What do I see in the Diocese of Rhode Island? Potential: enormous potential. To realize that potential, you and your next bishop will need to do some essential work together.
In time spent with you, I experience a mix of feelings and perspectives. With some, I sense tentativeness – as if you’re not quite sure of where you’re headed. Some feel isolated. Some are experiencing significant loss – through circumstances in the parish, the economy or in other aspects of life – and feel demoralized or in pain. I find some filled with the passion of the Spirit, even energized. Some are hungry to proclaim the Gospel in creative ways and engage the wider community in works of justice and mercy. All of you – children, adults and seniors; small congregations and large – are valuable contributors to our work together.
As a whole, the Diocese feels a bit disjointed, even fractured; you are not functioning as a healthy body. This is not a judgment but an observation. Tentativeness and disjointedness are familiar to me; I recognize these from my own Diocese of Pennsylvania. Building upon my years of leadership here, it leads me to propose a particular course of action.
If elected, what would be my first steps? I want to meet you – each of you, to listen. I want to hear your dreams, your struggles, the challenges you see, to understand how you are putting your faith into practice. Why? In order to begin a relationship and lay a foundation of trust, to honor who you are, to thank you, to celebrate the gifts God has given you and to renew the fabric of our diocesan community. Our Church is facing hard choices but also opportunities for growth. Be not afraid. If we walk together as fellow members of one body of Christ, we can support one another and live with hope.
To grow in health, we will need to gain clarity around key ministries such as the Cathedral, Episcopal Conference Center and Episcopal Charities, and articulate a vision for how these extraordinary assets can best serve our people and our mission. How will we sort this out? Together. In prayer. Speaking truth. As people of God. Building justice in our community. With these decisions, we can honor the vital legacy of earlier generations and embark upon new ways of “being the church”!
As health in the body is renewed, I see a Diocese ready for adventure. I see the mission of the Church carried out in unique ways by all of us, as we respond to the needs of others in our community. I see us encouraging and supporting one another, seeking exciting ways to share the love of Christ. As the heart and hands of the body of Christ, I see the Diocese of Rhode Island becoming a beacon of light and hope to a needy world. I would love to be with you as a part of this body.
May the Peace of the Christ be with you!