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

Bishop's Writing / Enews May 2024

Dear Friends in Christ,

I write to you as the Transition to the Ninth Bishop of Rochester is well underway and gathering speed. All the necessary prerequisites have been met, and
Bishop-Elect Kara will be among us beginning June 1. A series of in-person meetings are planned for the first week of June to help the Bishop-Elect meet the decision-makers of the diocese and to orient her to what's happening in each group. There’s a lot going on in a diocese at any given moment, and Bishop-Elect Kara will be deluged with names and faces and information. This period is sometimes characterized as drinking from a fire hose. I know that Bishop-Elect Kara is eager to begin this process, and I’m confident that she will soon be up to speed. The Consecration of the Ninth Bishop is July 13, at Asbury Methodist Church in Rochester. You can learn more about the consecration HERE.

The Transition is moving forward in other ways, as well. Staffing changes are taking place, as you will read elsewhere in this Enews. We are seeking a new
bookkeeper/accountant, and Todd Rubiano, our Chief Financial Officer, will move to part-time beginning July 1. This next year will see a number of long time
employees move toward retirement, a process some of them have delayed for the sake of a smooth transition. I am very grateful for their support and good work over the past two years. I have enjoyed sharing diocesan ministry with them and will miss them.

Our transition in Rochester is mirrored by transitions in the larger church. Our Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, is reaching the end of his term. At the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, in June, Michael’s successor will be elected. Five bishops, representing the most diverse slate in history, will stand for election. You can read about the candidates HERE. We happen to have close relations with two of the candidates. The Rt. Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe is the bishop of Central New York. The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe is bishop of Western New York. The Bishops of the Church will elect the Presiding Bishop, and the Deputies to General Convention will consent. That process will take place on Wednesday, June 26. The new PB’s consecration will take place at the National Cathedral on All Saints’ Day.

This General Convention is the second in two years, the change in schedule caused by the restrictions imposed by Covid. We usually meet every three years, and the shorter time frame means that the church has not accomplished all the tasks assigned by the 80th General Convention. Nonetheless, there are a number of issues that loom large, including the election of the President of the House of Deputies, proposed changes to the denominational health plan, new
liturgies for the church, diocesan assessments, the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and much more. You can follow the work of the General Convention
HERE. And you can see and read the resolutions to the General Convention in the Virtual Binder HERE. Bishop Kara will attend the General Convention with a seat and voice in the House of Bishops.

This will be my final letter to you in the Enews. I want to take a moment to express my deep gratitude for the opportunity I’ve had to work with all of you in my home diocese. My love for the diocese is such that I could not say, “No,” when I was asked to serve, and I am thankful for the chance to rekindle old friendships and make so many new friends. We’ve had some difficult work to do together, and though the work is not done, I believe we have done well in creating a renewed sense of community, healing some of the alienation and pain that many have carried for a long time, and preparing the ground to welcome a new bishop. It has been a privilege to serve you, and I look forward to continuing to be among you, if in a different way.

Part of that new way is that, in addition to retiring (again), I have the blessing of a new relationship. In late July I will marry the Rev. Maria Hoecker, a retired
priest of the Diocese of Maine. I have known Maria for many years, and she served as President of the Standing Committee when my successor in Maine
was elected. We plan to divide our time between homes in Maine and Rochester. Maria has begun meeting the Diocese and is traveling with me on Sunday
for visitations. She will be present at my thanksgiving service on June 8 (in Bath) and for Bishop Kara’s consecration.

We know, don’t we, that transitions are times of both joy and sorrow, anticipation and regret. We feel hope and grief in equal measure. I feel those twin emotions and know that, all the planning we’ve done notwithstanding, there will be some bumps and stumbles along the way. As my mother often told me, patience is a virtue, and we now wait in hope for God’s new thing to be revealed. Our deepest belief is that the end of things is not merely the end, but also the occasion for birth. Death, beyond all hope, births new life in Christ. May all of us hold fast to this truth and offer each other caring and compassionate hearts as we continue our journey together.