Friday, January 28, 2011
Home again, home again
Yesterday, we left Johnson City and headed for the Cathedral in Knoxville. There, Dean Ross had a lively discussion with the nominees about the ministries of the Cathedral. I think we all learned a lot. Then we headed just down the road to the Diocesan House. Annie vonRosenberg and Laura Nichols had arranged lunch for us and the staff. The transformation of the conference room into restaurant was stunning! We used real china and silver, tableclothes on all six tables and stemmed water glasses. Charlie and Annie had made cookies in the shape of the the diocesan seal, complete with a modified "drawing" of the actual seal in yellow and purple piping. All of the staff welcomed us with big smiles and open arms.
After lunch, the nominees had several discussions with various people and then retaped their presentations since one of the mikes malfunctioned on Tuesday night. Those should be on the search website by now (http://etdiocese-search.com/) and I hope you will take a look at all of them.
The rest of the afternoon was spent getting to Grace Point, seeing all of the buildings (we opted out of a hike ;-) and then driving down to St. Timothy's Signal Mountain where we had another gracioius welcome and a marvelous dinner. Then Father Choyce celebrated Eucharist for us and we went home to the Doubletree to bed.
I can't begin to thank all of the people who made this week a real success. I do have to start by thanking Gaines Campbell, Kathryn Mathewson and Norma Mills. These three, the walkabout subcommittee, made all of the arrangements, listened to my fears and allayed them. The kind people of Thankful Memorial, St. Paul's Chattanooga, Christ Church, St. Martin's, St. Peter's, St. Paul's Athens, Resurrection, St. Barnabbas, St. James Greeneville, St. John's Johnson City and St. John's Cathedral opened their churches to us with love and grace.
And then there are the shepherds: Jocelyn Bell, Erik Broeren, Chris Harpster, Kate Jacobs and Claire Keene who put their regular lives on hold for a week to make this pilgrimage with their nominees. Without the good faith and willingness of the five nominees to be a part of our discernment, of course, none of this would have happened. I have to thank the spouses for also being willing to walk with us. All too often, it is easy to concentrate on the nominees and forget that there are five other lives that have been affected. Thanks again to the Search Committee for their incredible work.
Finally, I want us to remember the parishes where our nominees serve: Holy Innocents, Beach Haven NJ; St. Martin's, Metairie LA; St. Stephen's, Houston TX; St. John's, Elizabeth NJ; St. Peter's, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island FL. Regardless of who is elected, each of these parishes has had to make adjustments on our behalf. Thanks to all of them.
So the walkabout is over. Now we move on to the election in two weeks. Please continue in your prayers, refer often to the website and know that the Fourth Bishop of East Tennessee will be a good fit.