Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Yesterday we marked the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks that
ushered in a new era of our common life as a nation. Among the powerful memories
of that day, dust almost always comes to my mind first.
While my imagination does conjure
up visual images, this is not what grabs me. It’s not the sight but
the feel of the dust--its weight bearing down on me and everything and
everyone--that grabs me as a visceral recollection.
This is odd, since I was not
there that day. The dust of the towers never clogged my throat, coated
my clothing, dusted my skin or blinded my eyes.
And yet there it is. The memory of the dust covering us all that day
creeps into my gut and begins to close my throat and cause tears to well
And then again, maybe it is not
so strange to have such a memory. For what I recall as dust may not be
the dust of those towers, at least not
literal dust. But instead it is the dust of a grief shared as a community.
We mourn the loss of lives lost in mid-stride. We share the fractured
hearts of those left behind to walk ahead on life’s path alone
when they had grown so accustomed to walking in step with another.
We mortals all go down to the
dust. If that were our final word, we would be a pitiable creature, a creature
destined to disappear in the
But we followers of Jesus remember that God breathed life into dust
Adam. And yet more remarkably, when Jesus himself went down to the
dust, the Holy Spirit raised him to a life utterly beyond the dust.
grace, through faith, we are heirs not of the dust, but of this life
May God grant rest to the souls
of all the departed and mend the broken hearts of those who mourn.
I’m going to turn now from
theological reflection to news about some exciting
additions to the diocesan ministry team.
First, The Rev. Deacon Bette
J. Kauffman has accepted my call to serve as Archdeacon. An Archdeacon
in this sense is not a Canon
to the Ordinary.
Bette (formally speaking, Archdeacon Bette J. Kaufman, Ph.D.)
is the convener and coordinator of the community of Deacons. This
is a non-stipendiary
keeping with Archdeacon Bette’s role as a deacon.
Next, The Rev. Ron Clingenpeel has accepted my call to serve as my Deputy for Transition Ministry. This
position serves clergy
Ron will work
with our clergy, our congregations, and Transitions Officers
around the Episcopal Church. Fr. Ron has graciously agreed
to work on a contract
will save the diocese tens of thousands of dollars.
Additionally, The Rev. Bill
Bryant has agreed to serve on a part-time basis as the Canon for Congregational
will only begin
once he ends his tenure as Interim Rector of St. John’s,
Minden. Fr. Bill will be a resource for enhancing congregational
vitality and will be instrumental
in helping to develop our program for congregational vitality
through the Diocesan School.
While budget realities are not
yet completely clear, I am beginning a search for a full-time Canon for
These ministries are very important to congregational vitality,
and a diocesan resource and support person would be a tremendous
in these ministries.
Here are some reminders. Facebook
friend request me to keep up with diocesan doings. Check out my blog (http://pelicananglican.blogspot.com).
sermons are at http://sermon.net/bishopjake. On Wednesday,
19, I will have
my first book signing at St. Michael’s, Pineville at 6:00 p.m. Connecting
the Dots is available through Amazon and the online store at Barnes and Noble.
I’ll have some copies for purchase at the signing. Proceeds of that signing
will go the outreach ministries of St. Michael’s.
That’s all the news for now. By now I hope it’s not news to hear
that my love for you grows every day. It is simply a joy to serve such loving,
faithful people. I am blessed beyond measure to be your bishop!
In Christ's Love,
The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, Ph.D.
The Diocese of Western Louisiana
P. O. Box 2031, Alexandria, LA 71309-2031