By now the start up to a new program year has hit a nice rhythm for many of you and hopefully you are feeling quite good about where you are. My life’s story has often been blurred by the pleasures and pain of transition. While transition is a dynamic state of being, it is also quite unnerving and tenuous. The thing that adds most meaning for me during such times, however, is the relational aspect of life. Experiencing God’s presence as God waits with you, sometimes sits and pouts with you, calls you, encourages you, and trusts in you is quite humbling and exhilarating. I find that God does this mostly through saints who are the family and friends around you—as well as organic intellectuals who have passed on—who help extend the justice, the joy and kindness of God. This is my story and I guess many of yours as well.
This month, as the Presidential journey to the White House picks up even more momentum, we will get ready to install our Canons and commission our Deans on the feast of Francis. Later in the month, we will gather for our 77th Diocesan Convention around the theme: Lookout! It’s Story time! As you well realize, this is one of the few times that we gather annually as representatives of the various congregations that are woven together into a diverse tapestry called the Diocese. We will stand faithfully behind all those who have gone before us to continue our journey of stewardship into God’s future. Unusually, this past year we have had several opportunities to gather, to pray, discern, and elect a new bishop, while giving thanks for the ministry of the retiring bishop. Through it all, we have found ourselves in the center of a transition that will remain with us for a while.
I urge you to be kind to yourself and patient with one another as we find our way through this period of transition. We are going to focus on our story at this year’s convention to help reinforce our identity as people of Gospel’s transforming story. We will then move into an intentional time of listening to help clarify where we are and where we want to be. My time at Lambeth earlier this year reiterated this sense of connecting our story as people of faith with the story of the Church in contexts of material and spiritual poverty, illness, prejudice, and violence. Let us prepare then, for a time of gathering and re-gathering to reinforce our story with the transforming story of the risen Christ who gives us the audacity to hope against all odds. This hope, however, is best realized synergistically when we gather and partake of each other’s radiance. In the words of Teresa of Avila, “What a great favor God does to those He (GOD) places in the company of good people!” I believe this is true in our case. Let it be so….
Your servant in Christ,
VIII Bishop of Rochester