Sept. 7, 2021
I greet you in the name of the one who lives and moves and has being among us.Friends, in several weeks’ time we gather for our BC Synod Convention. The theme for this year’s convention is “Journey. Together: Liminal Space.” The word “liminal” refers to a threshold; it is a word used to describe that which exists at the threshold, the border, between one thing and another.
This COVID-era has certainly been a time of liminal space. You, as ministers, laypeople, congregations and ministries, have navigated these challenging times with perseverance, compassion, and hope. You have worked hard to ensure that your communities would be sustained and encouraged during these times. You have found ways to stay in touch, to communicate with one another, often in new and unexpected ways.
This threshold time has brought with it new understandings and learnings, changed attitudes, a re-assessing of what we should be about, treasuring some things and perhaps setting others aside.
But even aside from COVID, for many years now, the church has been living in a liminal space, seeking to discern God’s activity among us, in our communities, out there in our neighbourhoods.
We seek to follow God’s call, to see what it is that God is up to, out there, around us, in and through others, and to discern how God wants us to be part of God’s gracious, loving presence in this world.
“Journey. Together: Liminal Space.” As we explore this time of threshold, we cast our eyes toward the horizon, wondering, praying, discerning what the next steps of our journey might be. We will be reflecting upon these things during our Synod Learning Day that takes place during our upcoming BC Synod convention.
Liminal space. Threshold. A time of discernment, prayer, and learning.
There is another liminal space that I want to speak to you about in this video and letter. After much deep, prayerful consideration and discernment, I am announcing to you today that I will be retiring this year and, hence, stepping down as your Bishop.
As a result, the election of your new bishop will take place during the October BC Synod Convention. The new bishop will take office as of January 1, 2022.
I have had the incredible privilege and honour of serving you for the past 15 years — 11.5 years as your bishop, as well as an additional 3.5 years as the Assistant to the Bishop. It has been a remarkable experience and I am so very grateful to you all.
You have welcomed me into your faith communities. I have enjoyed countless pot-luck dinners and conversations. I have heard your stories of faith and life. I have experienced the breadth of ministry being carried out by you in your congregations and ministries. You have shared with me your love and care for your communities. I have seen parts of this province that I might otherwise not have seen. We have spent time together in discernment, reflection, challenge, and heartache. I have journeyed with you in joys, struggles, celebration and conflict.
Over the years, I have tried to offer wise counsel, a listening ear, and advice and guidance for moving forward. I have tried to be faithful, future-oriented, and hopeful; to help us move beyond some of the things that cause us to be closed in, unsure of ourselves, or perhaps afraid to try new things.
Through it all, we have journeyed as God’s people, united in mission and ministry, being strengthened in our faith, and nourished for the journey.
This decision to retire has not come easily. But I know it is time. Our synod now enters a time of discernment — a liminal space — as God guides us in the election of our new bishop. As we have prayed so often during these past years, I would like to close with the prayer that we have used time and again during our missional process:
O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(ELW, p. 317)
Peace be with you all,
Bishop Greg Mohr