Well, I'm not so sure about "in residence." It felt more like an ecclesiastical version of Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Revue. In 1975, Dylan and his band of ecclectic performers booked concerts in small and mid-size venues throughout New England. It was captured in the movie 'Renaldo and Clara', which was a really strange film. But, I loved it. Why? Because it was Dylan, Allen Ginsburg, Joan Baez, Scarlett O'Hara on the road during the Blood on the Tracks and Desire time period. Hey, I was in High School and dreaming of being on the road with the band.
I set out last week for my own version.
The goal of this first year as bishop is to visit all of the congregations of the New England Synod. That's 185 congregations in 365 days. It seems like a monumental task, but our visits are in the mid forties after about three months - so we are on track.
The northern tier trip last week took me from my home in Rhode Island to Springfield, MA for the Consecration of Rev. Doug Fisher, the new bishop of the Episcopal diocese in Western Mass. Next I was off to Holy Trinity Lutheran in Newington, NH for the installation of Pr. Richard Rhodes, as well as the Indonesian Lutheran congregation, followed by a jaunt up the coast to First Lutheran in Portland, Maine. I overnighted at Camp Calumet. The next day was a loop to South Paris, Maine, where they are in discussions to share the ministry with the Episcopal church in town. After lunch in Bethel, I was off to St. Paul in Berlin, followed by Nativty in North Conway before returning to Calumet. The next day, Prince of Peace in Claremont, NH, Community Lutheran in Enfield, and Our Savior in Hanover, NH. In the mddle of all that I visited Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where we have an ELCA chaplain and CPE supervisor, Rev Frank Macht. The next day I was in Nashua at Christ the King and Triumphant Cross in Salem, NH. I dropped down I-93 to First Lutheran in Malden, MA for Advent worship.
Exhausting and exhilirating. Kind of a simul ustes et pecator experience.
hearing the frustrations, and the hopes
the living in the past and longing for the future
the gospel brewing inside people and places, yearning to be born.
A perfect way to start the season of Advent.
More to come