Beloved In Christ,
As many of you know, this month I have begun making official visitations to faith communities. I began with those places that have gone the longest since their last Bishop’s visit. During this season, I’m joining congregations for whatever kind of worship they are offering. In a few places, we’ve gathered outdoors for worship in person, and in others, we have worshiped online. You can see my full visitation schedule through the end of the year here.
So far, I’ve been able to gather with communities from the Iron Range to the beautiful farmlands of the Southwest to downtown Minneapolis. I want to share just a few brief observations from these early visitations.
First, Minnesota is stunningly beautiful. This is something I suspect all of you know very well, but it’s been a real treat for me to experience firsthand the way God’s creation is shaped in this part of the world.
Second, our faith communities have adapted to this pandemic moment in really wonderful and meaningful ways. The liturgies I’ve been part of have been carefully planned, full of the Spirit, and have provided meaningful ways to connect with the person of Jesus and with one another. The coming years will be ones that continue to challenge us to adapt in the midst of a changing world. The creativity and faithfulness that I’ve experienced in these early visitations continues to bolster the hope that I have for our future together.
Finally, these experiences have reinforced for me that there is nothing better for the soul than what happens in congregations large and small on a Sunday morning. The local faith community is the place where the Spirit constantly teaches us to love one another fiercely, to share our lives deeply, and to follow more fully the way of Jesus.
The time is, thankfully, long past when we can count on solutions to our challenges to come from the top down. The way the Spirit will bring about new life and new vitality in our church, and the way more people will come to know the good news of Jesus, is through the work that you all are engaged with week by week. The best any Bishop can hope to do is to do everything they can to support and nurture what is happening in our faith communities. I hope that that will be one of the hallmarks of my time as Bishop, and I am so deeply grateful to walk with you in this holy work.