12 Days on the Road
12 Days on the Road
I am just coming off a 12-day intensive itineration throughout Idaho and Oregon. The itineration started in Idaho Falls, and traveling there proved a metaphor for the trip itself. In order to fly to Idaho Falls, one has to go first to Boise, connect to Salt Lake City, and then finally land in Idaho Falls. The large geographic region is one of the challenges of serving our Greater Northwest Episcopal Area.
I am pretty sure that our new Episcopal region is the largest geographic area in our United Methodist connection. Russia might be competitive, but when we add Canada (we currently have one ethnic church in Canada, and have been given permission to start ethnic churches there), there is no question who is the largest!
It was a joy to visit dozens of local churches, meet hundreds of laity and clergy, and listen to hopes and dreams. When I am asked how I will cope with such a large geographic territory, my honest answer is “think of the evangelism and growth possibilities in this vast region!”
I have a couple of impressions from my trip through Idaho and Oregon. First, I heard a great deal of excitement about revitalization/transformation possibilities from the leadership of our local churches. The Congregational Leadership Development (CLD) process was mentioned numerous times, and there was general excitement about the process and groundwork that is being laid.
Second, I heard from a great deal of clergy and laity the need to engage in “mission field engagement.” As we move from the old “attractional” church model to a transition phase that will usher in the “missional” church model, everyone is going to have to engage in vital mission field engagement. This means moving outside of our four walls of the church, and doing ministry directly where the harvest is plentiful.
I know there will be challenges in providing leadership for such a large geographic territory and overseeing three separate annual conferences. However, we cannot shrink from the task that God has laid before us, and we must lead boldly into the future.
I ask for your prayers and collaboration in this wonderful task that we have been presented with. God never gives us too much that we cannot handle, and we will rise to the challenge!
Be the Hope,
See more pictures of Bishop Hagiya's tour of the Oregon-Idaho Conference on
the Oregon-Idaho Conference Facebook Page.
Read Past blog postings by Bishop Hagiya on the Pacific Northwest Conference Site.
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Bishop Grant Hagiya serves the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area, providing leadership to the Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest and Alaska Conferences.