Last week I gathered with colleagues at the Autumn Meeting of the House of Bishops and spouses in Minneapolis. Minnesota. I must say, autumnal conditions it was not as it was unseasonably warm throughout the week. It was my first experience in the land of Mary Tyler Moore, Vikings, and Golden Gophers (U of Minn mascot). I wish to express my gratitude to you, Sisters and Brothers of the Diocese of San Joaquin, for sending me to these HOB Meetings. I am extremely thankful to call these colleagues, friends and I welcome the opportunity to catch-up with them and to represent you.
Discussions throughout the meeting were expansive in subject and varied in tone, they included: the continued institutionalization of white supremacy in the US, how to respond to the ABC’s (Archbishop of Canterbury) invitation (more poignantly, non-invitation) to bishop’s spouses at Lambeth, leadership that works, the State of the Church with a Commission from the House of Deputies, and climate initiatives by faith communities.
I wish to add that conversations concerning possible Lambeth responses were exceedingly helpful. We enjoyed animated dialogue as a House and spouses which I would describe as the practice of holy candor identifying bishops and spouses must follow their own conscience with regards to whether to attend or not. Additionally, for those who plan to attend Lambeth, we discussed possible opportunities to make a statement regarding our displeasure that some spouses were not invited.
The other conversation I wish to highlight was the chat concerning the State of the Church. It was absolutely wonderful to have young clergy and laity facilitate this conversation. We discussed the antiquated nature of parochial reports (how they don’t provide an accurate picture of the nature and mission of the church today), conversations about innovations and creativity in dioceses (San Joaquin was often mentioned in this discussion), and what the church might look like in 5 to 25 years and what we’re doing towards that visioning.
Lastly, the House of Bishops has changed dramatically since my arrival 5 1/2 years ago. Today, we are a far more diverse House and the willingness to work innovatively, creatively, and entrepreneurially, I would suggest, has never been more evident. Thanks be to God!