Monday, February 28, 2011

March Message

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I want to begin by thanking you for your presence and participation at our 37th Diocesan Convention. I was amazed at the speed with which we attended to necessary business and the general spirit of the event. I am particularly grateful to Dean Richardson for his convention sermon and Diana Butler Bass for her keynote address on Friday and workshop on Saturday morning.

At this Convention, we did important work in moving forward our Strategic Planning process and tested a draft mission and vision statement:

Mission: The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego: a missionary community that dares to follow Jesus Christ in his life of fearless love for the world.

Vision: Undeterred by borders or barriers, we are pilgrims with Jesus in relentlessly searching for others to know, to befriend, and to invite them to Christ's Eucharistic table of reconciliation and sacrificial love.

The initial input from our table conversations on Saturday was positive albeit with helpful suggestions. One comment that caught my attention was that these statements of purpose and direction lacked specificity. It was with that rumbling in my mind that I received an email from Simon Mainwaring, rector of St. Andrew's with the subject head, "so you know people do listen to your address," sharing with me his blog entry for Valentine's Day.

Simon tells his response to our vision statement and "taking the Church beyond the border" in his blog, "Simon Mainwaring PB." Simon tells of his experience in being vulnerable by taking a handful of Valentine cards and walking the streets of Pacific Beach greeting absolute strangers and wishing them a Happy Valentine's Day. Thank you Simon, for helping me respond to the critique that our Mission and Vision are without specifics.

The specifics of Mission and Vision will in the end be found in the intersecting of the Holy Spirit, our imagination and the liminal places that are a whole host of borders around us.

In a world where buildings fall in earthquakes, congressional representatives become targets for assassination, and dictators cling to power with bullets and blood, we can feel powerless and fearful. To follow Jesus is to dare. To follow Jesus is to be fearless. To follow Jesus is to study our spiritual and cultural geography so that we can find that threshold where God's mission happens, that place of borders, imagination and inspiration.

Blessings to you as we enter this season of wilderness wanderings on the way to our true home.

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