Disciple: New, Notable & Newsworthy
Remembering the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
The Diocese of North Carolina remembers and gives thanks for the life of the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, bishop diocesan (resigned) for the Diocese of Virginia and assisting bishop for the Diocese of North Carolina. Lee joined the saints on July 2, 2022. He died peacefully in hospice care, surrounded by the love of his family and the prayers of the Diocese.
“Bishop Lee was for many of this generation the epitome and embodiment of a bishop,” said the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman, bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina. “Strong, clear authority coupled with a grounded sense of mission and purpose. He balanced the challenges of visionary leadership with personal attention and pastoral grace. And his passion for justice led him to invite the Rev. Pauli Murray, the first African American woman to be ordained to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church, to offer her first Eucharist at the Chapel of the Cross, where her grandmother, who was born into slavery, was baptized and attended church throughout her life.”
Prior to his election first as bishop coadjutor in 1984 and then as the XII bishop of the Diocese of Virginia in 1985, Lee served in the Diocese of North Carolina as rector of the Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, from 1971 until his election in the Diocese of Virginia. He retired as bishop diocesan in 2009, ultimately returning to North Carolina to reside once again in Chapel Hill after serving in several post-retirement positions, including a term as bishop provisional in the Diocese of East Carolina. In 2015, following the election of the Most Rev. Michael Curry as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Lee answered the call to serve once more in a leadership role, this time as assisting bishop for the Diocese of North Carolina. During his tenure, he shared his experience, wisdom and steadying hand as the Diocese went through the process of searching for our XII bishop diocesan.
“If ever there was a bishop who failed at retirement, it was Bishop Lee,” said the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of North Carolina. “I reached out to Peter in late summer of 2015 to see if he would consider coming back to the Diocese as an assisting bishop while we discerned and called a new diocesan bishop. By then, he was finishing his fifth position since resigning as bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. I thought he might just be ready to be back at home in Chapel Hill. It was a blessing to the whole Diocese that he and Kristy were enthusiastic about returning and jumping into the healthy and vibrant life of this diocese. It was pure joy as well as great comfort to share episcopal oversight with him. Our entire staff felt blessed by Bishop Lee’s wisdom and good humor.”
Following an early career in journalism, Lee was ordained first as a deacon in 1967 and as a priest in 1968. His ministry was one that created a lasting legacy that continues to impact countless numbers today. Among the notable highlights: After a visit at the request of the presiding bishop and archbishop of Canterbury to the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem, he became the founding president of American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. During that time, he also served as chair of the grants committee of the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief, now Episcopal Relief & Development. He served on the advisory committee to the Anglican Observer at the United Nations and on the board of trustees of the Church Pension Fund. He served on the board of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and as chair of the board of trustees of the Virginia Theological Seminary. Lee was the recipient of the Virginia Council of Church’s Lifetime Ecumenist Award (2009), Washington and Lee University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award (2010), several honorary doctorates, and in 2012 was honored with the creation of The Peter James Lee Fund at General Theological Seminary to recognize his contributions during his time as dean of the seminary.
“I will be forever grateful to Bishop Lee for his guidance and wisdom in my early days as bishop, for his frank feedback and for his gracious patience,” said Rodman. “I am also grateful to the Rev. Elizabeth Marie Melchionna and her team at Chapel of the Cross for their loving pastoral support of Peter and his family.”
Lee is survived by his wife, Kristy, his two children and several grandchildren. He was laid to rest at the Chapel of the Cross on July 15.
Church Security Resources Available
As part of assisting churches to develop a comprehensive preparedness plan, resources relating to church security are now available.
The preparedness planning resources are offered in a module format, allowing churches to enlist volunteers and others with expertise in specific areas. In addition to a general information module, modules for planning around natural disasters and church security are now available, with a medical emergencies module next in development.
Along with customizable module templates, additional resources, helpful links and, in select cases, topic presentations are available.
All preparedness planning materials can be found here.
Order Your 2022-2023 Gospel-Based Discipleship by Sept. 30
Once again it’s time to help us be good stewards of both material and financial resources by pre-ordering your copy of the 2022-2023 Gospel-Based Discipleship.
As has become our tradition, there will be no automatic distribution of copies to churches or to those who have requested hard copies in the past; however, we are happy to supply you with whatever you need.
If you would like copies for your church, or if you are an individual who would like a hard copy for your own use, please place your order with Diocesan House no later than September 30. There is no charge for the 2022-2023 Gospel-Based Discipleship, but we do need you to place your order. Copies will be shipped in early November.
