We will lead together or none of us will go anywhere.

Here is today’s sermon by the Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane at the Celebration of New Ministry for the Rev. Craig Hacker and the people of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bridgton:

Bishop Steve says, in part:

In order for the church to thrive, we will all need to be leaders. Some of us will lead from formal positions of authority – like Craig – who will try to provide some order and some organization. And some of us will lead from the outside, with new ideas and insight, with creative possibilities. But we will lead together or none of us will go anywhere.

Read it all here.

One thought on “We will lead together or none of us will go anywhere.”

  1. I think this is spot on and the way we need to go. Yet given church traditions and structures that have long privileged clergy in ways altogether ceremonial/liturgical/symbolic, and with supportive compensation and benefits that set us apart and frame popular understanding of our leadrship role as necessarily primary instead of collaborative, it will take some undoing to arrive at actively shared ministries in which the laity really know the right response to our catechetical question: “Who are the ministers of the church?” It seems to me fiercely ironic within the religious realm, yet entirely pragmatic in the economic scheme of things, that the church’s dwindling capacity to pay clergy according to canonical requirement is actually pressing the laity of some of our most economically challenged parishes to step in to take on more of the primary leadership responsibility in order to ensure the very survival of their churches. Having just celebrated my last Sunday service at St. Matthias’ in Richmond after weeks of watching that little community grieve its economic vulnerability and future viability as a parish without a priest of its own, the real celebration for me was having watched the laity turn a hard corner into more proactive leadership that they – I believe unconsciously – resisted when I was around doing what they thought was “my job,” not theirs. Long inactive members and a new one have come together on the Bishop’s Committee to really work at being a church. A new thing? Not really; we can look back to the colonial days in Virginia when priests from England would not serve in America’s wilderness areas because the creature comforts and promise of pay were scant; so the laity took on primary responsibility for church leadership: to this day “The VirginiaTradition” remains strong. So if it happened then and there, it can happen here today – yet this time, I believe the ordained can, and should, play a more articulate role in giving away leadership authority we have usually kept – collared?- for ourselves, whether we knew we were doing it or not.

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