My Dear Siblings in Christ,
Since our election of Bishop-elect Bascom, people often ask me if I feel that a burden has been lifted from my shoulders. Generally my response is no. No, because the Council of Trustees continues to function as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese until Bishop-elect Bascom is ordained and consecrated, God willing and the Bishops and Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church consenting, on Saturday, March 2nd.
But this terse response is purely a canonical response. The fuller – and truer – response is that I hear a sense of lightness within the diocese that I attribute to the abatement of anxiety. In the face of a bit more clarity, I hear more aspiration for the possibilities before us. This change in tone is a delight, and something for us to harness.
The Council of Trustees has certainly been wearing this aspirational harness for two years now; this is the principal reason why I have not felt burdened in our service together. Now, in the remaining days of this transitional period, the Council’s aspirational view is expanding – making room for the 10th Bishop of Kansas to join us in this harness. Not to remove the harness from us, but to share it with us as we envision our direction together.
The sharing of such a harness makes the work lighter and more likely to be accomplished. It helps direct the way in which we pull; it makes it more likely that we pull together rather than apart; and it allows those who are new to harness to learn and grow into invaluable members of the team. This last point is critical to appreciate.
So often I hear people say, I can’t serve on this or that committee or vestry because I don’t have the right experience or don’t know this or that. Harness is a great way of training – of gaining skills and experience – so that one can move up into leadership and make room for the next disciple. This sort of team building also has the advantage attracting other members because people witness the vibrancy and accomplishments of the team and want to be apart of it.
Where are the teams in your community, congregation, convocation, or diocese that you would like to be in harness with? In case you haven’t noticed, as a baptized Christian, you’re already in harness with the most life-giving and loving team ever conceived – the body of Christ.
In thanksgiving for your giftedness, I am …
Yours in Christ’s harness,
We, the Council of Trustees, believe in and trust the God-given gifts that abide in the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. During this season of transition, we will not be fearful. Directed by the Spirit, together we joyfully walk with Jesus the road ahead. [Council of Trustees, February 1, 2017]