Winnowing the data

Discernment is a process of sifting or winnowing, of separating the vital and essential seed from the unimportant chaff.

Our diocesan wide Holy Conversations have provided us with opportunities for threshing our past experiences and revealing the valuable seeds of our stories. We’ve heard wonderful stories: of lives transformed through the ministries of Reading Camp, St. Agnes House, and St. Timothy’s Barnes Mountain; of deep friendships forged at the Cathedral Domain and through diocesan leadership training; of the joyful creativity and passionate commitment that’s been engaged by innovative programs like the Network for Pastoral Leadership and the Small Church Ministry Consortium. From the seeds of these stories, our values, goals, and challenges are beginning to emerge.

The Nominating Committee is profoundly grateful to each and every one of you who participated in the Holy Conversations. We estimate that through the seven Holy Conversation events (Covington, Corbin, Morehead, Frankfort, Lexington, one for the clergy of the diocese, and one for Mission House staff), we have collected close to 300 individual stories grouped around three questions: things I value (283 responses); things that concern me (314 responses); and my wishes, hopes, and dreams (258 responses). This means that we were able to hear from around 10% of our active congregants-an outstanding result. People registered from 30 of our 35 congregations, and with clergy participation we believe every congregation was represented.

Here are some snapshots of what is beginning to emerge, the seedlings of values that we hold here in the Diocese of Lexington.

We value the varied mission and ministry of the Diocese of Lexington, including the Cathedral Domain, Reading Camp, St. Agnes House, St. Timothy’s Outreach Center at Barnes Mountain, the Small Church Ministry Consortium, the Network for Pastoral Leadership, and the Leadership Team and transition process we’ve developed. We value our relationships with Haiti and Eldoret.

We value bringing people together, involving us in the larger community, and inviting us to deepen our respect for the dignity of every human being.

We also value being connected to each other and God through events that gather us into one worshipping community, events that create an atmosphere of festive unity and joyful celebration, events that inspire in us awe and a sense of the Holy, events that celebrate our Episcopal identity and deepen our connections to each other through prayer, song, scripture, and the Holy Eucharist.

We value creativity and our innovative programs, which respond to the real needs of our parishes and people, especially those congregations that are “small” to “median” sized; those that raise up lay leaders and train them in healthy leadership; and those that provide opportunities for youth and young adults to become the leaders of today and tomorrow.

The Nominating Committee is hard at work sifting and winnowing, framing the goals and challenges that will be printed in our diocesan profile brochure to be published before the end of the month. Then we will be able to invite priests with particular gifts and competencies that match our vision into the discernment process for our seventh bishop. We encourage you to stay connected with the process by watching for updates here, subscribing to the DioLex Link, or following DioLex on Facebook or Twitter.

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