May 9, 2013

What Bishop Brewer Said

"The great burden and annoyance that I have is that the church plans a little work as if it were to be done in our own strength and as cheap as possible. We go home and set timidly about it as if we had overestimated our ability, then we falter and hesitate; we begin to murmur, then to grumble, and finally become indifferent.

"The church that prides itself on its historic continuity with the apostles, who took the world in their embrace and dared to live and die to save it, sighs and declines.

"We drop our parish net at the corner of a fine avenue and tie it to a splendid building, and a good many of us come over on Sunday mornings, and a few on Sunday evenings, to see if any fish have been wise or foolish enough to come into our handsome net. And yet, but a block away, there is a great multitude of men to whom the heavens are brass, the earth a martyrdom, the church but a name, busy with nothing but hanging about the neck the millstone of human weakness that it may sink out of sight and die.

"I say that we fear to launch out into the deep of humanity and instead go all our lives long coasting along the shore of opportunity, privilege, and power. Someday soon the church will have to give an account, and I fear for it."

Bishop Leigh Richard Brewer of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana
In a speech given to the 1909 Diocesan Convention

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