(Bishop Kedda gives her opinion)
From a conversation with Bishop Rafe, and his paper, I have gleaned the following understanding of the role of our ECC Bishops – the who they are, the what they do sort of understanding.
The reason we have a bishop: A visible sign of unity.
- To maintain unity of ECC communities within a diocese (a geographical area that is small enough that the bishop can be attentive and responsive to each community, and to their members). To maintain unity beyond the diocese, with the ECC.
- To represent the voice of a diocese to the ECC, and to secular society, having created a consensus within a diocese.
- To be attentive to anything that threatens the Church, and to what threatens the mission of Christ.
- To support ECC communities as they minister to the world, reaching out to the abandoned, to the lost, to the needs of others.
- To hold and use authority within a diocese, having been given that authority by the people of the diocese. This authority is for maintaining unity by settling disputes when they arise. This authority is collaborative and depends on honest and sincere dialogue.
- To watch over the personal and spiritual wellbeing of the priests and deacons in a diocese, so they may watch over the personal and spiritual needs of the people in their communities.
- To hold in safekeeping the story of Christ, and the story of the Church, and to pass it down faithfully to future generations.
- To be the primary liturgist and homilist of a diocese, and to identify and provide education in collaboration with the people of a diocese.
- To inspire and encourage changes that lead to a more effective fulfillment of the mission of Christ to the world.
The bishop needs to be a person who listens to people and learns their hopes, dreams, needs, struggles, gifts, and limitations in all their diversity. This requires openness, attentiveness, active participation, and good interpersonal skills.
We need to let go of our old images and notions of bishops to embrace a new model. We need to think small! In other words, for a bishop to be attentive and responsive to those in her or his diocese the diocese needs to be much smaller than what we have been creating thus far. We should end up with lots of bishops. I think our bishops should write more pastoral letters to their communities and be ready to engage secular society in their diocese.
Bishop Kae Madden, Bishop Rafe Adams, Bishop Armando, Bishop Denise Donato, Bishop Francis Krebs, Bishop Paul Burson, Bishop Kedda Keough, Bishop Tomasz Puchalski and Bishop Peter Hickman.At the 2022 ECC Holy Synod