Being bishop is not a thankless job

bishop terry col pic - nv15by Bishop Terry Dance

As I write this piece for Huron Church News, I cannot help but think that this will be yet another “last time” as I sprint towards retirement.

While anyone who knows me well might find the image of me sprinting towards anything to be quite silly, the reality is that Dec. 31 is approaching rapidly.

With that in mind, let me share a few reflections with you.

It has been both an honour and a privilege to serve the clergy and people of Huron as your suffragan bishop.

Many have suggested to me that being a bishop is a thankless job. I have not found that to be the case. I have felt supported and welcomed by parishes from one end of the diocese to the other.

It is true, that you can never please everyone. Loren Mead, of the Alban Institute, would often say that the very best decision you make in the church will upset 15 per cent of the people.

Clearly, in trying our best to be faithful leaders, clergy — and perhaps bishops in particular — will upset some and perhaps many with decisions made and actions taken. In spite of that institutional inevitability, I have felt supported in ways I could never have imagined. For that, I say thank you!

As one of your bishops, I have had the opportunity to engage the church beyond the borders of Huron. My ministry and my life have been enriched beyond measure by my experience of the church at the provincial, national and international levels.

My experiences in our former companion Diocese of Mthatha in particular were life-­changing. For that, I say thank you!

By electing me as your suffragan bishop, you gave me the opportunity to spend the last seven years of my active ministry working with Bishop Bob Bennett. I can think of no better way to finish my ministry than to work, laugh and play with a dear friend and colleague.

History will, I suspect, judge what we have done together. For me, it has been amazing. For that, I say thank you!

And now, as I am about to become yesterday’s news, the diocese is preparing to elect a coadjutor bishop. The person elected in February will in due course become the 13th Bishop of Huron, with all of the rights, privileges and challenges that come with the title.

My prayer is that our God will raise up a faithful pastor to lead, shepherd and guide our diocese into a bold and exciting future. Choose well!