Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton

Bishop "T" Thinking Out Loud

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton

A blog from a Christian who is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, a chaplain, a preacher, a Bishop, a lifelong member of the CME Church and hopefully a friend to many. 

The most recent entries appear first


Good Friday - A Day of Reflection and Remembrance

Friday, April 10, 2020

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What is "good" about a day that compels us to remember the horrific death of Jesus on the cross? This was the death of an innocent man in the eyes of the law, but of an anointed savior sent by God to bear our sins. It is "good" because we know the eventual outcome of this state-sanctioned crucifixion. It is "good" because Jesus did the unthinkable, the unimaginable on our behalf.


But don't let the terminology "Good Friday" cause you to forget that this is a dark day, a day of reflection on the depravity of humanity, a day of reflection on the complicity of the church and the fickleness of the crowd, who only a few days earlier shouted "Hosanna", but then chanted "Crucify him!" with the same enthusiasm! This is the theological conundrum of Good Friday - God's intent versus humanity's free will.  


In the life of the Christian community, today is a day of grief and repentance because when God (through Jesus) was at God's best through an ultimate act of love, humanity was at its worst. We must grieve, because we too, can easily be or become the betrayers of Jesus and abandon the mission and ministry he has entrusted to the Church. Good Friday can be so easily secularized into a holiday, trivialized by greetings that declare "Happy Good Friday"!


Our joy and celebration will come! Resurrection Sunday is just around the corner! We know how the story ends, but today we are called to grieve, not as those who have no hope (I Thessalonians 4:13). But grieve we must, because our world is sick and too many are dying, because many are still lost and do not yet know the savior, because wrong still prevails over right too often. Matthew 5:4 reminds us "Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted". On this Good Friday, let us not be satisfied with "quick comfort", but let us enter in moments of reflection and remembrance as we await the SON to rise again!




Coronavirus Quarantine - We are not handling this well!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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I can't help but think of my ancestors who did not have the freedom to move about as they chose. They were confined to the small world of fields and shacks and the plantation or farm where they were held captive.Their homes had no beds or only hard beds to sleep on. No air conditioning, no refrigerator, no TV cable, no internet or wi-fi, no electricity, none of the comforts we take for granted. Yet, they survived!


We are whining too much about having to stay at home! We can do this! No one likes being confined, but maybe it's a time to count the blessings that you have, even if they are few. Poverty is real and many people do not have homes with much to offer during these stay at home orders. Many are homeless! But for most of us, if we stop and count our blessings, perhaps we can fill our homes with love, patience, faith, hope, kindness and the other fruits of the spirit!


It's time to stop whining. Yes, it's time for my nails to be done, too, but I can do my nails myself. My grandmother never went to a nail shop, but she was one grand woman! Black people...please stop whining....we can take care of our  own hair. We can cook our own meals. Have we been in Babylon so long, living a life of luxury, that we have forgotten who we are? 


We are the descendants of kings and queens, scientists and teachers, farmers and preachers, mighty leaders, inventors and visionaries who survived the Middle Passage, the horrors of slavery and the indignities of Jim Crow! We will survive!


So now we are going to loose Easter too?

Show Unity During Holy Week and on Resurrection Sunday

Thursday, April 2, 2020

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This really is unbelievable! Easter is the highest holy day we have! For many churches it's their high watermark for attendance and offerings! For families, it's reunion as many who do not attend worship services regularly go with grandparents and parents and then share Easter dinner later. For children, its new clothes, and egg hunts, and baskets of goodies, and for some, speeches to be rehearsed, memorized and performed on Resurrection Sunday.


This is a tradition that revives us! It ushers in remembrance of the great gift of love demonstrated through the death of Christ. It calls us to celebrate the awesome power of God who defied death and brought Jesus back to life after a horrific death on Calvary! 


What do you mean - we can't have Easter! 

Well, what can we do instead? In conversation with several ecumenical partners, we came up with a list of ways to show unity during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. Click here to view the list https://conta.cc/3dP6xZA


Don't forget to post pictures to social media showing unity with other believers who remember and celebrate this season!

Crisis - What about Communion?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

First Sunday is coming? What about Communion? Do we have to still stay at home? Should the church really be closed? Does the government have the authority to restrict church services? 


These are but a few of the questions swirling in the Christian Church world. Who would have imaged we'd have to ask these questions!


For me, I begin to wonder about the Church. Has tradition killed our imagination? Has the church building become our idol? 


