Invocation and Benediction for the Dedication Celebration of Winant Plaza, Concord, NH

By The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop

Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

June 30, 2017

Almighty God, we gather to honor your faithful and diligent servant John Gilbert Winant, who served as educator, Army air corpsman, Governor, civil administrator, and Ambassador in a time of tremendous turmoil, uncertainty, and peril. We gather to express our gratitude for the example of Governor Winant’s humility, integrity, wisdom and commitment to the well-being of the citizens of our state, the nation, and the world.  As he called us to remember that “it is the things of the spirit that in the end prevail, that faith and hope count, and that without love there can be nothing good; that by daring to live dangerously we can learn to live generously, and that by believing in the inherent goodness of humankind, may we learn again to stride forward together into the unknown of our own day with growing confidence.”[1]

May words spoken this day lead us beyond mere expressions of gratitude for how one noble and courageous man acted in the past, but help us see in Governor Winant inspiration to serve the common good and welfare of all people. May those entrusted with the authority of government in this and every land be endued with wisdom, compassion, and courage that there may be justice and peace at home and abroad.  In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness; in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee, Almighty God, to fail, nor our generosity and concern for others to falter.  All these we humbly ask in Your Holy Name.

Benediction:

We give you thanks, O God of Creation, for the gift of sculptors and artists who adorn our public spaces with monuments, which lead to the contemplation of inspiring figures from the past. May this monument of Governor Winant inspire us to deeper civility and to great acts of public service in the present and in the future.

May our lives be fashioned by a holy and life-giving Spirit, and may that same Spirit move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, hatreds cease, and that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice, freedom, and peace.  Amen.

[1] Adapted from speech delivered to coal miners in Durham, England, 6 June 1941. Cited in Citizens of London: Lynne Olson, Random House, New York, pp. 183-184.

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AuthorLaura Simoes