Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life is Changed, Not Ended

OK, that's a quote from the funeral liturgy, so it's kind of ripped out of context. I have not died. But, metaphorically, there has been a kind of death, and simultaneously a rebirth to new life. It began with definitive suddenness when I received a phone call from the President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Springfield yesterday afternoon informing me that their electing synod had chosen me to become the 11th bishop of their diocese. But this death-leading-to-rebirth will take some months to fully play out; the canonical processes must be satisfied, and they take time.

Some hours after the event, someone told me the bells of St Paul's Cathedral in Springfield were rung, announcing my election. It was at that moment that I nearly broke down and wept. I am quite certain I have never felt so humbled in my life.

So begins a time of transition--a rather long one, actually. I will probably end up being a bishop-elect for as long as I was a deacon in 1989. But there will be an immense amount to do on both ends of the transition, so I'm not particularly worried that time will drag. At my age, time never really drags much, anyway.

One of the questions that I had to answer during the "walkabout" events in the diocese three weeks ago was, "If you have a blog, will you continue it after you are a bishop?" I answered then that I'm not entirely sure, but I hope so. I realize that being a bishop is a rather different kind of job (that is, not merely different as a matter of degree) than being a parish priest. It comes with its own peculiar constraints, constraints that I am at this time only conceptually familiar with. So that may have an effect on the character of my blogging. I don't know. It's something we'll just have to live into.

16 comments:

frcartercroft said...

“Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

The Underground Pewster said...

The Blogging Bishop! It doesn't have quite the ring of "The Fighting Bishop," but it just might do.

Kelley said...

Greetings! I attend the Episcopal Chapel of St. John the Divine in Urbana, Illinois. I didn't know about your blog prior to the selection but I've followed the blog of Eastern Orthodox Bishop Seraphim Sigrist for years and have found his regular (nigh daily - I don't know how he does it!) insights incredibly helpful.

If you're too busy to write that's completely understandable, but for what it's worth I'm very much looking forward to reading through this now so I can maybe get to know you better.

maryschild2 said...

Complex problem. But I agree first with frcartercroft. The idea of a Living, Breathing Church active in Cyberspace is not new, but always thrilling to contemplate. To be "Present" with a Bishop. Lovely. The Underground Pewster put icing on that particular cake with the idea of the Blogging Bishop, but I believe it was Kelley from St. John the Divine who may have put my vote over to the yes side of the divide. It's all up to the Holy Spirit in the end, though, isn't it? And we trust that you will Listen and Follow.

Dale Matson said...

Fr. Dan,
I suppose it is a matter of how many additional paper cuts per week that you can endure. Time is not the issue. I hope you see as I do that blogging is one of your gifts. Since a Bishop is a gift to the whole church, why not continue to share your reflections with all of us. We may even be an additional source of affirming comments from time to time also.

Sara said...

Congratulations on your election, Fr. Martins! I wish you Godspeed as you begin the transition from Warsaw to Springfield. As much as St. Anne's must regret your departure, we look forward to your arrival.

leviathan said...

Father Dan,

First congratulations and welcome to the Diocese of Springfield!

If possible, continuing your blog would be an inestimable benefit to the Diocese (and to your episcopacy)! Communication (or rather lack thereof) from the Bishop has been an enormous problem. This void has been filled with (1) perceptions (often erroneous), (2) rumors (we all know where that leads), (3) deliberate self serving pontifications, and most importantly (4) a distancing of the Bishop from his flock which then undermines his Godly effectiveness.

I pray that you will be able to balance all your responsibilities in a way that will allow frequent blogging as a key component to your reconciliation efforts that are a precursor to the healing process that is absolutely vital to the spiritual and missionary health of the Diocese.

R. Hayden said...

Fr. Dan:
Congratulations on your election. As a retired Priest I have enjoyed reading your Blog. Your middle name interests me as it is the same as my last name and I wonder whether we might be related. My family comes from New England. I know you are a "Carioca" from Rio but before that? I expect you will be busy from now on so if you don't have time to answer dumb questions about ancestry I understand. Best wishes to you in Springfield;
In Christ, Bob Hayden+

Bob G+ said...

Fr. Dan, now to be referred to as Bishop-elect Martin, congratulations! I have followed your writings and this blog of yours, and I can say without reservation that I believe you will be an incredible bishop. I'm very happy for you and encouraged for the future of the Church.

While there may be some differences in our opinions over certain topics theological, the fact that you know God in relationship, can articulate such a relationship, and desire to see others come into such a relationship with the living God bodes very well for the Diocese of Springfield and for the whole Church.

I had a long conversation today with the Canon Theologian for the Diocese of Long Island. From people you may not at first think of, please know that there are plenty of us, primarily younger if truth be told, who see the vital need for the Church to reclaim its primary purposes - the Cure of Souls, Christian formation within the enduring Tradition, and the worship of the living God. In a truly Anglican way, you will find kindred spirits even if not agreement on all things.

I mentioned to you a while back in one of your posts about ministry to new generations in different contexts. You may not remember my comment about the new mission effort I'm engaged in for the Diocese of Long Island. You said to forward the URL of our website when it was up. Still work to be done, but here it is:

http://imagodeiinitiative.org

Blessings to you. You and your family, the people of your parish, and the Diocese of Springfield are in my prayers.

Bob+

Barb said...

Congratulations Dan! May you and sweet dragonfly be a blessing in your new responsibilities and be well supported in this transition.

Hugs! Barb

Fr. Yousuf said...

Kelley,

Bishop Seraphim (Sigrist) is retired bishop of Sendai in Japan. I suspect being retired helps him find the time! I sure hope Fr Dan keeps blogging, but I suspect the blogging will be a touch sparser from an bishop with active care of a diocese.

Fr Yousuf Rassam
St. Innocent Orthodox Church,
Tarzana, CA

Kelso said...

Congratulations sir. Two things: 1. His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston writes an interesting blog...and if a Cardinal can do it, so can you! Here is the link:http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/

2. Use the 1928 BCP and don't let a woman preside at your consecration...you want to be a Real Bishop.

Good luck!

Caroline said...

I will be watching and reading to see where this goes. My partner and I stopped going to church (in Mattoon, IL) when Bishop Beckwith literally told me I was going to burn in hell for being in a committed lesbian relationship. Hoping things change, because I really miss church and its fellowship.

us300 said...

Greetings Fr. Martins,

Congrats! Kepping you and yours in our prayers.

Godspeed,

Joe and Linda

retrachtiek said...

O, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling...

Sara said...

Kelso--tsk, tsk, tsk