He reminded us, though, that there has long been thinking around the church that just about every 500 years, the church goes through a massive transition. We happen to be living through one of those periods - when the church is changing. In lots of places all over the world, there is disappointment and dismay over this transition. But our Bishop is constantly saying the opposite: "What an exciting time to be a leader." In the midst of a church that is worried - and despairing - aging congregations and diminished numbers, our Bishop is more than hopeful. And he's encouraging us to be hopeful, too.
The Church is changing because the world is changing. I don't think, though, that this means that we need to live in fear. We don't need to worry about whether the Church will survive - because it's God's Church. And God is good at resurrection. God is good at bringing new things out of old things. God has already planned what this new configuration of faithful people will look like. So w just need to catch up to God; and we can be adventurous about it - and hopeful - because we are not the first generation of Christians to live through a time of struggle and transformation. And we won't be the last. It's an exciting time because God is doing something new - and we get to be a part of it.
What a gift it is to have a Bishop who, in this time of despair, shows us what it means to embody hope. We are blessed with two Bishops who are committed to the mission of God that is already going on in the world around us - committed to freeing us up to participate in this mission - and helping us to listen for what that means. We have two Bishops who model this for us and can help us head in the right direction. There are many other people, both clergy and lay, who are listening, too. And together, we'll see what this new life looks like for us.
I'm always comforted when I leave these great leadership meeting days, because the Church is in very good and faithful hands. And here in Connecticut, we are building something new by trying to participate in God's mission. Just like we are at St. Andrew's. We're building a community that may not follow all of the old "rules" - but a community that witnesses to Christ - and to hope - and to the mission of God that keeps moving even when we don't understand exactly where it's headed. This is part of our call, of course, to follow after Jesus. What an exciting time to be a Christian.