Letter from Our Rector
One of my favorite prayers comes from Thomas Merton, and it says in part, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going…But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.” Discernment is not a science, but a deep listening and call to faithfulness to the promptings of God, and I’m proud of how we have done that together. We continue to follow where we collectively have heard the prompting of the Holy Spirit: into doing the work of the Beloved Community, entering into partnership and collaborations with other congregations, and exploring what it might mean to be a gathering place for the community. One of our greatest gifts together is our openness to the Spirit.
I have recently heard the prompting of the Holy Spirit clearly in my own life, and to follow that prompting, I entered into discernment with the Diocese of Ohio as they search for a bishop. As a result of this period of mutual discernment, I am one of three nominees on a slate for the upcoming bishop election in the Diocese of Ohio. While I am thrilled and humbled to be included on this slate of incredibly gifted leaders, it is important for you to know that this is not an opportunity I sought out. Several people who know the diocese and me well asked me to enter this process because they believed that my gifts align with the prayers and aspirations of the Diocese of Ohio.
As hard as it might be to imagine that God might be calling us in different directions, it is important for us to remember that we do NOT YET know what God is doing. David and I will go to Ohio in October to meet the people of the diocese, and the election will take place in November. The time between now and then is a liminal space for all of us in which God continues to call us to listen and follow wherever the Spirit may lead. This is an opportunity to trust God deeply, to trust our love for each other, and to stay connected to each other in prayer and action even in the face of uncertainty. If the past several years have taught us anything, it is that we know how to remain faithful when we do not know what the days will bring.
I love StGs deeply, am passionate about the work God has called us to, and I pray for you daily. If you are willing, I invite you to pray for me, my family, StGs, and the Diocese of Ohio as we all listen to the Spirit. After church this Sunday, I will host a Q&A session where we can talk about this and support each other. (Some basic questions are answered at the end of this letter.) Who we are does not change whether I remain as your rector or not. StGs is still the extraordinary congregation of people who share joy and hope, build community, and feed people. Together we live in this liminal time full of prayer and hope for God’s future for us all.
Anne B. Jolly
What is the bishop search timeline in the Diocese of Ohio?
The Meet & Greets (when all the candidates travel throughout the diocese to meet people and answer questions) are October 21-28. The election is scheduled for November 18-19. The ordination service of the new bishop is scheduled for April 29, 2023. You can see the whole schedule on their website.
How did your name get into the search process?
Bishop Chilton Knudsen and several other people who are familiar with the Diocese of Ohio and know my gifts and skills sent me their profile and invited me to pray about entering into the process.
Have you been in a bishop search process before?
No. I have not been in any search process since coming to StGs. In fact, I am surprised by this process, and by the way my heart has been opened to it.
What does it mean for StGs if you are elected?
StGs would move into a period of clergy transition. With our Better Together partnership, there are many opportunities for what that transition might look like. As when you called me, the diocese would be very helpful in the process.
What does it mean for StGs if you are not elected?
I remain the rector and we continue growing in faith, following where God leads us, and supporting one another in our daily life and work.