Hard to believe it is the year 2009. Many who began previous years with us are not with us. Many others, friends and strangers, have joined us unexpectedly; some have even blessed our journey and allowed us to bless theirs. I look back at last year mostly with awe. From the “walkabouts” in January to the election in February to the consecration in May, it all seems surreal most of the time. It is clear, however, that I consider it a privilege to succeed the good Bishop McKelvey to be your bishop in these challenging times.
Last year, we saw the two wars continue to take their economic and human toll. What we now call a recession began as early as January, 2008 signaled by the loss of thousands of jobs in the US followed by stimulus and bailout packages. Natural calamities caused by tornados, droughts, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes (the one in China alone killed 68,000 people), were only compounded by violent acts of terror, punctuated most recently by the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, and “civil” wars around the world. A culture of violence continued or escalated in several parts of the world.
We also had an historic and decisive election of Barack Obama, who will be sworn in as the 44th President of these United States. We celebrated many signs of progress as a human family: an amazing sense of our changing world epitomized by the Beijing Olympics, breakthrough in cancer genome research, individual philanthropists and community organizers making a positive difference in the lives of others, etc.
I find myself asking a question in the context of all the overt and covert violence in our world. I ask myself this question in the context of terrorist organizations being the biggest recruiters of young people in our time. My question is: “who will heal our broken world?” It is a paraphrase of an ancient question that God has been asking: “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” As an act of commitment or re-commitment, will you say,
“here am i, send me?”
Your Servant in Christ,
VIII Bishop of Rochester