A Word From The Bishop About Formation

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Greetings in our risen Lord. No area of our common life is more important than the preparation of future clergy. It is also an area I am familiar with from the seminary.
I am writing to tell you about how I am thinking about various matters under this heading. I want you to hear my thoughts directly lest there be misunderstanding.
I am strongly committed to Christian education for all, and especially for lay leaders. For this reason there will, I hope, be a higher profile for the Stanton Center, not lower! We will broaden its subject matter and gradually make parts of it accessible by Internet.
I would like to develop our range of lay callings: evangelist, catechist, lay reader, etc. These too need discernment and preparation. I believe that these can be of special value to rural churches.
I have been impressed with the devotion and commitment of our deacons.  But those who come to me wishing to see if they are called to it have a varied sense of what it is!
I think we do best if we set this discernment squarely in the context of a variety of possible callings. I also believe that input from teachers, rectors, and the Bishop should accompany the discernment of the individual.  We are not ending the diaconate!  We are reframing it to enhance its discernment.
We have been working hard on our process for presbyterial formation. I do believe in residential seminary as you can imagine! But there will be a couple of more local options as well.
Finally, I want to stress that anyone along in any ordination process will continue without any change at all.  Furthermore the normal functioning sacramentally week to week for deacons will also continue unchanged.
Peace grs


Communion Partners

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Alleluia Christ is risen. Here is a statement from the Communion Partners bishops' and rectors' meeting. Our church world is one of debate locally and globally, and the statement expresses various opinions which others will disagree with. Fair enough. What I want to underline is what we are for, for this springs out of gratitude, which is an Easter attitude we all share. I hope the following expressions of 'for' ring true to you.

We are grateful first that we are Episcopalians, the fellowship in which we hear and serve in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ risen. We are grateful for the remarkable gift of a wider fellowship of churches from east to west, north to south, of which we are part. It is not first of all a problem but a gift! Within that fellowship we are particularly grateful for our Episcopal brothers and sisters in central and South America, for their faithfulness, resourcefulness, and patience under hardship.

We are grateful for the gift of marriage.  Ephesians 5 teaches us that the union of man and woman is a sign of the mystery of Christ and the Church in which we all share. We also strive to honor, protect, and welcome all, for we know in gratitude that the gospel is for all.

Finally we are grateful to be members of a church, following the leadership of our Presiding Bishop, wishing earnestly at this time to be at work in racial reconciliation and evangelism.  Both follow directly from the good news of Jesus crucified for us and risen. We need each of our various gifts to do this work.

A great Anglican and poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, once said we are most right in what we are for! And likewise the spirit of the Christian life is best summed up as gratitude. I hope everyone, amidst debate, can say to all these "Amen."