for the link. In t...

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Financial Help for Churches

Dear rectors and wardens, May the Lord Jesus uphold you in your leadership during this season of the pandemic. I know that in several churches the giving last month was down as a result of the crisis we face as a country.Therefore, I wanted you to know that churches qualify for loans from the Small Business Administration to help with payroll. The loans will be forgiven ...

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Time to Rejoice And A Time To Give

Dear brothers and sisters in the diocese, While we may not all be together this Easter, the Easter declaration will still ring out among us: Alleluia! Christ is risen!The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! There is no better news in human history than the Resurrection of Jesus, the ultimate validation by God the Father of his Son's saving work on the Cross. There is so ...

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Safe Eucharistic Distribution

Dear diocesan clergy, St. Paul wrote to Timothy, "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel" (2 Timothy 2:8). As we come to Holy Week and Easter Sunday, this is our goal: remembering what the Risen Lord Jesus accomplished for us and for our salvation. Please focus on Jesus in your hearts and minds and be determined to w...

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When Will We Worship Together Again?

To rectors and clergy,Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that this season of coronavirus exile is very hard. I am reminded of Psalm 137, the song of the exiles:"By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered ZionHow shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?" Many of you have asked when will we be able to worship together again as ...

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Bishop Letter from the March Communique - Coronavirus

Dear Diocesan Family, As we are living in this time of a truly global pandemic, let me begin with the transforming words Jesus shared with his disciples. They were about to face his crucifixion, the greatest tragedy and most redemptive act in human history, when all of human sin crushed our Savior (Isaiah 53). After predicting that the disciples would abandon him, Jesus c...

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Important Coronavirus Update - Sunday Gatherings

Dear Rectors and clergy in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, Greetings in Christ. Many of us are under local and state declarations of emergency, and all of us are now under a national state of emergency. As you know, the school systems in many of our areas have just announced closures, the trigger decision point that I shared with the diocese this morning. Therefore let me st...

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Now What? COVID19 Next Steps for Congregations

Dear brother and sister clergy, Many of you are aware of the quote from the Talmud, adapted in the film Schindler's List, "He who saves the life of one man saves the entire world." A longer version is "Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the w...

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Coronavirus Information for Diocese

Dear Gulf Atlantic Diocese, I do not need to tell you that we face a pandemic. No one yet knows everything this will mean for our country, churches included. I believe that as difficult as this may be, the Lord has purposes for us and our neighbors if we seek him. Let me share three things briefly: The Lord is in charge, and loves us as his own. We need not fear even ...

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The New Book of Common Prayer and Guidelines for Its Use

Ephesians 5:18-21 ...Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Dear Diocesan Family As many of you...

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