Bishop Graham gives his 11th Annual report, reflecting on an “exciting” previous year: “Exciting in both an enjoyable and terrifying way.” Bishop Graham reflects that the year ahead promises to be “interesting” and reminds us that in all times and in all places we are in God’s hands and kept in God’s grace.
The bishop’s highlight of 2017 was the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation which gave us all the opportunity to remember where we came from, so that we may go forward boldly. Bishop Graham recalled the incredible worship service on Reformation Sunday in the National Cathedral — a beautiful, packed, and Spirit-filled worship service — a service that moved him to tears.
Among all the preparation for and excitement around the 500th anniversary, Bishop Graham reminded us that life went on as usual in the Synod Office. Together, the fantastic synod staff worked hard helping congregations make plans, find leaders, look forward, and face challenges. He reminded us that this is an enormously hopeful time — especially for in metropolitan areas as we are renewed and inspired by immigrants and refugees that embrace, and are embraced by, our communities.
The hope for this next year and moving forward is that the synod’s New Connections campaign will flourish and bear much fruit. To do this, we are reminded that it will take the whole synod’s excitement and participation. Much more on the New Connections campaign will be shared throughout our time together today.
A transition task force has been called together to bridge us from our current bishop to our new one, to be elected in 2019. We are encouraged to begin praying for our synod — prayers for the possibilities, prayers that we will be wise and open-hearted, prayers that potential leaders discern a call to be Bishop and accept the call with joy.
For this “11th and almost last time”, Bishop Graham submitted his report with gratitude — to his coworkers, to his family, to his wife, and to all of us — and with blessings.