“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.” Phil – Groundhog Day, the movie, (1993)
On Wednesday September 24, Marla and I left Taiwan at 9:00 am. We arrived in Portland at 9:01 Wednesday morning! The flight was great, and we did all that we could to resist jet-lag, but it got us good! On Thursday I had a Board of Trustees meeting, on Friday a Council meeting, on Saturday an Acolyte festival, On Sunday a visitation to St. Stephen’s in Portland and on Tuesday I had my Episcopal Mutual Ministry Review (EMMR). I hope it all went well, and as a matter of fact, I do believe it all went well. I am happy to report jet-lag a thing of the past.
September and October are always very busy times in the life of the church. This is true on the parish level as well as the diocesan level. The energy level rebounds from its summer slowdown, Christian Education classes for all ages begin again, and talk of every member canvases begin. I give thanks for all of the clergy and lay leaders who work so hard in this diocese in these fall months.
It makes me wonder sometimes if what we are really doing is kind of like storing nuts for the winter! Winter is a difficult and challenging season and a hundred and fifty years ago you had to prepare well for the season or there could be deadly consequences. Perhaps a vestige of that time remains in our memories and all our busy fall work is done so that we can make it through the coming winter. In any case, this is a good time to remind ourselves of the love that God has for us and of God’s presence in our midst. Nothing we do is done alone. Nothing we accomplish is solely our work. Nothing we strive for is for ourselves alone. God is present, working alongside us to bring about the reign of God on earth.
As I reflect back on this past week some background detail might help. At the Board of Trustees meeting we continue to work at leveraging the finances of the diocese for mission and ministry. We are deep into conversations about audits and socially responsible investing. At the Diocesan Council meeting we learned about the ministry of Latinos in the diocese. At the Acolyte festival I participated in an event with many youth as they not only learned how to be present in liturgy as an acolyte but got to know each other better across parish lines. On Sunday I stepped into the life of St. Stephen’s and became a part of the community for a brief time (as a bishop this is indeed a blessing). I heard again in community with St. Stephen’s about the Clay Street Table Ministry which does so much for the least among us.
Tuesday was the EMMR. This is the fourth year in a row that the Standing Committee and I have worked together to bring about this event. I gather with a group of leaders from The Board of Trustees, the Diocesan Council, the Standing Committee and other areas of diocesan life for a day-long conversation about life and ministry in the diocese. What is going well, where are our challenges, what can I do better to foster better communications and move the diocese forward into the ministry God has given us. I give thanks for this opportunity and look forward to sharing the report of that day with the diocese.
There is and will be a tomorrow, a bright new day.