The 2022-2023 Gospel-Based Discipleship will also be available in its entirety as a downloadable and printable PDF in both English and Spanish on the diocesan website, and its daily offerings will continue to be offered on diocesan social media channels.
To order hard copies, please email the communications department. Be sure to include the address to which you want your copy(ies) mailed.
To receive the daily offerings via social media, visit:
- Facebook (EpiscopalDioceseNC),
- Twitter (@episcopalnc) or
- Instagram (@episdionc).
It may seem early to think about Advent, but as the next issue of the Disciple will arrive after the start of that much-anticipated season, we wanted to be sure to start the planning now.
The Diocese of North Carolina will once again participate in #AdventWord, a global advent calendar celebrating its ninth year in 2022. #AdventWord is a digital offering created to build an international community that together explores the mystery and wonder of Advent.
At adventword.org, participants can subscribe to daily email meditations or follow along with (or join in) the fun on social media. Every day a word is assigned, and participants from around the world share photos, meditations, prayers and thoughts about what that word means to them or where they see that word at play during the holy pre-Christmas season.
The Diocese will participate in #AdventWord on our Facebook page as well as on Twitter and Instagram. We hope you will join us!
Diocese Announces Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence
In their responses to the horrific events of gun violence in recent months, the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman and the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple announced the creation of a task force dedicated to the work of reducing gun violence. The formation of that task force was announced at the end of June in a pastoral letter to the Diocese, and the first meetings have taken place.
With the bishops, the task force is comprised of clergy and lay individuals with backgrounds in law enforcement, medicine and advocacy work in this area. Serving on the committee are:
- the Rev. Sonny Browne, co-chair (All Saints’, Roanoke Rapids),
- Sara Smith, co-chair (Holy Family, Chapel Hill),
- Cassandra Deck-Brown (St. Ambrose, Raleigh),
- David Jacobs (St. Peter’s, Charlotte),
- the Rev. Sandy Key (St. Stephen’s, Durham),
- the Rev. Elaine McCoy (St. Philip’s, Durham),
- the Rev. Justice Schunior (St. Martin’s, Charlotte),
- the Rev. Sallie Simpson (Saint Augustine’s University) and
- Berkeley Sumner (youth representative).
The hope of the group is to focus on issues where the Diocese of North Carolina might effect change, either in a leadership role or in partnership with others. Among the areas explored for task force leadership are:
- identifying advocacy opportunities;
- exploring partnerships with organizations already engaged in the work of reducing gun violence;
- providing education around the role of mental illness, behavioral health challenges and other factors in gun violence;
- sharing resources to educate and assist churches in developing safety plans, including engagement with local law enforcement for consultation; and
- developing a long-term plan to build a sustainable infrastructure to position the Diocese for ongoing calls to action, programs, education and advocacy.
Already those hopes are becoming reality, with newly developed resources for planning added to the diocesan website preparedness planning section and a presentation to church leadership on July 19. The task force’s action plan will continue to be refined in the coming months, and its work will be shared as it develops.
Holy Michael Foundation
The Board of the Holy Michael Foundation [St. Michael’s, Raleigh] awarded grants totaling $53,000 at its March annual meeting. This year’s recipients are familiar to St. Michael’s parishioners. FIGS (Fill in the Gaps) and Alliance Medical Ministry (AAM) each received $26,500 to assist their missions addressing healthcare needs in Wake County.
AMM provides access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare to low-income, working, uninsured adults in Wake County. AMM’s patients do not receive health insurance through their employer, do not qualify for government support, and cannot afford to purchase private health insurance.
Holy Michael Foundation’s $26,500 grant will provide funds to support the position of director of pastoral care and counseling. This position will manage the mental health program, providing patients with mental and spiritual counseling.
FIGS’ mission is to help Fill In the Gaps for Wake County residents who need assistance purchasing medicine and medical supplies. FIGS’ vision is that all our neighbors have access to affordable prescription medicine.
- Adapted from the St. Michael’s news update, May 26, 2022
Just One Thing
It’s that time! Do Just One Thing and refer the recently graduated seniors of your congregations to the chaplain or congregation at the university, community college or military base at which they will arrive this fall.
The Just One Thing initiative works to connect young adults to The Episcopal Church on campus or wherever their journeys take them. Look for the online form at episdionc.org/just-one-thing. It takes less than one minute to complete, and it will generate a notification to the chaplain at your student’s campus or to a diocesan staff member for a referral.
Dismantling Racism: Fall 2022 Dates
- September 23, 5-8 p.m., and September 24, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., via Zoom;
- October 14, 5-8 p.m., and October 15, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., via Zoom; and
- November 11, 5-8 p.m., and November 12, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., via Zoom.
Tags: North Carolina Disciple