Today’s post is the third of five this week (one each day, in no particular order) that are “letters to the people of
” from the
nominees for bishop. Today’s letter is from the Rev. Jennifer Pedrick, rector
of Church of the Epiphany in Rumford, R.I. Rhode Island
It is a privilege to be on this journey of discernment and now to be included among the bishop nominees. We have been asked to write about our changing perceptions of the diocese and our sense of call to this ministry. I write from my perspective as a local candidate, having lived and served here since I was called to the priesthood. I have seen the diocese with fresh eyes over the last few years and especially since beginning this discernment for the episcopate. This is partly because I have been cultivating and sharing a vision for diocesan change, with a focus on mission, discipleship, community building and strategy, and I believe this is beginning to take root and grow. My perceptions are changing because our diocese is changing. My perceptions are also changing because personally and professionally I have been growing.
Since entering this process, I have seen several parishes and missions make some bold choices as they have struggled with declining membership and resources. For example, there have been some faithful and difficult discussions among the churches in
. Recently they have each had the
courage either to engage their current mission with greater commitment or to
explore merger. This is a vulnerable and exciting time for all four of these
churches. As someone discerning the office of bishop, I have been able to
envision how I could offer guidance, practical wisdom and pastoral care as they
move forward. They are grappling with realities and possibilities with which I
have experience and great passion. I have led parishes through merger,
numerical and spiritual growth, and deepening discipleship. In my parish and in
our diocese, I have fostered a vision and commitment to mission. I would be
energized by doing the work of encouraging and challenging these congregations
to become who God is calling them to be. Cranston
At our recent diocesan convocation we shared a wonderful weekend of worship, fellowship and learning. Over the two days ministers from more than 30 parishes contributed ministry in the form of leading worship, offering food and hospitality, or leading workshops. Close to 350 of us were together, and it was a joyful experience of giving and receiving, feeding and being fed. The grace of this continues as new mission ideas, friendships and ministries are emerging. Along with the Mission Task Force, who planned and led this event, I am excited by the possibilities for our future diocesan mission. As a nominee for bishop, I can imagine a diocesan culture where vision is inspired by God and shared by many, and I would like to lead that change.
I have been given so much through this discernment experience so far. Thanks to the members of the diocese for being yourselves, the Search & Nomination Committee members for your substantial ministry and pastoral care, and members of Church of the Epiphany for your love and vision. I am deeply grateful for the support of my family and the presence of God throughout. I look forward to sharing whatever the Holy Spirit will do among and through us.
With gratitude and in Christ,