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New Hampshire bishop calls Grace Church congregation to discipleship


Preaching on the Gospel of Luke’s parable of the dishonest steward, which he called a “tough gospel,” New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson challenged Sunday worshippers at Grace Episcopal Church in New Orleans not just to come to church to be admirers of Jesus but to take on the hard work of becoming disciples.

Robinson was the guest preacher at the 10 a.m. service September 23. Bishop Wayne Wright, who was rector at Grace Church prior to his call to serve as Bishop of the Diocese of Delaware, celebrated and Bishop Joe Morris Doss, who preceded Wright as rector at Grace, also participated. The Grace Church Jazz Mass Combo led the music, which concluded with “When the saints go marching in.”

Robinson spoke of a divine love “so broad and so deep…that even scoundrels are within God’s love.”

“God help us if we only come here to get an inoculation so we never have to get a full blown case of God’s love,” he said, adding that the gospel should “embolden us to do God’s will.”

“We’ll get it wrong sometimes,” he said, but “this cranky piece of gospel calls us to be not just admirers but disciples” and “to tell those out there about this God.”

Southeast Florida Bishop Leo Frade preached at the 12:15 p.m. Spanish service, and Puerto Rico Bishop David Andrés Álvarez presided. During Doss’ tenure at Grace, Frade was called as the congregation’s first full-time Spanish-speaking priest.

Current Grace Church rector, the Rev. Walter J. Baer, welcomed his predecessors, as well as a number of other visiting bishops and spouses, to the services and to a reception with plentiful New Orleans treats such as turtle soup. He spoke about Grace Church’s ongoing efforts to recover from the post-Katrina flooding that rose several feet into the building, and he invited guests to view “Waterline,” a photo installation by Bette J. Kauffman. She photographed buildings throughout New Orleans after the flooding had receded and placed the images next to one another all around the church’s chapel, aligning the visible marks of the flood’s waterline.


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