At Diocesan Convention in 2015, Bishop Sean called the people of the diocese to a pilgrimage toward God’s future. “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,” wrote the bishop in a pastoral letter. “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.”
Pilgrimage Preparations are Underway
Preparations for the Diocese of Bethlehem’s pilgrimage are underway.
Announced at diocesan convention by Bishop Sean Rowe, the diocesan pilgrimage will be “a time of discernment, planning and decision making about the mission strategy of the diocese.”
The process, led by the Very Rev. Tony Pompa, dean of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, and the Rev. Charles Cesaretti, a retired priest of the diocese and Renewal Assembly founder, will begin in earnest at Epiphany and conclude at next year’s diocesan convention, when a new mission strategy will be presented.
The process that will produce this strategy will be unique to the diocese, Pompa says. “We want people to be aware that we don’t have a curriculum that we are going to drop on them. We aren’t going to say, ‘Here’s what we are going to do for the next year.’” Instead, he says, the diocese is going “to make the path by walking,” and by relying on the gifts of its people.
Prayers for Pilgrimage
Collect of Pilgrimage
God of Journeys, as you led and nourished your ancient people though the wilderness, give us the courage to set off on pilgrimage to seek the forms and styles of life and ministry you have prepared for us. You call us to leave familiar things and leave our “comfort zone.” Guide our footsteps, open our eyes to new experiences, open our ears to hear you speaking to us, touch our imaginations, and clear our vision that we may become the people you would have us to be. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who travels always with us. Amen.
May God the Father who created you, guide your footsteps;
May God the Son who redeemed you, share your journey;
May God the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you, lead you on life’s pilgrimage; and,
The blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you wherever you may go. Amen