“Are you ready for your last first?” What an interesting question I thought. The reference was to our upcoming convention this weekend. The suggestion was that convention was the starting point of my tenure and that I have now experienced a full year in the rhythm of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.
My sense is the thinking behind this well intended question is both true and also naïve. The reality is I have been blessed to have been to a significant number of our faith communities, met with I believe every commission, committee, board and agency, attended numerous regional and clergy gatherings, been a part of well over 400 baptisms, confirmations, receptions, reaffirmations, ordinations, commissioning, blessings and celebrations, met with a significant numbers of Episcopalians, ecumenical and community leaders and have driven over 20,000 miles through the great state of Minnesota! Thus, in terms of the “regular rota” of the ministry of a bishop I have experienced much of the “first.”
And yet, I am acutely aware that God has so much more on the horizon for both me and the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. It is incredibly clear that God is up to something, that the Holy Spirit is stirring something up in our midst. As such, while in fact I do feel very settled, very much at home (maybe it is true what a bishop once said to me, “Being Bishop is like double dog years!”), I am also filled with a great deal of anticipatory excitement of where God is calling us!