Welcome to the 138th Synod of the Diocese of Quincy! First and foremost, ailment I would like to welcome the Most Rev. Royal Grote, Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, a personal friend for many years and a great friend of the Diocese of Quincy, who will be the preacher for this Synod.
Before I speak on the subject of this Synod, I would like to thank God for five years of work in this Diocese as Bishop and Shepherd, as a priest among priests, as a companion in the walk of faith.
I want to thank all those who have supported me and accompanied me on this journey. During these five years we have had to learn to leave behind our comfort zone and embark on a task of growth at all levels. We have had to leave behind old behaviors and routines and begin to evaluate new ones which will allow us to provide the people of God and the society that surrounds us with the unchangeable Gospel of Christ in an ever changing society. We still have much to do. The work of the kingdom is our commitment in the midst of our society. The Lord has blessed our Diocese with new priests, deacons, seminarians and congregations. He has richly surrounded us with His blessings. It is He who is in charge of the Diocese—we are only His servants. I would like the new priests and deacons of our Diocese to stand, so that we can see the new faces of the Diocese of Quincy. Let us receive them with applause and let them know that we love them and that we are grateful to God for bringing them to us. Five years ago, the Diocese had 16 congregations. Since then that number has almost tripled. We are now present in nine states of this nation: Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and we also have churches under my protection in the state of Nebraska.
At the closing of this Synod, Holy Trinity, Monmouth and St. John’s, Preemption will join to form one mission with a common task and a common vision under the direction of Fr. Michael Strachan. At the same time, St. Francis, Dunlap and St. Andrew’s, Peoriawill cease to exist independently, and will unite to form a new mission named St. Michael and All Angels in Peoria, in order to replant the kingdom of God in this city and to create a stronger presence under the direction of Fr. Van and Fr. Shawn.
Epiphany Mission led by Fr. Greg will be taking over the St. Andrew’s Church building. They have already put together a ministry program which promises to bring wonderful benefits for Epiphany and the neighborhood.
Holy Trinity, Geneseo and St. Paul’s Anglican Karen Mission have been consolidated into one mission which celebrates the Eucharist in two languages. Fr. Samuel is the Vicar and Fr. Kyrill is the assistant.
St. Peter’s, Canton has been reduced to a mission and is now under the direction of Fr. Rob Goebel.
St. George’s, Macomb has also been reduced to a mission under the direction of Fr. Jason Miller.
The beautiful thing about these initiatives is that these brothers and sisters, and these priests and deacons and the leadership of these congregations have accepted the challenge of growing the Kingdom with renewed strength and a resolve to work even harder than before to do the work of God in their respective cities. Let us show our support with applause. Our best wishes go to them.
We have closed two churches in our Diocese: St. Jude’s, Princeton and St. Andrew’s, El Paso. We have two chapels which are dependent on parishes at Zion Church Brimfield and St. Clare’s, Rushville.
We have a Diocesan seminary, St. Benedict’s School for Ministry, which is under the direction of Fr. Robert Munday. The school has already prepared a graduating class, whose members will be receiving their diplomas at this Synod. We have established a program of training and pastoral work for new clergy and there are already several congregations supporting this ministry.
Finally, the Diocesan offices have been moved to a new location on Knoxville Ave, where we will be more visible and more accessible to the city of Peoria. We will be there, working and sharing with our brothers and sisters from St. Michael and All Angels.
Let us move on then, to my challenge to this year’s Synod.