IRVINE — Bishop Kevin Vann, clapping and singing along with the enthusiastic congregation, became the first Catholic bishop ever to preach at Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church on August 30, emphasizing Christian unity and gratitude.
Bishop Vann was welcomed by the Rev. Mark Whitlock, the senior minister and pastor of the church, who said the occasion was “an important step” in promoting unity between Christian faith traditions.
Bishop Vann was joined by Father Al Baca, the Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of Orange.
Pastor Whitlock and Bishop Vann had first met “some months ago” in Father Al’s office, said Bishop Vann. “We spoke about a number of common concerns, such as SB 128 (the then-proposed state law concerning physician-assisted suicide), and how we might work together. A short time later, I called him to let him know of my prayers and support for his congregation after the shooting and killing of members of the AME congregation in Charlotte.”
Pastor Whitlock extended an invitation to Bishop Vann to speak at Christ Our Redeemer “and I was very happy to be able to do that,” said Bishop Vann. “The congregation was very welcoming, and the worship was uplifting, prayerful and joyful. During the first part of my reflections, I spoke on my background and my parents and their faith, then a Scriptural reflection on gratitude, and then what the Lord might be calling us to do and witness in common.
“The Sunday morning was very blessed and I am very grateful to Father Baca, to Pastor Whitlock and all who attended.”