Lenten blessings to you, my sisters and brothers. I pray you are finding yourself connected ever more closely to Jesus Christ through this holy season of prayer, repentance, and self-denial.
As you continue your Lenten journey, I invite you to give thanks for something powerful that most of us take for granted: how we all, through our different parishes, religious orders, campgrounds, and schools, are part of a single statewide Episcopal church. We are not many isolated communities that occasionally work together or assist the other when called upon. Rather, we are one church with many diverse communities offering a remarkable breadth of services, ministries, and leadership all across the state. Together, we form the Episcopal Church in Delaware. This may be stating the obvious, but I offer it to remind us of the inherent strength we possess together.
You will begin to notice an emphasis across the diocese (including official correspondence and documents) on using the Episcopal Church in Delaware instead of defaulting to the Diocese of Delaware. Certainly, diocese is a perfectly fine and technically accurate word; it refers to a church in a geographic region under the authority of a bishop. This sure sounds like us! Many of us (myself included) often use this term. Yet as with other rich, historic vocabulary of our church, careless use can hinder our mission (and growth and impact) rather than support it.
Here is a real example. Doctors have long emphasized that we all must get our recommended daily intake of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). DHMO is a chemical substance every human needs, not just for good health but for basic survival. So, as your bishop, I implore you to get ample DHMO, and to make sure your family and friends do as well. Now, I suspect my plea would be far, far clearer to pretty much everyone if I use a more common term for DHMO instead — water. Get plenty of water; it is essential for your health. (Try it on your own; ask your waiter for a serving of dihydrogen monoxide, and let me know how that works out!) Clearly, the most technically accurate term or acronym is not always the most helpful one.
I ask and expect us to emphasize our collective purpose, strength, unity, and mission by using the Episcopal Church in Delaware as often as possible. Let us add it to our common vocabulary and use it to teach others that diocese is just another (albeit more technical) word for church. In the end, this change is intended to highlight who we already are: a statewide Episcopal church made up of many unique parishes and communities united in our gospel call to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.