written by the Rev. Paul Gennett, Jr.
Not long after March 1, my phone started ringing and email’s buzzing about “ecclesiastical authority” issues that would normally land on the bishop’s desk in those “usual times” for our diocese. However, since we are now in the “in-between time” these questions, decisions, and/or complaints land with the Standing Committee. It was during one of these conversations on a topic needing “ecclesiastical authority” advice and direction that the person concluded our call by saying, “I appreciate all you and the Standing Committee are doing for the diocese. Take good care of yourself.” My first, and not best, reaction internally emerged, “Just what do they mean by that?” I confess and claim this as not my best reaction. It quickly subsided with my gratitude and response of thanks for their care and prayers.
As I have reflected on these words in days after, I have come to appreciate that this can be an invitation for ALL of us in the “in-between time” as we navigate our way, seeking to “live and move and have our being” together as this people of God and of the Jesus Movement in our diocesan family of faith. It becomes an invitation to share in the work of this “common ministry” toward our ultimate goal and call of our 11th bishop to the Diocese of Delaware. Not only for self-care in these times, which is always before us to be the best for serving God means to be best for us. I also hear it as offered for us to be a person and friend and to reach out and touch someone as the phone commercial invites.
Prayerfully consider who that might be in our diocese or in your life. Who are those people who work quietly and faithfully for our common good that could be blessed by a care call to Take good care of yourself. Perhaps you have “reacted rather than responded” to someone about a need, request, question, or simply as an unintended target of your frustration at that moment. Maybe a call to make amends may be exactly what is needed for you and the other person to Take good care of yourself. Maybe we might begin to discern and discuss issues and actions that could be addressed together in moving forward in a way of health and well-being. The recent “opportunities” for serving as Christ in social justice ways about immigration, poverty, constant bomb threats against Jewish community centers and Muslim communities has given rise to a new colleague group gathering in New Castle County to share ideas and resources for needs in our communities that we can push down to our parishes to share in this ministry as well as our own call to action. This has led to opening conversations with our diocesan communications coordinator of what and how an information resource page might become a link on our diocesan website to serve as resource for all three counties in Delaware. Together, for God’s sake, we Take good care of yourself AND others.
In these days, there will [and already have been] situations we have not thought of until … So far we are finding our way together. Not all situations will be easy, and some will not and cannot be decided right now, but together we will “know the way” by faith through the One who leads us home, always, to Take good care of yourself AND others.
Faithfully & gratefully,
Paul Gennett, Jr., President of the Standing Committee