Let me begin by expressing deep gratitude on behalf of Staci and me for your emails, cards, notes, calls, and in-person thoughts about our announced transition. Even the ribbing and teasing has given us a deep sense of love from the Beloved Community of ECMN.
I must also confess that it feels a “wee bit awkward” considering that the actual handing over of the crozier and placing the Whipple cross around the neck of the next Bishop is not until 2020. And as a resigned Bishop friend and colleague shared with me, the reality is that there really isn’t any space for “lame duck status,” because somebody has to keep flying the plane.
In the meantime, as I wrote in my announcement, “As ECMN begins this season of discernment for the 10th Bishop we will continue to engage God’s mission of the Beloved Community. As always, I invite all of us to pray deeply and participate fully.”
In that Spirit, and in our normative way of engaging the ministry of all the baptized through shared leadership, I would invite you to participate fully. The Episcopate of ECMN belongs to all of ECMN, and as such, all are encouraged to engage this ministry of transition.
Your elected leaders play a key role:
Standing Committee is responsible for putting together a Search Committee, a Transition Committee, and bringing forth a slate of nominees.
Your ECMN Council (which has membership from each of our Mission Areas) is the governing body between Conventions and is responsible for funding the process. They will undoubtedly be helpful for anything that happens in their Mission Areas.
The Commission on Ministry has done significant work around discernment and formation for all four orders of ministry, including the Episcopate, which will be very helpful.
Your Trustees manage our Pooled Investment Fund, which will include funds for an equity share on a home for your next Bishop.
Your Team of Missioners will be available to do what they do every day, to serve as a resource in a myriad of ways.
And my role, serving as your Bishop, is first and foremost to hold all of you in prayer that you might be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in your midst, to provide perspective when sought, and, of course, to keep flying the plane until the 10th Bishop is ready to move into the seat.
Between now and then, Staci and I look forward to continuing to walk with you, celebrate with you, and share with you in being a part of God’s mission of the Beloved Community.