Bishop Alan M. Gates sent the following message on the evening of Oct. 9 to the diocesan community:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I invite you to join me in lifting prayers for Bishop Tom Shaw as he nears the end of his earthly pilgrimage.
Bishop Tom’s presence with us at the Consecration on September 13, and the opportunity it provided for an outpouring of affection and gratitude, was a great gift — to Tom, to me, and to all of us. His delight at being there was manifest, as was the immeasurable esteem in which he is held.
In the three weeks since that time, Tom’s illness has progressed and his physical energy has continued to diminish. He remains comfortable in his quarters at Emery House, where his SSJE brothers are providing loving care, family members are visiting, and a hospice care provider is in attendance.
Today, on your behalf, I brought prayers and love from the people of the diocese to Tom’s bedside. We exchanged a blessing, the grace of which I received also on your behalf.
Here at Tremont Street the staff has created a devotional corner in which we will be offering our steady prayers of thanksgiving and intercession for Bishop Tom. I invite you, in your own homes and churches, to find similar ways to uphold Tom in prayer in these next days. Some of the prayers found in the Prayer Book at pages 458-461 may be helpful. The prayers and psalms in the Service of Compline (pp. 127-135) have beautiful language of resting into God’s trustworthiness. And your own prayers, with or without words, will be heard by the God who knows our innermost desires.
At our clergy gathering on Tuesday we sang the hymn “Peace Before Us” with a change in pronoun to render it a prayer on behalf of our brother Tom. May that be our continuing song:
Christ before him, Christ behind him, Christ under his feet;
Christ within him, Christ above him, let all around Tom be Christ.
Faithfully and fondly,
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates