Episcopal Diocese of Washington

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love
for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice

Bishop's Writings

Don't Go It Alone This Lent

February 12, 2020

Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts and the angels waited on him.
Mark 1:13 

In just two weeks, the season of Lent begins, a time in the Christian calendar patterned after the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness.

Lent is a season of intention. Rarely do we drift into our intentions, but rather consciously choose them. Sometimes they seem to choose us--they show up somehow and demand our attention. We can ignore them, but that’s our choice. If we’re paying attention, the call is clear.

Now is a good time to consider what practices Jesus might be putting before you this Lent. A word of friendly counsel from your bishop: don’t go it alone. Lent is not a self-improvement program, but a season to open ourselves to the transforming power of grace to heal us and our world. There’s more at stake than we can see on our own. We need one another.

Congregations across the diocese are working now to provide meaningful worship services, opportunities for deeper study and spiritual conversation, quiet days and retreat. Avail yourself of them this Lent. You won’t be sorry.

Begin by attending a worship service on Ash Wednesday, a communal reminder that we are mortal and in need of forgiveness, and that it matters how we live each day. Some of us will go public on Ash Wednesday, meeting those outside our doors with prayer and ashes. Ashes-to-go is not a replacement for communal prayer, but an expression of our desire to follow Jesus into the neighborhood.

40 days is long enough for a practice to become a habit. So why not give the Holy Spirit room to change your life by choosing a practice with the most transformative potential?  Again, if you want the practice to stick and transform more lives than your own, take it on with other people. Even if the practice that speaks to you is private prayer, find others similarly called and gently hold one another accountable. 

Here’s an invitation for communal practice from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Adding his voice to that of Christian leaders across a broad spectrum of faith, Bishop Curry calls upon all Episcopalians and people of faith to join him in a season prayer, fasting, and repentance that leads to action on behalf of our nation. He writes: 

Our appeal comes during a time of profound division and genuine crisis of national character. This is not a matter of party or partisanship, but of deep concern for the soul of America. . . For me, this call is rooted in my personal commitment to practice Jesus’s Way of Love, by which I turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest in the way of our savior. 

Imagine the potential for good if every one of us prayed, fasted, and chose to act for the good of all. For that reason, I have accepted the Presiding Bishop’s invitation. I want to do my part to heal the divides of this nation. If you feel the same, add your name and receive daily devotions beginning on Ash Wednesday here.

Whatever your intention, remember that the best practices typically start small. “The great secret of the spiritual life,” writes Henri Nouwen, “is that we already know the little steps. . . We don’t need to know the big steps to take the little steps. We only have to take one step at a time.”

I’m honored to walk with you, step by faithful step, this Lent and always.

 

Watch Presiding Bishop Curry's full invitation to turn and pray on behalf of our nation.

 

Diocesan Stewardship & Parish Vitality Advisory Committee

February 06, 2020

Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from which the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.  
Ephesians 4:15-16

Among the many highlights of Diocesan Convention 2020 was the thoughtful presentation, careful debate, and approval (with several amendments) of the following resolution: “To provide for the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Diocesan Stewardship and Parish Vitality.” The resolution was proposed by a broad and representative group of clergy and laity from across the Diocese.

For good reason, the resolution is specific.  

By no later than March 1, 2020, the Bishop, with the advice of the Standing Committee, shall appoint 11 members to the Committee. 

At least 5 shall be residential clergy of the diocese and 5 shall be lay communicants in good standing (as defined in our canons as “faithful in corporate worship and in working, praying, and giving for the Kingdom of God.”) At least one member of the committee shall be a member of a Latino congregation and at least one a member of a majority African American congregation. Each of the 8 regions of the diocese shall be represented by at least one member. If a member of the committee is unable to serve, the Bishop shall appoint a replacement.

The Convention worked hard to ensure broad representation because the group is tasked with studying challenging and important issues: 

  • the standards that constitute a viable entity in the Diocese as a parish, separate congregation, or organized mission; 

  • the standards and processes that should be applied to a parish or separate congregation that would alter the organizational identity and status of that parish or separate congregation, due to financial and secular factors inhibiting it from performing its mission and meeting its obligations under the Canons of the General Convention and of this Diocese; 

  • the role of the Diocese in providing support and exercising authority in connection with the circumstances described above affecting a parish, separate congregation, or organized mission;

  • the standards and processes that are applied in other dioceses; 

  • the effect of any material and continued failure to comply with canonical requirements by a parish, separate congregation, or organized mission; and

  • any other matter that the Committee determines is relevant to its study

  • Not later than September 30, 2020, the Committee shall submit a report on its study and any recommendations to the Bishop, the Diocesan Council, and the Standing Committee.

To be clear, the resolution calls for an advisory committee to study and make recommendations to the leadership bodies of the diocese. Any recommendations that could result in canonical changes must come before future Diocesan Conventions. Yet even discussing such matters is a tender proposition for communities that are struggling. We will go forward with great care. 

I am now accepting nominations to serve on this important committee. This will be a working group, with considerable tasks to accomplish in 7 months’ time. After prayerful consideration, if you would like to nominate yourself please complete this application by February 27th, 2020. If you would like to nominate someone else, please contact them directly and encourage them to apply. 

At the Standing Committee’s meeting on February 29, I will present all nominations for its review with the goal of meeting the March 1, 2020 deadline for the advisory committee’s establishment. 

 

Called to Be Yourself

February 02, 2020

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,"Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed-- and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 
Luke 2:22-40 

Good morning, Christ Church! If we’ve not yet met personally, I’m Mariann Budde, and honored to serve as bishop of this diocese. Christ Church is a part of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, which includes all the Episcopal Churches in the District of Columbia and 4 Maryland counties. Should you be worshipping at Christ Church for the first time, on behalf of the entire congregation and the 87 congregations of this diocese, welcome! 

It has been quite a year for you. Just last spring, you blessed and sent off your good rector, Cara Spaccarelli and her family to their new life in Indiana. You celebrated all that God had blessed you with during their time with you. No doubt you shed a few tears at their leaving (I certainly did). But then you said your prayers, recommitted to God and to one another, and turned your gaze toward the next season of your life as a faith community. 

You are blessed with strong leadership: among them members of the vestry (the leadership body), past and present: you have a great search committee for your next rector; your interim rector Rick Miles and Interim Associate, Mary Flowers are hard at work, along with many others. Will you join me in thanking them?  

I’m particularly happy to be here on a special day for the 2nd and 3rd graders and their families. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about one of the most important things we do whenever we gather in church, which is to gather around a table like this one and remember the time when Jesus shared a meal with his closest friends. He said to them that everytime they gathered together and shared a meal, his spirit would be especially close to them. They passed this practice on to those who came after them, who passed it to the next generation, and so on across the centuries, all the way to us. In church we share a symbolic meal of bread and wine, believing that Jesus is particularly close to us in spirit. 

In honor of our second and third graders and their families, I’d like to speak this morning about two ways that I believe you might experience the presence of God in your life. They may, in fact, be two versions of the same experience, for although they are different, their impact on us is similar. Both are deeply affirming of who we are and of our purpose for living. When God comes to us in this way, we feel loved; we feel prized; and we feel needed, for who we are, as we are. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had times in my life when I secretly wished that I was someone else, or more like someone else. Have you ever had that feeling? We call this feeling jealousy, or envy--when we not only want what someone else has, but we wish we were more like someone else, and not ourselves. 

Two years ago, Pope Francis published a small book entitled Rejoice and Be Glad, and in it he assures us this feeling of being important to God isn’t only for the special people we call saints: “The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best in themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts, rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.” (Pope Francis, Rejoice and Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World (Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 2018), p.87.)

The experiences I want to describe help us realize how important we are to God--as we are--and that we’re alive for a purpose, for something that only we can be or do. Sometimes it’s as if we can see into the future--what life could be like for us someday--and we feel guided to follow a particular path. 

The first way we have this experience is inside ourselves. We hear or feel something inside that no one can hear or feel. It can happen early in life, sometimes in response to someone else doing what we immediately know we’re meant to do, too. It’s not the same thing as being jealous--it feels more like a light bulb going off. For example, there was a young girl who went to a jazz concert with her father and it electrified her, so much so that she went on to study music and become a jazz artist herself. She wasn’t imitating what she saw on stage; she simply knew that she belonged in that world. Another person, as a child growing up in a small English village in the 1960s, used to watch The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, a television documentary that traced the sea adventures of Cousteau on his ship, the Calypso. The boy hadn’t known that such a world existed, but upon seeing it, he knew that he belonged there, and he went on to study marine biology. 

This kind of internal affirmation, or awakening, can also happen later in life. I remember when I was in my 20s and I learned that someone took a year off from seminary--the school you go to when you want to be a priest--to work at an orphanage in Central America. My first response was--”Wait. You can do that?” I spent the next two years getting ready to do the exact same thing, not only because she did it, but because that was what I wanted to do, and felt meant to do, somehow. 

Another time an older colleague said to me as he was about to take a job that was clearly a step down on the vocational ladder: “I have been preparing all of my life for this.” He sounded as amazed to say it as I was to hear him. I was a lot younger at the time and I remember hoping that I would be able to say that about my life someday.  

Jesus experienced several such moments of internal affirmation. One was at his baptism. When he rose from the water, he saw the skies open, a dove descend, and heard a voice: “You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11) 

Another one occurred when he took his turn at reading the Scripture in his hometown synagogue. The passage that day was from the prophet Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because God has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty all who oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” As he read, Jesus knew that they were speaking to him, that in Isaiah’s description of call, Jesus was hearing echoes of his own. (Luke 4:16-21). Another one we’ll read in church next month is when Jesus climbs a mountain to pray, and he has experience that clarifies for him what is going to happen when he goes to Jerusalem. It was going to take a lot of courage for him to do what God needed him to do, and the experience on the mountain gave him that courage. 

I don’t know if you have had this kind of internal awakening or affirmation of who you are, and what your unique gifts and destiny might be. If you haven’t, I trust that someday you will. They don’t happen every day but when they do, you know it.  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was in town last week, and he told us of a time when his dad said to him, “You know, God didn’t put you here just to consume oxygen.” At that moment, his dad was irritated, but he also wanted his son to know that he had something to contribute, not just to take from those around him. That’s true for all of us. Each one of us has something to contribute that only we can give, something to do that only we can do. Sometimes God seems to speak to us on the inside, giving us just enough to believe that who we are and what we have to give is important. And God gives us courage to take the next step on a path toward whatever our future might be. 

The second spiritual experience I’d like to highlight, which may be a variation of the first, is when someone says something to us, or about us that they see but we don’t. Rather than it being an internal message, this one comes through another person telling us what they see in us and for us. These are words of blessing, with power to help bring into being the potential that is named.  

We just heard a story from Jesus’ life when he was still a baby. His parents, Mary and Joseph, brought him to the Temple--their house of worship--in a service of dedication similar to our service of Holy Baptism. As they arrived, an old man, Simeon, came up to them and took the child Jesus in his arms. He blessed Jesus, saying to all who could hear that he was the chosen child of God, that his destiny on earth was like no other. Simeon wasn’t predicting Jesus’ future; rather God had given Simeon eyes to see Jesus’ future, and Mary’s, as well. As a baby, Jesus wouldn’t remember what Simeon said, but his parents did. It filled them with awe about her child. 

Chances are that every one of you, at some point before you could remember, had someone speak that kind a blessing over you. I have no doubt that there was someone holding you when you were a baby, who had been given eyes to see the possibilities in your future.   

Then maybe when you were old enough to remember, someone saw something in you that you didn’t as yet see in yourself, or they validated a part of you that you didn’t think anyone else could see. Once when our youngest son was about 9 or 10, we signed him up for a week-long summer camp in musical theatre. He didn’t want to go. His first choice was football camp, but it had already filled up, and musical theatre sounded silly to him. But something happened that week none of us could have anticipated. He came alive in a new way. In the evenings, he did his chores singing the songs and dancing the steps he was learning during the day. When we came for us to attend the performance at the end of the week, one of the camp directors pulled us aside and said, “Pay attention to this. I don’t know what this means for your son, but he belongs here.” 

I can think of several moments in my life when someone else saw something in me or for my future that I, in that moment, I didn’t dare to believe for myself. When they told me what they saw, a part of me wanted to believe them; a part of me was afraid to, and risk disappointment later. 

This isn’t fortune telling, a simplistic predicting of the future. Rather it’s what happens when God gives a vision to someone of what could be, or what matters most, for someone else. In the Bible, this is called prophecy. And it has more to do with future potential than guarantees. (Spoiler alert: our son isn’t on Broadway). Sometimes the word is a challenging one, causing us to wake up and change course, or to give us courage for what lies ahead. More often it is one of deep affirmation, so that we might know ourselves to be uniquely gifted and that our gifts are needed. Even when the path ahead is hard, we may hear people say things like, “Hang in there. You’re on the right path. Don’t give up. It’s going to get better.” 

