To the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Easton
Electing a bishop is a sacred trust. It is not something to be taken for granted or viewed as ecclesiastical routine. This sacred trust means that when we elect a bishop we commit ourselves to support his or her ministry with loyalty, prayer, and the resources to do what God needs us to do. The relationship that clergy, people, and parishes have with their bishop is foundational in our life together.
By choosing an interim time with a Bishop Provisional the Diocese of Easton has taken this to heart. We have listened to one another, discerned pathways forward to enliven our mission and collaboration, and looked at different possibilities for the ministry of a bishop among us. We have explored our financial situation in special depth and have asked that every parish and mission affirm its commitment to meet 100% of their apportionment.
I can now report to you that 30 of our 38 churches have affirmed that commitment. We salute them for their faithfulness. The others have met with our new Listening Committee and me to discuss their finances and how they could develop a path to 100% commitment to our common ministry. A goodly number are committed to a three year plan to reach 100%; a few are not able – or not ready – to make this commitment.
The net result is that it appears that we can finacially support the ministry of a new Bishop and an part time Canon, both at modest levels of funding, along with our other staff and ministry commitments. The financial picture is tighter than I would like it to be, but within reason.
Therefor, I am ready to respond to the convention’s Resolution B and call for the election of the next Bishop of the Diocese of Easton. It is time to move forward in faith.
The Standing Committee is at work now assembling a Search and Nominating Committee to lead us to an election, hopefully in the early part of the summer of 2016. the Transition Committee is also being formed and a consultant retained to help us through the entire process. A formal timetable will be developed once the committee is at work, and you will hear more in the weeks to come.
As this new journey unfolds, may I encourage you – all of you – to do two things.
First, pray daily for the Spirit to lead us and our Search and Nominating Committee to gifted clergy who could become our next bishop.
Secondly, in this season of stewardship I encourage you to increase your personal stewardship commitment to your parish. All of us can express our gratitude to Almighty God by giving more generously, so that both our congregation and our diocese can be more healthy and vital in worship and service.
These two commitments will make a real difference.
May our gracious Lord bless this fine diocese and all our people always.
Yours in Christ,
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