Triune God, Three-in-One and One-in-Three,
you created the Church to embody your mission in the world.
We thank you for the gift of your presence
so that we may be still and know your will for us.
We thank you for Jesus
who taught us that strength and growth
come through acts of humble service.
We thank you for the Holy Spirit
sent to lead us into all truth.
Bless the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster
as we prepare to elect a Bishop Coadjutor.
Keep us steadfast in faith, united in love and courageous in action,
so that we may manifest your love for this world.
This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Friend and Helper. Amen.
Greetings, Beloved in Christ:
We have entered into a period of discernment as the people of God in the Diocese of New Westminster. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, we are in the process of calling a new shepherd to lead us as bishop.
I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to you: a few months back Archbishop Melissa announced her retirement in February 2021. This announcement started a well planned out process of electing our next bishop on October 3, 2020, who will work alongside Archbishop Melissa until February (the title being coadjutor bishop until that point).
In preparation for this event, I have been reading and rereading pages 633–641 of the Book of Alternative Services. I have also been returning to the Rev. Dixie Black’s sermon from just over a year ago when she helped those of us at Christ Church Cathedral understand the process of change and transition as we called our new rector. Both I commend to you.
The electors of the new bishop are laity who have been selected by the vestry of their parishes to the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster and clergy. We are to be discerning channels of the Holy Spirit who calls from the Church catholic (universal) a new shepherd for this time and place.
Discerning the call of our next shepherd is a communal activity. Each of us is called to pray, to learn about the nominated candidates (whose names will be made public in the coming weeks), to ask questions of each of them, and to get involved in the process. I believe that the Holy Spirit works through each of us. This is the role of all baptized who, as the Body of Christ, seek to discern the will of the Holy Spirit.
The scriptures tell us that our Saviour Christ spent the whole night in prayer before he chose and sent forth his twelve apostles. Likewise, the apostles prayed before they appointed Matthias to be one of their number. Let us, therefore, follow their examples (BAS 638).
The election of a bishop is not a private affair behind closed doors—the discernment process is something all the baptized should be involved in. Learn about the candidates. Ask questions. Engage in conversations. Share your thoughts and wonderings.
Most of all pray that the will of the Holy Spirit is the voice that all of us pay attention to during this time.
In prayer and discernment.