Dry Desert
St. Paul's Manna Blog

He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna... in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
(Deuteronomy 8:3)

Did you know that the Episcopal Church in Connecticut is in the process of getting a new bishop? Bishop Ian Douglas is retiring in October. The Bishop Transition Committee (BTC) has been working to put together a slate of nominees, and this past Monday, we announced that slate.


(I say “we” because I’m one of the members of the Bishop Transition Committee!)


And did you know that the people of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut get to choose the next Bishop Diocesan? No one will appoint them for us; we, the clergy and the lay delegates from each parish, will participate in an election to indicate how we hear the Holy Spirit moving.


Our St. Paul’s delegates will take into account your thoughts about the bishop nominees. Stay tuned about how to make your voice heard.


Over the next few weeks, I’ll highlight different aspects of what I think you, as the parish, need to know as we are all discerning.


This week, I want to share the Bishop Transition Committee’s vision for the new Bishop Diocesan. We (the BTC) wrote this dream for our new bishop after listening sessions across the diocese, trying to give voice to what we heard. I think it’s a beautiful expression of our diocese, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it.


Who We Want to Lead Us


We want our next Diocesan Bishop to have a strong relationship with God and a ministry rooted in the love of Jesus. Our next Bishop should be prayerful, compassionate, and an active listener to the clergy and laity of ECCT. We’re seeking a Bishop who is open-minded, receptive to new ideas, and willing to hear a variety of viewpoints before making decisions. We want someone who is welcoming of all people; someone who is approachable and respectful; someone who is personal and transparent; someone who is present and visible throughout ECCT; someone who is an energetic, inspiring visionary and who can lead us as God’s people in the Twenty-First Century. Our Bishop will be an inspiring preacher who possesses excellent oral and written communication skills.


Throughout the discernment process, we heard time and again that our congregations want their next Bishop to have extensive parish experience in order to understand and appreciate what is both universal and unique among our parishes. We also seek a Bishop who will care for the pastoral needs of our clergy and laity. We want our Bishop to be a champion of spiritual wellness.


Our next Bishop should have a strong moral compass and be unafraid to take a stand on difficult issues. We hope our next Bishop will increase the visibility and impact of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut by working with our interfaith partners and government agencies. It is important to us that our next Bishop continues ECCT’s commitment to social justice and antiracism as a primary part of our call to be followers of Jesus Christ. We believe it helpful for the next Bishop to possess conflict resolution skills.


Given the complexities of today’s world and the challenges of doing God’s work, it is imperative that our next Bishop possess self-awareness and know their skills and limitations. They must have the ability to build strong teams and the acumen to seek out assistance in areas where they are challenged. They must be a good example for ECCT’s clergy and must be committed to their own spiritual life and practice healthy and appropriate boundaries of self care, including taking Sabbath.


Our clergy are excited for a leader who can help them dream up new ways of being church together—especially in the face of declining membership and declining numbers of clergy. They hope their next Bishop will be someone who can listen to them and help them find new, creative structures of church leadership.


If this feels like you—or a new version of you that the Holy Spirit is calling you to step into and become—please go to our BTC website to apply. Blessings on your discernment process, and when the time is right... We can’t wait to meet you!

Updated: Apr 7

The following prayer came across my social media newsfeed this week. I found it particularly moving and wanted to share it with the St. Paul's community.


I've linked to the original blog post with the prayer and included the prayer in its entirety below. I'm offering up this prayer this week, and I hope you'll join me.


"Fiercely Listening, a prayer" by Pastor Katy Stenta


God

sometimes I think about

how much of my job

is listening to those

who are hurt


Sometimes I pray about

all those without ears to hear


Those who are quick to judge

or center themselves

or say, if they had just…


So…


I think about how often Jesus just sat

and listened, really listened

and validated people’s pain,

and then called them by name.


Sometimes I think about

how much of the community’s job

is listening,


Fiercely listening to those

who are unheard, or drowned out our ignored


Fiercely listening

who are hurt,

without judgement

or agenda

…just listening fiercely

to those who have been

especially hurt

and then I

try to practice

that fierce listening

taking to heart

the cries of injustice

opening my ears to hear

and my heart to be melted

Help me to do my job I pray.


Amen.

Updated: Mar 28

Did you know that (almost) all the bishops of the Episcopal Church met last week? There was a House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen in Texas. It was their first in-person meeting since COVID-19 first hit!


(By the way: the name “House of Bishops” is less like Game of Thrones’ House Lannister and more like the U.S. Congress’ House of Representatives.)


Women Bishops attending the House of Bishops Spring Gathering. Photo by Frank Logue.

Our bishops meet twice a year as the House of Bishops to pray, share resources and information, and discuss important topics. This year, they released two pastoral statements about timely issues.


Here in Connecticut, Bishop Ian and Bishop Laura sent these statements to the leadership this week. Ideally, clergy and lay leaders are supposed to disseminate these within our parishes.


(Fun fact about the Episcopal Church in Connecticut: the Dean of our cathedral, the Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, is one of the chaplains to the House of Bishops!)


Statement on Ukraine


The first a statement about the conflict in Ukraine, including a statement of the bishops’ prayers. Click to download it:


Statement_on_war_in_Ukraine_FINAL
.pdf
Download PDF • 168KB

Resolution on Gender Identity


The second is a resolution of support for transgender and non-binary people and their families. The bishops urge everyone in the Episcopal Church “to create safe spaces and shield all people form harassment based on gender identity.”


Flying the Pride flag, as we decided to do year-round, is only a first step toward creating such spaces. As we head toward Southington Pride’s second annual celebration, I urge you to really think about how we, as a St. Paul’s community, will take up the bishops on their urgent request.


This second resolution is much shorter, so I’ll include the whole text here, as well as the link to download the official statement.


Resolution adopted by the House of Bishops:


In light of the baptismal covenant’s promise to see Christ in all persons, and the recent and any actions by elected officials in Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, Florida, Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Mississippi, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, South Carolina and any other states, municipalities, and school districts targeting transgender children and their families, we, the Bishops of The Episcopal Church gathered at Camp Allen, Texas, in March 2022, voice our love and continued support for all persons who identify as transgender or non-binary and their families. We decry legislative initiatives and governmental actions targeting trans children and their families. We urge all in our Church to create safe spaces and shield all people from harassment based on gender identity.


Resolution_adopted_by_HOB_FINAL
.pdf
Download PDF • 116KB