September 26, 2022
As you may know, All Saints’ Church belongs to a diocese, or a geographical grouping of Episcopal parishes. We are one of 130 churches in the Diocese of Long Island, which is headquartered in Garden City in Nassau County. Every diocese is overseen by a bishop, who is the chief pastor to the clergy and laypeople, ensures the good order of ministry in the diocese, and is “called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church” (BCP p. 517).
New York City is oddly split between our diocese and the Diocese of New York, which comprises Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, and seven counties, mostly along the Hudson River. It contains many well-known parishes such as Trinity Wall Street, St. Thomas’ on Fifth Avenue, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, but most of its parishes look a lot more like us here at All Saints’. The Bishop of New York announced his retirement last November, which triggered a search for a new bishop.
I’m writing today to let you know that I am a nominee to be the next Bishop of New York. I am humbled and honored, and I stand before you in need of your prayers. I am surprised to find myself in this position, because I had no intention of participating in this process until a few close friends encouraged me to do so. While I’ve been eager to share this news with you all, I’ve been respecting the wishes of the search committee to maintain confidentiality until the list of nominees was announced today.
You’re probably wondering what this means for All Saints’. First and foremost, our common parish life this fall will be unaffected—so please keep coming to church! Jesse and I will participate in a series of “meet and greets” across the diocese in mid-November, but other than that, you will notice very little different this fall. The next Bishop of New York will be elected at a convention held on December 3. After that, there is another period of about two months when the person elected must gain the consents of dioceses around the church, so nothing will be official until about February 2023.
More importantly, I am but one of a slate of highly talented and faithful nominees—each of whom could easily be elected and serve the Diocese of New York well. You can see more information about them here. No one knows how the Holy Spirit will move in this process, and statistically speaking, the most likely outcome is that I will continue to serve God at All Saints’. And so we are entering a period of what I’d like to call “holy uncertainty,” during which we have no choice but to hand over the future to God.
But please be assured of this: serving as rector of All Saints’ has never failed to give me immense joy. Like you, I treasure my relationships in our church and will do my best to honor the trust you put in my presence and leadership. The Vestry, Wardens, and I will faithfully plan both for my possible departure and for the more likely scenario that I get to continue to be rector here in Park Slope.
I’ll explain the bishop election process and answer any questions you have at this week’s Sunday Forum following the 10am Eucharist. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to email, text, or call with any questions you might have. Finally, please continue to pray for All Saints’, for Jesse and me, and if you have some more room on your prayer list, for the people of the Diocese of New York and their bishop nominees.
May God continue to bless our church!
The Rev. Steven D. Paulikas