A Letter of Gratitude to the Search Committee


 “We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love                 and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For we know brothers and sisters, beloved by God that he has chosen you …” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4a

While St. Paul has a “love him or leave him” reputation from his letters, the messages that Paul was always consistent in sharing with his communities were prayer, encouragement, and expressions of his gratitude. No matter the challenges faced in some of his mission communities (how can one forget “Oh, you foolish Galatians”?), even his correctives were surrounded in prayer, encouragement, and gratitude.

Our Search Committee Team has delivered to our diocese an impressive slate of five incredibly qualified and Godly women and men for consideration as our 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Delaware. For this good, hard, and faithful work, we give our deep, deep gratitude to Mr. Steve Boyden & the Rev. Martha Kirkpatrick, committee co-chairs, as well as the Rev. Ken Athey, Mr. Herb Quick, the Rev. Ketlen Solak, Ms. Joyce Bembry, the Rev. Charles Weiss, Ms. Mary Nash Wilson, the Ven. Deacon Pat Malcom, Dr. Sam Steward, Ms. Becky Cronin, and Ms. Beth Maurer.

I so clearly remember our first gathering for the team formation retreat on that hot Saturday last July, and how we ALL had that “deer in the headlights” look about the work to be acommplished in the time alotted. I remember one of the team members catching me during a break with the tentative timeline in hand saying, “The Standing Committee isn’t serious about this timeline … are you???”

And then … and then … WE went to work in our teams – together!

You, the Search Committee, organized the multiple offerings of Town Hall meetings, facilitating the information gathering with openness, sensitivity, and prayer. Compiling all of this information with the help of Lee Ann Walling, the Bishop Search website came into shape and form. On December 15, 2016, the opening of the search for our next bishop became reality. And what a reality you faced on January 20, 2017, when over 50 candidate applications were received!

Without hesitation, you moved forward in faith, doing the diligent work of comparing candidate information to the needs/desires of our search profile. Making the early and difficult decisions of those who would move forward in our search journey and those who would not, you handled each person in the fullness of our Baptismal Covenant, honoring the dignity of each person with compassion, care, and radical hospitality.

As the months progressed into Lent, the candidate groups narrowed through prayerful discernment and moved to the final group, which gathered with you in retreat. Now, in this Easter Season of new life and life abundant, we are moving forward, together, because of the AWESOME and faithful work you all have done to God’s glory and for your diocese.

I know it meant sacrifices for you all in many and different ways – time away from family, personal plans changed for necessary team meetings, and vacation days expended to be present at the final retreat. While we cannot give this time or those missed life events back, I do pray that you know how incredibly important what you have given us will be to our future as a diocese. And I pray, as a people of God and the Delaware branch of the Jesus Movement, that all of our people may share how deeply thankful we are for this YOUR good and faithful work.

And so, without becoming as wordy as my namesake can sometimes become, I offer our deep, deep gratitude for the great and faithful work you have done for us all.

Faithfully, your servant in Christ,

Paul W. Gennett, Jr+
President to the Standing Committee

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