Each week, Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe is offering a video message to update you on how the Diocese of Central New York is ministering in the midst of multiple crises. This week’s message focuses on our our call to care for and love one another even when we disagree on the way forward—whether in confronting systemic racism and racist violence, or in discerning how we will “gather anew” in our churches as re-opening continues in our communities.
Each weekly message will be posted on the diocesan Facebook page and on the homepage of the diocesan website (scroll down to News & Updates). We will also distribute the message by direct email to clergy, wardens, and parish offices, and include it in the Messenger, our weekly email newsletter.
Hello friends. I’ve just finished meeting with the clergy of the Diocese. We had deep and meaningful conversation, and I want to share some of what we talked about with you. First, there is no doubt that our world is hurting, that voices are crying out to be heard. And so, as people of God, it is our responsibility to listen, to hear of experiences that differ from our own, and then to learn about those experiences. And once we have listened and learned, it is our responsibility to respond and even to repent: to repent of ways in which our inner biases and our actions may cause pain for another person. This year in the Diocese, those are our priorities, part of our rule of life: that we will listen, learn, and respond.
You and I together are the people of God and that is what we do, whether we agree or not. And it is certain that this year we will not agree! There will be times when we want to argue a point and that is okay. That is how we listen. That is how we learn, but it is important and imperative that we open our heart to what we need to hear, to learn and then to respond. It is also important, while doing this hard work, that we practice self care. And I’m not talking about self-indulgence, but self care. Self care means that we do the things that nurture our souls. That we take time to make sure that we’re listening with open hearts and not closed and fearful hearts. So I encourage you to do the things in your life to take the right next step, to fully realize God’s call for you to do the things you love that bring light and healing and grace to you and to others.
And yes, we talked about meeting virtually and when we would be gathering anew. At this time, there is no vaccine and there’s no cure. It is important to recognize that as businesses open and people regather, there’s merely room at the emergency room and in the ICU. And so, we need to continue loving our neighbors by wearing our masks and practicing social distancing. We will continue to discern and pray about the best way forward for our Diocese. And yes, again, we may disagree about this, but you and I are united in our love of God, and God is at work in our midst.
I’m inspired each week as I think of the ways in which you and I are gathering, the way we’re listening and learning and responding. If you would like to be part of listening or learning or responding, the teams that are gathering to offer ways for the Diocese this year to engage in this sacred work, please contact Meredith at the Diocesan office. Beginning on Juneteenth this year, and extending through Juneteenth of 2021, each month there will be opportunities to listen, to learn and to respond.
Dear people of God, blessings be upon you this day and always.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York