Letter from Amy: Oct 19, 2022


Dear Incarnation,


We are continuing our series in 1 Timothy, and Sunday's passage (1 Tim 3:1-13) listed qualifications for church leaders — it's one of the reasons we chose to preach through 1 Timothy this fall, given all the leadership changes at Incarnation and in our Diocese. Katie knelt and prayed a litany based on the passage for our leadership, our new vestry, and our new bishop-elect (listen here). As she did, she invited us to add our own prayers for our leaders on post-its.


I loved this opportunity to not only hear the scripture, but to participate in the scripture in prayer. Those post-it prayers are a treasure; they name so many of the temptations and failures and hope and beauty of the church. I'm listing all of the prayers below (except for a few post-its we lost to the wind outside), and I invite you to join your prayers with these:

  • Safeguarding the most vulnerable in our congregation

  • Protect the hearts of our leaders

  • Protect the minds of our leaders

  • Respect for women

  • Humility

  • Concern for the well-being of individual souls more than for the institution

  • Welcoming and open

  • Admitting our wrongs and seeking reconciliation and redemption

  • For joy and delight and moments of wonder as they encounter the church

  • For humble servants

  • For conviction and integrity

  • For shepherds who lead together and resist selfish/self-focused decision making

  • Help them love you and your people more than any institution or their own power

  • That we would be motivated by love and compassion rather than pursuit of worldly success or ego

  • Thank you for Amy, Katie, and Liz

  • That we will grow by calling new disciples of Jesus, enfolding them into our fellowship

  • That we would be faithful to the work that you have for us

  • That we would be obedient and loving in our action

  • May our leaders shine with your love and demonstrate your grace and mercy

  • Humility

  • Wisdom

  • Prioritizing the vulnerable

  • Level-headed

  • Integrity and faithfulness

  • Servants and stewards

  • Heal the wounds of all who lead

  • That we will love each other as Jesus loves us

  • For a shepherd who smells like their sheep

  • Intimacy with Jesus Christ and united with him

  • Shepherd the flock under their care

  • Humble servant

  • For our diocese to keep our leaders accountable even when it is inconvenient

  • For our leaders to always be above reproach

  • Give our leaders at Incarnation faith in your calling

  • Give them rest mentally and physically

  • Quick to listen, quick to speak, slow to become angry

  • Generous with the gospel

  • Give them joy

  • May our leaders find their joy and their being in you, God

  • Humble

  • May they seek God and the truth!

  • Gentleness, humility, faithfulness, encouragement, endurance

  • Lead and love the church

  • Wary of power

  • Be humble

  • Self-control

  • Faith and faithfulness in what their calling is

  • Humility

  • Protection from envy

  • Feel embraced

  • Seek good of the church

  • Endurance in challenge

  • God, give our church unity, generosity, clarity of mission, gentleness, humility, joy, and the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit

  • Freedom from the rigidity of the patriarchy

  • Protection of the most vulnerable

  • Spirit of inclusivity

  • Health in every sense

  • Protect the flock from being scattered

  • For the church to acknowledge and lament where it has caused harm and contributed to systems of oppression

  • For leaders to be people off compassion, peace, justice, and God's love

  • Holy Spirit, give us the ability to love the people of the church when we are tempted to protect the institution alone

  • Listen to women

  • Lord, we thank you for raising up leaders among us. Help us to continually pray for those in leadership and those you are raising up for leadership in the future

  • Inclusion

  • Selflessness, compassion, wisdom

  • Endurance and temperance

  • Build a safe place for people to make friends and learn about God

  • I pray for the churches whose leadership were preparing for possibly losing their rector and are transitioning, and for Chris Warners's church who must now begin their search for a new rector

  • For sober mindedness

  • For purity in heart, mind, soul, and body

  • For wisdom in the ordering of our common life

  • Let us give up our pride

  • Protection

  • Health

  • Connection

  • Wisdom

  • Seek God's will

  • Known for gentle love

  • Peaceful and smooth transition

  • Lord, bring healing through your leaders

  • Let our leaders be grafted in you, the True Vine

  • Lift our eyes on you instead of taking pride in earthly positions

  • Pray for the church to avoid the pitfalls of US and global politics

  • Lord, make us more like you in our leading and fellowship

  • Give us strength to deal with the iniquities of our leaders

  • Humility

  • Grounded

  • Present

  • Free us from the demons that try to control our actions

  • I pray that the leaders would have supernatural humility and empathy for the people who look to them for spiritual guidance

  • I pray they would have joy partnering with you in the work you're doing in others' lives

  • A safe place where people are welcomed and experience the love of God

  • Genuine love of weakness and respect for it

  • Unite our church, keep it strong and healthy

  • Help us to forgive each other for our shortcomings

  • Lord, be present and place your Spirit in our community

  • COURAGE (internally and in dealing with others)

  • Let them be gentle, faithful, humble

  • Quick to listen, slow to speak

  • Forgiveness

  • Strength

  • Lord, thank you for your Spirit that leads us with gentleness and generosity

  • Time and space for grief — theirs especially but also everyone in the church

  • Tenderness in how they treat themselves and others

  • May they be as selfless and loving and faithful as Jesus Christ

  • That our leaders may lead with wisdom and gentleness, and that we may follow with faithfulness and humility, we pray to you, Jesus, our Good Shepherd over all your beloved sheep. AMEN.

  • Free them from self

  • Give them wisdom

  • Protect us

  • Wisdom please

  • Keep and protect our leaders, keep and protect us

  • A justice-full peace

  • That the church would be a welcoming place to all our neighbors

  • Please give our leaders your eyes, your heard, your mind and strength

  • That the church would be a place of hope for those that have little

  • Give grace, give strength, give hope that our leaders may give freely these same gifts

  • Give them courage to tell the truth and protect the weak and vulnerable

  • May our leaders seek God first

  • Protect their marriages if they are married

  • We mourn the dead but rejoice with the living

  • Father God, please raise up and equip true Shepherd Leaders. Amen

  • That we would acknowledge the harm we've caused and repent of those things. To be humbled.

Several people also drew their prayers: a sheep, a torn and bandaged heart, a seedling, and two companions of different complexions walking hand-in-hand. The most common prayer was humility, followed closely by protection. To all these prayers, to Katie's litany, and to the prayers prayed in silence, we simply say: Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.


Thank you for being a praying church. Thank you for praying for me, for Katie, for our staff and vestry, for our new bishop-elect Chris Warner, and for all in church leadership. May we lead humbly. May we protect the flock. May God protect us. Amen.


Much love,

Amy