An Update on the Standing Committee and Bishop Search Committee Retreat

Dear Friends,

This past weekend, the Standing Committee, the Bishop Search Committee, and the chairs of the Transition and Consecration Committees met with our search consultants in retreat. We held sacred time for sharing our concerns and fears and, as we looked to the future, found ourselves filled with hope. We learned more about the ministry and the work before us in the process that will identify candidates for the ninth bishop of the Diocese of West Missouri. We participated in Diversity and Anti-bias Education, becoming more aware of ways we need to grow as people and as a community to more closely resemble the Kingdom of God. We prayed, laughed, ate, and got to know each other.

We are writing to you today to share the above update and to ask for your continued prayers. We invite you to pray the Bishop Search Prayer in your community’s worship services and to make the prayer a part of your daily devotion. A copy is available with this email for you to print for members of your congregation and we are working to make hard copies available for your communities, too.

Please know that transparency is a top priority and commitment from us throughout this process. While we will need to keep particular aspects confidential throughout this process, there is much we can and will share. Look for regular and frequent email updates from the Bishop Search Committee, Standing Committee, and the other committees as they take up their work. Please also know that, in the coming weeks, the Bishop Search Committee will lay out a plan for listening and discernment conversations to which every person in this diocese is invited and welcome. The data gathered through those conversations will be used to build a profile that tells the story of who we are and the kind of bishop we seek. Your input is vital to this work!

A General Thanksgiving is found on page 836 of The Book of Common Prayer and reads, in part, “Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. …We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts…”. We know that this process will be full of those tasks that demand our best efforts. Please know how committed we are to those best efforts. We ask you to let it not be just the efforts of our committees but that of our whole diocese. Each of you is invited to share honestly, generously, lovingly, and faithfully in this process of discernment. And, let it not only be our best efforts on which we depend but rather the Spirit of God, who has been part of this process already and who guides and sustains all that we do and all that we are. Thank you for being the family and friends of our diocese who surround one another on every side with loving care. Thank you for the prayers you offer that will ground our work. Thank you for your openness to the Spirit’s leading.

That General Thanksgiving concludes in this way: “Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

Let us pray.

"O Creator God, giver of every good gift, look graciously on us in the Diocese of West Missouri and guide us as we discern our call of a new bishop. O Jesus, be present in our discernment, and lead us to a shepherd who will invite us to live out the Gospel every day. O Holy Spirit, inspire us with your wisdom, and kindle our hearts with the fire of your love, that we may be renewed as we prepare to welcome the ministry of our next bishop. This we ask trusting in You. Amen."

Bless you,
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Missouri

Mr. Eric Rhodes,
President, Standing Committee

The Reverend Steven King,
Chair, Bishop Search Committee


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