Dear People of God,
We’ve arrived at a critical period in the transition to the Ninth Bishop of Rochester. I’m sure you’ve received information about the Diocesan Tour, which begins next
Tuesday, and I want to encourage you to take full advantage of the presence of the Nominees in our diocese. The Discernment and Nominating Committee and the
Transition Committee have done the work of discerning a slate of Nominees and bringing them to meeting places around the diocese. Now we have the work of doing our
own discernment. I know none of this is convenient, especially in this cold and dark time of year, but it is essential. Please remember that you may attend any (or all) of the Tour events and, if weather or your schedule keeps you from one event, you may attend any other. Your discernment matters and you can inform your parish delegates as
they head to the Electing Convention in February. My prayer is that we all will commit to this time of discernment.
I’ve had the opportunity for vacation over Christmas and New Year’s, and I’ve spent the last two weeks of it battling a case of Covid! Vaccinations are good. Paxlovid is
good. Yet Covid still kind of wrings one out, and recovery is day by day. I have no idea where I contracted Covid, so I have to take full responsibility for picking it up. If you
are worried about spending time in small groups for the Tour or, even, on Sunday morning, I urge you to wear a mask. Masks are annoying, to say the least, but
epidemiologists remind us that they are an effective tool in slowing the spread of infection. So, if you have the sniffles, wear a mask. If you’ve been with someone who has
contracted Covid, wear a mask. If you’re worried about sitting in a small group, wear a mask. We will not think less of you for your caution and your good manners. We will
be grateful for your care of the community. I will certainly be wearing a mask for a while.
A couple of updates:
The Title IV disciplinary process concerning Bishop Singh continues. An investigator has been appointed for our diocese and has been interviewing complainants. A
separate investigator is working with Bishop Singh’s family. The matter has also recently expanded as new complaints have been brought by the Singh family against
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Bishop Todd Ousley of the Office of Pastoral Development alleging that they failed to respond properly to earlier complaints. The
Disciplinary Board for Bishops is taking the necessary steps to provide appropriate oversight for these new allegations. The Diocese of Rochester was not named in the
most recent complaint. I believe we are still some weeks from hearing about next steps.
I’m happy to report that the Regional Priest-in-Charge work in Allegany County is well underway. The Rev. Virginia Tyler Smith has been meeting with the folks at St Paul’s, Angelica, St John’s, Wellsville, and Christ Church, Cuba. Regular conferences with the leadership and weekly Bible study have begun and plans are being laid for Lent and Easter. The three parishes and the diocese are finalizing the necessary agreements to make all our responsibilities clear and to carry this project forward. I think this is a
very good beginning.
I’m also happy to report that St John’s, Sodus, following up on the actions of the Diocesan Convention, has made the transition to Mission status and has elected an
Executive Committee. This has given some long-time leadership a well-deserved break and the work of the Mission is continuing with enthusiasm. I’m very thankful for the
good work of all involved at St John’s.
I look forward to seeing you all soon. Blessings as you continue your discernment for our diocese.