The following message is from Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:
To all the people of God in The Episcopal Church:
It is a great joy and privilege to serve as your Presiding Bishop. I have been blessed to be able to meet and build relationships with people around the globe – in every diocese in this Church, most of the provinces of the Anglican Communion, our full communion partners (ELCA, Moravian Church, Old Catholics of the Union of Utrecht), as well as civic leaders and leaders of other denominations and faith traditions. That relational work is fundamental to the reconciliation we seek in Christ. As bridges are built, more and more people can begin to cross the divides between us, and God’s dream begins to take flesh in a more just and peaceful world.
Together, we have navigated a season of extraordinary change in recent years. Our Christian values have been challenged and we are becoming clearer and more confident about the faith we share. Today we are far more cognizant of the diversity of this multinational and multicultural Church, and the great blessing of the diverse peoples and cultures we represent. Our life as a Church is enriched by the many gifts God has given us in people and contexts around the world. Together we are striving to live out the Five Marks of Mission, we are exploring new and creative ways of engaging the societies around us with the good news of God in Christ, and we are increasingly willing to spend ourselves and the resources God has given us for the healing of the world. We are more attuned to voices crying in the wilderness, those living at the margins of human communities, and those without a voice, including this fragile earth, our island home. Together, we are moving into God’s future with courage, boldness, and the humility of knowing there is always more to learn. For all that hope-filled movement, I give thanks in abundance.
I have spent many months in discernment about how I am being called to serve God’s people and God’s creation in this season. I have resisted the assumption by some that presiding bishops can only be elected to serve one term, knowing the depth of relational work and learning that is involved in this ministry. There is a tradeoff between the learning curve and the ability to lead more effectively as a result of developed relationships both within and beyond this Church. At the same time, I recognize that standing for election as Presiding Bishop carries the implicit expectation that one is ready to serve a full term. I do not at present believe I should serve and lead in this ministry for another nine years.
I believe I can best serve this Church by opening the door for other bishops to more freely discern their own vocation to this ministry. I also believe that I can offer this Church stronger and clearer leadership in the coming year as we move toward that election and a whole-hearted engagement with necessary structural reforms. I will continue to engage us in becoming a more fully diverse Church, spreading the gospel among all sorts and conditions of people, and wholeheartedly devoted to God’s vision of a healed and restored Creation.
I will continue in discernment about the ministry I may be called to in the coming years, but my present focus is and will remain on being the vigorous and faithful leader I believe I am called to be. God has called us all to be instruments of shalom, and we have miles to go before we live in that world of justice and peace. We are marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God. Siyahamba!
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
The Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church (TREC) will convene a churchwide meeting on October 2 at 7:30 pm Eastern time (6:30 pm Central/5:30 pm Mountain/4:30 pm Pacific/3:30 pm Alaska/1:30 pm Hawaii).
The meeting will be webcast live from Washington National Cathedral http://www.nationalcathedral.org/. Although the meeting will be open to the entire church, TREC encourages attendance from each diocese: a bishop, a lay deputy, a clerical deputy, and one person under the age of 35.
In a statement about the event, TREC members said: "We are extraordinarily grateful for the amount of feedback we have received about our recent letter to the church outlining some of our thinking and developing proposals. Members of TREC have been carefully reading the many e-mails, blogs, and conversations across social media that have emerged in response to the letter. We are hopeful that this vigorous conversation that has already begun will be of great value to the church as it prepares to take up the issue of re-structuring and re-imaginging at General Convention next year, and that the Holy Spirit will continue to work through this collective discernment to set us on the most faithful path forward. We look forward to continuing that conversation on October 2, and we will be carefully considering all of the feedback we've received as we meet October 3 and 4 to begin preparing our final report and specific recommendations to the 78th General Convention.”
There is no fee to attend in person or to watch the live webcast. However, registration for in-person attendance is requested; register here http://www.generalconvention.org/r/trec-churchwide Registration is not required but is encouraged for viewing the webcast.
The purpose of the meeting is “to receive responses to the proposed recommendations to be brought forward to the 78th General Convention.”or on Twitter here @ReimagineTEC.
TREC's final report to General Convention is due by November 30 for the 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah in July 2015.
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org
The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23. The following is an account of the activities for September 20 and September 21.
The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination.
On Saturday, the bishops and spouses enjoyed the hospitality of the Diocese of Taiwan by visiting various religious, secular, historical, government, scientific and other key locations throughout the island.
On Sunday, the bishops and spouses attended local churches to worship and learn of the church’s mission and ministry.
Following the morning’s worship services, the bishops and spouses met in a joint session to share their insights and inquiries about their conference experiences thus far, led by Marla Hanley of the Diocese of Oregon.
The day’s business concluded with the customary Fireside Chat of the bishops.
As I mentioned in my last post today we heard presentations on the theological context and challenges for mission in Taiwan. Bishop David Lei walked us through the history of the diocese. This year makes the 60th anniversary of the Diocese of Taiwan making our presence here even more meaningful.
As you can imagine forming a Christian community in the midst of a culture influenced by Buddhism, Daoism, Taoism, and variations of the same is difficult, to say the least. To their credit the people of the diocese are undeterred in their witness to the Risen Lord Jesus. There is a palpable enthusiasm in their commitment to building up the Body of Christ in this vineyard. This is remarkable given the obstacles before them. For instance, if you become a Christian you are disowned by your family as though you never existed. The conversion experience of each new member is very life-changing and is as much a life itself. To think that people are willing to sacrifice those important relationships is truly amazing.
This is not insignificant in that their culture is defined in many ways by the worship of their ancestors. If one is disowned then they are not able to participate in this tradition. It is a very painful thing for God's people to endure but endure they do. The challenge is redefining such a custom as to how to keep these two traditions in tension with one another. One by one the win should for Christ. It really is something to behold.
Well, it's time to turn-in. It seems I am getting accustomed to the time change and was finally able to sleep through the night. Praise God! This comes with my very blessing for one and all. God bless and keep you.
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A Prayer for the Diocese
O Lord, you promise to be with your Church until the end of the age: continue this good work as you raise up the next Bishop of Dallas. Prepare this person to be the pastor and spiritual leader who will lead us forward to glorify you. We also ask that you send your Spirit upon the committees and convention given the task of calling our next bishop. Give them prayerful, open and discerning hearts that they may hear your voice and do your will to fulfill your purpose for this diocese. We ask all this in Jesus' name. Amen.