Dear Companions on the Journey,
The 2021-2022 Visitation Schedule is posted here. You’ll notice that there have been some changes made:
Our regular rotation for Episcopal Sunday Visitations is based on a three-year pattern for the majority of our churches and a two-year rotation for a small percentage of our churches. Having just completed the third year of visitations, I have a number of observations:
- A significant number of our parishes will have 25 or fewer in attendance for a visitation. While the visits with very small congregations are wonderful, because these visits are scheduled so far apart, our small congregations often talk of a sense of separation from the rest of the diocese and from my office.
- Visitations are a time of joyful celebration. They are also a time to evaluate parish systems. I take a close look at the parish register, meet with the vestry, and the rector or priest-in-charge – all of this to make sure the church is in good working order and receiving the support needed in their region or from my office.
- We are stronger together. We learned this during pandemic -- that we are good at checking on each other, supporting each other, and doing ministry together.
As a result of what I heard from our churches over these three years, I am convinced we must try something new. Starting this September, all churches will be on a two-year rotation. In 2021-2022, I will see approximately 51 parishes on 32 Sundays. The only way to make this happen is to have a combined visitation with two or more churches on some weeks.
So, for these Sundays, one church has been designated as the location for the service and joint Coffee Hour; I will meet with the host parish’s vestry after the joint Coffee Hour and the other vestry/vestries will meet with me via Zoom as soon as possible thereafter.
IMPORTANT NOTES: every year, we have congregations that switch visitation dates, as mutually agreeable, then they let Kay know the new plan. Due to the demands of this calendar, should you need to move your date for a specific reason (due to a fundraiser, etc.), we ask that you only approach churches with a visitation date that mirrors yours (single-to-single, multiple-to-multiple and really, only if necessary). It should also be noted that we do not schedule the Bishop’s visit to coincide with church anniversaries – too much on one day!
I look forward to joining the 2021-22 Visitation congregations for worship and conversation in the new program year.
Grace and peace,