Below is a video from Bishop Stephen Lane. You can also read his message below. If you have any questions or want to contact Steve, please email the Executive Assistant to the Bishop, Sarah Herzog.
It is a particular joy to me that I have the unexpected opportunity to serve my home diocese as your Bishop Provisional. I look forward to the next two years and to a close and collaborative relationship.
My job as Bishop Provisional is to help us navigate the process of choosing the next Bishop of Rochester. In this time of great change and uncertainty, this is one of the most traditional and old-fashioned things we could do. There is an Episcopal Church manual of guidelines, and I will work closely with the Standing Committee in adapting that playbook to our circumstances and needs. We have plenty of time to accomplish this work, and I anticipate an election in the late fall of 2023 or winter of 2024.
But before we begin this work, there are a few things we need to do.
One is that we need to pause and take a deep breath. Prince was our bishop for a long time, and we need now to let go of him. Whatever our experience of him, we need to reflect on our relationship, take from it the good, and let go of the rest. We need to talk about what we’ve learned, and what we perceive we need going forward. This is work that we’ll begin later this winter, under the guidance of the Standing Committee.
Second, you and I need to get to know one another. I want to listen to you and hear your stories. Right now it remains unsafe to gather in person, but Zoom is a great way to spend an hour together. I invite the clergy and lay leaders to be in touch with Sarah, at the diocesan office, to schedule an opportunity to speak with me. I want to hear about your experience and what you are thinking and feeling in these days. You may tell me anything you wish, in confidence, and there are no stupid questions.
Finally, I think we need to renew our trust in God. Things have happened to us and to our church that we couldn’t have imagined just two years ago. We have endured shock after shock and lost friends and family along the way. It has been a devastating time. Surely some of us have wondered where God is in all of it. None of us has any idea how things will turn out.
In these desert times, as we trudge toward a destination that only God knows, I think it’s important that we stop, like Abraham did in the Negeb, for refreshment and worship. Now is the time for rest and prayer. Now is the time for long and frank conversations with God. Don’t hold back… God can take it. Now is the time for extra kindness and forgiveness. We’re all having hard days. We’re all afraid.
This is my own discipline, to talk with God, and I invite you to join me. We are God’s beloved, even on the days it doesn’t feel like it. May God give us ways to come together, to meet and hear one another, and to seek God’s guidance for our journey. I’m looking forward to it.
Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane