21 Oct Important Letter from Bp. Stewart
Dear Upper Midwest Diocese,
Of the dozens of Scripture verses that have encouraged me over these last sixteen months, this one is the most poignant to me: “Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12.9). For our diocese, my family, and for me, this has been a season of striking weakness.
Before I say more, allow me to share something that has been heartbreaking for me. I am vividly aware of the victims who have suffered deeply and may never know a full sense of closure. I pray, by the redeeming ministry of Jesus, that might be otherwise. May those who suffer know him who has suffered for us.
Over the last few days, Archbishop Foley Beach and I have consulted regarding our Diocese, and as a result of those discussions I will be returning from my voluntary leave of absence. He suggested areas for growth and improvement. To that end, the Archbishop has assigned, for six months, a senior bishop, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, to supervise pastorally the diocese and me in this season. I welcome Bishop Minns into our diocese, and I greatly look forward to learning from him.
I am deeply grateful to Bishop John Miller III, the Bishop’s Council, our faithful clergy, and our remarkable lay leaders for providing leadership to the diocese during these difficult days. I know these sixteen months have taken a great toll on our clergy and the people of God. And still, my confidence in the Lord’s ability to restore us is unwavering.
I realize that many of you may have important questions that remain unanswered. I look forward to walking with you and being able to speak with you in the days ahead. I will return to active ministry on Sunday, October 30. I am ready to partner with all of you in the Upper Midwest Diocese to mature our ministries to children and youth, to care well for victims of abuse, and to further develop our governance structures to serve our mission of planting a revival of Word and Sacrament infused by the Holy Spirit.
Finally, I am mindful of the anxiety that the turmoil of the last sixteen months has caused for the people and clergy of the diocese. As we begin this time of renewal and restoration, I want to start with an apology for any stress or pain that the past year and a half has caused. Let us move forward together in reconciliation and charity in the days ahead as we seek to serve the Lord to reach the lost and the least.
Yours in Christ,