Discerning Our Common Call -
An Open Invitation to Congregation Members and Leaders as well as Convocation Delegates
God is at work - everywhere.
As we begin to embark on Spring Convocations, we must continue to address and understand our common life together as a diocesan community. This spring, during your convocation meetings, we now have an opportunity to adapt beyond how we have "done church" in the past, but also provide you with the opportunity to envision how we can "do church" in the future.
God is calling all of us in the Diocese of New Jersey to join in His mission in the world. We need to open up the processes of prayer, reflection and conversation together about our common life and the challenges our congregations are facing. This will help us have a deeper meaning of engagement with others to understand how we join in God's mission - recognizing that mission as the great plan for salvation, reconciliation and fulfillment of our Baptismal Covenant.
Let us ask ourselves...
How do we support each other? What are our stories and how do we share them? How should we structure ourselves? How is God calling us to live into the strengths of our diversity and inter-dependencies?
These discussions will begin to actively engage us in:
Re-imagining "church" for ourselves in the world we live in - using our rich history to inform and shape us (but not bind us to the past)
Deeply examine how the assumptions, language, and choices we make in Congregational and Diocesan life can be refreshed and reinvigorated. This will empower us to strongly walk with God currently and in the future, as a diocesan community comprised of 144 congregations, plus other shared ministries.
Discerning new stories to better understand what God expects us to do and be, and how we express this to ourselves and each other.
Kim Fletcher, a highly skilled Church Consultant, will facilitate and outline a process for this sacred conversation. These conversations will include a way for all 144 congregations of our Diocese to participate.
Spring Convocations will be the most effective and efficient way to initiate these conversations. This is an open invitation for congregational life or leadership who want to participate in this conversation. Please see the Spring Convocations schedule below. A pdf version is available here.
Yours in Christ,
The Right Reverend William H. Stokes, D. D.
XII Bishop of New Jersey