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

Bishop's Writing / Enews November

Dear People of God,

First a word of thanks for all who participated in our Diocesan Convention. I’m particularly grateful to all the folks who had a role in our Convention and, especially, for the good people of Good Shepherd, Webster, who hosted us. And, as always, a big thank you to our diocesan staff for the arrangements and the planning which allowed us to do our work smoothly and relatively hitch-free.

I mentioned informally that I hoped our next Convention might be in person. That remark has gotten a lot of push-back, and it seems that many would prefer to hold our annual business meeting online. We will survey delegates to Convention in the new year before making final plans for the means and/or location of Convention 2023.

In my annual address, I spoke of the need for a new approach in providing oversight for churches without resident clergy. The response to the address has been positive and has already stimulated a number of creative ideas. Here are just a few of them.

  • Providing regular, consistent Sunday supply coordinated by district deans.

  • Expanding the role of district deans to include some form of oversight for churches without resident clergy.

  • Exploring the possibility of regional priests-in-charge with oversight of several congregations, sitting with vestries, coordinating supply and working to strengthen the ministries of local leaders, including worship leaders, preachers, and pastoral leaders.

I have just begun the first stage of this conversation with the Diocesan Council. The Council will have responsibility for any budgetary decisions made in relation to this process. And conversations are beginning at the local level with churches in need of clergy. I anticipate the conversations will continue and expand throughout next year. I am heartened by the energy supporting this work.

Finally, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Snow!

Our attention is turning now to the great cycle of feasts related to harvest and the new year – Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. After this tumultuous year, I’m sure we are all ready to turn to the reassuring rhythm of these celebrations. As we celebrate home and family, let us remember those who are homeless and alone. As we anticipate the coming of the Light, let us remember those who are living without power or heat. As we rejoice in the birth of our Savior and anticipate his return, let us remember all those who are buckling under the weight of their lives and have no hope. Christ has come for us all. As we celebrate, may we open our hands and hearts to a suffering world.

Christ’s peace be with you.