Post-Walkabout Letter

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus in the Diocese of Northern Indiana,

Many of you have probably heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. After this past weekend that can definitely be amended to “It takes an entire diocese to elect a bishop”. Thanks to the help, support, and prayers of this diocese we warmly welcomed the candidates and their spouses. Over 360 people attended the three Walkabout sessions to hear them speak. All of the candidates echoed the sentiment that we are more than a diocese, we are a Christ-centered community. They were blessed by our hospitality and warmth. They extend their heartfelt appreciation to us for the welcome, care, and prayers they received. Thank you!

Here is a link to the YouTube videos gathered this past weekend. At the Bristol and Marion locations only the random (drawn from a hat) questions were recorded. At the Griffith location their entire presentation was recorded. Enjoy.

We have five amazing candidates! Any one of them could be our next bishop and continue to build on the legacy of the fantastic bishops that preceded them. They have given themselves fully to this process and now await the election results with eager anticipation and prayer. Please know that this is a prayerful time for them, as it is us, and allow them the space to continue to listen fully to God’s direction in their lives. To that end, we implore you to give them space and not ask those follow-up questions that have come to mind. There is a wealth of information online. Soon enough we will know who the Lord has selected to lead us into the next phase of The Episcopal Church in Northern Indiana!

Grace and peace to each of you during the remainder of this Epiphany season. We’ll see you at St. Anne’s on February 6th, when the suspense will finally come to an end (or perhaps, just begin …)

Yours in Christ,
The Transition Committee

Gleaning

Looking out my living room window this morning, I spied some prairie grass sticking up out of the snow. I had planted the grass in the flower bed around the corner from my window, in a place too sheltered from summer rains to grow much of anything else.  The window angle doesn’t give me much of a view of the grass, except for some stalks that have been beaten down and broken by the snowfall. I keep thinking I should go out and remove those stalks to create a tidier clump, but the desire to wade through the snow has evaded me, so so the broken stalks remain.

wildgrass

The view from my window.

As I sat there next to the window this morning, praying the daily office, I was distracted by watching a small black and white bird hop over from my neighbor’s nearby bushes and try to eat the grass seeds. This dark-eyed junco would fly up and try to settle onto a stalk so that she could edge out towards the seed heads. Not strong enough to support her weight, the stalks kept dumping her back into the snow. After several tries, she got the idea of hopping up at the broken stalks from the ground in order to strip the seeds from underneath. Success!

This got me thinking about church. How often do we look at our congregations and see broken stalks? How often do we fantasize about shutting down ministries that cannot sustain themselves in the style to which we have become accustomed. How often are we only prevented from pruning away our brokenness by the prospect of cold feet?

Dark-eyed Junco in the snow

Dark-eyed Junco, photographed by Leora Wenger. This is a photo of a New Jersey Junco rather than of my Indiana friend, who turned out to be a bit camera shy.

And what if, instead, we looked at our situation from below? What if we asked how our brokenness might make us more accessible to folks on the ground? Not everyone can afford to live in up-and-coming neighborhoods. Not everyone can enter the church with self-confidence. Some folks may even need to be told that they are needed to help support a church that cannot support folks on its own.

In my attempt to get you a picture of my feathered friend (who flew away every time I tried to photograph her), I landed on Leora Wenger’s blog, where I found out that “junco” means “bird of bushes or reeds,” in honor of the bird’s preferred habitat. In other words, my scrappy little clump of prairie grass was the conveniently-located cafe for a bush-dweller  rather than the last resort of a frustrated gardener.

Likewise, we at Holy Trinity have been learning to stop bemoaning our location on a tough corner in a tough neighborhood. God has put us at the corner of Olive and Prast so that we can be conveniently reached by the folks in our neighborhood who don’t have cars to drive out to the suburbs and wouldn’t fit in there once they arrived. At Holy Trinity, you don’t have to look hard to find a place to sit awhile and some work to be done. Our brokenness puts us within everybody’s reach.

New Bishop Candidate Videos Available

As we gear up for the walkabouts this weekend, where we will get to meet our bishop candidates in person, check out the latest round of video greetings from the candidates. For these videos, the candidates were asked to send Epiphany greetings and speak about what they would do as the 8th Bishop of Northern Indiana.

Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

Let us join our neighbors downtown:

Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

‘‘The freedom songs are playing a strong and vital role in our struggle. They give the people new courage and a sense of unity. I think they keep alive a faith, a radiant hope, in the future, particularly in our most trying hours’’
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Come and Enjoy the Music
Saturday, Jan. 16 at 4:00 pm-5:30 pm
Main Library in downtown South Bend
304 South Main Street South Bend, IN

Sponsored by
Black Catholic Advisory Board Diocese of Ft. Wayne- South Bend