Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

1 St. Francis Drive - Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
From The Rector

The Rev.
Tim Backus

Family of St. Francis, 

This past Sunday, May 31, Pentecost Sunday, we opened our building for the first time to worship our Lord and Savior, together. We did so not just with those present in the building, but with dozens of others who live-streamed the service. Did worship look different? Yes. Did it feel different? For most of us, more than likely. I am reminded of words I recently heard from someone describing the Eucharist, “…though the exterior of our Eucharistic celebration may look different and feel different, the core of our celebration remains the same. Christ is present…” - Fr. Brian Cheng.  Fr. Brian is spot on. 

Over the past week or so, while we focused on how to open for public worship, like many other places of faith, our country experienced even more tragedy on top of 100,000 dead and businesses struggling to get back on their feet due to the Coronavirus. I am sure you are aware, the racial tension and disparity have become a forefront not only in our country’s discourse, but the actions of countless who have taken to the streets. Most protests have been nonviolent and positive for renewed action, though many have also erupted into flames. Even a pandemic has taken a secondary seat to the cries of justice across our country. 

While I imagine most of us have heard from a variety of sources, I want to reiterate the words of our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, who has spoken across multiple media outlets. In one of the articles written by Bishop Curry, he begins: “As a black man, I understand the anger in our streets. But we must still choose love” (Washington Post, opinion column, May 31, 2020). Bishop Curry speaks about the justified frustration, pain, and anger “…rippling through our streets today,” and that these emotions should be felt by all of us, not just those of us in the streets. Though justified (my words), Bishop Curry continues, “But that frustration must not lead to fatalism or despair. We are not condemned to live this way forever. I recommend a different path – The path of love.” Bishop Curry’s prophetic voice reminds us that, “Love does not look like the harm being caused by some police or some protesters in our cities. Violence against any person is violence against a child of God…” 

“What does love look like?” Bishop Curry asks. Michael Curry continues with multiple responses, this being one of them: “I believe that is what Jesus of Nazareth taught us. It looks like the biblical Good Samaritan, an outsider who spends his time and money healing somebody he doesn’t know or even like.” Bishop Curry calls us to, “…renew the ideals of human equality, liberty, and justice for all.” To, “…commit to cherishing and respecting all lives, and honoring the dignity and infinite worth of every child of God.” And that, “Now is the time for all of us to sow — in our words, our actions, and our lives — what love really looks like.” Amen, Bishop Curry. Amen. 

With the Peace of Christ, 

Fr. Tim