Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Today I will be departing from St. Crispin's Conference Center in Oklahoma. Since Monday the Bishops of Province VII have gathered here to discuss mission and ministry, to find ways for our Dioceses to cooperate in that mission and ministry, and to deepen and strengthen our bonds of affection.
It has been a gracious and fruitful time. Among the topics we discussed were providing sustainable clergy leadership for small congregations, the local formation of bi-vocational priests, and strategies for decreasing congregational operating costs by increasing cooperation among congregations.
In one session Bishop Stacy Sauls joined us from the denominational offices in New York to update us on the restructuring process initiated by General Convention last summer and to gather our input. The dream is to reorganize our denomination so that the denominational offices work to support and coordinate initiatives made at the diocesan level. There is still much work to be done, but the direction seems the right one to all of us gathered.
I have enjoyed this time with my colleagues, the warm hospitality and beautiful setting of St. Crispin's, and the fellowship with my episcopal colleagues. Nevertheless, I long for home and will be glad to be back among you in Western Louisiana.
Continued Easter blessings to you all.
In Christ's Love,
The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD