A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Hirschfeld and the House of Bishops

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

At our spring meeting of the House of Bishops, I joined with several of my fellow bishops in prayers of lament and distress at the increasingly reckless rhetoric, and the violence that it is provoking, in this present political season. A result of our prayers was a statement that the Bishops unanimously endorsed as a statement of the "Mind of the House."  This statement, entitled, "A Word to the Church" is below.

This statement should be considered as a Pastoral Letter from the Bishops, and as such, the clergy of the Church of New Hampshire are instructed to make this available to our congregations and people as soon as possible.  

The statement, in its content and brevity, would be appropriate to be read from the pulpit on either Palm Sunday or Good Friday as we lead our people in the contemplation of the collision of powers, worldly and divine, that culminates on the Cross, and leads ultimately to the Empty Tomb.

May God lead this nation into the ways of God's truth, justice, and peace.

Yours Faithfully in the Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ,


The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld 


Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

Episcopal Bishops Issue A Word to the Church

"We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some
by sacrificing the hopes of others."

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, meeting in retreat, unanimously approved the following Word To The Church:

A Word to the Church
Holy Week 2016

"We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others."

On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.

In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season's political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.

In this moment, we resemble God's children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.

We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.

The Episcopal Church House of Bishops met in retreat March 11 - 15 at Camp Allen Conference Center in Navasota, TX.

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Episcopal Bishops Issue A Word to the Church

The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire