By Bishop Paul E. Lambert
Last week I had a meeting with one of our deacons aspiring to become an ordained a priest this May. We talked about the service and all of its components such as who the preacher would be and other essentials for such an occasion. After this discussion we migrated to a conversation regarding the deacon’s former vocation as an F-16 pilot, and a trainer of pilots – a job she left behind to begin the ordination process.
During our chat the topic of “g-force” came up, one that I know very little about. Other than the scene from the movie, “Spies Like Us,” I had really never understood much about such phenomena until she explained it. From what I now understand the g-force has to do with the vector acceleration against the force of gravity. This acceleration can cause all sorts of interesting things to happen to the human body one of which is stopping the heart. This obviously reduces the flow of blood to the rest of the body. Lack of blood flow to the brain causes a black out! That’s where trouble begins as you can well imagine.
Now what does this have to do with Lent? Well it turns out that the way you prevent the heart from stopping is to push against the g-force. The act of pushing against this force causes the heart to pump thereby causing the blood to flow freely and allowing the individual to function normally. However, it is completely counterintuitive to push against the force. Our natural reaction is to succumb to such force, which leads to our own peril.
So it is with sin and temptation. Our natural tendency is to yield to the temptation of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and in doing so we are led to act in sin. We can see this truth realized in countless acts of violence plaguing our world today, addictive behavior of all sorts, and other insidious actions in our day-to-day lives. Instead of pushing against these forces we submit and our lives are adversely affected.
Lent affords us the opportunity to push against these temptations to overcome those things that separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Through corporate fasting and prayer, performing good deeds, caring for those marginalized by our society, and intentionally living the lives God calls us to live, indeed wills us to live, we can push against those things and experience life more abundantly.
Just as pushing against the g-force is a learned response, so is pushing against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We must be intentional about living lives that are “holy and acceptable to God!” Choose this Lent to be your time to lean into God’s grace and love and push against those things in your world that separate you from him.
The nomination by petition process opened on February 3, at which time the Standing Committee’s slate of nominees for bishop was announced. The petition process closed on February 16. The full details of the process and the petition form can be found on the bishop search website.
As nominations had to be postmarked by February 16, I wanted to give it a week or so in order to be sure that a nomination was not in process and somewhere on its way via the postal system. That being said, no nominations by petition were received. I would add that I received no notifications or inquiries from potential nominators.
So we now go forward toward the election in May with a final slate of four. Again, I want to convey my thanks to Fr. Johnston and the fine work of the search committee.
Please pray for the Spirit’s discernment as we move toward that day.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. David Houk and, his wife, Meg, are leading a pilgrimage to Greece from June 11—20, 2015, with a special stop in Turkey to see the amazing excavation in Ephesus. This is your chance to travel into the terrain of the New Testament and experience the rich history of these lands and how they connect with our faith.
Houk is the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Dallas, and those who have traveled with him and Meg on past pilgrimages to the Holy Land know how a journey like this changes the way one reads the Bible forever. The journey has a prayerful and educational spirit, while there is plenty of fun to be had as well.
Stops include the island of Crete, where St. Paul traveled with Titus, leaving him there to “appoint presbyters in every town” (Titus 1:5); Corinth, where St. Paul spent and extended time in ministry (Acts 18) and from which he wrote his mighty epistle to the Romans; and of course, Patmos, where St. received the Revelation, the “unveiling” of Jesus Christ as the goal and end of all creation (Revelation 1:9). These are to name just a few of the Biblical sites, and then there will also be the experience of getting to know classical Greece, places like Delphi, the site of the ancient oracle by which priestesses spoke in the name of the pagan deities. This was the world into which Christianity came, the old gods that gave way under the proclamation of the Gospel. What a unique opportunity to see the lands that were the first missionary territory for the early Church.
A full brochure can be found at http://www.connoisseurstours.com/uploads/1/3/6/1/13619836/houk_greeceturkey8small.pdf.
February 3, 2015
St. Anskar, Bishop and Missionary
On February 3, the Standing Committee announced its slate of candidates for the election of VII Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. The candidates are:
The Rev. Michael W. Michie, 46, Rector of St. Andrew’s, McKinney, Texas
The Rev. David G. Read, 49, Rector of St. Luke’s, San Antonio, Texas
The Rev. R. Leigh Spruill, 51, Rector of St. George’s, Nashville, Tennessee
The Rev. Dr. George R. Sumner, 59, Principal of Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada
More information about each of the nominees is available at www.dallasbishopsearch.org.
A petition process for submitting additional names is open from February 3-16, 2015. Complete information about the petition process and the petition form are available at www.dallasbishopsearch.org. If petition candidates are received, they will be announced by the Standing Committee and added to the slate no later than April 6, 2015, pending the required background checks.
The slate is the result of a seven-month discernment process conducted by a Bishop Search Committee comprised of lay and clergy members from across the diocese and reporting to the Standing Committee. With the announcement of the slate, a Transition Committee, also made up of lay and clergy members from across the diocese, implements the next stages of the election process, also reporting to the Standing Committee.
The nominees will participate in a series of open “walkabout” meetings from April 20-23, allowing members of the diocese to meet and learn more about the candidates. More information on the times and locations of the meetings will be forthcoming, along with additional information on each candidate on the bishop-search website.
The election will take place Saturday, May 16, 2015. A majority in each of the two orders (clergy and lay delegates) is required for the election of the new bishop. At the national level, consent is required from a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan bishops and Standing Committees. Once approved, the consecration of the bishop-elect is scheduled November 2015.
The search for bishop began with the retirement of Bishop James M. Stanton, who served in the role for 21 years. The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is home to more than 70 congregations in the Northeast Texas area, where our combined average Sunday attendance numbers about 11,300.
"Beloved of the Lord, continue to pray for our Church during this time of discernment. God bless and keep you all," -- Bishop Paul Lambert.
JNCPB Report --
[January 22, 2015] The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has released the following statement with an update of progress following its recent meeting:
The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) met January 12 – 14. After nearly two years of conducting its work electronically, the committee gathered for the purpose of discerning the list of candidates to continue in the process. Committee co-chair, Bishop Edward Konieczny, said that during the time together the committee’s “passionate, emotional, and difficult work laid an incredible foundation that we will aim to continue with grace.”
More than 165 people representing over 60 dioceses submitted names during the nomination period last fall. Bishops whose names were submitted were invited to continue in the discernment process as established by the JNCPB by submitting information and materials for consideration. Video conferencing afforded the opportunity for committee members to talk with the candidates.
The Canons charge the Committee to present a slate of no fewer than three nominees. The JNCPB will announce the names of its nominees in early May. During the 10 days following release of the slate, deputies and bishops may indicate their intent to nominate any other bishop from the floor. The JNCPB will release names of any additional nominees in early June.
The JNCPB will present all the nominees to both Houses of General Convention on Wednesday, June 24. A formal nomination of candidates will follow on Friday, June 26. Bishops will elect the next Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church during a sequestered session on Saturday, June 27. The House of Deputies will then vote to confirm or not confirm the election by the House of Bishops.
Please keep all those who entered the discernment process, the candidates, their families and dioceses, and the members of the JNCPB in your prayers.
The JNCPB committee is composed of a lay member, a priest or deacon, and a bishop elected from each of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church, plus two youth representatives who were appointed by the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. The General Convention Deputies and bishops serve a three-year term to conclude at the close of General Convention 2015 in Salt Lake City.
1. JANUARY 22, 2015 - MOVEMENT DAY GREATER DALLAS. Come hear key leaders speak on the needs of the greater Dallas area and get equipped on how the church can address them. This is a citywide Christian ecumenical gathering. Some of the areas that will be covered are evangelism and the citywide Explore God campaign, hunger, education, leadership development, poverty, economic development, human trafficking, and immigration to name a few. The event will be held at the Kay Baily Hutchison Convention Center. For registration and more information go to www.movementdaygreaterdallas.com.
2. February 6-7, IGNITE CONFERENCE -- This is a gathering of young Christian leaders and dynamic worship to ignite the next generation in sharing the Gospel. Diocesan Evangelist Carey Boren Headington will be joining a national team of speakers who will equip youth and young adults to share their faith. Please bring your youth groups and young adult ministries. For free tickets go to www.ignitelive.com.
3. February 20-21, WHEATON EVANGELISM CONFERENCE. Come hear some of the top evangelists, (like Billy Graham's grandson Will Graham), and evangelism practitioners in the U.S. If you have someone from your congregation you would like to sponsor please let me know. I will be sharing at this event and would love to take a group from our diocese with me. Please send me your evangelism leaders.
For more information go to www.wheatonconference.org
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A Prayer for the Diocese
O Lord, you promise to be with your Church until the end of the age: continue this good work as you raise up the next Bishop of Dallas. Prepare this person to be the pastor and spiritual leader who will lead us forward to glorify you. We also ask that you send your Spirit upon the committees and convention given the task of calling our next bishop. Give them prayerful, open and discerning hearts that they may hear your voice and do your will to fulfill your purpose for this diocese. We ask all this in Jesus' name. Amen.