Generous Pastoral Response Letter to Clergy - January 4, 2010
Dear Friends in Christ:
Grace and peace to you. I am writing to each of you in your capacity as a priest with pastoral oversight of a congregation of this Diocese. I know that you are aware that since General Convention I have been working closely with a select group, including a number of your clergy colleagues, to prepare materials related to the Generous Pastoral Response charge made to us by Convention.
Below you will find liturgical material which I am authorizing for your use, together with a statement of related policies and procedures. My hope is that you will study these documents carefully, share them with others who share with you in pastoral ministry, discuss them, and come prepared for further discussion when we gather together. We will devote the Wednesday morning session of Clergy Conference to this topic.
Subsequent to Clergy Conference, you may begin to use these materials on a discretionary basis. My intention is to honor your work as pastors, and to provide you with additional pastoral resources which may be of help. Providing a Generous Pastoral Response, including a liturgy of blessing of relationship, is at the sole discretion of the priest in charge of each congregation; associate or assisting clergy must respect the guidance of the priest in charge where this is being sought. Anyone who chooses not to make use of these materials in their congregation for any reason has my full respect and support; anyone who does use them also assumes responsibility for providing all necessary congregational education and preparation prior to their use. With their use also comes the responsibility to participate in the Church-wide reflection which will take place around the time of the next General Convention. Resources for that wider conversation will be made available to you as we proceed.
A full list of the members of our Generous Pastoral Response Working Group was published last fall, and is available on the website. I am very grateful to them all for their good work. The following members of the Group have indicated that they are available to you prior to Clergy Conference, if you wish to discuss any aspect of their work: Britt Olson, Ron Griffin, Sara Potter, Edie Westphal, Lucinda Ashby, Ernie Lewis, Jeanne Forte, Jeff Frost, Brian Baker.
For some of us, this step represents a very great challenge. For others, it is a mere shadow of things hoped for. God help us to be mindful of each other’s fears and joys, hopes and disappointments. God help us to honor and support each other as fellow servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. God help us to feed His sheep faithfully.
Yours in Christ,