A Day That Brings Change


Beloved in Christ Jesus:

I trust that this note finds you well and thriving in ministry. To say that a day brings about a change is more than understatement especially in light of the grizzly tragedy in Aurora, Colo. Thank you for your prayers and support for the families and communities affected. This includes your community as well as mine.
While most of us have not been directly affected by unexplained violence on this scale we do know of tragic violence in every community. This most recent event which is holding us glued to news sources is a call to remember who we follow and serve and how Jesus Christ has invited us to live our lives. We are indeed called to be peacemakers, healers and reconcilers whether or not that is our first impulse. But the other thing that is tugging at me in the face of the Colorado tragedy is the question of mental illness and what role it may have played.
On another matter in the area of change, I want to give you a huge shout out for the generous and thoughtful outpouring of love, kudos, affection and so much more that has been directed toward me and Cynthia. We have had a blast here and leave quite naturally with feelings of incompleteness. But if the truth be told, I leave every setting with that sense. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to move the ball down the field so to speak. During a short watch I believe that all of us pulling together got a lot done. Perhaps more than any of us realized.
Whatever was accomplished during these last four years was built upon the strong foundation that I inherited. I followed a superb visionary and strategic leader in Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher. I have been privileged to work with a strong capable staff in the Episcopal Office and the Conference and I have partnered with diligent, knowledgeable and passionate superintendents. All of you -- the lay and clergy of this conference -- have been warm, generous and responsive to me and my ministry initiatives. You are a grace-filled, leader-full people. What more could I have asked for? You have everything you need to keep on keeping on for God.
Speaking of the incompleteness, if I had one wish it would be to know on my last day as your bishop that we had reached or exceeded the goal we have been moving toward for Imagine No Malaria.
I am so pleased that I will be handing the proverbial baton to Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton. He is a good leader, strong preacher and passionate proponent of the mission of the church and missional outreach. He is an out there with the people kind of bishop. I know him as friend, colleague and for four years, he was my bishop. I am confident that you will embrace him and his family and receive the gifts for ministry that they bring. Lots of important transitional work is underway and our staff leaders are functioning at a high level to assist the Keatons and the conference to get off to a smashing start.
Now I know some are wondering what happened. Why is the bishop leaving after only four years? These are understandable questions for which the only answer is: nothing happened. Put another way: the process worked. All bishops are assigned for four years at a time and all assignments are reviewed every four years. Bishops, like other pastors, move for a variety of reasons to help assist the mission of the church. A number of factors are always at work as in the appointive process in the Annual Conference. We had strong leaders on the Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee from IGRC. And the whole committee (made up of one lay and one clergy member from every conference) has to work together to serve the best interest of the parts and the whole jurisdiction.
Cynthia and I have had an awesome ministry experience here. We have been challenged to grow and blessed beyond measure. Thank you. We embrace the next chapter in ministry with faith and joy. Thank you for allowing us to move forward in this spirit. As always I am,
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
Gregory Vaughn Palmer