On November 29th we begin a new Church year. In anticipation of this new beginning I have chosen this time to expand my ministry as bishop. For over 40 years I have served as a pastoral person within parish communities including as bishop of our emerging diocese. There is something about being elected bishop that calls me to minister to people differently. I realize how important it is to give voice to the gospel — the good news — in this troubled world. I find myself paying closer attention to the signs of the times and feel urged to remind us Christians about the continuing mission of Christ.
As someone who takes Christianity seriously and believes that Christians are called to reflect often on the purpose of Christianity, I intend to ask how we can bring the ways of Christ to our world, especially to our own neighborhoods. We are meant to make a difference right here in this world, bringing the kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. The kingdom of God — let’s call this the Beloved Community — is not something we are waiting for. It has been planted in our world and now it is up to us to help it grow. What I am talking about is God’s way of doing things, with justice, love, and mercy.
As bishop I have the responsibility to give voice to gospel values while dealing with contemporary issues and thereby challenging myself and others to be about the business of salvation. Our world shows us daily that salvation is needed right here and right now — wherever the “here” is for you and for me.
We Christians are called to open our mouths and speak with boldness the mystery of gathering good news and this task is not just a suggestion, and for us bishops it is a responsibility (Ephesians 6: 10-20) Up to this time I have fulfilled this responsibility by preaching in my faith community and writing reflections in our parish newsletter, and sharing these efforts on our diocesan Facebook page. It is now time to minister differently, and so I am taking up blogging. I have no idea if this new approach to ministry will be effective, fruitful, or beneficial. We shall find out together.