March 24, 2015
Dear People of Central New York:
With love to all of the people of the faith communities of our beloved Diocese, I write to inform you that I have indicated to the Standing Committee my intention to resign as your Bishop Diocesan on or about October 31, 2016. At that time I will be concluding fifteen years as your Bishop. As best I can tell personally and drawing on wise people around me in prayerful discernment, this is a good time for a transition to new possibilities for the ongoing health of the Diocese in service of Christ’s mission.
Being your Bishop is an amazing privilege for which I will always be grateful. It has formed me and drawn things from me in ways that I could never have imagined. By grace I believe it has made me a more deeply faithful person. This wonderful and, at the same time, crazy vocation as Bishop has drawn me over the years to an ever-deepening life of prayer resting in Christ as my center and life. I have all of you to thank for that.
You may have noted above that I used the word “resign.” That is the specific canonical word, even when the intention is retirement. Even though I am retiring from Central New York, I do intend to allow myself to be available to the Church in any way that God’s Spirit may call forth. I am not stepping aside for any other position, although it is my understanding that once my resignation is public, I will likely receive offers for other opportunities. If it occurs, that will also be a time for discernment bathed in prayer and open to the Spirit who blows wherever she wills.
The Standing Committee has met with Bishop Clayton Matthews of the Presiding Bishop’s Office to begin to engage the process of transition to the election of a new bishop. My hope is that this journey to new leadership will be healthy and smooth and I trust the Standing Committee to oversee that process. You will hear more from them as time unfolds, as they are canonically responsible for overseeing this transition. It also means that even as anxiety for the future may raise its head, sometimes in ways we do not expect, it is essential that all along the way we keep our hearts centered on Jesus and the mission to which we are called. Our Gospel work continues.
The next nineteen months will offer us many opportunities to connect and prepare well for all that is to come. For now, know that I continue to be your Bishop and I will continue to work hard among you and be fully engaged in our mission “To be the passionate presence of Christ for one another and the world we are called to serve.” Please continue to pray for me as I pray for you.
Grace and peace in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams III
10th Bishop of Central New York
Bishop Adams' Lenten Letter to the Diocese
“And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” Mark 1:12
Dear Friends in Central New York,
Get real. This is perhaps the central call of God through the season of Lent. The forty days of introspection and renewal are not so much prescription as they are a journey, one in which we move into greater awareness of who we are, especially in our relationship to God and to one another.
Get real. Standing with Jesus on the holy mountain of Transfiguration, we discover once again our baptismal reality as proclaimed by God to Jesus, “You are my beloved.” Facing the chaos of Lent, we do so standing secure in this promise as we come down the mountain, as Jesus did, to face the reality of the cross and to be a self-offering for the transformation of the world. He was offering a new way of self-giving love in order to lead us to a clearer vision of God’s desire for God’s people.
Get real. Lent is a time to re-discover who you are as God’s own, fully awake to the gift and challenge of what it is to be human, yet dependent on God’s mercy and love in utter vulnerability. This was Jesus’ great gift to the world as he faced his own humanity and discovered how best to offer himself to the glory of God and the healing of the world.
Get real. Be honest about the struggle, the challenge and the difficulty of being faithful people in this time of upheaval where everything seems up for grabs. It does often feel like wilderness. What are we called to leave behind? What new way of thinking and believing are we to embrace? Be honest that, even as we work hard in our faith communities among shrinking resources, we do not have all the answers as we gaze into the future before us. Trust that it is the way of healing, meaning and significance.
So - get real. God is with us even as it is the Spirit who leads us into the rare yet rich wildness of Lent to embrace once again our dependence on God’s mercy. It is the only way Jesus faced the cross. It is the way we are to face life.
The following is the Presiding Bishop’s Lent Message 2015
Lent is about to begin. That word in English comes from an Old English word that means “to lengthen,” and it’s a reminder of the days getting longer as we move toward summer out of the dark of winter.
But in a number of other languages, particularly Spanish and French, the word for “Lent” reflects “forty days,” “cuaresma.” Forty days of wandering in the desert, forty days of Jesus out in the desert.
It’s also about a journey. And it’s a journey that is about enlightenment if we’re willing to think about it that way.
Lent is an ancient tradition of solidarity and preparation for those who look forward to Baptism at the Easter Vigil. It has always been a time for prayer and study, fasting, self-denial, and alms-giving, sharing what we have with those who do not have. Prayer is an opportunity to reflect on who walks with us in the desert, who brings light into the world. Study is an opportunity to do the same kinds of things looking at the history of our tradition, where have human beings found light and direction in their journey through this world. Fasting and self-denial are an inward-reflection on what it is that keeps us in the dark, or what it is that keeps us directionless, or that keeps us overly self-focused. And it becomes an invitation to turn outward and share what we have with those who have not. To build solidarity among God’s people and the rest of the earth.
One of the most memorable Ash Wednesdays I ever spent was in San Jose, Costa Rica, in a school for children. I was asked to place ashes on the foreheads of toddlers. It was a provocative experience in the deepest sense, reminding very small children that they are mortal.
That cross that comes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday is a reminder of the cross that’s put there at Baptism. You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever. The cross that comes at Ash Wednesday is a reminder that you are dust and to dust we shall return, that we share that dust with every other human being who has ever walked this planet, that we share that dust with the stars and the planets, that we share that dust with all that has been created. We are made for relationship with creator and creation.
Lent and cuaresma is a journey to walk toward that light. May it be a blessed one this year.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church