What is God calling us to become, here in the Diocese of San Diego? How are we called to love God and love our neighbors in a time of change and division in our society? In a world where church attendance is no longer a social expectation, how do we proclaim by word and example the good news of Christ?
These are the questions I want to discern with you as we enter this first autumn season of my episcopacy. I believe that God has given the Episcopal Church many challenges and also many opportunities in our beautiful part of the world. Together, we can pray, discuss, and discern how to follow Jesus in his mission to our communities.
I invite you to begin this discernment process with me: what are we called to do and how are we called to do it? This discernment will happen in three stages:
1. Pray. For each of nine days, from September 14 through September 22, I ask you to pray in faith that God will open us to vibrant possibilities for mission, focused in ministry areas of discipleship, evangelism and service. By God’s grace, I believe that the fruits of this season of prayer will be known in our lives, in the congregations and organizations that we serve, and for the mission and ministry of the diocese.
This prayer guide (también disponible en Español) offers focus scriptures, prayers, and reflection questions for each of the nine days of this Season of Prayer. You may download the guide and print it for your congregation; study it in congregational gatherings or home study groups; or use it in your personal devotions. I pray that the Holy Spirit inspires us all with ideas and insights about God’s call to us here and now.
2. Listening Sessions. I invite you to take part in listening sessions to be held around the diocese the week of September 23 through September 30. These listening sessions are part of my work in getting to know the diocese more completely. With the help of an outside facilitator who will moderate the sessions I will listen to your thoughts about opportunities for community building, your hopes, dreams, and concerns that will lead us into clearer discernment around God’s call to us and our ministry in our communities.
Following are the locations for the listening sessions, scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. each night. While there is no cost to attend the listening sessions, please register so that we can plan the sessions accordingly.
We will share what we learn through the listening sessions at the diocesan convention on November 8-9 so we can hear your feedback on the results.
3. Plan. The results of the listening sessions will form the basis for a new strategic plan for our diocese that develop beginning in January 2020. The Executive Council has formed a subgroup that is busy gathering data to prepare for the January 2020 start time for a strategic planning committee. A full strategic plan will be created by July 2020, and we will present that plan to the diocese in August 2020. The plan we create will form the basis for our ministry for the next five years.
Throughout this development and staging time, defining who the diocese is and where God calls this body to go, hope prevails and Jeremiah says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 12:11). Jeremiah reminds us that God dreams of a more abundant future for us than we can dream of for ourselves, and that planning for our future as a diocese is work that is grounded in prayer, discernment, and holy discussion with other Christians, and a sincere desire to accomplish God’s vision for us.
Please join me in helping to discern God’s dream for the Diocese of San Diego today.
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