Bishop DeDe reflects on how Christians can follow Jesus in times of change, and speaks about recent changes in the diocesan offices.
Dear People of Central New York,
This is a time of much change and transition. For some this is a time of excitement, while others may feel profound anxiety. The Bible tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and of power. Our faith is in God and so we can experience hope in this new beginning.
As your new bishop, I’ve had the privilege of visiting, conversing and worshipping with more than 27 of our parishes. Wardens and lay leaders have shared their hopes and concerns with me. And dedicated acolytes, lay Eucharistic ministers, coffee hour hosts, altar guild members and faithful communities have blessed me with incredible hospitality.
Our diocesan staff is also changing. Just this past week our new Canon for Transition and Church Development, Carrie Schofield-Broadbent, joined the staff, and within a few hours was actively supporting leaders of congregations in transition. And she has already made her first Sunday visit to celebrate and preach at the New Berlin, Norwich, and South New Berlin parishes. Meanwhile Tory Blum, our new Coordinator of Youth Ministries, and his wife Kristen, are planning exciting events for our young people, like this weekend’s skating overnight at St. Paul’s Syracuse. They are also busy coordinating travel plans for this summer’s national Episcopal Youth Event in Oklahoma. All of us are looking forward to Canon John Crosswaite joining us on February 1st, and of course we continue to be blessed by staff members who have served so faithfully all these years.
It is important for you to know that these changes have been a prayerful response to God’s movement in our midst; each change made with the singular purpose of supporting each parish and ministry in our diocese. I am grateful to Cathy Hobart, John Martinichio, and our Diocesan Board for their careful management of our resources, a good work that makes these changes sustainable without the need for an increase in assessments or additional one-time monies.
I believe God has called us together in ministry and has blessed us with all we need to be a living witness to the love of Jesus Christ. In this time when people may feel afraid and isolated, you and I have good news to share; we know that every human being is a beloved child of God. The power of God in us, is stronger than any fear or challenge before us. Again, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and of power.
So good people of faith, live without fear, knowing your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you. Go in peace to follow the good road in service of others, and wherever the Spirit leads you, may you be the hands and heart of Jesus alive in this world. May God bless you with hope for the journey.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York