Such weather we are having in Portland and across the state these days! I have noticed that some of you native to the state have mentioned on Facebook that this has happened a few times in the past thirty years. So, while unusual, it is not unheard of, yet for me, this is a first in Oregon. We had some snow a few years ago but nothing like this.
At my home we have a number of trees that have lost big limbs and at least one will have to be removed professionally. At the Diocesan Office there is a bit of tree damage but at least from what I can see from the building the damage is not huge. Other Portland Metro areas were not so lucky. It is a good chance to remember to give thanks in all things and to pray for those whose situation is more difficult that our own.
I want to simply give thanks for the work of my staff these last few weeks. Many of them have had to find ways to work around all sorts of challenges. The Office has been cold, the computers have had trouble, and the weather has made it hard to keep up with the workload. And yet, they have done a great job for which I am deeply appreciative. I suspect you have people in your life who have been a great blessing to you and I hope that you will make sure they know of your appreciation.
And so, the year 2017 begins. Politically we find our nation in the midst of the change from one administration to another which is radically different in tone. Some people are happy with the change and others are not. This is nothing new and to every Episcopalian I would say: today our job is to be mindful of our baptismal covenant and to act in ways consistent with the beliefs we hold as Christian disciples. This does not mean that we will agree on how to achieve the goals set out in that covenant, but it does mean that we will respect each other as we disagree with how to move forward.
The commitment I have made is to act in the ways I feel called to respond and to be present to those who may differ from me in these issues. A few individuals have called the office, emailed or written me with their concerns over the message I put out following the election. In all cases I have responded by inviting a conversation in person and not online. I believe this is a time for us, whenever possible, to be in human contact with those who hold differing opinions. I pray that we will all continue to worship God together and work to be the church in the communities we serve.
Wherever you are please know that you continue in my prayers.