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Turning a Page in Maryland

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, offers multiple prayers after the sentencing of former bishop Heather Cook:

Dear friends in Christ,

As you may know Heather Cook was sentenced to seven years in prison on Oct. 27 exactly 10 months to the day she drove drunk and killed cyclist Thomas Palermo. Before the judge handed down the sentence Heather spoke to the Palermo family in the courtroom accepting responsibility and expressing profound regret and sorrow.

Our assistant bishop, the Right Rev. Chilton Knudsen, in her sermon at this week’s clergy conference said the sentencing of Heather Cook is the “turning of a page.” Let us continue to pray for all affected by this chapter in our diocesan life, for the family of Thomas Palermo, and for all those who struggle with the disease of addiction and alcoholism. The Book of Common Prayer contains a wealth of spiritual resources for praying in this time including these:

And so, I ask your prayers …

… for the Palermo family:
Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with the Palermo family in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, p. 494)

… for Heather and all those in prison:
Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, especially our sister Heather, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice.

Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy’s sake. Amen. (BCP, p. 826)

… for the victims of addiction:
O blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen. (BCP, p. 831)

I ask this of you in the Name of the One “who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)


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