I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. — Isaiah 43:19
When Presiding Bishop Eaton was present in our Synod after the resignation of Robert Rimbo as bishop, she pledged to provide us with resources to help us assess where we are as a Synod which would assist us discern our way forward in our life together.
As a way of initiating this process, we have scheduled Town Hall Meetings in each of our Synod’s four quadrants to provide occasions for lay leaders and rostered ministers to provide input about what leadership gifts are needed as we discern together the election of a new bishop. Town Hall Meetings for lay members of the synod will be held on Sunday afternoons. Town Hall Meetings for rostered ministers of the synod will be held on Monday mornings, followed by a pastors ministerium on Monday afternoon. The dates, times and locations of the Town Hall Meetings are provided, below. We extend our gratitude to our host congregations and ask that you register your participation for the Town Hall meeting you will be attending to assist them in their preparations. See, below.
As I think about the upcoming Town Hall Meetings, I do think about what will be shared and how this may be helpful in the consideration of pastors who might serve as the next bishop of the Metro New York Synod. I do believe the Holy Spirit will support our considerations in all ways.
Isaiah has been a source of support, inspiration, and hope for me and for many people. The words from Isaiah remind us that God is able to do a new thing and even provide a way forward despite the challenges that exist. As your interim bishop I have often heard about what is wrong with the synod. I understand there are concerns, but I would invite you to a new way of thinking as we approach the Town Hall Meetings and the next ten months.
Can we flip our thinking as we share at our meetings : (1) What are our hopes for our synod and the next bishop? and (2) What are the strengths of our synod that we believe should be foundational for our future bishop and our life together as a synod?
Lest you believe this is a naïve approach, I do want to offer a copy of the 2008 ministry audit that was conducted by members of our ELCA churchwide staff between Bishop Bouman’s and Bishop Rimbo’s terms for your review .
Have there been changes?
Have some of the concerns been addressed?
Are there concerns that continue?
In other words, your two or three minutes of sharing at our Town Hall Meetings can offer hopes, strengths, and concerns. I do ask you to keep a focus on our election of the next bishop and the future of our synod. Do you believe that God is about to do a new thing? I sincerely believe this is a sacred time and sacred opportunity. I am praying for the process, but I am also praying for the bishop chosen to bring the ministry of oversight to all the people of the Metropolitan New York Synod.
I extend my love to each of you!
Bishop Donald J. McCoid