Our 151st Diocesan Convention is just a few weeks away, and I am eagerly awaiting our time together. With each year, my love for you grows and my gratitude for our shared ministry deepens. It is so clear that the Holy Spirit is moving in our diocese: in every member, in each congregation, whether big or small, and in the diocese-wide community we are creating and celebrating together.
We are people On the Way of Love—our theme for this year’s Convention. In recent years, we’ve witnessed God bringing much life and transformation to our diocese and to the wider Episcopal Church. We’ve tried out new practices and new attitudes through the Learning Communities Initiative and the Way of Love. We’ve found encouragement as we answer God’s invitation to love ourselves and our neighbors as God has made us. And we’re creating a shared vision, mission, and rule of life that will guide and empower our Diocese, our people, and our communities for ministry in Central New York.
This shared vision, mission, and rule of life, which is still in draft form, will be our unique expression for Central New York of the Episcopal Church’s Way of Love. Together, these pieces represent an invitation into a way of being that encourages shared ministry and life in community. They express our discernment that God has called our churches and this diocese into being in this time and place for a purpose: to learn how to love God, one another, and all creation and to share in realizing God’s dream of a world healed by love. I have invited our featured speaker at this Convention, Dr. Lisa Kimball of Virginia Theological seminary, to help us explore these draft pieces alongside the practices of the Way of Love. We’ll notice how our draft vision, mission, and rule of life are already showing up in our ministries, and we’ll invite God to guide us in engaging these practices and living into our call to mission going forward.
Especially with our Learning Communities Initiative, we’ve found that living into God’s invitation to love often means trying new things. At this Convention, you’ll have the opportunity to try two new things. First, when you pick up your Convention nametag, you’ll have the option to add a sticker with your pronouns. We hope that this new practice will contribute to a Convention community that is hospitable to people of all gender expressions. You can learn more about this practice in this article by our Secretary of Convention, the Rev. John Martinichio.
Second, on Saturday, we’ll try out an “all-day” Eucharist. Worship will be woven through the whole of our day, connecting our work together and our Convention business with God’s big story of creation, self-giving relationship, and restoration. To facilitate this all-day worship experience, we’ll have the liturgy available to you on screens rather than in a printed worship bulletin. I encourage you to participate in this new kind of worship experience as fully as you like, and to know that there will be time for reflection and feedback on the experience
People of the Diocese of Central New York, thank you for your faithfulness as followers of Jesus, your courage in responding to the movement of the Holy Spirit, and your willingness to try new ways of living into God’s dream for our world. I look forward to this 151st Convention as a time of celebration, renewal, and hope of this community of people On the Way of Love.
Blessings for the journey,
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York