Archive for November, 2013

Bishops Get What They Want

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

I have been collecting notes for a series of sermons next year about Christians that I have been fortunate enough to know.

One of these was the Rev. Canon Edward West, Sub-Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Although an eccentric, mystic, and altogether unforgettable character, Canon West was also shrewd in the ways of the world.

Particularly in the ways of the Church in the world. He once remarked to me, “Bishops always get what they want.” At the time we spoke, I was serving in a very successful parish whose rector seemed to be able to function with great independence from any higher authority. And I knew that in the Episcopal Church, great power also resides in local vestries, which control their money and have the lion’s share of authority in appointing their rectors.

Yet we are seeing in our own diocese the truth of Canon West’s observation. The indaba program of dialogue would never have gotten started without a powerful and sustained push from the top. In the near future, I imagine parishes in New York and its suburbs will be closed or merged that seemed to be immortal. And whoever happens to be elected Suffragan Bishop of New York on December 7, the diocesan Bishop’s policies will prevail.

“Episcopal” comes from the Greek word for “bishop.” It is no wonder that this is the name of our church. —J. Douglas Ousley


Here we go again…

Monday, November 4th, 2013

I am sorry to have been delinquent in posting, but I do have a rare solid excuse: I got married!

Anyway, my honeymoon is over and the church political scene has become very active locally. I haven’t been following closely the Suffragan Election slated for December 7, because the candidate I have wanted from the beginning is among the finalists. I’ll report soon on how the election is proceeding.

Meanwhile, the first regular Convention of the Diocese of New York is on for this Saturday, November 9. So far, budget and clergy compensation seem to be the only issues (nice, outward, evangelistic subjects, those.) Plus small group discussions called “Indaba,” which will provide another alternative to doing something about the church-wide decline. May the Good Lord inspire us, nevertheless. —J. Douglas Ousley