Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

Bishop's Writing / Enews June

June 21, 2023

Dear Friends:


Summer is upon us, and it’s clear we’re all eager to get a break and get outside. I hope, Canadian forest fires notwithstanding, that you get a chance to rest and reconnect with God’s beautiful creation.


One group that will not get the chance to take time off is our Discernment and Nominating Committee, which is hard at work preparing a profile for our Diocese and which will be seeking nominees for our next bishop. The Committee will be meeting regularly and, hopefully, will be reviewing the many candidates who come forward in July and August.


In order for there to be many candidates, we all have a job to do. That job is to think about Episcopal priests we know and, if we think they have what we need, to invite them to consider applying for election as our bishop.


Serving as a bishop is a daunting prospect. Many clergy reject the idea out of hand. It’s a very different ministry from parish ministry. It has significant administrative and teaching requirements. The bishop both pastors the clergy and holds them accountable to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church. Serving as bishop requires both close personal relationships and the ability to be clear about roles and boundaries. It requires a certain humility, a willingness to take risks, a willingness to be vulnerable, and a willingness to learn. Folks who are looking to “climb the ladder” may not be the best candidates. Those who love God and the church, who love their parishioners, who are willing to learn and to change, may be better candidates.


A person can’t be a candidate for bishop without being “all in.” The people we nominate need to be people who will serve if elected. They need to be fully committed to the process and willing to discern with us if God is calling them to Rochester. Many of the people we invite will have to wrestle with the question of being “all in.” So contacting them early and giving them time to wrestle is very important.


My request to you is that you think about priests you know and consider having a conversation with them. Point them to our bishop search website. Ask them to look at our profile. Encourage them to think about offering themselves as candidates for the IX Bishop of Rochester.


And speaking of candidates… The Diocese needs lay candidates for nearly every office to be elected in October and clergy for several offices. We are a small diocese, and our attention is taken by the Episcopal Transition process. But we will need functioning leadership groups when the new bishop arrives. Please consider running for an office or encouraging someone you know to do so. It will be fun and interesting to work with the new bishop as they get to know us. Perhaps you will get a chance to shape the next steps in the life of our diocese.


I began by mentioning the forest wildfires burning in eastern Canada, but I don’t want to make a joke of it. I know that many of us were stunned to awaken to orange skies on June 7 and 8. Although smoky skies have happened throughout the West, we in the East have largely been spared the climate stresses much of the rest of the nation has endured. We have abundant water. We have green landscapes. A really hot day for us is in the 90’s. We have been spared the water rationing, the wildfires, the floods, and the multi-day 100+ temperatures that have become all too normal in much of the country. Yet clearly, we are not exempt. Our winters have become quite mild, too mild to kill the deer ticks. We have had official drought periods during the last couple of summers. People are beginning to move here to escape the climate extremes of other places.


Climate change impacts us all, and our call as Christians is to give voice to God’s imperative to care for the earth. The Episcopal Church is inviting us to consider how our churches can be role models for living lightly on the earth. We are invited to try to become carbon neutral by 2030. We are invited to pray for the earth and all its inhabitants. We are invited to proclaim that “God looked on all he had made and, behold, it was very good.” As you enjoy your time of renewal this summer, as you perhaps get time outside in a beautiful place, may you consider how you can assist in renewing the earth.