2016 Conference Journal and Directory
Appointment History Database
Archives and History
Imagine No Malaria
Imagine Wisconsin Anew
Rainbow Covenant & Mission Giving Guide
Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation
“Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing… Be at peace among yourselves… See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:11, 13b, 15-18
I had a wonderful time visiting all five of our districts for my Bishop’s Day Apart with Clergy, followed by a very special time at the Bishop’s Convocation with Laity. I cherish opportunities that I have to teach my brothers and sisters, as teaching is both a gift and a passion. This year, First Thessalonians chapter 5 has been much in my thoughts and in my heart, and it was this passage of scripture that framed my teaching.
It speaks to us who are fortunate to be leaders in the Church of God’s will for us as the people of God. In Paul’s vision for the Church, there is simply no place for “us and them” thinking. We are in this together. There is no possibility of split or division for we are all brothers and sisters in Christ – we are family, and you can’t choose your family. It is yours whether you like it or not. Siblings may bicker; siblings may fight; siblings may see things completely differently; but at the end of the day, family is still family.
This is where we are as a covenant community in Wisconsin. First, as the clergy covenant community, we are all part of a congregation defined by our ordination, commissioning, or license. I joked in my teaching that we are stuck with each other – you are stuck with me as your bishop, and I am stuck with all of you – like it or not. But I choose to like it. You are my community. You are my people. I am your bishop – bishop to all of you. Even when we have problems, and there are disagreements and conflict, I look forward to being with you so that we can all work together toward a solution. I laugh with you; I mourn with you; but in every way, I wish the very best for you.