A Statement from the KY Conference Cabinet and Bishop Leonard Fairley for Inauguration Day
In the days following the incident at our Nation’s Capitol, Bishop Leonard Fairley issued a statement reminding us of the narrative to which we are called as passionate spiritual disciples of Jesus Christ. The narrative comes to us from the waters of baptism and the common meal we share together at the Lord’s table.
In his statement, Bishop Fairley reminded us of the invitation we hear each time we come to the table, “Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sins and seek to live in peace with another.”
If you are familiar with these words, then you will know this invitation is followed by a call for us to confess our sins before God and one another. It is our tradition to use the following prayer:
we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
we have broken your law,
we have rebelled against your love,
we have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayer of confession and the pardon we receive is followed by an invitation for us to offer one another signs of reconciliation and love. We sometimes call this the “Passing of the Peace”. It is in this holy moment we offer signs of reconciliation and love to people of all ages, nations, and races. It is in this holy moment we humbly admit our failures, receive forgiveness, and are reminded we are sisters and brothers in Christ.
As sisters and brothers in Christ, in response to the current political discord and the threat of violence on Inauguration Day, we call the clergy and laity of the United Methodist Church in Kentucky to a Day of Prayer on Wednesday, January 20th.
As passionate spiritual disciples of Jesus Christ, let us confess our sin before God and one another, offer signs of reconciliation and love, and lift up prayers for our nation in the Spirit of our Lord who reminded us, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 (CEB)
Let us pray…
God of all the ages,
In your sight nations rise and fall, and pass through times of peril.
Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save.
May leaders be led by your wisdom;
May they search your will and see it clearly.
If we have turned from your way, reverse our ways and help us to repent.
Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us;
Through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.
-The United Methodist Book of Worship pg. 517
As we move forward from this Inauguration Day, let us remember the wisdom of John Wesley found in his October 6, 1774 journal entry:
“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
(1) to vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy;
(2) to speak no evil of the person they voted against; and
(3) to take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”
In the Spirit of the One who calls us to love and unity,
Iosmar Alvarez, Lexington District Superintendent
Kevin Burney, Asst. to the Bishop; Director, Ministerial Services
Mark Dickinson, South Central District Superintendent
John Hatton, Heartland District Superintendent
Susan Jinnett-Sack, Northern KY District Superintendent
Brad Smart, Kentucky East District Superintendent
Jay Smith, Owensboro District Superintendent
Karen Stigall, South East KY District Superintendent; Red Bird
Missionary Conference Superintendent
Scott Stith, Pennyrile District Superintendent
Bishop Leonard Fairley, Resident Bishop
Louisville Area Episcopal Office, United Methodist Church