We are under attack by the deadly virus! The death toll grows each day! If there were bombs being dropped would we even think about gathering or going outside? If meteors were randomly hitting the earth, would we not gather at the table or makeshift altars in our homes  and affirm our faith in God, whispering the memorized words of the Communion ritual and singing a familiar hymn?


We can do this. Technology will bring us together in voice and through computer and smartphone screens in the same way that the Spirit brings and keeps us together in adversity!


Click this link to see "Tips for Celebrating Communion in a Virtual Worship Service" https://conta.cc/2wFXh9v

Virtual Church - Empty Sanctuaries

Saturday, March 28, 2020

I am in awe! It really did not surprise me that many of the congregations in the Fifth District had in-person worship services on Sunday, March 15th. I wished they hadn't. But the President of the USA was not sounding an alarm. He urged us not to panic - everything was under control.


Clearly, it was not as case after case of COVID-19 began being reported all across the USA. In spite of social distancing and group gathering limitations, it was time for a clear message from this episcopal leader. Several conference calls later, it was evident to me that a primary problem was that many pastors did not know how to have a virtual church service! But they were willing to try......some decided to live stream services from empty sanctuaries, others did it from their homes.


From watching several online services during the past few years, I have developed my own list of "pet peeves" about virtual church. So, I decided to put together a list of tips for those who were struggling with the new way of leading worship. 


The link to this list of Tips for Virtual Worship Services can be found at https://conta.cc/2UnDBQt

A Prayer for Chaplains

Thursday, March 26, 2020


Healthcare workers are on the front lines - working to treat those who are ill and trying to save the lives of others who have been overwhelmed by the virus! Alongside these brave and commitment caregivers are Chaplains, offering support and prayers - literally standing in the gap, since most patients are alone and most healthcare workers cannot go home or be close to their own families.


The CME Church has over sixty ministers involved in Chaplaincy, some as full-time chaplains in hospitals, hospice, nursing homes, the military, and in the community as police, fire and sheriff department, prison and jail and campus chaplains! Here is a prayer for them today:


A PRAYER FOR OUR CHAPLAINS


Dear God,


There is so much to pray for today. We thank you for watching over us thus far. We thank you for so many blessings. Right now, we thank you for Chaplains and other pastoral care givers who continue to offer prayers and hope to those who are sick, hospitalized or simply worried in the midst of COVID-19.


We ask your blessings on them. We are grateful for their tireless efforts and for their courage. They continue to minister even as they try to protect their own families and tend to their own health.


Strengthen them, for this burden is a heavy one. Lighten their load with your calming presence and with a peace that passes our understanding.


Give them the words to say when words are necessary. Give them the patience and wisdom required at such a time as this. Fill them with a hope that can only be found in you.


Thank you, God, for these chaplains who represent you and your Church in this hurting world!


Amen 


Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Endorser, CME Chaplains Board

First Blog Entry of Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton

Coronavirus, the invisible threat

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I held my Alabama Regions Spring Convocation the weekend of March 6-7 on the beautiful campus of Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama. Our annual spring meeting convened after a grand Miles College Founders' Day celebration on Friday morning. The new cycle was continuing to cover the news of the deadly Coronavirus that was devastating China. Meanwhile, in the United States, the first COVID-19 death occurred on February 29th. By the weekend of our Spring Convocation, Washington State had reported 16 deaths.


After that weekend was over, something "clicked" in my head, like a warning signal or maybe the still small voice of God. More than thirty years of hospital chaplaincy experience alerted me that this was serious and was going to be hard to contain. I started social distancing on Tuesday, March 9th because as an asthmatic, I knew I was high risk. The rest of the world kept going, business as usual. 


But within a week, the US news cycle began promoting social distancing, shutting down activities. On March 11th, when the NBA shut down its basketball season, my thoughts about the severity of this virus were confirmed. Within days, other activities and restrictions on group gatherings began to be put in place.


What about church? Should we still have our regular services? I wrote a pastoral letter to my pastors, urging them to let "love of neighbor" be the principle that guides our decisions - not tradition, not denial, not wishful thinking, not even the desire to preserve the finances of the church! If anyone can get this virus, then everyone will have to make sacrifices - even the church! In an act of love and in an abundance of caution, I cancelled the Florida Region Spring Convocation (scheduled for March 27-28), modeling how to make a difficult decision in the midst of uncertainty.


Here is the link to that newsletter - https://conta.cc/2vmiXGZ