Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen. (BCP 101)
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Today, in addition to the Feast of Jackson Kemper, First Missionary Bishop of the Episcopal Church, we also observe the Ember Days, traditional days of prayer for all ministry, and especially for the ordained leaders of the church.
It’s a very appropriate serendipity, since Jackson Kemper was particularly concerned to ensure that there were clergy trained and suited for ministry in “the scattered settlements of the West.”
With James Lloyd Breck and others, he founded Nashotah House near Delafield, Wisconsin as a Benedictine community from which clergy would go out and minister to the surrounding area. With James DeKoven, he established Racine College, now the DeKoven Center, as a school emphasizing both education and worship in the “Ritualist” (Anglo-Catholic) style.
Jackson Kemper served as the first Bishop of Wisconsin from 1859 until his death, so all three dioceses in the state — Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, and Eau Claire — trace their beginnings to him.
The Episcopal Church in Wisconsin properly honors these “local saints” and their mission to “bring those who do not know Jesus to the knowledge and love of him.” That is the mission we all share to this day.
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For the Ministry (Ember Days)
O God, you led your holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that your Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of your kingdom; through him who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 256)