I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how grateful Jesse and I am for all your prayers and support over the past months, and especially while we were in Europe last week. As many of you are aware, my candidacy for Bishop in Charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe required us to travel to three different churches in the Convocation to speak and answer questions with the other candidates and to meet members of the various Episcopal churches in Europe. It was a remarkable experience: inspiring, fascinating, exhausting, and above all, Spirit-filled. I am so privileged to be counted in a group of such talented candidates, and their spouses surrounded us all with love and support. It gave me great delight to speak about the wonderful things God has done at All Saints' Church, and wherever we went, we took you with us.
Our tour began at the American Cathedral in Paris, a fascinating community that embraces Parisian expatriates as well as locals in search of a spiritual home. We were treated to dinner at the home of cathedral parishioners hours after arriving. The following day was a busy one; the candidates met with retiring Bishop Pierre Whalon and other diocesan officials while the spouses took a walking tour of the neighborhood. We recorded videos and then sat for our first town hall meeting of the tour, where we answered questions about our perspectives on ministry in the Convocation. Video from all three town halls can be found here.
The next morning we flew to Munich to meet the people of the Church of the Ascension and hold another town hall followed by a warm reception. There is a solid and historic Episcopal presence in Germany, and it was a pleasure to meet so many committed and talented clergy and laypeople there. Coincidentally, it was Oktoberfest; alas, both Jesse and I forgot to bring our lederhosen...
Our final stop was hosted by historic St. Paul's within the Walls in Rome, where the town hall coincided with the 26th anniversary of the parish's Spanish-speaking congregation. A highlight of the entire trip was an introduction to the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, which serves 250 refugees in Rome daily and operates in the crypt of St. Paul's.
The conclusion of the walkabout means that our parish is entering the final stage of what I've come to understand as a period of "holy uncertainty." The bishop election will take place on Friday, October 19 during the Convocation's annual convention, held this year in Waterloo, Belgium. A new bishop will be elected when one of the candidates secures a majority of both the clergy resident in the Convocation and lay delegates elected by each of the parishes. The first ballot will take place at 3:45am our time...but if you're not planning to be awake just then, I will be sure to communicate the results to you as quickly as possible, or you can follow along on the Convocation's bishop search web site.
In the meantime, I'd ask that you continue to keep the Convocation, All Saints', and my fellow candidates and their spouses in your prayers. I will speak about the walkabout and answer any questions you might have at this week's Sunday Forum--and as always, please feel free to contact me.
It is one of the great blessings of my life to be rector of All Saints' Church. May God continue to guide and nurture us.
In Christ’s love,
The Rev. Steven D. Paulikas
Click here to read the rest of the newsletter and to see more pictures from Father Paulikas' trip