‘Do You Want a New Life?’

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth publishes an interview with the Rev. J. Scott Mayer, Bishop of Northwest Texas, who has been nominated as Fort Worth’s next provisional bishop in addition to his current duties:

Q. This diocese was catapulted into reimagining The Episcopal Church in early 2009, long before General Convention authorized the Task Force to Reimagine The Episcopal Church (TREC). We began right out of the chute with a new model of the episcopacy — our first provisional bishop, Ted Gulick, also was the bishop of Kentucky. Several of our congregations had no choice but to reimagine new and different ways to “be church.” As the seventh bishop of Fort Worth, how do you plan to build on the work that’s already been done here while also helping the diocese to move to the next level of organizational and spiritual maturity?

A. There is no question that the Diocese of Fort Worth was thrust into reimagining ways to “be the Church” — ahead of the recent TREC work. I’m reminded of what a friend of mine asked a parish search committee in St Louis. John was exploring a call to the position of rector for a congregation which had suffered a split. He asked the search committee, “Do you believe in resurrection?” Of course, everyone answered in the affirmative with conviction. He said, “I don’t mean resuscitation; I mean resurrection. Do you want to be resuscitated or resurrected? Do you want to be restored to the same old body, or do you want to become a new body? Do you want a new life?” (By the way, they did call him to serve as rector.)

… Q. We have been involved in litigation almost from the moment we reorganized. Previous bishops explicitly said that while the litigation is important, it is not the work we have been given to do. They urged us to leave it to the legal team while we got on with the work of the church. The Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas also has been involved in litigation. What has been your approach to this?

A. As you know, the Diocese of Northwest Texas has been involved in litigation over property in San Angelo for 8 years. The entire diocese has shown financial and emotional support to the people called Good Shepherd, and the people of Good Shepherd have remained faithful and resilient. They are moving beyond an interiority of “waiting” to one of mission, although litigation continues.

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