What I’ve learned over time is that it’s all right simply to hear those words of blessing, to let them wash over me. They are, in general, words of love and affirmation of the best of who I am, the best of who I can be. They help me to trust that circumstances aren’t entirely in my hands to control. The French Jesuit scientist Pierre Theilhard de Chardin put it this way: Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete. What a gift it is when someone speaks a word of blessing and reassurance that you are, in fact, in God’s hands and all will be well. 

So to the 2nd and 3rd graders here today, and to your brothers and sisters, and all gathered alongside you today, let me say this: God loves you more than you will ever know, and you have gifts to offer that only you can give. Listen for the voice that speaks to you, deep inside, or through the words of other people, that will guide you on the path that is your life. 

And for those of us who might be given words to speak for another’s sake, may we remember the power of those words, that our blessing may be the very thing that others need to hear to believe that their lives are of priceless value. May our words be like wind in their sails. 

In closing, as my word of blessing to all of you, I’d like to read a portion from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Hear these words from St. Paul as if written for you: 

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ . . . And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best . . .”  (Philippians 1:3-5).

God bless you all, and may you remember how much God loves, prizes and needs you to be who you are and become who you were meant to be.

 

Bishop Mariann's Convention Address 2020

January 25, 2020

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51

I’d like to speak of where we’ve been as a diocese; what our focus will be in the coming year; and in particular, what you can expect in the first 90 days after Convention and in subsequent 90-day increments after that. 

Today we officially launch our strategic plan. I want to assure you that this plan is not going to occupy a spot on our diocesan website and not be referred to again. None of us can afford to let that happen. 

There are three words I’d like you to remember. 

Revitalize.
Inspire.
Partner.  

Let me begin with a moment in Jesus’ life that speaks to our moment. It’s one of the most important, as told in the Gospel of Luke, but it’s easy to miss, to read over without realizing the significance of what’s happened. 

Prior to this moment, Jesus has been busy teaching, healing, casting out demons, and feeding the multitudes in the villages around the Sea of Galilee. Then Jesus takes a break and climbs a mountain with three of his disciples. Jesus regularly went to the mountain to pray and regain his perspective. This time was amazing: first he had a mystical conversation with his spiritual ancestors, Moses and Elijah. Then a light came upon him that seemed to change his appearance, and the voice of God spoke from a cloud: “This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him.” 

When Jesus and his disciples came down the mountain, the whirlwind of human need was waiting for him. We all know what that’s like. Before he had a chance to catch his breath, Jesus was back at work doing all the things he had done before. But something was different, again easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. You see, after Jesus came down from the mountain, he realized that his time on earth was limited, and so he changed course. “When the days drew near for him to be taken up,” the text tells us--in the midst of everything vying for his attention and as he continued his ministry of teaching, healing and mentoring his disciples--Jesus turned and “set his face toward Jerusalem.” 

Turning is the first spiritual practice in the Way of Love, the Episcopal Church’s rule of life. We turn in many ways. Every day, as his followers, we are to turn toward Jesus--as Presiding Bishop Curry says, like a flower turns toward the sun. We turn toward one another, our neighbors and even our enemies. We are to turn from our sins and toward that which gives life. And from time to time, we are called to turn and set our face toward a vision that we believe is of God. Moments of God-given clarity don’t come every day, but when they do, the call to turn toward them is clear, with a sense of urgency. The time has come. 

Friends of the Diocese of Washington, this is our time to turn and set our faces toward a preferred future that we have collectively discerned.  

Let me remind you where we’ve been in the last 12 months: 

At last year’s Convention, we launched the discovery phase of a strategic planning process, drawing inspiration from Jesus’ parable of the sower who planted seeds in all kinds of soil. We wanted to become good soil in which seeds that God plants can bear fruit.  

Then we took time to talk to one another. Think of those 12 discovery sessions as the mountain we climbed together. In the middle of everything, we stopped long enough to pray, talk candidly, and cast our gaze toward the horizon. 

Over 500 strong from across the diocese met in face-to-face conversations. You spoke of what you love about your congregations and value about being part of this diocese and the Episcopal Church. There is so much good about our church: this is our spiritual home, our heritage, our particular expression of Jesus’ movement of love. May we never lose sight of what the Episcopal Church means for us and for the world.  

Yet in those gatherings you were also unflinchingly honest about what isn’t working, what’s missing, and what is unclear. This is some of what we heard. 

We struggle with our identity as Episcopalian Christians. 
People don’t know who we are.
We don’t have a clear path for spiritual growth. 
We’re getting old. 
Our buildings and operations are expensive and resources are scarce.
We have trouble prioritizing competing needs and interests.

These are not minor issues. They will not resolve themselves. They are why we need to change course. And our strategic plan will help us with that change.

After the discovery sessions, a leadership team worked to distill, discern, and craft proposals, ask for feedback and revise--a process that lasted through the summer and early fall. In October, they presented their final proposal  to a joint meeting of the Diocesan Council and Standing Committee, and both bodies unanimously approved it. Diocesan Council then authorized funding for a five-year implementation strategy. 

I’d like to pause here to acknowledge the Holy Spirit and thank you. We had no idea where the journey would take us, but together we climbed a mountain, spoke from our hearts, and prayed for a way forward. The Holy Spirit blessed our efforts. As a result, we have clarified our mission, cast a vision for the next five years, set goals, and identified the steps needed to realize them. Today we turn and set our face toward our Jerusalem.  

You have the entire plan before you. I’m going to touch upon highlights and our focus for the first year. 

The Diocese of Washington exists to draw people to Jesus and embody his love for the world

The focus of our mission is Jesus and his love, not ourselves. Faith communities exist so that people like us can be inspired and fed at his table. We are, along with Jesus’ followers everywhere, the Body of Christ. 

The way that we live out our mission as a diocese is:

by equipping faith communities, 
promoting spiritual growth, 
and striving for justice.

Our Vision for the next five years is

To be a diocese that draws on the gifts of all God's people
to serve Christ together and live Jesus' Way of Love.

This is a vision of collaboration, born of the conviction that God has already provided all that’s needed for our congregations to thrive. Everything we do rests on the foundation of our relationship with Christ and one another. 

We are investing in that foundation now. 

During worship, we highlighted one expression of our investment with the commissioning of regional deans. Led by Andrew Walter, Canon for Strategic Collaboration, and supported by all the diocesan staff, regional deans will do the work of convening and relationship building, so that neighboring congregations can come to trust one another as friends and resources for ministry.  

We also reorganized the entire diocesan staff. Some of you have expressed a bit of confusion about this--who is doing what now? Whom do I call? Now that the reorganizational work is largely done, in February we’ll send you a clear description of everyone’s work and all the resources available to you. 

The communication function of the diocese is now the responsibility of Keely Thrall, who has stepped into this role with her characteristic grace and skill. 

Cheryl Wilburn is now your first point of contact when you want to reach me or Bishop Chilton. In truth, Cheryl is your first contact for just about everything, as her love and breadth of knowledge for all of us in the diocese is unparalleled. 

Raihana Bashir is your first contact when you want to reach Paula Clark, who in her role as Canon to the Ordinary now leads diocesan staff and keeps us all joyful, connected, and on task.

Don Crane is the Chief Operating Officer and Legal Counsel. The list of congregations he is guiding through challenging circumstances is growing daily, and you know who you are. Soon many of his responsibilities will migrate to Andrew Walter as Don’s position becomes part-time. 

Michele Hagans continues her vital work as Canon for Special Initiatives, which essentially means that she can make things happen no one else can. For example, if you’re wondering how we paid for this weekend of revival, that would be because Michele Hagans worked to raise the money. 

For today, what’s important for you to know is that all of our work aligns with three overarching goals:  

Revitalize our churches to grow the Jesus movement 
Inspire every person to grow in faith & equip our leaders to lead well
Partner in ministries of service and justice for greater impact

Under each goal, we have measurable objectives. If we try to do everything at once, we risk accomplishing nothing. So for the first year, we’ve chosen one objective under each goal. We’ll divide each objective into smaller tasks to complete in 90-day increments. We began this rhythm in June, with the goal of coming to Convention not only with a plan, but a strategy for implementation. We’ve learned that this discipline of specific tasks completed on a timeline keeps us moving forward.   

Here are the three objectives for 2020 and our first implementation steps.  

Under the goal of revitalizing our churches, this year’s objective is:

To establish church health assessments and revitalization strategies 

Paula Clark and Todd Thomas are the diocesan staff leading the revitalization work that is mission focused. Don Crane, Andrew Walter and the administration team--Kathleen Hall, Peter Turner, Kelly Cooper, Kim Vaugn--will provide the personnel, financial, legal, and yes, crisis, support essential for congregational health. Rest assured that congregational revitalization is part of every diocesn staff member’s portfolio. In early February a group of clergy and lay leaders will gather with us to determine the health assessments and practices that will become our revitalization strategy. We’ll take our cues from the healthiest congregations in the diocese and best practices across the Episcopal Church and beyond. 

Some of our congregations are ahead of the curve here, and if you’re among them, this is your opportunity to share what you know. For those that are struggling, there are no quick fixes to reverse years of steady decline or plateau. But there are ways to move toward spiritual health and renewal. They all require a change in focus and behavior, which is not easy, but also not impossible. With God, all things are possible, and it helps when we’re clear why we’re making a change and for whom, and when we’ve identified the most strategically important changes to make.  

Here are a few examples. 

One metric is to keep track of how many first-time visitors your congregation has in a year. A healthy number to strive for, we’ve learned through our friends at the Unstuck Group, is the same number of first-time visitors as your average worship attendance. For example, if your average worship attendance is 100, then you’d want how close number of first time visitors to 100 in a year. 

Keeping track of first-time visitors prompts you to assess is how well you prepare for, welcome, and follow up with guests. If you’re near your average worship attendance, that’s a cause for celebration. If you’re below, you have what the Unstuck Group calls a weak front door. That means your members aren’t inspired to invite others, and there isn’t enough going on in your church for those outside the congregation to notice. You As a part of your revitalization strategy, you might decide to brainstorm ways to increase the number of first time visitors. That would have the effect of shifting your focus outward and ensure that your worship is uplifting and meaningful for others, not just yourself. As part of your strategy, you would keep track of your efforts and assess your progress. 

Another metric of health--this goes deeper--is the quality of the relationships among the congregation’s core leadership. Last year’s convention speaker, Nancy Beach, said it this way: “the closer I get to the key leader, the more I hope to experience love and unity of purpose.” If your core relationships are healthy, that’s cause for celebration. If there is conflict, confusion of purpose, or drift at the center, your revitalization strategy must include dealing with those things. For if primary relationships in a congregation are strained, it adversely affects every creative endeavor you attempt.

Another assessment might be an evaluation of the depth and relevance of your ministry offerings. When people visit your website or attend Sunday worship, what do they find? How obvious a priority is spiritual growth for you, and how clear the path for growth? Sadly, some of our congregations’ monthly calendars have almost nothing on them, while others have so much that it’s hard to discern a spiritual path amidst all the activity in need of volunteers. 

The second objective of our plan speaks to the importance of spiritual growth and the clarity of our message--more on that in a minute.    

One final assessment that I think of every Sunday on my visitations is the physical attractiveness of the spaces we inhabit. I know there’s a lot of deferred maintenance to contend with, but I’m also convinced that we could make many of our churches more hospitable and attractive with volunteer labor, $10,000 worth of cleaning supplies and paint, and a dumpster. Here is my offer: if you provide the labor, a makeover plan, and the dumpster, we will provide the money. 

Our first 90-day action plan is to identify the assessments and practices that will become our diocesan revitalization strategy. We’ll share them with everyone, and in the second 90 days we’ll work with up to ten representative congregations that are ready to do the work of strategic revitalization. 

Under the second goal: Inspire every person to grow in faith and equip our leaders to lead well, our first objective is to create a School for Christian Faith and Leadership. 

Across the diocese we heard a desire for greater spiritual depth and clarity, concern for the lack of resources in some congregations, a sense of frenetic activity in others, and a need for leaders to be better equipped. 

The good news is that we are blessed with tremendous educational expertise. We have gifted teachers for all ages, retreat leaders, and spiritual guides. We have leaders who know a lot about finance and administration. The aim here is to create a flexible structure--both relational and online--so that we can best amplify their gifts and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to grow in faith and leadership. Congregational collaboration is key here, as we learn to share resources and build one another up.  

Robert Phillips, Sue von Rautencranz, Sarabeth Goodwin, and Mildred Reyes are the diocesan staff leaders on the side of spiritual formation and growth. Don Crane and Andrew Walter will anchor the parish leadership track, although, again, we’re all involved. In the first 90 days, we’ll gather a group of educators to help us imagine what shape the school might take. Imagine the possibilities: Retreats, mission trips, and classes offered across congregational lines; small group gatherings that people could attend in their neighborhoods with other Episcopalians; resources readily available on-line, joint training sessions for wardens, treasurers, and first-time rectors. Once we’ve determined the scope of the school, in the second 90 days we’ll determine the steps we need to take to create it. 

This is a big undertaking, and we’re excited about it. We also know that it’s going to take some time and we need help in thinking it through and creating it. As God is gracious, last year the diocese received a generous bequest dedicated solely to education, which means we have the resources upfront to do this work well. 

Lastly, In fulfillment of our goal to partner in ministries of service and justice, our first objective is to identify a primary justice ministry in each region on which to collaborate for greater social impact

In the discovery sessions many expressed the belief that we would accomplish greater good if we worked together and lamented the fact that they didn’t know what their neighboring congregations were doing. 

In the first 90 days, Daryl Lobban will take the lead in his new role as the Missioner for Advocacy and Justice, working with regional deans and deacons. Together they’ll ask what your congregation is doing in the realm of community service and justice. Then they’ll invite community service and justice leaders of each region to meet. We’ll learn a lot from those conversations alone, and given the passion of some of our people, I expect there to be a lot of energy in the room. We’ll give the Holy Spirit room to inspire us  with possibilities we do not yet see. 

By the end of the year, we’ll see if one ministry emerges in each region for collective engagement, and if not for the entire region, perhaps for several congregations within it. There are justice concerns that transcend regional boundaries which we listed in our plan, and we fully expect them to surface in our local conversations, as they did in our discovery sessions, and that will help us organize more effectively. 

Remember that the focus of our justice efforts is what we pray every time we pray as Jesus taught us: that God’s Kingdom might be realized on earth; that we might do our part to fulfill God’s dream for everyone in the human family and all creation, that we might join Jesus in way of sacrificial love. 

In closing, let me say this: the hardest part of a strategic plan isn’t doing the work. It’s narrowing the focus of our work to the things that are most essential, and not doing other good things that diffuse our efforts. In the coming year, our diocesn focus will be to:

Revitalize
Inspire
Partner 

Let me speak personally now. Just as the best science tells us that we don’t have all the time in the world to reverse the damage we’re doing to our planet--maybe ten years--we as a church don’t have all the time in the world to reverse the trends of decline. But in the ten years or so that--God willing and the people consenting--I have left as your bishop, this work is my focus. It is my work because I believe that our church, with our vision of what it means to follow Jesus, is a priceless jewel on the broad spectrum of Christianity. I believe that what we have been given and what we have to offer is desperately needed in our time. I believe that, as Jesus said, we are like yeast in a loaf of bread and light in shining in darkness, and that  we are called to serve a wider purpose than we realize. 

I also believe that God has called Presiding Bishop Curry to his ministry for a time such as this, but if the Episcopal Church is nothing more than the Michael Curry show, what does that say about us? Hasn’t God has called each one of us, too?   

As your bishop, I commit to turning toward Jesus every day, and I invite you to do the same.

I commit to follow Jesus and his Way of Love, and I invite you to do the same.

I commit to the mission, vision, and strategic goals we have collectively discerned and invite you to do the same.

You must hold me and the diocesan staff accountable to the goals we’ve set, but if this work is only for the bishop and her staff, we will fail. I need to hold you accountable, too. 

Will you, on this weekend of revival and renewal, rededicate your life to Jesus? 

Will you commit to a way of being church together that will help us realize the dreams God has placed on our hearts? 

If so, then I am confident of this: that the God who has begun this good work in us will see it through to completion. 

May God bless and keep us all, as we follow Jesus and his way of love.  

 

Informe a la Convención 2020

January 25, 2020

Se acercaba el tiempo en que Jesús había de ser recibido arriba, así que resolvió con firmeza dirigirse a Jerusalén.
Lucas 9:51

En esta presentación quiero hablarles acerca de dónde hemos estado como diócesis y cuál será el foco de atención en el siguiente año, y en particular, lo que pueden esperar en los próximos 90 días. y en los 90 días después. 

Este es un punto de giro para nosotros ya que estamos oficialmente lanzando un plan estratégico diocesano. Yo quiero asegurarles que este plan no va a ocupar un espacio en nuestro sitio web de la diócesis quedándose en el olvido otra vez. Ninguno de nosotros puede permitirse que esto suceda. 

Hay tres palabras en particular que yo quisiera que ustedes recordaran: 

Revitalizar.
Inspirar.
Acompañar.  

Déjenme comenzar con un momento de la vida de Jesús que le habla a nuestro tiempo. Es uno de los momentos más importantes en su vida y el Evangelio de Lucas cuenta la historia, pero es muy fácil de olvidar o de leer rápidamente y no encontrar el significado de lo que sucedió.  

Hasta este momento, Jesús había estado ocupado enseñando, sanando, expulsando demonios y alimentando a las multitudes en las villas alrededor del Mar de Galilea. Entonces Jesús se toma un descanso y sube a una montaña con tres de sus discípulos. Jesús regularmente iba a la montaña a orar y a tomar otra perspectiva de las cosas. Este tiempo fue maravilloso: primero, él tuvo una conversación mística con sus ancestros Moisés y Elías. Después, una luz lo cubrió, lo cual hizo que cambiara su apariencia y la voz de Dios se hizo escuchar desde una nube: “¡Este es mi hijo, mi Escogido, escúchenlo!” 

Cuando Jesús bajó de la montaña, el torbellino de las necesidades humanas lo esperaba. Antes de poder tomar un respiro, Jesús ya estaba trabajando, haciendo todo lo que había estado haciendo antes. Pero algo era diferente., aunque es fácil no darse cuenta si no prestamos atención. Podemos ver que después de haber descendido de la montaña, Jesús sabía que él estaba en un tiempo diferente, su tiempo en la tierra era limitado, así que cambió de rumbo. En medio de todo lo que llamaba su atención y mientras continuaba su ministerio de enseñanza, sanación y formación de sus discípulos, Jesús cambió de rumbo y fue hacia Jerusalén.  

Cambiar de rumbo es la primera de las prácticas espirituales del Camino del Amor. Nosotros cambiar de rumbo de muchas maneras. Como seguidores suyos, cada día cambiamos de rumbo hacia Jesús y hacia nuestro prójimo. Debemos cambiar de rumbo, dejar atrás nuestros pecados y dirigirnos hacia lo que da vida. Y de tiempo en tiempo, somos llamados a cambiar de rumbo y a dirigirnos hacia una visión que creemos es la visión de Dios. Los momentos que Dios da de claridad no vienen cada día, pero cuando vienen, el llamado a cambiar de rumbo es claro. Y el tiempo es esencial. 

Amigos de la Diócesis de Washington, yo estoy aquí para decirles que nosotros tambièn estamos en un punto de giro. Es tiempo de cambiar de rumbo y de dirigirnos hacia un futuro deseado que hemos discernido colectivamente.  

Déjenme recordarles dónde hemos estado en los últimos 12 meses: 

En la Convención del año pasado lanzamos la fase de descubrimiento del proceso de  planificación estratégica y tomamos inspiración de la parábola de Jesús del sembrador que planta las semillas en todo tipo de tierra. Queríamos ser una buena tierra en la cual las semillas que Dios planta, llegan a dar frutos.  

Después tomamos un tiempo para hablar entre nosotros. Piensen en las 12 sesiones de descubrimiento como la montaña que subimos juntos. En medio de todo, nos detuvimos el tiempo suficiente para orar, para hablar francamente, para mirar hacia el horizonte. 

Alrededor de 500 personas de toda la diócesis se reunieron en conversaciones cara a cara. En esas ocasiones hablamos de lo que amamos de nuestras congregaciones y de lo que más valoramos al ser parte de esta diócesis. Hay muchas cosas buenas en nuestra iglesia, colectivamente y en cada una de nuestras comunidades de fe. Esta es nuestra casa espiritual, nuestra herencia, nuestra expresión particular del movimiento de amor de Jesús. Que nunca perdamos la vista de lo que esta iglesia significa para nosotros y para el mundo.

En esos encuentros ustedes fueron muy honestos sobre lo que no estaba funcionando, sobre lo que falta y sobre lo que no estaba claro. Esto es una muestra de lo que escuchamos. 

  • Tenemos problemas con nuestra identidad como cristianos episcopales. 
  • Las personas no saben quiénes somos. 
  • No tenemos un camino claro para el crecimiento espiritual. 
  • Estamos envejeciendo. 
  • Nuestros edificios y operaciones son costosas y los recursos escasean. 
  • Tenemos problemas para priorizar necesidades e intereses recurrentes. 

Estos no son problemas menores. Ellos no se van a resolver por sí mismos. Ellos son el motivo por el que tenemos que cambiar de rumbo. Y nuestro plan estratégico nos ayudará en este cambio. 

En las sesiones de descubrimiento, un equipo de liderazgo trabajó destilando, discerniendo y bocetando propuestas, buscando retroalimentación y comenzando otra vez - un proceso que duró todo el verano y el inicio del otoño. En octubre ellos presentaron el plan final en una reunión conjunta del Consejo Diocesano y del Comité Permanente. Ambos cuerpos aprobaron el plan por unanimidad. El Consejo Diocesano autorizó entonces la financiación de la implementación estratégica por cinco años. 

Quiero detenerme aquí para reconocer al Espíritu Santo y agradecerles. Nosotros no teníamos idea de a dónde nos llevaba este viaje, pero juntos subimos la montaña, hablamos desde el corazón y oramos por un camino de retorno. El Espíritu Santo bendijo nuestros esfuerzos. Como resultado, hemos clarificado nuestra misión y hemos presentado una visión para los próximos cinco años, hemos propuesto metas y hemos identificado los pasos necesarios para hacerlos realidad. Hoy cambiamos de rumbo y dirigimos nuestro rumbo hacia Jerusalén.  

Pueden encontrar el plan completo en sus manos. Hoy yo voy a presentar un resumen y nuestro foco de atención para el primer año. 

La Diócesis de Washington existe para atraer personas a Jesús y para encarnar su amor en el mundo

El foco de nuestra misión es Jesús y su amor. Las comunidades de fe existen para que las personas como nosotros podamos ser inspiradas y alimentadas en su mesa. Nuestra misión es enfocarnos en Él, no en nosotros mismos. Nosotros somos, junto con los seguidores de Jesús en todo lugar, el Cuerpo de Cristo. 

La forma en que vivimos nuestra misión como diócesis es (decimos juntos)

Formando comunidades de fe, 
promoviendo el crecimiento espiritual 
y luchando por la justicia.

Nuestra visión para los próximos cinco años es:

Ser una diócesis que hace uso de los dones del pueblo de Dios
para servir a Cristo juntos y para vivir el Camino del Amor de Jesús. 

Esta es una visión de colaboración, nacida de la convicción de que Dios ya ha dado todo lo que necesitamos para que nuestras congregaciones florezcan. Todo en lo que basamos nuestro fundamento es en nuestra relación con Cristo y con los otros. 

Ese fundamento es en lo que estamos invirtiendo ahora. 

Durante la adoración enfatizamos en una expresión de nuestra inversión en las relaciones con la comisión de los deanes regionales. Dirigidos por Andrew Walter, el Canónigo de Colaboración Estratégica y ayudado por el personal diocesano, los deanes regionales harán el trabajo necesario para reunir, conectar y crear puentes para que congregaciones vecinas lleguen a confiar mutuamente como amigas y a compartir  recursos para el ministerio. 

También hemos reorganizado todo el personal diocesano. Algunos de ustedes han expresado un poco de confusión sobre quién está haciendo qué o a quién debo llamar. Ahora que el trabajo de reorganización está hecho casi completamente, en Febrero les enviaremos una descripción clara del área de trabajo de cada uno y todos los recursos que están disponibles para ustedes. 

Las funciones de comunicación de la diócesis son responsabilidad de Keely Thrall, quien ha asumido esta función con su característica gracia y habilidad. 

Cheryl Wilburn es la persona de contacto cuando quien contactarme a mí o a Paula Clark, quien en su rol de Canóniga del Ordinario lidera el personal diocesano y nos mantiene alegres, conectados y enfocados. 

Don Crane es el Oficial de Operaciones y Consejero Legal. La lista de congregaciones con desafíos a las que él está guiando está creciendo diariamente. Ustedes saben quiénes son. Muy pronto algunas de estas responsabilidades serán transferidas a Andrew Walter ya que la posición de Don será a tiempo parcial. 

Michele Hagans continúa su vital trabajo como Canóniga de Iniciativas Especiales, lo cual significa esencialmente que ella puede hacer cosas que nadie más puede hacer. Por ejemplo, si te estás preguntando cómo pagamos por este fin de semana de avivamiento, la respuesta es que pudimos hacerlo porque Michele Hagans trabajó recaudando ese dinero. 

Hoy, lo que es importante que ustedes sepan, es que todo nuestro trabajo está conectado con las tres metas: 

Revitalizar nuestras iglesias para hacer crecer el movimiento de Jesús 
Inspirar a cada persona a crecer en la fe y formar a nuestros líderes para que lideren bien 
Acompañarnos en ministerios de servicio y justicia para lograr un impacto mayor 

Tenemos objetivos medibles bajo cada meta. Pero si intentamos hacer todo a la vez, enfrentamos el riesgo de no lograr nada. Así que para el primer año hemos escogido un objetivo de cada meta. Dividiremos cada objetivo en tareas más pequeñas que completaremos en ciclos de 90 días. Ya comenzamos este ritmo en junio con la meta de venir a la Convención no solo con un plan, sino con una estrategia de implementación. Hemos aprendido que esta disciplina de tareas especìficas terminadas en un tiempo específico ayudará a mantenernos en el camino.  

Aquí están los tres objetivos para el 2020 y nuestros primeros pasos de implementación. 

Bajo la meta de revitalizar nuestras iglesias, el objetivo de este año es

Realizar evaluaciones de la salud de la iglesia y estrategias de revitalización 

Paula Clark y Todd Thomas son los representantes del personal diocesano que liderarán el trabajo de revitalización enfocado en la misión. Don Crane, Andrew Walter y el equipo administrativo (Kathleen Hall, Peter Turner, Kelly Cooper and Kim Vaughn) proveerán la ayuda de personal, financiera, legal y sí, la ayuda en medio de las crisis, lo cual es fundamental para la salud congregacional. Esto implica que la revitalización congregacional es parte de las funciones de cada uno de los miembros del personal diocesano. A inicios de febrero un grupo de trabajo de clérigos y líderes laicos se reunirá para determinar la evaluación de la salud y las prácticas que se convertirán en nuestra estrategia de revitalización diocesana. Tomaremos ejemplos de las congregaciones más saludables en la diócesis y de las mejores prácticas en la Iglesia Episcopal y más allá. 

Algunas de nuestras congregaciones están adelantadas en este camino, y si formas parte de una de ellas, esta es tu oportunidad para compartir lo que sabes. Para quienes están teniendo dificultades, no hay soluciones rápidas para revertir años de declive o estancamiento continuo. Pero hay formas de continuar caminando hacia la salud espiritual y la renovación. Todas ellas requieren un cambio en el enfoque y en el comportamiento, lo cual no es fácil, pero tampoco imposible. Con Dios, todas las cosas son posibles y siempre ayuda cuando estamos claros por qué y para quién estamos haciendo los cambios.    

Aquí presento algunos ejemplos de lo que esas evaluaciones y estrategias podrán incluir. 

Una es mantener información de cuántos visitantes por primera vez llegan a la congregación en un año. Hemos aprendido que una cifra saludable a alcanzar es que el número de visitantes por primera vez en un año sea igual al promedio de asistencia los domingos. Por ejemplo, si tu promedio de asistencia es 100, entonces querrás haber recibido 100 visitantes por primera vez en el año.   

Lo que esto nos ayuda a evaluar es cuán bien estamos preparados para dar la bienvenida y mantener una relación con quienes nos visitan. Si estás cerca del promedio de asistencia, esto es un motivo de celebración. Si estás por debajo, entonces tienes lo que el grupo Unstuck llama una “Puerta Principal” débil. Eso significa que tus miembros no están inspirados en invitar a otros y que no está sucediendo mucho que atraiga la atención de quienes no pertenecen a tu congregación. Tú tendrás que identificar como parte de tu estrategia, las formas de aumentar el número de visitantes por primera vez. Eso puede tener el efecto de cambiar el enfoque hacia afuera y asegurarse que tu adoración sea edificante y significativa para los otros y no solo para ti. Tú podrás mantener información de tu esfuerzo y evaluar tu progreso.  

Otro indicio de salud--esta va màs a lo profundo--es la calidad de las relaciones y el sentido de propósito común entre el grupo de líderes de la congregación. La presentadora de la convención el año pasado, Nancy Beach, lo dijo de esta forma: “mientras más cerca estamos del liderazgo de la congregación, más espero encontrar una experiencia de amor y unidad de propósito.” Si tus líderes principales tienen relaciones saludables, este es un motivo de celebración. Si hay conflictos, confusión sobre el propósito común o confusión en el centro, tu estrategia de revitalización deberá incluir tratar este asunto. Si las relaciones primarias en una congregación están dañadas, esto afecta negativamente cada esfuerzo creativo que intentes. 

Otra evaluación debe ser una evaluación honesta sobre la profundidad y relevancia de las ofertas de ministerios. Cuando las personas visitan tu sitio web o la adoración dominical, ¿qué están encontrando? ¿Cuán obvia es la prioridad de crecimiento espiritual para ti y cuán claro es ese camino? Los calendarios mensuales de algunas de nuestras congregaciones están casi vacíos, mientras otras tienen tanto que es difícil discernir un camino espiritual entre tantas actividades en necesidad de voluntarios. 

El segundo objetivo de nuestro plan tiene que ver con la importancia del crecimiento espiritual y con la claridad de nuestro mensaje - más sobre esto en un minuto.  

Una evaluación final que veo cada domingo en mis visitas domicales es la atracción física de los espacios que habitamos. Yo sé que hay mucho de mantenimiento postergado contra el cual luchar, pero estoy convencida que podemos hacer de nuestras iglesias lugares más abiertos y atractivos con dos fines de semana de trabajo voluntario y un valor de $10,000 en implementos de limpieza, pintura y espacio para botar basura. Aquí está mi oferta: si ustedes proveen la mano de obra, una propuesta y un contenedor de basura, nosotros proveeremos el dinero.  

Nuestro primer plan de acción en los primeros 90 días es identificar las evaluaciones, prácticas y objetivos que serán nuestra estrategia de revitalización diocesana. Las compartiremos con todos y en el segundo bloque de 90 días estaremos buscando diez congregaciones que estén listas para enrolarse en su propio proceso estratégico.   

Bajo la segunda meta: Inspirar a cada persona a crecer en fe y formar a nuestros líderes para que lideren bien, nuestro primer objetivo es crear la Escuela de Fe y Liderazgo Cristiano.  

Hemos escuchado por toda la diócesis el deseo de una mayor profundidad y claridad espiritual, así como preocupaciones sobre la falta de recursos en algunas congregaciones y el sentido de actividad frenética en otros, así como la necesidad de líderes mejor formados.  

La buena noticia es que estamos bendecidos con expertos en educación tremendos. Tenemos maestros talentosos de todas las edades, líderes de retiros y guías espirituales. El objetivo aquí es crear una estructura flexible - presencial y en línea - para amplificar mejor sus dones y asegurarnos que todos tengan la oportunidad de crecer en fe y liderazgo. La colaboración de las congregaciones es fundamental aquí mientras aprendemos a compartir recursos y a ayudarnos unos a otros.  

Robert Phillips, Sue von Rautencranz, Sarabeth Goodwin y Mildred Reyes son los líderes del personal diocesano en este esfuerzo. Don Crane y Andrew Walter llevarán la información sobre el liderazgo de las parroquias, aunque, repito, todos estamos involucrados. En los primeros 90 días reuniremos a un grupo de educadores para que nos ayuden a imaginar qué forma tendrá esta escuela. Imaginen las posibilidades: retiros, viajes de misión, clases disponibles para las congregaciones, encuentros de pequeños grupos en los barrios, recursos disponibles en internet, sesiones conjuntas  de entrenamiento para guardianes y tesoreros y rectores novatos. Una vez que hayamos determinado amplitud de la escuela, en el segundo bloque de 90 días determinaremos los pasos que debemos tomar para crearla.

Esta es una gran tarea y estamos emocionados por ella. También sabemos que tomará algún tiempo y necesitaremos ayuda en su preparación y creación. Como Dios es un Dios de gracia, el año pasado la diócesis recibió una ofrenda generosa dedicada exclusivamente para educación, lo cual significa que tenemos los recursos disponibles para este trabajo.  

Finalmente, en cumplimiento con nuestra última meta de acompañarnos en ministerios de servicio y justicia, nuestro primer objetivo es identificar un ministerio de justicia primario en cada región en el cual colaborar para lograr un impacto social mayor. 

En las sesiones de descubrimiento muchos expresaron la creencia de que podemos lograr un bien mayor si trabajamos juntos. Y otros se lamentaron de no conocer lo que estaba sucediendo en sus congregaciones vecinas. 

En los primeros 90 días, Daryl Lobban tomará el liderazgo de este esfuerzo de acompañamiento en su nueva función como Misionero de Abogacía y Justicia, trabajando con los deanes regionales y los diáconos. Juntos ellos preguntarán a cada congregación lo que están haciendo en el ámbito del servicio comunitario y la justicia. Después ellos invitarán a líderes de servicio y justicia de cada región para reunirse. Aprenderemos mucho solo de estas conversaciones, y dada la pasión de algunos de nuestros miembros, yo espero que habrá mucha energía reunida. Por supuesto que también abriremos espacio al Espíritu Santo para que nos inspire con posibilidades que todavía no vemos.  

Al final del año veremos si emerge un ministerio en cada región en el cual podamos trabajar colectivamente, y si no en la región completa, quizás por congregaciones en una región. Por supuesto que hay asuntos de justicia que trascienden las fronteras regionales y esperamos que estos emerjan en nuestras conversaciones locales, así como surgieron en las sesiones de descubrimiento. 

Recuerden que el enfoque de nuestros esfuerzos por la justicia tienen que ver con la manera en que oramos como Jesús nos enseñó: que el Reino de dios se haga en la tierra y que podamos hacer nuestra parte para hacer realidad el sueño de Dios para cada persona en la familia humana y en la creación, que podamos unirnos a Jesús en su camino de amor sacrificial. 

Tienen ante ustedes el plan estratégico, nuestra visión del futuro deseado de Dios para nuestra iglesia. Estos esfuerzos serán nuestra atención en el próximo año. Nosotros

Revitalizaremos
Inspiraremos
Nos acompañaremos

Déjenme hablar ahora a título personal. Así como la ciencia nos dice que no tenemos todo el tiempo en el mundo para revertir el daño que le estamos haciendo a nuestro planeta - quizás en diez años - nosotros como iglesia tampoco tenemos todo el tiempo en el mundo para revertir tendencias de declive. Pero en diez años más o menos - con la ayuda de Dios y el consentimiento del pueblo - yo dejaré de ser su obispa y este trabajo es mi prioridad ahora. Es mi trabajo porque creo que nuestra iglesia, con nuestra visión lo que significa seguir a Jesús, es una joya invaluable en el amplio espectrum del Cristianismo. Yo creo que hemos lo que hemos recibido y lo que tenemos que ofrecer es muy necesitado en nuestro tiempo. Yo creo que, como Jesús dijo, somos como la levadura en el pan y como la luz en el oscuridad, y que somos llamados a servir a un propósito mayor que el que nos damos cuenta. 

Yo también creo que Dios ha llamado al Obispo Presidente Curry a su ministerio para este tiempo, pero si la Iglesia Episcopal no va más allá del show de Michael Curry, ¿qué dice esto de nosotros? ¿No nos ha llamado Dios a cada uno de nosotros también?

Como su obispa, yo me comprometo a cambiar de rumbo hacia Jesús cada día y los invito a hacer lo mismo. 

Yo me comprometo a seguir a Jesús y su Camino del Amor y les pido que hagan lo mismo. 

Yo me comprometo con la misión, la visión y las metas estratégicas que hemos discernido colectivamente y les pido que hagan lo mismo. 

Pueden hacernos responsables a mí y al personal diocesano de las metas que hemos propuesto, pero si el trabajo es solo de la obispa y de su equipo de trabajo, entonces fallaremos. Nosotros también los haremos responsables a ustedes. 

Cuando nos reunamos en la Convención del 2021, presentaremos un informe de nuestros esfuerzos, celebraremos nuestros éxitos y reflexionaremos sobre lo que hemos aprendido. 

Entonces nos reuniremos y decidiremos los objetivos para el próximo año. Y así continuaremos, con la ayuda de Dios, año tras año, hasta que logremos todo lo que Dios tiene por delante para nosotros. 

Yo confío que Dios, quien ha comenzado esta buena obra en nosotros, velará por su cumplimiento. Que Dios nos bendiga y nos guarde en el Camino. 

 

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