ABOUT THE ARCHBISHOP
Synod Archbishop William (Liam) Flint
Episcopal Coat of Arms
Synod Archbishop William (Liam) Flint
The Episcopal Coat of Arms for Synod Archbishop Flint is based on the Flint Family Irish Crest
centered within the traditional green galero (ecclesiastical hat) and tassels on the Coat of Arms for a bishop dating back to the pre-16th Century Church tradition.
The motto appearing below the shield is a personalized statement of faith central to the bishop’s episcopacy. “Sursum Corda” is the opening dialogue to the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer or Anaphora, dating back at least to the third century and the Anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition:
“Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give thanks and praise.”
Through these 72 years of my life, there is a pivotal moment that has defined my relationship with my heavenly Father; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have only shared this story with a very few through the years, but now as I see through this windowpane more clearly and as my vision dims in these latter years, I now share it with you.
It was a September evening in 1968. I was in my freshman year at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. On this particular evening, I had gone to the Chapel of Capitol Street Methodist Episcopal Church to spend some time alone with my thoughts. This was a turbulent time with the Vietnam war raging and every evening the war came into the living rooms of America. Capitol Street Church was my rock on which I grew from childhood into adulthood. Under her ministry, I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. At her altar, I knelt and received the body and blood of Christ with people of all races, all genders, all orientations; as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. I was like most of my friends, confused and scared. I had decided that I was going to pray in the Chapel until I got an answer from God, no matter how long it took. The Chapel was always unlocked and welcomed any soul in distress to come and pray. The only light left on was the lights that illuminated the great Cross over the Altar. In this mostly dark environment, I knelt midway in a pew near a side door.
I begin to pray familiar prayers at first and then I shifted to my conversational prayers. A dialog with God, but this was no dialog, it was me speaking and God listening. It was a long one-sided conversation for hours and hours. Then there was silence, I had said everything I could think of saying. There was a sound like doors locking all around the Chapel. I knew that was impossible because the Chapel was never locked. I ran to the side door near the pew where I was sitting in and pushed; it didn't open. I tried the back doors; they didn't open. These doors had door-bars on them and should open even if they had been accidentally locked. I was on my way to the Altar to see if the Altar door would open into the main building. I was midway to the front of the Chapel when the entire Chapel became as bright as the sun. I did what any teenage boy would have done, I slid under the pews to hide. Then there was a voice echoing throughout the Chapel: "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob; I am the God and Father of Jesus of Nazareth, your Savior and Risen Lord. Into My Presence, you come now. Take off your shoes and socks, for you are standing on Holy Ground." I did. The Voice continued: "Be not afraid, I Am, Who I Am, I know your name and I have known your name from the time you were conceived in your mother's womb. I have heard your prayers and I have seen your heart. I watched you grow from a child to a man. There is nothing you have done that I do not know. I have been with you from birth and will be with you till the end of life. For this you were born, to take the Cross of My Christ and lift it above all things. Proclaim the Love of God to every creature, great and small. I have sheep of other pastures I want you to tend, at the right time. Now go and learn all that you can from as many places as you can; and on that day, I will call you again. Arise and go out from this place for your sins are forgiven."
The bright light dimmed and all that was illuminated was the Altar Cross. The doors clicked and I ran out as fast as my bare feet could take me. Exiting, I ran into the Associate Pastor, who was just coming to the church to start his day. I literally ran into him and grabbed him very tightly. He held me and said: "My son, you have to tell me what happened here overnight. I saw the light and I watch it go out, then you appeared. Tell me about what happened." The best time frame, Brother Walt Porter and I could establish was that I went into the Chapel around 5:30 pm in the evening and came out around 6:30 am the next morning. I will never forget this encounter with my God and heavenly Father. Brother Walt went with me to share my story with the Bishop. From that time forward the bishops of the church were always supportive of my endeavors. The church paid for all of my education for many years. God kept His promise and when He calls I will keep mine.
This is the story of my calling. Even now, all I can testify to is that I am a sinner saved only by the Grace of God through Jesus His Christ. Thanks be to God.