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Prayer Octave resources posted online, all Episcopalians invited to join observance
Presiding officers launch observance June 4 as church approaches General Convention

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
6/2/2006
[Episcopal News Service]  Resources for the Octave of Prayer for the 75th General Convention are now available for use. The eight days of prayer opened on Pentecost Sunday, June 4, and conclude Trinity Sunday, June 11.

Suggested scripture readings, prayers and meditations can be found at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/53785_74428_ENG_HTM.htm

All Episcopalians are invited to participate in the prayers and reflections. Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and House of Deputies President George L. W. Werner launched the observance during June 4 parish services. That Sunday, Griswold preached at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York City, while Werner preached at St. James' Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

"Supported by the prayer of the whole church, it is my hope that Deputies and Bishops gathered together in Columbus will make decisions that reflect the mind and heart of Christ who through the cross has drawn all to himself in the fullness of his reconciling love," Griswold observes in a letter accompanying the resources.

The daily readings and accompanied prayers were selected by Bishop Jeffery Rowthorn, formerly bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Connecticut and bishop assisting with the Convocation of American Churches in Europe.

Two prayers, written specifically for the 75th General Convention and its participants by the Rev. Jennifer Phillips, vicar of St. Augustine's, Kingston, Rhode Island, are also available on the site.

The meditations, which will also be e-mailed to Episcopal News Service subscribers, were written by a number of individuals reflecting the diversity of the church. To subscribe go to http://episcopalchurch.org/3577_11458_ENG_HTM.htm

The idea for the octave was conceived at the joint meeting of the councils of advice for the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies after Bishop Chilton Knudsen described her plans for an octave of prayer in her Diocese of Maine.

An octave is an ancient church tradition of eight days of prayer between two feast days such as the Octave of Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday or the octave of Christian Unity between the Confession of St. Peter (January 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25).

In his role as House of Deputies president, Werner named the Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber of the Diocese of Ohio to chair the effort.

"It is significant that the octave will begin on Pentecost, the Church's 'birthday party,' and continue through Trinity Sunday, the Church's 'family reunion,'" Svoboda-Barber said.

The octave ends just as deputies and bishops begin to gather in Columbus, Ohio, for the June 13-21 legislative sessions.

In his letter, Griswold notes that the people who will gather in Columbus are the "descendants of that community" upon whom the Holy Spirit descended on the first Pentecost. The hope of the octave planning group is that both individuals and congregations would participate in the octave to provide prayerful support to the General Convention.

All of the resources reflect the General Convention's theme of "Come and Grow." Themes for the daily observances are as follows:

  • Pentecost, Sunday, June 4: Grow in the Spirit
  • Monday, June 5: Grow in Hope
  • Tuesday, June 6: Grow in Love
  • Wednesday, June 7: Grow in Understanding
  • Thursday, June 8: Grow in Gratitude
  • Friday, June 9: Grow in Service
  • Saturday, June 10: Grow in Peace
  • Trinity Sunday, June 11: Grow in All Ways into Christ