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advent-2017

Christmas Letter to Bishops and People of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church

Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and God,

The world is not at peace. Nations continue to rise up against nations. There is the ever-present threat of nuclear war. Poverty continues with much of the world’s population living at a bare minimum, while there are others whose personal income is great than most countries Gross National Product. While some complain of having adequate healthcare, millions upon millions of people around the world, have no health care and in many countries life expectancy is 40 or less years old. Children suffer most at the hands of poverty, corruption, and war. And, rather than provide for our children so many advocate aborting our children as if they were the cause of poverty. AIDS, Opiate addiction, and sexual transmitted diseases are at an all-time high among the youth of the world. The sex trade industry continues to make billions of dollar through the exploitation of children.

Yet, in the midst of all this suffering, the Gospel reminds us that God has come to us and is with us. God continues to be present as His Church carries the Gospel to His creation. Through the lives that have been transformed by Christ Jesus, there are being built schools, medical centers, hospitals, and orphanages. Each of these ministries proclaims the heart of our compassionate and merciful God. The Church continues her mission of bringing Jesus in word, sacrament, and acts of mercy to a world that is in desperate need of a redeemer and savior.

The Gospel is spreading around the world. In the midst of the darkness, there is incredible light. Every second of every day somewhere in the world people are praying the Lord’s prayer. Every second of every day somewhere in the world there is a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Every second of every day somewhere in the world a person is being raised to life in Christ. The glory of the Lord is indeed covering the earth life the waters cover the sea. Because Christ is still with us.

Christmas is a phenomenal time of the year. It calls us together as Christians back to those things that are most important to us. Everywhere the message of hope, peace, faith, and love are spoken. People even talk of the Christmas miracle. It is important to stop every year and remember the true miracle of Christmas: the message that God is with us.

My prayer is that each of you are drawn like the shepherds and the men from the east to worship Jesus. That each of you will have a fresh encounter with the Jesus. That He will minister to you and those you love.

Have a Holy Christmas.

Under His mercy,

The Most Rev. Craig W. Bates

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