Five Years on the Road

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Dear Friends in Christ:

Bishop Michael Hanley ConsecrationI remember meeting many of you five years ago, April 10, 2010. On that date we shared Eucharist as a diocese with a new bishop. As a “baby bishop” I knew I had much to learn about you and this wonderful place called Oregon. As I have traveled to your places of worship and shared Eucharist with you over these past five years I have come to know you, honor and respect you, and to love you. Marla has also come to know this beautiful bit of the world and this great Diocese of “Western” Oregon and we are forever changed. We feel profoundly blessed to be here and to share in your lives.

These years have seen growth and development in many areas of our common life as well as a few areas of loss and change. The changes we have experienced have at times been good and at times, not so good. And so our lives together continue into God’s future. I feel positive about where we are as a diocese as well as encouraged about the work that lies ahead. We have strong joyful leaders in diocesan positions and in parish life. We are learning how to better welcome those who come new to the community; how to invite them into our particular Eucharistic life; how to educate them into the faith as we have received it and how to be the church embedded in a particular place and time.

In this Easter season may we be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and may we, in the power of that spirit, continue to be the Church of God and to celebrate with joy the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope that the Resurrection brings to the world. For this is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes! Please keep in prayer all of the churches in the diocese who are currently searching for ordained leadership to partner with our faithful lay leadership in the management of our communities of faith.

Five years into this ministry I am no longer a “baby Bishop”. I have graduated from The College for Bishops and now find myself as a coach for a new, “baby Bishop.” I also know the diocese pretty well (though there is still much to learn), I know many of your strengths and a few of your limitations. I have heard your hopes and dreams and I share them. I believe we are on the road to greater health and capacity and I am delighted to be one leader among many heading in the direction of the Kingdom of God. And so, five years into this common ministry we share, let me repeat what I said to the electing convention when I “skyped” in from Minnesota the day after the election:

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

I look forward to seeing you around the diocese in the future,

+Michael Hanley
Tenth Bishop of Oregon