Monday, November 20, 2006

I just left my bishop...

after a gathering of clergy for a listening session that he created in the wake our gathering--and recess--as Diocesan Convention earlier this month. During that November 5th gathering, a resolution was offered from the floor in response to the bishop's annual address (a common custom in most dioceses). That motion was in response to the bishop admitting that he did not do what he should have done in the wake of his brother's alleged sexual misconduct while employed at +Charles' church in the early 70s with regard to reporting and bringing the attention of both the legal and ecclesiastical authorities in the locality what had happened under his watch. I wish I could say that the meeting went "well." I don't think it did, really. I emerged from that meeting with the awareness that our diocese is experiencing deep division and that the bishop has some serious issues to address in the very near future that will require him not only to speak but to act in seeking reconciliation for all those hurt by the continuing rending of the diocese around these and other issues. I told him so. I also told him that this all goes beyond what he is saying or will say; it rests in how he acts...What he chooses to do in the coming days, weeks and months.

That has been on my heart for a while now. And is among a couple of reason's that I have not posted for a time. Life seems to be pressing in both personally, parochially and at the diocesan level right now; and I wanted to take some time to pray, to sit and to work through what I have been experiencing. Not easy...And I didn't want to shoot my mouth off without taking some time to reflect on what might just flow from my fingertips.

As to the personal, Laura and I are trying to embrace all that mom's stroke has brought into our lives. We are dealing with her family and mine in some pretty elemental ways. Having change enter into personal life is something that we all recognize is inevitable, but the status quo can be so much more comfortable to live out, don't you think? When it becomes apparent that life can no longer go on as it has, and that change is a necessity, I always experience a time of trauma. The house of cards that has stood for so long has come down and it is time to start over.

Not easy, but creative. If we never changed, if we never grew or evolved, then what is that? Entropy. Death. Stasis.

So, even as life at both the diocesan and family levels shifts and changes, so also does life in the parish. We are in the midst of stewardship, and that means a host of things impacting our common life. Right when we need the most attention to what might be in the coming year, we are consumed with what is happening right now: In four short weeks, we have All Saints' Sunday with baptisms and Evensong, House Tour and wrap up, stewardship, organizational meetings for the holidays, cookie bake and Diocesan Convention. On top of that, we also have the nominating process for vestry, and the requisite "stocking of the ranks" of parish leadership both to support the place of the parish in the diocese and community (convention delegates and day school board members to mention a few), but also that precious and increasingly important middle tier of leadership in each ministry community--the folk who chair this group or that project--that will allow vestry (both continuing and entering) to do less administrative work and more vision/mission oversight.

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