This was the opening line used by Jackie Gleason to begin his variety show in the 60’s – “And away we go …” I suspect many will have to Google “Jackie Gleason” to know who I am writing about, but it is germane to our journey with our XI Bishop-elect, the Reverend Kevin Brown. He has completed the required medical and psychological examinations to the approval of the Presiding Bishop’s Office! With this approval, we have sent out all the necessary consent documents for review and, God willing, approval of the 109 Standing Committees of our church. We need a majority of approvals, so the diocesan staff will be keeping close eye and count as they are received. In early October we will meet with a representative of Presiding Bishop Curry’s staff at Delaware State University and begin planning the ordination and consecration of our XI Bishop on Saturday, December 9. The Transition Committee has been working hard behind the scenes these past months, and they will soon be communicating more specific plans after this meeting.
So we move forward with little steps, but ever forward. Bishop-elect Kevin and his family have been doing their work in this transition process. They are sharing their goodbyes with the people of Holy Comforter where they have served the past seven years. Their last Sunday at Holy Comforter is planned for Pentecost 14, September 10. Their home is readied to go on the market very soon, and Kevin and Caroline feel they will have no trouble in selling their home. Moving companies have been contacted for bids, the physical move to Delaware probably happening early October, and then some wise wellness time away for Kevin and Caroline before beginning their work amongst us. He will officially begin on All Saints Day, November 1!
Kevin and I have had a Sunday afternoon chat most Sunday’s since the election to discuss these and other transitioning issues as they arise. Last Sunday Kevin deferred prior to our call to be the caring presence, as we pray he will be for us, to a member of the staff of Holy Comforter whose mother had died on this day. While he is very excited to be with us soon, he is also mindful of his leaving Holy Comforter and the people he has cared for as pastor, and how they have cared for them. He has spoken with his Bishop mentor, the Rt. Rev. William Franklin of the Diocese of Western New York, who will be his partner in the first years of his episcopate.
I have heard from diocesan staff of the desire by some to get meetings, events, pastoral visits, etc. on Kevin’s calendar already. I again simply ask you to wait on his arrival, and pray for this transition for Kevin and family. I am guessing many of my clergy colleagues on entering our parishes did not have numerous pre-ordained schedules with people or events when first arriving at our call in Delaware. So might we give the same space to our Bishop-elect. As I have said to a few over these months, trust the process … breathe … pray for the Spirit’s power upon Kevin and Caroline, Margaret and Emily, and our diocesan family. Before you know it we will all joyfully proclaim, “And away we go …”
Grateful always, your servant in Christ,
The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.
President of the Standing Committee