Episcopal Advocacy Day is February 6 in Annapolis. Join us.

Episcopal Advocacy Day 2019

Please join us for the 6th Annual Episcopal Advocacy Day in Annapolis. All are welcome. Register here.

Episcopal Advocacy Day in Annapolis is quickly approaching. Join us in Annapolis on Wednesday February 6, 2019 to learn about our legislative priorities such as clean energy jobs, the environment, affordable health insurance, criminal justice reform and more! Meet your legislators and network with your peers. Breakfast and Lunch will be provided. Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland advocate for issues of care of creation and care of God’s people on the local level that follow the legislation, theology and policies of The Episcopal Church.

Registration starts at 8:30 AM with a Continental Breakfast meeting in the Miller Senate Building – President’s Conference Center, West I & II reception room.

The event is free to attend and remember to bring your photo ID to enter buildings.

Register here.

Prayers and action to help those affected by government shutdown

from The Episcopal Public Policy Network and Office of Government Relations

As the shutdown stretches on, impacting federal workers, their families and communities, and those that rely on some government services to meet their needs, many of you have shared messages of hardship and hope from around The Episcopal Church with us on social media and through church communications.

“This shutdown is hard for many in our congregation and community. Federal employees, government contractors, family members, and others are feeling the strain. Some of you have told me that, even though you’ve lived through government shutdowns in the past, this time feels particularly scary. Others have told me that you’re scrambling to figure out your finances, calculating the toll on your savings in the absence of a paycheck. This is a time to come together, to take care of one another, and to take care of our neighbors.” – The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin, St. Columba’s, Washington, DC

Episcopalians across the country are responding to the needs of those impacted by expanding their outreach, providing food assistance, and offering pastoral care to address the anxiety many are experiencing.

“We are opening our food pantry beyond our usual hours for all who are suffering as a result of lost salary, as well as those who will lose SNAP and WIC benefits when the funds dry up. And prayer – lots of prayer!” – Christ Church, Millwood, VA

“It isn’t impacting me directly, but I am volunteering at our food banks.” – @megan_ticer

“Today I am reaching out to my interfaith colleagues in the region to draft a letter to our public officials asking that they end the government shutdown immediately… In the meantime, people are suffering, and we cannot turn away. As Christians, we are called to respond with compassion, for God’s compassion knows no borders.” – The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington

In particular, we would like to draw your attention to this litany for those affected by the shutdown written by The Rev. Dahn Dean Gandell (Church of the Ascension, Rochester, NY) so that it might be a source of peace in these uncertain days.

What is your community doing to help those affected by the shutdown? What impacts are you feeling? We encourage you to share your story with your elected officials through this alert.

Disrupting the livelihood and well-being of Americans by shutting down the government over a border security debate is unacceptable.
We call on you to reach out to your members of Congress and urge them to end the shutdown now.

Additional Resources

Episcopalians across the country respond to federal shutdown’s impact (ENS)

From the Rector’s Desk, The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin (St. Columba’s, Washington, DC)

Bishop of Washington’s Response Regarding the Federal Government Shutdown, The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde

A Litany for Those Affected by the Government Shutdown

Interfaith Leaders Implore Trump, McConnell and Pelosi to End Shutdown

In Case You Missed It

Episcopal Church policy on immigration and refugees

Immigration Debate and the Government Shutdown

Defend Access to Asylum

New Opportunities

End of 115th Congress Updates

Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31: 8-9

Episcopal Church Office of Government RelationsVISIT US


A Message from Bishop Sutton from the Holy Land

January 8, 2019

This is not the way we’re meant to live. Walls won’t get us what we really want.

Everyone wants to live in secure communities, free from violence, and free from terror. We want to live in peace, enjoying good and healthy relationships with neighbors who want the same things as we do. This is how we were meant to be in community: living in harmony with each other, with God, and with all creation.

But walls of separation, based in fear and mistrust, do not get us there.

As I write this, I’m looking out over Jerusalem from my window, this divided city on the border between Israel and (a hoped for) future Palestine. I’m leading a pilgrimage from the Diocese of Maryland to the Holy Land, as I have been doing about every two years since becoming bishop. Bringing pilgrims to a foreign land is one of the best ways to get us to gaze into a mirror at ourselves, our own lives in our own land.  And when I take a long look into that mirror, what do I increasingly see?


The pilgrims and I were blessed to be in Bethlehem, the City of David, celebrating Christmas with our Palestinian Arab Christian brothers and sisters on January 6 (which is Christmas in the Eastern liturgical calendar, and the Feast of the Epiphany in our Western church year.)

We celebrated the birth of Christ there, and were thrilled to be able to prayerfully kneel and touch the stone manger in the grotto of the Church of the Nativity where 2,000 years of Christian tradition holds that the Son of God was born into the human family.

But the Prince of Peace was born into a city that is now walled off by ethnicity and religion, preventing its inhabitants from being able to travel freely to other parts of the nation. A wall that was erected in fear to keep some populations from others painfully divides the city of Jesus’ birth, who himself was born into a poor family who would quickly become refugees.

Whether or not intended to provide security for Israel’s Jewish inhabitants, or a way to justify and protect an illegal land grab by settlers, the effect is the same:  economic desperation, deprivation, anger, and daily humiliation for the Arab inhabitants of Bethlehem. This is not the way they should have to live.

Nor is it the way that the Jewish citizens Israel should live. The Wall dehumanizes both them and their Arab neighbors, causing both sides to become less than they were intended to be by God – and how they themselves want to be. Who among us wants to be an oppressor? And who among us wants to live as a perpetual victim?

And yet, as I gaze into that mirror to look at what is happening halfway around the globe, I see the same moral conflict in my own country that I see in the Holy Land. We as Americans imagine ourselves to be a generous, welcoming people for those who want to make a new life here, but we are also afraid that these newcomers will cause us harm. Whether from fear or racism – or both – we don’t want them here.

So, let’s build a wall.  Even if that wall causes hostility, suspicion, violence and hatred between peoples. Even if that wall sacrifices our core values, and causes us to act in ways contrary to a free, egalitarian and democratic society.

Every nation needs and deserves secure borders, but building massive, fortified, concrete or steel walls do not get us there. They foster more anger and violence, not security and peace.

And who cares that history shows that walls of separation, fear and mistrust do not work, and eventually are all dismantled or destroyed either violently or by popular demand? (Or they become tourist attractions for later generations.). If they make us feel safe, then isn’t that good enough? Well, not to God.

Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

This summary of all of Jesus’ teachings is based on love, which casts out all fear. But how can we love God and our neighbor if we turn away from God and try to prevent ourselves from knowing or even meeting our neighbors?

Let me be clear. Walls – either psychological or physical – that are intended to keep individuals or nations from encountering and engaging with the poor, the oppressed, the dispossessed, refugees, and other marginalized persons are inherently immoral, unjust and unworthy of people of faith. They make a mockery of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of God’s vision for a just, loving and harmonious world. The are deeply offensive to those on the other side of that racial, ethnic and economic divide, serving as a daily reminder that they are seen as threats and not fellow human beings.

If it’s not your thing to live according to what God wants, and you believe that the Bible is merely a collection of folk tales that do not have to be taken seriously, then please just take it from those who have to live and work on either side of walled hostile borders: you really don’t want to live that way.


From the Holy Land

January 2019

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and MEEP support Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is mentioned today in the Daily Record as being a supporter of the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act (MCEJA). Maryland Episcopal Environmental Partners (MEEP) take up issues of advocacy and action relating to creation care within the Diocese of Maryland. The Episcopal Church has long taken a stand on supporting stewardship of the earth, currently having named one of its core values to be creation care. (Please visit this page on The Episcopal Church website for news reports, resources and advocacy tips.) At the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church last summer in Austin, TX, legislation included resolutions on creation care, such as A018 Episcopalians Participating in Paris Climate Agreement; C008 Advocacy for Creation Care; C063 Advocate for Ocean Health; and A010 Planting of “Paris Groves.” In January 2018, the Presiding Bishop of  The Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, released a statement on the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, saying that The Episcopal Church stands prioritizes the care of creation and does not accept withdrawal from the accord. “We’re still in,” is the statement used by U.S. organizations, faith bodies and non-governmental organizations who want to address the climate crisis, according to Bishop Curry’s statement. Most recently, Bishop Curry sent a delegation to COP24 – the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland – in December.

“We know that caring for God’s creation by engaging climate change is not only good for the environment, but also good for the health and welfare of our people. The U.S. is currently creating more clean jobs faster than job creation in nearly every other sector of the economy, and unprecedented acceleration in the clean energy sector is also evident in many other major economies,” wrote Bishop Curry in 2017. “My prayer is that we in the Episcopal Church will, in this and all things, follow the way, the teachings and the Spirit of Jesus by cultivating a loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, all others in the human family, and with all of God’s good creation.”

Our bishop, Eugene Taylor Sutton, has also long embraced The Episcopal Church core value of creation care. According to the Daily Record, Political support for this clean energy legislation has been rising across Maryland right along with the warming temperatures.” Read the full story from today’s Daily Record on the status of MCEJA.

From the Archives: Johns Hopkins Hospital Chaplaincy

By Mary Klein, diocesan archivist

The Johns Hopkins Hospital was completed in 1889, and in the Rev. George Leakin’s report of 1890 (which outlined the work he had done in 1889 as the Chaplain to Institutions in Baltimore) he mentioned that he had made visits to the hospital. So right from the beginning, the Episcopal Church has maintained a ministry in connection with Johns Hopkins Hospital. George Leakin continued to make visits to the hospital until his retirement at age 80 in 1898.


In 1948, Bp. Noble Powell noted that the chairmanship of the Commission on Ministry to Institutions, which had been held for more than 15 years by the Rev. Philip Jensen, was vacant, putting that office back to 1933, at least, indicating the diocese’s continuing commitment to hospital chaplaincies. In 1951, the Commission reported that “Only at Crownsville and at the Johns Hopkins Hospital are our White and Negro clergy serving the same institution”; and from 1975-1980, The Rev. Charles Fox, an energetic and well-known African-American priest, was listed as the chaplain to Johns Hopkins Hospital. During the 1960’s through the 1990’s, among those listed as chaplains to Johns Hopkins Hospital included Phoebe Coe, Tomlin Crowder, Rebecca Dinan, Michael Schirmacher, Grady Barbour, Milburn Bohannan, Andrew Barasda, Rovan Wernsdorfer and Herman diBrandi.


This important international hospital is still served by an Episcopal chaplain, and is supported, in part, by the Bishops’ Annual Ministries Appeal.