An Honored Guest at St. Paul’s Memorial
WBy Emily Cherry
When St. Paul’s Memorial, Charlottesville celebrated their centennial earlier this year, they did so with a very special guest. After preaching and presiding at the investiture of the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, XIII bishop of Virginia, on January 29, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, traveled to Charlottesville for a three-day visit with the parish.
Spending time with youth and young adults was an important part of Bishop Jefferts Schori’s trip. The presiding bishop spent a half- hour in conversation with students from the University of Virginia’s Canterbury Fellowship, and joined youth from St. Paul’s Memorial and other churches in an evening of fellowship and discussion.
Saturday evening featured a celebratory banquet, with over 200 making their way through a major snow storm for a place at the table. Guests enjoyed a documentary about the history of St. Paul’s Memorial, and Bishop Jefferts Schori addressed the crowd about living out mission as witnesses of God’s reconciling love, focusing on interconnectivity with the community and the greater Episcopal Church.
Sunday morning was a chance for all to join in Eucharist with the presiding bishop, who preached on the power of prophets. “Prophetic work is part of our baptismal vocation,” said Bishop Jefferts Schori. “The ability to tell those hard truths has something to do with courage, and a deep connectedness to God and all of God’s creation.”
The Rev. Jim Richardson, rector of St. Paul’s Memorial, wrote in his blog, “In the three days we enjoyed with her, I was much struck by how she absorbed the best that is St. Paul’s, and the greatness of this congregation when we are fulfilling our mandate to build God’s kingdom on earth. She synthesized who we are and who we can be.” t