“A Call to Pilgrimage” was the theme of the annual diocesan convention, held Nov. 1-2 at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, although the underlying theme was transition, as it marked the final convention for Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves.
Friday’s events featured a beautiful afternoon Eucharist with a sermon from Bishop Mary (video available here). She began her sermon with the Serenity Prayer, followed by a passage from a Rupi Kaur poem: “You must want to spend the rest of your life with yourself first.” She recalled her impressions from reading the 2006 diocesan profile of El Camino Real, especially the line, “We seek a bishop who is willing to learn to be a bishop as we learn to be a diocese.” Gray-Reeves also described the diocese’s “belovedness and openness to the possibilities of living into God’s mission in this place,” and its courage and vulnerability and “faith and hope in the unseen and what you could become.”
“We’ve put a lot work into these 12 years,” she said. “In the last several months I’ve started to watch how grace upon grace is tripping over itself, how the mind of Christ is continuing to settle into this place, in a deeper and deeper way. We have created in our structure the idea of partnerships.”
She described partnerships that are flourishing across the diocese and embedded in the infrastructure. Her excitement was contagious as she shared stories of four programs in the diocese that were awarded grants in late October – as well as outreach ministries at St. Francis’ Willow Glen, San Jose State University, St. George’s Salinas, St. Benedict’s Los Osos, and others. View her sermon online.
An evening banquet followed with tribute videos from diocesan leaders and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, plus a video greeting from our partner diocese in Gloucester, England, featuring bishops Rachel Treweek and Robert Springett. The Rev. Maly Hughes served as emcee, presenting Bishop Mary with a gift from the diocese and introducing Mary Adams, a Monterey County supervisor who presented her longtime friend with a proclamation celebrating her achievements as bishop.
View the tribute video to Bishop Mary featuring diocesan leaders and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Bishop-Elect delivers first address
Saturday’s highlights included the first address from Bishop-Elect Lucinda Ashby, the business of the church, inspiring “missio-mercials” of ministries across the diocese and more. View Bishop-Elect Lucinda’s address.
“It is such a privilege to be with Bishop Mary during this time of transition,” said Ashby. “I think we are all participating in and bearing witness to something seldom seen, if ever, in this way. Bishop Mary and I are doing this graceful dance of transition: meeting each other, talking and listening, taking some reflective time, and then re-engaging as we share ideas and experiences. And I would have to admit that there have been quizzical moments, followed by a lot of amusement and downright loud laughter!”
She examined the concept of pilgrimage and how it relates to the future for El Camino Real. “A way for us to think about it is to remember that the structures that we have in place in the institution we call “church” exist for the purpose of supporting God’s ministry and mission. These include our buildings, land, committees, budgets, by-laws, canons, etc … take an honest look at how they support God’s ministry and mission in your context. You may want to think about letting go, or revising the charge of some, or of repurposing them to meet changing needs. A lesson of pilgrimage is to travel light.”