Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bishop's update: Stewards of the Community

Unlike previous General Conventions, this 77th General Convention does not have an official “theme.” As I reflect on the issues with which we are grappling and what I am experiencing, I find myself thinking of the “stewardship of community.

For example, I am part of the process that is framing the budget.  This  is an exercise in stewardship of the community. It is coming together through careful listening, as we weigh hopes and dreams expressed, and through the shared wisdom of the body. It is holy work.

You may have heard that there is conversation in the House of Bishops regarding the actions of nine bishops of the church, who signed legal documents concerning property litigation in two dioceses.  These documents were an amicus brief in opposition to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in their litigation to safe guard the property, or an affidavit in opposition to the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy in their litigation to safe guard their property. As you might imagine, these conversations are not without passion and tension, yet they too are a part of the stewardship of the community. They are about being stewards of the community of the House of Bishops and the wider community of the Episcopal Church.

This same stewardship of community is also at the center of our conversations and decisions regarding statements on the structure of the church. We are wondering how we should change so that we can be the community that God is calling us to be, enabling us to participate fully in God’s mission in the world.

Let us pray that we can be good stewards of the community: the community of each of our congregations, our diocesan community, the Episcopal Church, the Church universal, and the whole human family.

Bishop Mathes

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