October 2, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
From the earliest times of our forbearers in faith, when we humans have been in need of spiritual sustenance and signs from God, we have packed our bags and headed out on the road. The Israelites encountered God in new ways and experienced transformation on the journey. They were released into the full range of their creativity as they let go of Pharaoh’s imagination and embraced God’s imagination.
In our eighteen months of ministry together, we have made progress toward getting our house in order. The diocese’s governing bodies, financial practices, communications and clergy support structures are all working more effectively, and we are beginning some hopeful collaborative ministries that will help us do more with the resources God has given us.
While this work will continue, I believe that it is now time for all of us in the Diocese of Bethlehem to turn our attention more fully to discerning the future of God’s mission in our congregations and communities. In our hearts, souls and minds, we need to take a pilgrimage toward God’s future.
Beginning on the Feast of the Epiphany and lasting until next year’s diocesan convention, I urge all of the people of Bethlehem to undertake this pilgrimage. Together we will pray, sing, reflect, and most of all, have holy conversations. During this time, I pray that we will see ourselves in the biblical stories of faithful people called again and again to worship a loving God whose power working in us can accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine.
I have asked two long-time clergy leaders of our diocese, the Very Rev. Tony Pompa and the Rev. Charles Cesaretti, to help guide us on this journey. In the coming months, you will hear from Tony and Charles and other leaders working with them about how you can participate in this pilgrimage through prayer, reflection, and conversation. I ask that we begin to immerse ourselves in prayer by using the collect that we have developed for this pilgrimage in our corporate worship.
There will be a place for us all on the journey. As we, together, engage God’s imagination, a compelling vision for our future will continue to emerge.
Yours on the Journey,
Sean W. Rowe (The Rt. Rev.)