by Deacon Keith Hartsell
Bishop-elect Stewart Ruch, Vicar General William Beasley and I set off for a Holy Road Trip on Sept 3 – 5. By the time we hit our first Starbucks of the trip, I had already taken on the nickname, Jeeves. Three Prayer Nights in 3 different deaneries, 3 days in a row. They were all so powerful!
The first night at Santa Maria in Franklin Park with the Greenhouse and all our Hispanic brothers and sisters was so warm and hospitable. The prayers were fervent and communal. The Spirit was palpable. We all turned to face the walls and extended our hands praying for lost in neighborhood around the church.
By Wednesday night we had driven to Church of the Cross in Minnesota, where we were warmly embraced like family. The prayer time was rich and centered around church planting and raising up leaders to take the Gospel deeper into Minnesota. We celebrated our unity around Eucharist. Everyone seemed to take their time writing prayers and Scriptures on the Altar Cloth that will become the Bishop’s Altar Cloth.
The next morning we took off for Nashotah, WI where we had compline together at St. Michael’s Anglican Church. Those wonderfully precious cheeseheads all wanted to lay hands on Stewart and bless him. It was moving to see how important this event was to them. The charism of love was released and we turned to bless one another and pray for one another that night.
We concluded the prayer tour at Church of the Resurrection’s RezFast. We prayed for the beginning of 24/7 prayer at Rez, the releasing of every believer at Rez to grow in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and for hundreds of conversions in the next few years. We concluded our time by praying for Stewart and Katherine and each precious Ruch youth and child. Stewart stood by the Bishop’s chair, the cathedra, as we all laid hands on him and blessed him.
And the last prayers and Scriptures were written on the Altar Cloth ready to be airmailed back to Church of the Cross where they will assemble the pieces into a beautiful symbol of Unity of all the churches in our diocese and our prayers for one another. Praise the Lord!
Quotes from the prayer services:
“I had a strong sense that hard hearts are melting and softening and opening.”
“I’ve never seen the beginning of a diocese like this. This has not been seen in my own lifetime where the election of a bishop and the birth of a diocese started like this, with prayer like this.We’ve had a break-through just tonight that other dioceses never get to. We shouldn’t rely on our clergy, we need to pray like this for one another, on Sundays, for revival every Sunday, for the release of the Holy Spirit.”
Deacon Keith Hartsell
Church of the Resurrection