An interview with the Diocese of PA's Bishop-Elect Gutierrez
By The Rev. Sarah Hedgis, EMC Director
Rev. Sarah, EMC Director, here!
This week for our Missional Moments blog, I was lucky enough to interview the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania’s recent Bishop-Elect, The Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutierrez, about what missional living means for him.
Speaking with Rev. Gutierrez was an energizing experience. His life demonstrates how, throughout our whole lives and in all kinds of ways, missional living is a constant presence in our work. It can drive and inspire us--pushing us to keep moving forward because we know there are still many people struggling and much work God is calling us to. Mission can also comfort and sustain us and our own difficulties and needs. Rev. Gutierrez emphasized mission is not just something we do (a big EMC belief!). We are called to be missional. Nor is mission something that we--as individuals, as Christians, as the Church--only give to others. We are also the recipients of the gifts of mission. It’s a mutual and reciprocal, a gift from God to all of creation. There is so much we can learn, receive, and experience together through missional living.
The EMC hopes you enjoy this interview with our bishop-elect!
SH: How did you think about mission growing up?
DG: Well, I learned mission from some nuns in my neighborhood. Yes, as a kid, I hung out with nuns! They taught me that mission has to do with stability and love. In everything they did, they showed the love and acceptance Jesus Christ offers to us all. That’s what mission was for me growing up.
SH: And what about now?
DG: Oh, it’s the same! I think the stability is such an important piece for us to remember today. There are so many great ideas of how to love and serve. We have to see those ideas through: through the first year and into the years beyond that. We have to push through that initial burst of energy around something new and continue to see the idea or program or communities through as that energy grows and develops. Mission includes the ongoing sustenance of a community.
SH: What’s one image that captures mission for you?
DG: Serving one another. Now, there are many images and forms of this: feeding one another, working together, a person singing in choir, our liturgy. All of those images and moments when we really feel the presence of Christ.
SH: How do you know and feel when those moments are happening?
DG: When you take the time to really see where someone is coming from, what they’re going through. Those moments happen when people really see each other and then continue to journey together and determine where to go from here.
SH: The EMC is rooted in the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, and Treasure. Is there one mark that really speaks to you?
DG: All of them! Seriously, I can’t pick. Tell is the proclaiming we’re called to do, with examples from Scripture but also with endless and creative options about how we tell today. Teach has to do with reaching out to others with what we know, but also being open to learning from others. Tend is caring for one another, something we all need. Transform-that’s the work of resurrection happening all around us. And treasure, it’s what and who we hold dear throughout it all. They’re all great. I definitely couldn’t choose just one.
SH: That’s the right answer! Each mark has something to do with our lives and with one another. They interweave and overlap. At the EMC, we talk about them each as important supplies for our journey of faith in missional living.
DG: Yes, I like that!
SH: Last question--What does missional living mean to you?
DG: Missional living is keeping Christ present. So often we think our mission is to save people. But Jesus has already saved us all. Our work is to make sure people--everyone, whoever you are--knows that. Our work is to make Jesus Christ’s love, acceptance, forgiveness, patience, and hope present in the world around us. Keeping Christ present. That’s what missional living means to me.
A big EMC Thank You to the Rev. Canon Daniel Gutierrez! Please keep him in your prayers in the coming months as he and his family transition into this new call. The consecration of our new bishop will take place on Saturday, July 16th at New Covenant Church in Philadelphia.
Giving voice to the many ways we experience mission in the church
Check back every Thursday to hear more about what mission looks like at the Episcopal Mission Center and throughout the Episcopal Church.
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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
Thank you for your radical hospitality!
Gwynedd Mercy University
Thank you for your hospitality in hosting students from Gwynedd Mercy and Alvernia University during their Alternative Break with the Interfaith Center. The facility was wonderful. We held several of our workshops there in your comfortable space. What an ideal setting! The students especially appreciated participating in your mass as getting a personal orientation from Rev Morris and such a warm welcome from your parishioners.
With much appreciation for all you do,
“Right now, my group is rating our experience as the best mission they've ever been a part of. The orientation and subsequent building of relationships with kids in the community broke down their racial and urban stereotypes. Most importantly, every one of them experienced a deepening of their faith in God, and tangible understanding of how that faith works itself out in mission and issues of social justice. We will definitely be coming back!”
— Rev. Jane Cornman, St. Mary’s Church, Wayne, PA