Dear Friends in the Diocese of Oregon:
I suspect that many of you took time in the last few weeks to review the 2011 year and to look forward to 2012. What follows are thoughts I have had as I have been reflecting on my last year and looking toward this New Year.
Last year for me was about completing the process of settling into the Diocese and especially about working toward a common vision for the diocese. In March I examined many of the vision plans from the past and I crafted a working document out of the past attempts to create a common vision for the work of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon. I then spent the majority of the year refining that document in conversation with the leadership and congregations of the diocese. After a lot of input from others I presented a Mission Plan in November during Diocesan Convention.
The plan is framed around four strategic directions: Congregational life, Diocesan Mission, Leadership Development and Gospel Justice. Each direction has several sub-categories that define the work to be done in the program areas of the diocese. I hope that you have had a chance to review this document and to see how it might relate to the work of ministry in your own life and community. It can be found on the diocesan website at:
In the year ahead I will be focusing my work on making this document operational in the diocese as I invite the various committees and commissions to consider how their work relates to the plan. In my work as bishop I have four areas of focus for 2012. One focus for each of the four strategic directions:
1. Congregational Life: I will provide individuals and congregations with opportunities to reflect on and evaluate the liturgy and music we do in community. What we do on Sunday mornings is essential to our life as the body of Christ. We need to continue to evaluate and make changes in these areas as our circumstances suggest.
2. Diocesan Mission: I will evaluate and create new ways of working as a community on the diocesan level, reviewing and changing the management structures of the diocese so that mission and ministry is enriched in the Diocese.
3. Leadership Development: I will work with the committees and commissions of the diocese to see that excellent opportunities are available to develop an even richer lay ministry in the diocese.
4. Gospel Justice: I will work to clarify what we are doing as a diocese in local and Global mission and seek to identify a new companion diocese for Oregon.
As we move forward in ministry in 2012 I hope that you will engage with me in the work God has given us to do together as a part of the body of Christ in Western Oregon. I look forward to a year of challenge with many opportunities to meet God in the work we are called to do.
Bishop of Oregon